I thought that my readers from abroad may be very interested in how to make the best out of a trip to this weird place called Britain.
1. Never say something obscene like your name at the beginning of a conversation
Whenever you meet someone new and you’re not introduced by a mutual friend or acquaintance never make the mistake and tell the stranger something as obscene or intimate (depending on your view) like your given name. Information that sensitive are just bound to make the average Brit regardless of sexual orientation cringe. Best just to mention your name at the end of the conversation to be on the safe side.
The less sensitive “information” like breasts or buttocks may very well peek out of your clothes. That won’t make a difference or anyone feel uncomfortable and you certainly won’t be the only person who exposes those body parts to the rain.
A note of caution: Even though first names are often the only information on name tags even in places like banks please don’t make the mistake in using this information by calling the bank clerk by his/her first name just because you read it on the name tag. Wait until the bank clerk told how he/she is called and use the name from then on. Anything else would be creepy and that would just ruin your chances in case you really would want to ask the bank clerk out.
2. Dress code
Oddly enough many people have this image of the average Brit wearing not only smart suits but also tailcoat & top-hat and it couldn’t be further from reality (unless maybe in certain London circles). You will be admitted into pubs in any attire really. But as said before nightclubbers are generally more dressed up than people going to a pub. By dressed up I mean generally exposing plenty of their body (see: boob tube). Some people, mostly foreigners, go so far to call the typical British outfits simply “sl*tty” (where’s the often demanded respect for other cultures gone?!). Also make-up can’t and shouldn’t be neglected as such you should make sure that you’ve used plenty before going to any predominately straight venue.
Those informal dress codes are not as vivid in an LGBT venue yet you will also manage to get a glimpse on lesbians & bi women in dresses and in high heels with plenty of make up. Though some LGBT places mainly frequented by the trans community or gay men may have a “no hoodie” policy in force and as such may be considered anti-lesbian by some. Failure to dress up and apply plenty of make up in a predominant straight venue will result in everyone else identifying you as a homosexual. – Though from my personal experience this doesn’t result in any adverse experience it’s just that you spelt out your sexual orientation to everyone. But that’s fine after all you haven’t written your first name all over you.
Though there’s one area where new dress codes could apply and you wouldn’t have expected it. A leading British supermarket chain has now established a dress code that bans people from shopping in their pyjamas (though I’m currently uncertain whether this only applies to a certain branch, all branches in Wales or all stores in Britain). – What? You would never have thought to go grocery shopping in your pyjamas? Well, you could go to another supermarket with your nightwear still on and experience something uniquely British.
3. Foot attire
Linked to dress code but in a different section for the sake of readability.
High heels are okay and are widely popular. You are hard pressed to find someone not wearing high heels (this may be the case the case in certain professional settings). The popularity of high heels generally results in plenty of women dancing around barefoot or just on socks by two o’clock in the morning. It is equally common for women to walk home from their night out barefoot or on socks. For the sake of women’s safety please dispose of all sharps in bins and don’t smash glasses on the floor (this equally applies to a place only frequented by lesbians).
Rubber boots are acceptable on the to and from work especially on rainy days and you professionals in business attire with rubber boots are not a rare sight in rainy and stormy parts of the country like Scotland. But please don’t be fooled into thinking that rubber boots are part of a smart outfit and don’t even attempt to get into a club with rubber boots on. It would even be better to try it barefoot).
4. Uniform fetishists (and know your force)
If you have a uniform fetish and are tired of the same old clubs and you think that even a place like London can’t offer you anything new I’d say: think again!
If you really would like to meet new people (and the women are generally attractive in my opinion) who often wear uniform than all you have got to do – especially in London but this may not be restricted to just London and has the potential to work in every major city – is to take an obscure bag with you aboard the underground train or any other form of public transport and generally appear nervous. In order to generate the impression that you’re extremely nervous and edgy look over your shoulders frequently, you may also try to frequently change the foot you mainly rest. If still no one takes notice of you may want to start mumble in a foreign language, I recommend Arabic. That should ensure that people start taking notice of you and contact the security services which in turn should be a guarantee to be escorted by men or women who frequently wear their police uniforms.
Should this happen and you enjoy your treatment (which normally also includes being handcuffed) be sure that you know with which law enforcement agency you are having contact. London is policed by three forces: City of London Police which to the best of my knowledge is Britain’s smallest police force, London Metropolitan Police also known as Metropolitan Police which is the country’s largest police force and is also nicknamed (New) Scotland Yard or for short “The Yard”, and of course British Transport Police which is responsible for policing the transport system and so is the force you are most likely to deal with in case of an arrest during a journey on the underground system.
So if you happen to be in police custody with the Transport Police do not make the mistake to call them Scotland Yard. Police in London is known for their diminished sense of humour (but not for their homophobia so the LGBT detainee is in no more trouble than the straight counterpart). So calling them by the wrong force name may very well make your problem worse even if you thought that it couldn’t be any worse…
What the well dressed tourist may regret is the fact that the Fashion Police is not patrolling anywhere in Britain. I’m afraid to say that this may be noticeable.