BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Talking Point  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
Forum
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 19 August, 2002, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Are British men wimps?
American actress Gwyneth Paltrow has described British men as being useless when it comes to the dating game.

In an interview with Now magazine, the Hollywood star said she would be happy to accept if a man invited her out for dinner.

However, during her last visit to this country only two plucked up the courage to ask her out.

Ms Paltrow said: "British people don't seem to ask each other out on dates.

"If someone asks you out, they're really going out on a limb, whereas in America it happens all the time."

Her comments follow an article by Canadian journalist Leah McLaren who described British men as being "repressed homosexuals" who "live in abject fear of being left alone with an unknown woman".

Do you agree with Gwyneth Paltrow's comments? Are British men wimps? Tell us what you think.

Have your say

British men are not wimps, they just don't mess around playing games as much. Personally I think most guys would just assume our Gwynnie was just too high maintenance to bother with, like many American women I've met.
Lynn, US & UK


I congratulate the men of Britain on having good hair, good humour and a good attitude

Cathy, Australia
British guys are hot! I am in Australia and about to go and pick up my gorgeous Scottish fella from the airport. He is charming, emotionally switched on, good looking and his accent - pardon me while I swoon in a dizzy heap! I congratulate the men of Britain on having good hair, good humour and a good attitude. It's true they have bad teeth but you can't have everything, and at least they understand the sarcastic Aussie sense of humour. I'd rather date a Brit than an American any day!
Cathy, Australia

My first husband was Canadian, my second is American. I lived in the UK until I was over 30, and although I had lots of British born boyfriends, they all seemed to lack "follow through" when it came to making a commitment. Don't get me wrong, even now I am still friends with men that I was at school with. Ironically, in at least two cases they have said they wished they had been more aggressive with regard to pursuing me romantically. Perhaps, as in the case of Gwyneth Paltrow, it's just a case of wrong place, wrong time.
Susan, UK/USA

Gee, thanks Gwyneth for that little pearl of wisdom! Don't you think maybe we got enough on our hands with the likes of Geri Halliwell setting a bad example for the upcoming generations of young ladies? Give us a break! We're only rubbish at pulling because we've just had to put up with a generation of selfish ego-centric lager ladettes, all masquerading under the delusion that they are somehow redressing the balance of sexual bigotry. If you really wanted to find out what a real man is like Gwyneth, then all you had to do was ask.
A luckless fop, Scotland

The British sense of humour - taking the mick out of eachother - tends to make dating more of a game over here. It's to do with the British not liking to show their emotions as much as say Americans and their pride.
Claire, UK


Who's going to ask one of the most recognisable people on the earth out?

Pete, UK
Personally, I think all American women are wimps. I spent a whole month there and not one asked me on a date, and none of the thousands over here have either... I mean, let's face it, who's going to ask one of the most recognisable people on the earth out for dinner? Not many would have the confidence to do so - so why doesn't she ask them? Did the cat get her tongue?
Pete, UK

I've read one too many articles from Ms McLaren about the hordes of men who have yet to satisfy her discriminating standards on this side of the Atlantic as well as your end. So, on behalf of the Canadian public, I apologise for her slanderous characterisations. Chin up, lads!
Grant, Canada


Gwyneth is making a valid point about British men and British culture

Hana Queldi, Pakistan
Wow! Talk about not being able to accept constructive criticism. I think Gwyneth is making a valid point about British men and British culture as well. A lot of it is down to lack of guts! The British mentality is to drink yourself into a state of unconsciousness rather than make the effort to get to know someone properly.
Hana Queldi, Pakistan

OK Gwyneth, see you at the Tokapi Kebab and Pizza Emporium down the High Street, 2:30am, don't wear anything nice, kebab sauce don't come out of designer dresses.
Ray, Scotland

I come to the UK almost every year for at least a month since 1992. Each time I come I meet at least three men eager to date me. You see it's the impression a woman leaves in men's minds that attracts them. I don't think I agree with Gwyneth Paltrow. Something's wrong with her.
Ameera Al-Hassan, Kuwait

Here's a generalisation for you: All American actresses are stupid, spoiled and prone to generalise about everything.
Glenn Knowles, USA


Americans are puzzled by self-effacement

Hugh, England
Many Americans are puzzled by the very British traits of self-effacement and a quiet inability to take oneself seriously. Americans are supposed to have an easy, proud, confident charm; self-deprecating humour is lost on them.
Hugh, England

I can't believe her snobbism. Gwyneth! Please stick to dating B grade celebrities. You're not welcome in the real world. Right oh I'm off to catch the bus to me allotment.
Ged, Nottingham, UK

Gwyneth- I'll ask if you pay. I think you're extremely fit and well worth a few hours. We'll have a laugh, I'll introduce you to some really good bits of British culture, it'll be fun. You're an absolute honey and I look forward to an evening of laughter, exploration and a bit of a snog too, if you're up for it. I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks, so how about mid September if you can get the flights? I'll pick you up at Heathrow. XX
Greg, UK

