How London Makes You a Better Man
London is one of those mythical places you see on television as a kid. It has the same allure to it that Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco or Las Vegas has. It gives you a certain feeling after seeing it over and over again on television. It’s like a voice that tells you to get there no matter what. It was the same voice that led me to Los Angeles. Once I finally arrived in London, the feeling was surreal. It felt like a Sherlock Holmes movie when I saw Big Ben. I soaked up the energy of the people like a sponge. London is full of monuments such as the Eye of London, Marble Arch, Big Ben or the House of Parliament. All these monuments have been in tons of American movies.
As exhilarating as it was to see the monuments, that wasn’t what stood out. What stood out to me was the energy of the British in London. There was something different about them. It wasn’t until I returned home that I realized what an impact this trip had on me. London had made me a better man.
How London Makes You a Better Man
1. Fashion – Fashion trends in America usually starts in Los Angeles or New York. But these places get their fashion ideas from somewhere. They get it from Europe. The skinny jean era is running rampant in America. Europeans have been known to wear clothes that are close to the body especially men. One of my mentors told me in New York, if your suit isn’t fitted to the body, nobody will take you seriously. Suits in America used to be baggier. Ever since the skinny jean took over America, suits followed. These influences came from Europe. I saw this influence in London. The British men of London take pride in their appearance. Everyone wears suits like Americans were sandals and flip flops. It is done very casually. Even children wear suits. I saw little boys in suits and some young as five years old. It is very inspiring when all your peers are dressed for success even if it is done casually. To follow their lead, here are twenty stores to shop from in London. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/style/the-20-best-menswear-shops-in-london/a-child-of-the-jago/
2. Vocabulary – There is over one hundred thousand words in the Oxford dictionary. I am pretty sure they were all used in my conversations with the people of London. Saying they have a way with words is an understatement. If you are a visual learner like me then you would appreciate somebody who can paint a vivid picture for you in communication. Every sentence was like a battle rap lyric. You would ask them to rewind and repeat themselves. And it wasn’t because of their cool accent. Often times people use words without knowing it’s proper meaning. I am guilty of this sometimes. The British of London had a way using words that I couldn’t pronounce but I knew what exactly they meant. This makes one mindful of his or her communication skills. It has been said the reason for this is the American dictionary is simplified compared to the British dictionary. It is up for debate. Take a live look here. https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-American-English-is-more-simplified-in-vocabulary-and-grammar-than-British-English
3. Honesty – The British are brutally honest. This also may be a European trait generally. When people in America think of brutally honest people, New Yorkers come to mind. New Yorkers sometimes can be unempathetic in their honesty. If you are a girl from the midwest and your boyfriend is from New York and you ask him if you look fat in your dress, be prepared for the truth. British folks in London have the ability to tell you your breath stinks without you feeling stupid. My family is from the south and I grew up in Minnesota a good portion of my life. So it is in my nature to be polite to everyone I meet. I was talking to this gentleman at a social event. I commented on how I liked his hat which I really did. He gave me a smirk before he said, “Oh stop it, your just being nice”. He genuinely thought I was telling him that as a nice gesture. In his mind, nobody does that because it’s not honest. These are two different mindsets from two different cultures. I personally like these kind of people because they will tell me if I have a booger on my nose. Most American will let you walk around with it.
4. Tea Solutions – The British have a saying about tea. A cup of tea can solve anything. This definitely turned out to be true. I once overheard a couple considering divorce over a cup of tea. I couldn’t believe what I was listening to. Here are two people discussing divorce so calmly. There were no insults being thrown around, no vindictive threats of taking money, just a lot of curse words. What an impressive thing I thought to myself. I don’t think this is the norm for discussing divorce over tea. But the calming effect of having tea has on somebody’s emotional state can be used as a tool. In other cultures the ego tends to in control when discussing conflicts such as divorce. There is a way to have conflict without the emotional war most people have. It may not be tea but everyone has something that helps them think calmly. For the British, it is tea.
5. Appreciation for Little Things – With so many great things about London, there are a few negatives. There is very little sun. So if you have the skin complexion of a ghost, your in the wrong place. The weather was always gloomy much like Seattle, Washington. The sun played peek a boo all the time. I am assuming the weather may have had a part in the city’s energy. At times people seemed like robots. The further out you got from London, the friendlier the people were. Inside the city it was similar to New York, people too busy say hello. Let me emphasis that the people of London can be unfriendly but not rude. Being in this environment for a long period of time can affect your mood. It makes you have an appreciation for things like vitamin d and human kindness in which both play a part in our well being.
6. History – London, like every other city, has it’s skeletons. I discovered London’s at the British Museum. Inside the walls of the museum was a lot of African and Egyptian history that was stolen. I did take advantage of the situation. I felt like I was on a Scooby Doo cartoon as I walked through rooms with mummies and coffins. I saw more gold than Mr. T wears surrounding the tombs of Egyptian kings and queens. Other rooms filled with medieval weapons as if King Arthur is coming through the door. Samurai swords made the Japanese room look like a torture chamber. So much history in one place will make you think about your ancestry. The best thing about the museum is it’s free. http://www.britishmuseum.org/
7. Diversity – If you have to compare London to some a city, New York comes to mind. It has the same hustle energy that New York has. People rarely stop to talk to anyone. Everyone is on go go go autopilot. But more importantly, like New York, there is so much diversity. There are so many people from all over the world you will feel like your at the Olympics. In America I would have been classified as just a black guy. In London people will ask you if you speak English regardless of race. The diversity allows you not to be identified by race like Americans do. Two people I knew did this by telling me their ancestry. One was from Ghana, and the other was from Ireland but both were born and raised in London. This will make one aware before lazily describing someone as “black” or “white. The British actually honor their ancestry instead of simply saying one is”black” or “white”. In London, it is rude to identify someone by their race.
London is really known for all of it’s royalty and monuments. I did not expect London to teach me how I can become a better man. Being exposed to other countries customs and ideologies can teach you how to become a better person. For me specifically, a better man. Every trip, every journey you take a piece with you forever. These experiences change you for the good.
Here are some of the stylish men of London
- Eric L. Bolden
- E. The Traveling Trainer