So I’ve already told you about queuing. Now it’s time for the juicier stuff. It’s about to get real up in here guys. The three phrases you’ll need for a night out in England are…
‘On the chirpse’
‘On the lash’
‘On the pull’
To chirpse means to flirt. So if a guy comes up to you at a bar and starts chatting you up, he is ‘chirpsing.’ The phrase would normally be used like this: ‘Adrian is on the chirpse tonight!’ This just means that Adrian is being flirty.
The other two work the same same way but with different concepts. To be ‘lashed’ is to be drunk or wasted so when we say ‘The Rutland girls are on the lash!’ we just mean that we’re all planning to get pretty tipsy.
‘Pulling’ is a little more exciting because its basically the same as ‘picking up’ in America. A guy on the pull is a guy looking to get laid. Before they head off on a lad’s night out, the boys always joke around about which one of them is going to ‘pull’ that night. Usually, it’s just a joke though. Our boys are pretty innocent. (:
Something I never realized before I came here was how different the way we describe our clothing could be from the way the same things are described in England. Here is a list (translated from British English to American English) of clothing items.
Trousers - Pants
Pants/Knickers - Underwear/Panties
Track pants/Track suit bottoms - Sweatpants
Trainers - Tennis shoes/Sneakers
Jumper - Sweater
Wellies - Rain boots
Waistcoat - Vest
Play suit - Romper
Vest - Tank top
You can imagine how some of these can get confusing. Every single international student has the story about the long conversation they had with someone about their ‘pants’ before realizing that the person assumed they were going on about their underwear. The best one I’ve heard was about a time when someone stepped in a puddle and were talking about their wet pants. I bet that was an odd one for the Brit who was listening. :D
First of all, I have to say happy birthday to my wonderful roommate Elnaz Tahanha! She may be ancient (she’s a ripe old grandma today at age 22), but I still love her. I was so incredibly lucky to share my time at Nottingham with such a generous, kind girl.
So in honor of Elnaz’s birthday I have to use her favorite phrase as my phrase of the day. Well, maybe it’s not her favorite but it’s definitely the one she uses the most. :P
‘Can’t be asked’ or ‘Can’t be bothered’
Elnaz in particular uses these phrases in many ways:
‘I need to work out but I just can’t be asked to go to the gym today.’
‘MacKenzie, I’m going to fail. I can’t be bothered to revise!’
‘I couldn’t be asked to do my laundry. I guess I’ll just wear the same jeans again!’
Hahah she’s going to punch me if she read this, but I think you get the idea. ‘Can’t be asked’ just means that you’re too lazy to do something. I suppose it probably isn’t unheard of in the States but it’s definitely not used as much as it is here.
Happy birthday roomie!!
Among us interntional students, this phrase was probably (and maybe continues to be) one of the hardest things to get used to over here. ‘You alright?’ is kind of like ‘What’s up?’ or ‘Hey! How are you?’ It is the kind of expression that people use when they are briefly passing you in the corridor or when you first walk into a room. It doesn’t really require any kind of answer except maybe ‘hey there!’ or a ditto ‘you alright’ in return. In fact, most of the time the person who says it could really care less if you’re alright. It’s essentially just a casual greeting, something said simply to avoid the uncomfortable diverting-of-the-eyes moment.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of the ‘you alright’ etiquette when I first arrived here. So when I walked into my Applied Ethics seminar for the first time and my tutor glanced up and said ‘you alright?’ I panicked.
‘Yes? Don’t I look alright?!’
Clearly I was flustered and my poor tutor, who couldn’t have had any idea that I wouldn’t understand, was pretty confused too. He awkwardly had to explain that it was just an expression. I still don’t think he even realized I was foreign until he made us go around the room and tell the group our names and where we were from. When I said Texas there was a noticeable sigh of recognition from his direction.
If only I’d had a twitter back then to document the experience. #InternationalProblems
A tip is a dump, like a garbage dump. The way I hear this most often is when I’m headed over to a friend’s room: ‘Hold on and let my tidy up a bit. My room is an absolute tip.’
‘Don’t take the mick out of me!’ or ‘MacKenzie is so witty, always taking the piss out of everyone.’
To take the mick or piss out of someone is to make fun of them or tease them. For example, our friend Andreas (Andy) is Greek and very spirited about it. All of our friends like to take the mick out of him by making jokes about Greece.
This is one of the most commonly used terms among Nottingham students. A ‘queue’ is a line, usually at a club, restaurant or store. It can also be a verb. As in ‘It started to rain when we were queuing at Ocean last night! What a mare!’
Over the semester, Elnaz and I have suffered our fair share of abuse due to a tendency to use what the Brits believe to be an inferior version of their language. Along the way, we’ve kept track of our differences, shamelessly judging which way we think is better (ours of course) and in the process, we have compiled a list of ‘translations’ which we have lovingly titled The English to English Dictionary.
From today forward I will be providing my lovely readers with a phrase or word a day (maybe even a few if I’m feeling particularly generous) to keep you entertained. Isn’t that exciting?! Your first phrase of the day is…drum roll please…
‘I’ve had such a mare!’
This is my personal favorite British phrase. ‘Mare’ is short for ‘nightmare’, but in this case does not refer to a dream. When you’ve ‘had a mare’, you’ve had a bad day or difficult or frustrating experience. For example, I had quite a mare the other morning when I had to go back and forth across campus four times to print and turn in my history essay because of technical difficulties.
Yes, I realize I’ve been AWOL for a while. I’ve been crazy busy since I got back to Nottingham writing two super long papers and revising (that’s what the Brits call studying) for my exams. My first exam, Rural and Provincial Writing, was on Wednesday and yesterday was my Metaphysics exam. If you were to ask me how they went I would tell you that they’re over. That’s how they went. No, they weren’t impossible, but they weren’t great either. So for now, they’re over and I can’t do anything about them. On a more positive note, I feel much, much better to have them behind me.
I have one more exam on Tuesday for Applied Ethics, but I think I can handle that one. And that will officially be the end of what I have dubbed the ‘21 May Days of Awful’! I have a piece of paper pinned to my front door (with this title) on which I’ve been counting down the days to my freedom. I can’t tell you how relieving it is to see just four more days to cross through. The end is finally near.
The plan for the weeks that follow is all about fun! It’s basically going to be one never-ending party if I’m being honest. There’s a Jubilee celebration a week from Monday, a visit to London to see Katie a couple of days later, Kat and Elnaz’s birthdays (which are destined to be epic), a music festival on the Downs, and the Rutland Summer Ball. And that’s just for starters. Plenty more gallivanting to come, I assure you. I figure I have these few weeks left to spend with my friends here and I’m going to make the most of them. Speaking of… it’s sunny and the girls are all lounging around outside. Better go join them! Bye for now!