Post #391

A shared language

6th May 2004, mid-morning | Comments (34)

Here’s a funny thing. You know how Americans and Brits have common words that mean different things in each language? Like ‘fanny’ or ‘bum’? Well it turns out that ‘hello’ is another one.

It’s true, I swear.

I’m sitting in a cafe on Union Street when the guy next to me says hello. I glance at him, say hello back, and then carry on working on my computer.

An innocent conversation, the British among you may think. A simple exchange of pleasantries, welcoming a newcomer to the table? Oh, how little you stay-at-home hobbits know…

In San Francisco it seems that if a man sitting next to you in a cafe says hello, and you say hello back to him, what you’re actually saying is Hello, perhaps you’d care to scoot quite close to me, stare into my eyes in an uncomfortable way, and then place your hand on my upper, inner thigh while you show me a flyer for your pornographic male photography exhibition?

Funny, huh?

They never tell you stuff like this in the guidebooks.

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Comments (34)

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  1. Tim:

    I guess that's your "gaynip" working again, then...

    Posted 17 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Kitta
  2. Paul G:

    You sir, seem to have a knack for getting into the strangest situations.

    Maybe you could grow a thick, scraggly, mountain-man-esque beard and pick your teeth a lot, that would probably counteract the "gaynip" nicely. A shirt that says "Guns don't kill people. I do." would probably help, too.

    Of course, then we wouldn't get to read all these amusing stories...

    Posted 56 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Kitta
  3. Marten:

    Well, that's what you get for powering your site by naked Dunstan tech I guess. It gives people a mighty wrong impression :)

    Posted 59 minutes after the fact
  4. Vitaliy:

    Hehe, technically that was a complement.

    Posted 1 hour, 20 minutes after the fact
  5. Chris Clark:

    Not that this suggestion would have helped in this your case but if approached on the street with any question about you needing any ...
    A good response is always I'm cool. This answer seemed to always allow one to continue on ones way without actually having to decipher what you were being approached about purchasing.

    And remember San Francisco has its own rules

    Posted 1 hour, 23 minutes after the fact
  6. P01:

    You're really too money Dunstan ^__^

    Posted 1 hour, 26 minutes after the fact
  7. Stefan:

    SF is wack, yo. I mean, beads for naked boobies? Come on.

    Posted 1 hour, 37 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Timmy
  8. Rob Mientjes:

    Never thought of that when saying hello. I hope it's just San Fransisco.

    Posted 2 hours, 15 minutes after the fact
  9. David Barrett:

    Dunstan, you're not thinking on your feet.

    If I guy ever put his hand that close to my penis, I'd be sure to reward him by pissing my pants; shouting: "YOU BROKE THE BAG! YOU BROKE THE BAG!"

    Posted 2 hours, 46 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan, ↓ Jack, ↓ Timmy
  10. Dunstan:

    Ha ha, very good David :op

    Posted 2 hours, 51 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ David Barrett
  11. Jack:

    I like how your idea of "thinking on your feet" is actually just the ability to urinate on command.

    Posted 3 hours, 1 minute after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ David Barrett
    Inspired: ↓ Timmy
  12. Timmy:

    Okay, so I think beads for boobs is mainly a New Orleans thing I never heard of it in association with San Fran. Although I have heard that San Fran IS famous for this sort of situation.

    I gotta say though if urinating on command is considered thinking on your feet than why aren't I an executive yet?

    Posted 3 hours, 14 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Stefan, ↑ David Barrett, ↑ Jack
    Inspired: ↓ Stefan
  13. Lee:

    Dunstan is officially a fanny magnet, or... you get what I mean.

    Posted 4 hours, 3 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Stefan
  14. Stefan:

    Ah, you are right Timmy. Me and my small head.

    Posted 4 hours, 6 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Timmy
  15. Stefan:

    "Dunstan is officially a fanny magnet, or... you get what I mean."

    Or a manny faggot.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Posted 4 hours, 8 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Lee
  16. Sian:

    You are so a gay icon.

    Posted 4 hours, 14 minutes after the fact
  17. Adrian:

    Have you noticed how US 'Hello, how are you?' equates to Brit 'Hello'?

    Maybe that's just a Texas thing. But I was forever thinking people wanted to start a conversation with me, when they were just saying hello...and then you come back to Britain and people think you're rude when you say 'how are you' and keep walking...

    Beads for Boobies happens at Mardi Gras in Galveston too, it's on the gulf coast like n'Orleans but Mardi Gras in Galveston is kind of like Mardi Gras would be at a British Seaside resort - the same overall thing but a bit crap.

