“The thing with Canadian men is they’re a bit – placid.”
I’d just asked my new Canadian friend – let’s call her Ms X – about the menfolk here. It wasn’t a reply I was expecting. This is Canada, after all, home of lumberjacks and hockey players and Celine Dion. How macho can you get? But Ms X was adamant that when it came to wooing women, Macho Man turned more into Fearful Freddie. And so I decided to carry out a sociological experiment. Some might call it earwigging on conversations on the subway, bars and everywhere in general but I like my title better.
Anyway, after my close study of the male of the Canadian species and following out an intense comparison with his British counterpart (ie. ranting to Ged), I have these insights to offer:
1. Do not say: “I can say that without disrespecting her” (man on subway to his friend) . Now, I know the verb “disrespect” has a historic past stretching back centuries but in the UK, it’s the sort of word middle management use when they’re wanting to sound down with the kidz. In Britain, it’s use is generally followed by someone close by muttering: “Twat”.
2. Waitress: “Would you like anything to eat.” Man: “No, I’m just going to nibble on her all night” (slides up to girl next to him). I don’t have to explain what’s wrong with this, do I? Thought not.
3. “Are you okay with that because I’m feeling like you’re a little worried…” (man on subway to attractive businesswoman). We all know what talking about feelings does, don’t we? It leads to jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa. Best to keep emotions out of relationships as practiced by the British upper classes for centuries. Give a solution, that’s the ticket.
4. Don’t have Bubbles as a nickname. Again, I don’t have to explain this, do I?
5. And finally, sarongs are not suitable beachwear unless you’re David Beckham. After all, when your nickname’s Goldenballs (see the difference there, Bubbles?), you can wear what you want.
Seriously, it’s an eye-opener seeing how the two sexes interact here. Torontonian men appear to be very egalitarian when chatting to women, with one guy happily discussing childbirth with a group of women in the bar yesterday. (I would be hard pushed to find a Geordie who would do that – unless NUFC’s Moussa Sissoko was about to give birth, of course, with long discussions about whether or not he’d be fit for the following Saturday’s game.) But put the lads together, and it’s the usual topics – sports, videos games, sports and more sports. Women may be from Venus and Men from Mars, but it seems that in Canada, the city boys have learnt to talk both languages – even if that does translate into Bubbles.