July 7th 2013 | Comments

The Gentleman’s Guide To Unpleasantness And Swearing Abroad

Sometimes the gentleman has to travel, and that may involve heading south of Dover where you cannot get a decent of cup tea for neither love nor money.

Alas, once you are on the continent, you will inevitably come into contact with Jean-Baptise Foreigneur, whose customs, way of life and attitude to the English gentleman while almost certainly be at odds to your own experience.

Guide to swearing abroad

We here at Socked have no truck with being unpleasant and rude to our European cousins, and neither do we wish to resort to cheap stereotypes of rude French waiters, rude German waiters, rude Spanish waiters, and rude Italian waiters.

An English gent behaves like a gentleman at all times when abroad, even in the face of the most fearful provocation, such as if he asks for a nice cup of tea in a Parisian café and is greeted with nothing but hard Gallic stares and a cup of grey water with a string hanging forlornly down the side.

However, as in most arms races, the gentleman should be prepared to up the ante and top anything that is thrown at him. But the key – as in all things – is to remember that you are a gentleman, and should have no need to scrape the barrel of linguistics for an effective riposte.

While there are any number of guides available to teach the young cad how to swear in a foreign tongue, we found at an early age that French – for example – is such an expressive language that profanity need never pass your lips. The right words and some frantic arm-waving will more than get your point across.

While the more uncouth may be reaching for their sweary phrasebook when confronted, the gentleman will look his assailant in the eye and utter the words:

“Et quoi?” 

“So what?”

This captures everything, taking in your English stiff upper lip and your desire to stay on the moral high ground whilst delivering the most stinging of rebukes.

The more advanced student will move onto the complicated stuff. For example, while pulling a face like you’ve licked an onion and waving your hands like Marcel Marceau on drugs:

“Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu! Et ta mere aussi”

“You, sir are a cad and a bounder. And your mother, too.”

That is all the uncouth language the travelling gentleman will ever need.