HowAboutWe contributor Lilit Marcus is spending some time in London. While there, she’s reporting on some of the differences that come along with dating on the other side of the pond.
While the language of love may be universal, the language of dating isn’t. Every culture has its own particular quirks about love and relationships. In the UK, like in the US, it’s totally normal to ask a guy or girl to catch dinner and a movie or go out for a drink after work. However, there are some culturally-specific dates you can go on in the UK that will definitely give you a lot to talk about.
Related: 5 Kisses Everyone Should Master
The British Sunday meal has a lot of history behind it. Many people believe that the tradition started with serfs, who spent six days a week serving their masters but had Sunday for themselves, so after church they had a big feast. Now, that translates to a leisurely lunch in a pub or restaurant. Instead of going to a pricey brunch, groups of friends will hit their neighborhood bar and sometimes stay for hours, enjoying roast meats, beer, and tasty side dishes like vegetables, stuffing, potatoes, and gravy. Since roasts sometimes go on all day, you don’t have to stress about long lines or making reservations, and it’s a great casual way to get to know a guy or his group of friends.
The mayor of London is Boris Johnson, who just won re-election. One of his initiatives was to encourage more people to bike in London, and he got Barclay’s to put bike rental spots all over town — just put in some coins, rent one, and zip off. If you’re in London, renting one of these bikes is a great way to go exploring and hang out at the same time. Best of all, when you’re ready to go back to his place, there are hundreds of places all over town where you can return the bike and let someone else have a turn.
Afternoon tea or High tea
The Brits are legendary for their love of tea, but in this case tea is more than a drink — it’s a meal. If you want to do afternoon tea, plan to meet up in the afternoon (between 2-4 PM is common). Since afternoon tea is more of a snack, you will usually have a choice of small sandwiches, pastries, and cakes, in addition to tea itself. If you opt for high tea (5 PM until about 7 or 8, when pubs and restaurants start serving dinner), that’s more of a proper meal. There are usually cuts of meat or something more substantial like pasta, meat pies, mashed potatoes, and often booze.
You probably already know that soccer is called football in the UK. But you may not know the extent of British football fandom. Imagine if the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined into a single American sport, and you’d begin to understand how big a deal football is in the UK. Even if you’re not a sports fan, going to a match is a pretty cool anthropological experiment. If you’re hoping for a date that doesn’t involve a lot of shouting and throwing things, opt to watch the game in a pub or at someone’s apartment. Either way, there’s still beer.