My pub etiquette learning curve

When it comes to this week’s readings, I think I definitely identified the most with the section on Pub-talk and general pub etiquette. At the very beginning of this trip, I made sure that visiting a pub was the first thing I did after touching down in Heathrow and dropped off my bags in the Acorn office. Unfortunately, the events that unfolded due to my lack of familiarity with British pub customs was, looking back on it, the tragically typical tourist pub experience. As described in Watching the English, “Foreign visitors often find it hard to come to terms with the fact that there is no waiter service in English pubs. Indeed, one of the most poignant sights of the English summer (or the funniest, depending on your sense of humour) is the group of thirsty tourists sitting patiently at a pub table, waiting for someone to come and take their order.” Yes, I immediately fell victim to the complex British pub customs, in which a customer is supposed to make the bartender keenly aware their presence and desire for a drink, without being boorish and rudely overbearing about it. The more I frequented pubs, however, the more I picked up on the importance of what the author calls “The Pantomime Rule,” which involves simply making eye contact with the bartender, perhaps while holding an empty glass only slightly above the countertop, and waiting for them to come to you at their convenience. Another rule mentioned in Watching the English I have noticed from firsthand experience is “The Pantomime Rule.” Thankfully, this rule already came quite naturally to me, and always has – even in preschool, I was always the kid to respect the power of the queue, even if it wasn’t necessarily formed in a straight line. On my last visit to a pub, someone actually cut me in the invisible queue. In return, I simply made eye contact with the person in a very plain manner (read: not sassy side-eye, just a simple acknowledgement), and the person immediately began apologizing profusely. Overall, I’m just glad I learned how to order a drink here!

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