Places & Travel / Sex & Love / Society & Culture

American Girls like British Boys: The Dangers of Fetishizing The Accent

Can he be a total pervert just because he's a Brit? Hell no.

Can he be a total pervert just because he’s a Brit? Hell no.

You’ll probably either want to agree with what I’m saying or come back at me with something like, “you’re a hypocritical idiot.” And I’d understand if you did, of course, because people have opinions and some are dumb and some are smart, and that is that.

For the past year, I’ve dated an Englishman and have yet to sort out the very fine nuances that come alone with dating an Englishman–or anyone of another culture, for that matter. Sometimes I feel I am dating a human being and other times I feel I am dating an accent.  I know: how fowl. I’m essentially comparing accents to breasts in that my radar has been trained not upon heaving cleavage but the dulcet sounds of our motherland.

My name is Lisa Marie and I am a fetishist.

But for real. The man I’m in love with is firstly smart, generous, insanely sincere and, above all, well-meaning. And myself? I was born of soiled blood to say the least, and it takes me some training to smile and be a good human being–so, in the end, he has taught me valuable lessons about happiness, and for that, I must look beyond the accent.

Is it possible? Yes and no. When we argue I can’t help but to think of Clive Owen in Closer–the screaming, frantic, absolutely mental monster who thrashes about, demanding to know just where in the hell Julia Roberts fucked Jude Law, even after the wanker himself screwed the bellboys and girls (did you know this? they’re all whores?) during his trip to England.

His voice is dramatic and vulgar and his curses are enunciated so precisely that anger becomes the very essence of itself and sorrow becomes more pointed. It is truly as if sound puts everything internal and silent that it carries on blast. The meaning is illuminated. The words are suddenly audible in a new way. It’s like the information itself is more accessible.

I know. You’ll say I’m only listening to the sounds and not the words. Untrue. They’re delivered in a beautiful package, so how could I not take the time to comprehend? In any case, I’m being half facetious and half honest here, in the sense that I myself am trying to understand why in the hell an accent makes so much of a difference.

I’d love to focus on everything: the French, the Australian, the Irish, the Spanish, the Italian–I know how wet [hard] they can make people. But for all intents and purposes, I’m sticking to the many variations on the English accent–and how it is perceived by American ladies in heterosexual situations.

At work, my coworkers asked about my love life. I’m an open book to a fault and when his being British came up, they pounced–the lot of them, all teething and wide-eyed.

“Does he actually have an accent?”
“Does he talk to you in bed?” (Um, obviously. Don’t most people?)
“I dated a guy from England once on the internet.”
“Oh my god, I want British babies.” 

I nod, smile and even agree–and while my outer self, perfectly content with the silly back-and-forth, accepts their squeals and jubilee, I can’t help but to consider the fetishization of The Accent and how it may affect ourselves and those we love.  And when I’m out with my boyfriend, I can see the magnetizing affect. Girls who SEE ME holding his hand will still flush and try to guess where he’s from in England.  That’s like someone from the UK guessing if you’re from Kentucky or Texas. Stop.Our obsession is simply something we accept–if you google “why Americans like British accents” very little comes up as a result in terms of explanation, science, analysis or even discussion. Most of the time, the dialogue skips entirely to “I’m American and I love the British accent” or “OMG OMG BRITISH BOYZZZZZZ.”

Sites like I Love Your Accent and Date British Guys (I think it’s the same weird site) have cropped up. And! studies are done on it-apparently in 2011 the English accent wasn’t “sexy anymore” (note: the same folks who agreed on this stupid idea thought a New Jersey accent was sexy–enough said).

More so,  people continue to obsess over the Royal Family and its outfits and sexy soccer players and the diamond-decorated diaper-rash ointment holster Kate totes around for Prince George. And lastly, assholes like Madonna take on British accents for no reason at all. So what the fuck is it?

Well, the British have something on us. Even when they’re not speaking correctly and some Cockney little coke-head starts up with his ideas, the British accent lends itself to the idea that it is formal and a little bit classy. They enunciate. They have a royal party that continues to exist despite the fact that they have a Prime Minister. When American-made movies take place in, say, Viking-era Norway, they magically speak with an English–not an American–accent.

They drink tea like civilized people. Our eighth grade reading list includes Shakespeare and Beowulf and Keats (the, like, most romantic dude ever). Their comedy is a little bit more difficult to understand for many Americans–and thus, they are “more intelligent.”Not to mention, they sort of made us. What’s not to romanticize about Paul Revere shouting atop a horse, “The British are coming!”?

And when we’re not paying attention, we’re being inundated with socio-cultural conditioning. When everyone says, “British boys are cute,” you start to think it yourself. It’s like reading about the power of the number 33 and suddenly seeing it everywhere. It doesn’t necessary mean anything, but we rapidly begin to devise definition and meaning and interest. Numerology and accents–not the same thing, but you get the idea.

There is a serious–and perhaps dangerous–symbiotically superficial relationship going on between some members of the UK and the US dating scene.

Some ladies are gravitating toward the Englishman at the bar (and hopefully NOT asking him to say stupid shit like Hello ol’ chap or some lame Austin Powers line) and many English boys are using their voices to lure women.While we casually cozy-up toward the horny Brit who puts on his finest display of Englishness in hopes of getting laid, we don’t assess our situations as much as we do normally: Does he just like me for my tits? Does he like me for me?These are questions that women actually ask. These are things that actually hurt. They’re not fair, and they’re not right, and they’re rooted in the sexism of society at large. I’d also like to note that lots of girls aren’t vulnerable like I’m making them sound–and lots of boys aren’t foaming at the mouth on the prowl. I get it.

….But it’s not necessarily acceptable that the British boy uses his accent as someflamboyant plumage.  And it’s not entirely fair that we, to an extent, objectify and fetishize these British boys in much a similar way.
Call me obnoxiously hypocritical for actually dating a Brit, but I ended up liking him far after I’d heard his accent. (Something about him making a comment I perceived as totally sexist.) This is The Internet, so readers will have to simply believe what I say.

In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that what we hear when we hear a British accent is just a little bit different from what we hear everyday in America. It’s close, but no cigar. Or, it somehow wiggles its way out of the Uncanny Valley category and mirrors us just vaguely, but in some way we’re taught to see as more beautiful. Is this healthy? I’m not sure. It is an innocuous condition? Perhaps.But let’s not abuse one another. No using the vulnerable Anglophile lady with your Britishisms, and no forcing British boys into a box. A frog is still a frog, even if they might be a Prince.

Sorry. I had to do it.

2 thoughts on “American Girls like British Boys: The Dangers of Fetishizing The Accent

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