Compared to your average Mediterranean male, we British are often condemned as unromantic—but then we don’t have much to work with. While in France they have the bistro, we have the once-French and now very British-sounding caff. Frenchmen get to drink in sophisticated-sounding bars called La Metro (sic) or Le Jardin, while we drink in pubs with names like The Bishop’s Limpet and the Craggy Cock.
And then, of course, there’s the food. Though we’ve imported most foreign dishes to spice up our cuisine, the main British meal is still fish and chips. They call it the great British invention, and indeed it’s a king among meals. But the thought of spending an evening down at the chippy is not the kind of date of which dreams are made. It hardly competes with a candlelit Italian trattoria. Picture the scene: we seductively order a side portion of mushy peas, eye each other up over the pickled eggs, and I erotically pop a piece of battered cod into my mouth. As the grease oozes down my chin, I realise I should have taken her to the cinema instead.
More!, issue 220, 28 August-10 September 1996