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Ever since George Washington and the rest of our badass founding fathers (and some Frenchmen, but they don’t really matter) wiped the floor with the British army’s sorry asses back in the late 18th century, the rift between American and British culture has slowly grown in size. Being an American studying abroad in the UK, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the cultural differences between the UK and the good ol’ USA. I’m here today to share my observations on the biggest and most important difference I’ve noticed between the Brits and us — the party culture.
Let’s start with the most obvious pro of partying in the UK — the legal drinking age for everything from a shitty low-cal beer to some sketchy bootleg 85% ABV Spanish absinthe is 18 years old. For someone coming from the states, this is the best thing ever: no worries about getting in trouble with the university for drinking underage, no worries about getting arrested for underage possession of alcohol, and no worries about how you’re going to procure a large enough quantity of alcohol to get you drunk enough to make an ass of yourself on a nightly basis.
Another alcohol-related pro — alcohol is EVERYWHERE here. I’ve never been to another place like it. You can walk into pretty much any establishment that sells food or groceries and find abundant quantities of alcohol. On top of that, the party beers are actually half decent in the UK. Why settle for the alcoholic equivalent of water when you can get 20 pint cans of Tennent’s lager for 11 quid at the supermarket just a minute down the road?
The partying in the UK is also incredibly varied. Going to school in a pretty affluent area of the UK, I’ve been to all sorts of wild and boozy events, including but not limited to huge, alcohol-powered charity polo tournaments, incredibly lavish balls stocked with all sorts of expensive alcohol, and fashion shows that are more like EDM concerts than exhibitions. These may not seem like typical party environments, but nothing compares to being drunk off your face at 11 a.m. with all your best friends while laughing at a bunch of guys on horses trying to hit a ball with a weird, long croquet mallet.
However, there are definitely a few things that Americans do that Brits can’t even compete with. One of those things is daydrinking. This American standby really doesn’t exist across the pond, believe it or not. That’s right: no sunny poolside parties with cold beer-fueled debauchery. No fraternity heroes bellyflopping off rooftops in an attempt to get featured on TFM. No bikinis. I’m really not sure what it is about the UK that isn’t conducive to dartying, but I do have a few theories:
1. The British weather doesn’t favor massive outdoor events.
2. The British don’t know how to properly have a good time.
3. The idea has just never occurred to them.
Along the same lines as theory #2, I think the British need to let loose more. The huge ragers and Project X-style parties that we see all over the US just don’t exist in the UK. Hell, I never even saw a keg at a party until a few of my American buddies and I took it upon ourselves to bring some of the best parts of America’s party culture overseas. I think the traditional British sense of poise and general uptightness prevents them from letting loose like we do stateside. My guess is they’re still shellshocked from that fat L they took back in 1776.
Despite all the pros of living and partying in the UK, people just don’t get wild the way that they do back in the states. Sure, all the variety is fun, but I find myself missing darties, tailgates, and huge house parties almost every time I go out. The UK party scene is fun, sure, but it just can’t compare to what we have back in the land of the free and the home of the brave..
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