If you look up the word “Anglophile” in the dictionary, you will probably find a picture of me there, sipping tea and shoving McVitie’s biscuits into my mouth as I sit in a library full of BBC comedies. I grew up ravenously consuming British history, literature, and television, so much that when I was actually lucky enough to go study abroad there during college, I was worried that the real thing would pale in comparison to my Mr. Darcy-tinged fantasies. What I found was actually better: not a union-jack themed fun park, but instead a real, complex country full of real, complex people, with some fascinating history, architecture, and culture thrown in.
In general, I’m quite happy to have grown up in Texas, but there are times—when the Brits do something hilarious, or awesome, or just really, really strange—that I find myself looking longingly towards England (or where I imagine England is. Probably I’m actually looking toward Arizona or something), thinking dramatically, “Oh, England. I will never, ever quit you.” I’m sure these triggers are different for every Anglophile, but here are 12 times that you might find yourself packing your bags for a one-way trip to Heathrow:
1. When women go crazy with their Ascot hats.
Royal Ascot is a famous, fancy annual horse race in England, but the best part about it is definitely the hats, where women compete for the title of “Most Insane Article To Ever Grace A Human Head.”
2. When London rocked the Olympics.
Remember how awesome the 2012 Summer Olympics were? The opening ceremony in London was a crazy tribute to English history directed by Danny Boyle that featured a dancing version of the Industrial Revolution and a musical tribute to the NHS. And then James Bond jumped out of a helicopter with the Queen. It was ridiculous and AMAZING.
3. When you order tea in the U.S. and it is TERRIBLE.
Tea is a big deal in England, and people know how to make it properly. Every time I order tea from a coffee shop in the U.S., and the water isn’t hot enough, or they don’t have milk, or they don’t sell black tea, or they attach the tea bag to the cup so firmly that it can’t be removed and then oversteeps and is RUINED, my eyes flash emerald and I turn into a green monster and yell “HULK WANT DECENT TEA, DAMMIT.” …. and I seem to have gotten off track. What I’m saying is, I have a lot of feelings about tea, and England knows how it’s done.
4. When they put a giant Mr. Darcy statue in the Serpentine Lake.
In 2013, UKTV put a 12-foot tall fiberglass statue of Mr. Darcy in the Serpentine Lake to celebrate the launch of a new channel. The statue was huge and sort of grotesque. In short, it was wonderful.
5. Any time you see amazing and/or terrible British TV.
England is rightly famous for producing excellent television, from groundbreaking comedies like Monty Pythons’s Flying Circus to addictive historical dramas like Pride and Prejudice. The thing is, although the Brits make a lot of high quality content, they also make plenty of crap telly. But somehow even the awful shows manage to be a special tier of awful. The last time I was there, I got really into a show called “Sun, Sex, and Suspicious Parents,” which featured people in their late teens/early twenties going to party in Ibiza, thinking they were being filmed for a documentary about partying or something. They would inevitably go crazy, drink too much, sleep with random people, and embarrass themselves, only to find out—shocker!—that their parents had been watching the whole time. There would be a really awkward confrontation, and then the credits would roll. It was so stupid. And I couldn’t stop watching.
6. When those fancy people got married.
OK, so I know not everyone was into the Royal Wedding, or is into the Royal Family in general, but you have to admit, that dress was pretty sweet.
7. All those times you want to say amazing English curse words, but you know you can’t pull them off.
You want to say “Sod off, you bloody fool!” so badly, but … Nope. It just won’t work. You’ll just have to settle for “F*ck off!”
8. When they made a giant chocolate statue of Benedict Cumberbatch.
In April, UKTV commissioned a life-sized statue of Benedict Cumberbatch made entirely of chocolate. They put it on display in the mall, and people couldn’t help stealing his fingers and licking him because of course.
9. When you ask for a biscuit with your tea, and you get a flaky, bready, roll thing.
American-style biscuits are super delicious in their own right, but sometimes tea just calls out for the cracker-y British style of biscuit. McVities, why don’t you come to America?
10. When you watch Harry Potter barrel onto Platform 9 ¾.
Obviously, Harry Potter is fictional, much to my eternal discontent, but somehow being in England makes it feel just a little more real, like there could be mail-delivering owls, even though, tragically, there aren’t.
11. When you’re reading a novel that takes place in Britain and you have no idea how to say any of the place names.
British place names have altogether too many syllables. How on Earth does one get “Lester” from “Leicester”? Is something in the water in the U.K. that allows people to drop random syllables from words and still be understood?
12. When 300 people dress up as Kate Bush to perform the “Wuthering Heights” dance.
Kate Bush hasn’t achieved a ton of fame in the U.S. (she is awesome, though, and you should check her out), but in the U.K. she is highly beloved. In 2013, over 300 people gathered in costume to reenact her video for the 1978 song, “Wuthering Heights.” That’s devotion.
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