    Posted 4 hours, 58 minutes after the fact
  18. Sean:

    All depends on what region you are in.

    I live in Louisiana (the south). Most people here will smile at and greet (e.g. hello) random people they don't know. I think we call it Southern Hospitality. I went with a few friends to SF, and people seemed just rude. Probably not on purpose, just their way I guess. Riding along on the cable cars, the locals wouldn't smile or even recognize our existance. We ran into one guy who was nice and greeted us. He was a local, but raised in Louisiana =)

    Oh once I said "yes ma'am" to a waitress. She freaked.

    Posted 5 hours, 12 minutes after the fact
  19. Markku:

    Hahaha, that was funny! :)

    You should now be called "Dunstan the Magnet"...

    Posted 12 hours, 58 minutes after the fact
  20. Mark:

    Hah! Excellent entry - had several people looking at melaughing in the office...

    Posted 14 hours, 37 minutes after the fact
  21. Kitta:

    I am so glad that the nickname 'gaynip' is catching on. :)

    I was thinking a few days back that you'd make a fantastic travel writer Dunstan, you seem to always end up in interesting situations. "The adventures of gaynip and his trusty apple powerbook"

    Posted 16 hours, 56 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Tim, ↑ Paul G
    Inspired: ↓ Jonas Rabbe
  22. Jonas Rabbe:

    I'd buy it. Seriously though, you should really compile a dictionary of terms differing in meaning between the States and the UK.

    Posted 17 hours, 1 minute after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Kitta
  23. The Other Chris Clark:

    Maybe you were inflecting it the wrong way. Remember: big difference between HELL-o and hel-LO. Start putting the emphasis on the 'LO and you're wandering into come-on territory. Of course, if thigh-touching were the average response to a come-on, we'd all be set.

    Posted 20 hours, 22 minutes after the fact
  24. Ryan Cavicchioni:

    That is really really funny. I have trouble with the "gaynip" too and I live in a small town ... Guys just do not understand that I am straight.

    Posted 20 hours, 35 minutes after the fact
  25. Chad:

    I'll tell you this much....sounds like grounds for a good ass-whoopin' to least where I come from (the South).

    Posted 21 hours, 29 minutes after the fact
  26. David Lantner:

    Hey, maybe you could submit a piece for the show:

    Posted 22 hours, 30 minutes after the fact
  27. Kevin Francis:

    Ouch! That must have been *really* awkward! You really do have a knack for getting into these situations :P

    Posted 1 day after the fact
  28. Hoppy:

    true, he was quite a gay icon at college!! the worrying thing was i hung around with him most of the time, i'm suddenley feeling quite uncomfortable!!

    Posted 1 day, 2 hours after the fact
  29. Web:

    D, You didn’t notice these things in Boston did you?

    Although saying "hello" to the wrong drunk Irish man there could get you a bit more than a hand down the pants.

    Seems this begun to happen as soon as you landed in SF. Something about them brits I guess...

    Posted 1 day, 3 hours after the fact
  30. Sarah:

    Just give in to the pink.

    *wipes tears of laughter from chin*

    My 13 year old son, now a strapping and babe-magnetic 5' 9", at the age of about 18mths, once ran after the dustbin lorry, waving frantically, "oo-oo!!! Binmen!!!"
    Nothing wrong with that but he was dressed only in a pink Fred Perry, a Pampers and my gold high heels...

    Not relevant, maybe, but I felt there may be a connection of sorts to this posting.

    Posted 1 day, 22 hours after the fact
  31. James Stibbards:

    How do Orchard
    Another little piece of advice - most bathrooms in the States don't actually have a bath. Might come in handy if any of your "new friends" ask if you want to see their bathroom!

    Posted 2 days after the fact
  32. Steven:

    Well, a smart looking guy sitting in a café on Union Street with his smart Apple Powerbook equals to hanging out at one of the cafés or pubs on London's Old Compton Road with ones smart Apple Powerbook, don't you think?

    The only difference: the Brits use other WORDS (!) to induce such a (non?!)-conversation, here you go again.

    I fully approve of your theory, though!

    Greets, Steve

    Posted 2 days, 21 hours after the fact
  33. Jim:

    Perhaps the world is ready for a gay icon in web design? How about some nice pink borders for your site? :P

    Posted 3 days, 3 hours after the fact
  34. Pol:

    It's because you're a lovely clean young man!

    Posted 1 week after the fact

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