After reading Fox’s dissection of both female and male “bonding talk”, I was left with many questions. She explains that it is customary for women to barrage one another with “counter-compliments” to start a conversation and show friendliness. A counter-compliment being a compliment that simultaneously insults one self. For example: “Oh my gosh, Becky your hair looks so fab, mine is always so frizzy. I could never get mine to look that good”. This seems like a beyond obnoxious conversation to be a fly on the wall for, but if its intention is well understood by both parties, then I am sure it is a useful technique of showing friendly intentions. On the other hand, male bonding talk deals with one upping one another rather than self put-downs. I’ve noticed this banter around the office between male colleagues. It’s always a chummy argument over something arbitrary in which both parties insist that theirs is the better option. I enjoy hearing some of these witty and snarky remarks shot back and forth during one of these discussion, but realize not to get carried away with one’s insults. If done inappropriately or with someone to whom you should show respect (i.e. boss or professor) I can see this becoming very obnoxious and border-line insulting. However, when joking around with friends I am sure this tradition is as long standing as the pride the Bits carry around with them at all times. While I have notices that British men are very respectful and considerate for the most part, humility is not their strong suit, which in turn does provide a very driven and competitive (don’t get me started on soccer fans) environment here.
Also on a unrelated note. Here is a picture of David Cameron after he announced his resignation this week.