5/28/08

Sarcasm tune up required!

An American friend sent me an email last week, that I read with some disbelief before responding along the lines of "you're not serious are you"?! A little while later she replied saying "uh no, that was sarcasm actually"!

Well once I got over the appalling shock that an American had fooled me with their irony, especially as we say in the UK that Americans don't do sarcasm. I was truly horrified that my life has changed so much I am losing a well-known trait of the British.....the ability to recognise sarcasm, or be sarcastic at the drop of a hat!

I was a 'Queen' of sarcasm back home, it was just part of my daily conversation at work, out and about and at home. Usually it wasn't used in a spiteful way but just to jest with one of my colleagues/aquaintances or keep them on their toes. And I would receive just as much as I dished out; us Brit's may be aware that sarcasm is considered the lowest form of humour, but it's still the most entertaining and a national pastime.

I would utilise it the most when dealing with statements associated with 'the bleeding obvious' as we fondly refer to it. Examples might have included "Did you get a new car" - "No I stole this one in my lunch hour, what d'ya think!?" or "Did you get your hair cut" - "No I think it just shrunk when I dried it last night" or "Did you give that report to the boss" - "Nah I shredded it instead".....oh I could go on and on endlessly battering the recipient into submission with my smart Alec remarks.

When I first got here I quickly found those same remarks would either just make the Hubster mad, or result in a blank look from some unsuspecting American. So I just quit with the sarcasm, after all part of the fun was duelling with another expert proponent of the sport and I haven't found any here yet! In my experience I have found that it's generally not used and can be viewed as very rude, so wanting to make a good impression I gave up my addiction.

So last weeks email event was like a sharp slap being administered and has made me wonder whether I will be able to keep up with my friends the next time I am home. Or are they going to view me as this once driven ambitious woman, always ready with quick wit and a smart rejoinder; who returned happier, calmer but also a totally different and quieter personality type?

Some change is good and I needed to calm down certainly. But I don't want to lose my British character traits. And so lookout, I am going to be exercising my sarcasm back into existence and am getting my radar retuned ;-)

Feel free to test my progress or challenge me to a duel in comments!

13 comments:

Tom (from flowers) said...

don't worry. i think it's almost impossible to lose the british sense of humour (or perhaps it's the english sense of humour). you'll slot back in very quickly and probably binge for a while.

p.s. hope you're beginning to feel a bit better.

Sandi McBride said...

Americans DON'T DO SARCASM??? Where have you been Dear One? I think we raised Sarcasm to an art...if Seinfeld isn't Sarcasm, what is lol?
hugs tho
Sandi

nikinpos said...

Nope, sorry, I have had to give up a lot of things but I will not give up the sarcasm. The bloody Italians can learn to deal with it, and the American tourists! Life would be boring without it.

Janet said...

I think it's very much a regional thing. I have met some east coasters who are every bit as sarcastic as the Brits. Also some Oklahomans, and while they don't use sarcasm that much, they do at least get it. Sarcasm was a definite no-no in California.

BritGal' Sarah said...

Sandi - trust me that's what I heard all my life about the Americans, they don't get irony!!

I think Jan is right and it's very much a regional thing probably. But in England you hear it all day long, in fact my bff did it on the phone with me just yesterday and made me LOL after writing this, as she neatly proved the point!

Nik good to know you're keeping our end up on the Italian coast!

Barbara said...

British and American humour just do not mix as I found to my cost.
The Americans think our dry British wit is sarcasm when it is not.

Have posted part 2 of Leonardslee.

Daryl said...

When I worked in advertising I often considered getting a placard to hold up that read: JUST KIDDING ..it amazed me that my co-workers never 'got' my sarcasm ...

:-Daryl

Stevyn Colgan said...

You're sarcastic. Oh really?

Fnar.

Musings said...

My neighbor is English. Aha.... now I understand...

Expatmum said...

I have just given up, or if e-mailing, I have to pepper the thing with emoticons to avoid giving offense/offence. Sometimes it's just not worth the effort.

Sandi McBride said...

It's me again...I've been tagged and just finished my six random things at my place...unfortunately for you I've decided that I'd like to know six random things about you...so consider yourself tagged...check at my place for rules
Sandi

Teresa said...

I completely enjoy British wit. That may be one reason I watch far more British programming than American. As far as American's and humor, go to your dictionary and next to the words "sarcasm" and "jesting", you will find photo's of my family, all with Cheshire grins. I was born with the silver spoon of sarcasm in my mouth. I will have to say though, I have noticed in the last 10 years the sarcasm and jesting have really left me. I love a good verbal discussion, but the fun in sparring is just gone. I guess my "yes" is yes and my "no" is no now. I suppose this more settled me is probably boring to some. But, as I think on this, I like the change. Hum... odd, I really had not thought about this before this post. Thanks, Sarah.

pamokc said...

:) too funny. i think it is the reason john married me -- i got his sarcastic wit and could dish some of it back to him. but i think it isn't sarcastic as much as dry ....sarcastic has a bit of a meanness to it (my opinion), but dry allows a lot of room to get close!