When faced with the prospect of meeting a real, live, English person, I always get excited. Raised on a steady diet of BBC miniseries ranging from the famous one which shall remain nameless which starred Colin Firth, to the really archaic adaptations of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always preferred British television to that of American, and in this glorious age of Downton Abbey and BBC America, I, like Plato, know the form of the perfect British person. The British man should be a mix of Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hiddleston, and Alan Rickman. The British woman should be a mix of Emma Thompson, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Emma Watson.
So when I meet a British person who could easily pass for an American exhibiting the worst of American fashions, it’s as if my beautiful bubble of Dickensian fantasies has been burst.
This tragedy happened to me quite recently. I had to listen carefully for any hint of an accent, and he dressed just like an American. Not a hint of tweed, not a hint of whimsy, nothing. He may have even had American weapons hidden on his person.
That is the main reason I have never been to England. A Platonic form of England lives in my head, and to wake up someday and realize that it is only perfect, grey, misty, beautiful London in my head, and in reality is just like New York City is a sadness which I cannot bear. So I shall shut my eyes to it. When someday I visit the great empire that was, I shall confine myself to Scotland, which I have no expectations of, and therefore cannot disappoint me.