“The toilets are to the left. They aren’t bathrooms because you don’t bathe in them and they aren’t restrooms because you don’t rest in them,” the host exclaimed as he introduced the comedy shows we were about to watch in the neighborhood Angel. Pop, bubbler and clicker are just a few words we use different from state to state in the U.S but put yourself in another country, let alone another continent, and you hear many more words that don’t sound so familiar.
You would feel awkward asking someone where the nearest “toilet” is too if you constantly heard your mother’s voice in the back of your head saying “I raised you like a lady.” I do feel extra polite saying, “pardon,” instead of “excuse me” to the Brit who won’t move out of my way in the “queue” (“line” in American English). However, the London language also seems to be a bit more blunt than the one we use in the states.
Bluntness seems to be a common theme among the people here. Back at home, we tend to beat around the bush and may not always get our point across as well as we want too. Here, they have no problem making their point; they may even take it to the next level. People will literally stand on a ladder in the middle of Hyde Park preaching their feelings to the crowd forming around them. It’s an event called Speaker’s Corner and it’s a place where people go to express their opinions on Sunday mornings. These speakers don’t beat around the bush and even invite people in the crowd to shout their opinions back. Should the police be there to supervise? Probably but, the lack of fighting also shows a little bit of politeness and bluntness mixed together.
One more example of bluntness would be our East End street art tour guide, Josh. A young hipster that had a beard that could rival some of the greats, he was not shy when it came down to expressing his feelings. He started out our tour with an f-bomb but then quickly apologized for the inappropriateness. The tour was filled with more of his unfiltered words but his passion for street art was clear. He was not afraid to stand in front of a store that was selling photos of street art and say how wrong that was. The photos had no connection to the original artist, who wouldn’t be getting any money from the profit. Josh said it took away the right for all people to enjoy the art and that we should never buy one, another mixture of his politeness and bluntness. If there is anything I’ve learned from the speakers at Hyde Park or Josh, its how to get my point across.