Is this the Gwyn's version of "If a woman doesn't fancy me she muct be a lesbian"?
Andy, UK

Gutted - I was one of the two guys who asked her out - and she said no!! I was hoping it was because of the competition.
Marv, Ipswich, UK

If Gwyneth Paltrow "only dates toffs" in Britain then surely they are the only Brits she is qualified to speak of. Obviously these toffs are looking for a 'gel' just like Nanny and, we all know Gwyneth is totally self-obsessed and bereft of that mothering instinct.
Chris, UK

I am a woman and feel what Gwyneth has said is quite unfair. The guys I have gone out with over here have been well-mannered and gentlemen in all meanings of the word. American women are well known for being quite forward and loudmouthed - may be that is what has kept the English men at bay.
Mera, Britain


If she didn't come across as quite so simpering and stuck up she might have a bit more success

Ian, England
If she didn't come across as quite so simpering and stuck up she might have a bit more success. I've gone out with women from a few different countries and American women are by far the most abrasive. It seems that most British guys are like me and tend to steer well clear of them.
Ian, England

Englishmen have their priorities right enough and it usually starts with football, Friday nights out with mates and then maybe relationships and family may just get a look in after that. Romance I don't think is high on the English gents' list of priorities. I have certainly seen a difference since living away.
Karen, Perth, Western Australia

I think maybe why British men are so lame at asking out women is because when a British woman says no, she'll want everyone to know about it!!
Sanj, London, UK

I bet if a British bloke said this load of tosh about women of any country, there would be uproar amongst the feminists. Maybe we should all realise that equal rights mean equal rights. Not just when they suit your gender. No names mentioned, Miss Paltrow. By the way, were you in Coronation Street or something, it is just that I have never heard of you?
Al, Hereford, England

If Gwyneth isn't good enough for Brad Pitt then she's not good enough for me.
Russ, Australia (ex UK)

I think British men are scared of asking women out. I have had loads of relationships and only three of those started with me plucking up the courage for weeks on end to ask ladies at work out on a date. Every time I thought they would think I was ugly and laugh at me; but every time they have said "Yes". The last one was yesterday afternoon. I'm still buzzing with excitement now!
Adam, Birmingham, UK

Oh yes, of course they are. I just make a sweeping generalisation about the entire male population of the British Isles without knowing 99% of them. You'd be better off asking some thought-provoking questions for a change.
Melanie Torrance, Scotland

OK, we don't look good in shorts, with our white, chicken legs BUT I think we're just more chilled out and less in your face about dating. Gwyneth is a lovely girl but she's certainly not my cup of tea and I wouldn't ask her out - my wife will be pleased to hear.
Rob Morris, UK


In the UK you are laying your dignity on the line

Gavin, Switzerland (ex-UK)
I once went out with a girl from NY (I'm British) and she used to tell me all the time she was going out on dates that night etc - which as a Brit obviously made me insanely jealous - but to her was not very serious. This is simply a question of language. In the US a date means something totally different from in the UK and is just a meaningless meeting up between two people. In the UK you are laying your dignity on the line by asking someone out.
Gavin, Switzerland (ex-UK)

She's obviously never been out in Newcastle on a Friday night.
Steve, UK

Gwyneth, maybe British men aren't so SHALLOW - US guys see a pretty girl, go and ask her out to dinner without even having a conversation with her - it's all so superficial. Have some dignity Gwyn..! At least in the UK guys will have a conversation with you first so they know if they like you. Maybe Gwyneth falls down at the having a personality stage which is why the UK guys are ignoring her.
Sharon, Scotland


British men fear rejection very much more

Mark, Staffordshire, UK
British men are certainly more nervous about asking a woman out, as they seem to fear rejection very much more. Usually it's a case of making the sure the answer is going to be 'yes' before taking the plunge. If I were to ask Gwyneth out, it would only be if I knew she would agree, since any other response would be too demoralising and embarrassing to deal with in the short term.
Mark, Staffordshire, UK

Well, I for one would like to ask Gwyneth out for a date, but in the rarified heights that she normally inhabits she doesn't meet us REAL MEN.
James Hughes, UK

Here I am, I have done you the honour of coming to your country, now you must all fancy me. As Del would say, "What a bow wow!"
Jim G, UK


We wouldn't be allowed to smoke

Steve Jones, UK
That's because we would also be dating her therapist as well. We wouldn't be allowed to smoke, we would have to listen to her intense neuroses and Englishmen are too well mannered to say otherwise.
Steve Jones, UK

I LOVE American girls because it's so easy to make a good impression on them. Open a couple of doors, say please, thank you and keep your elbows off the table whilst eating and they act like you're some kind of miracle man. Every American girl I have been with has complained about the US male and their boorish bravado.
William, London, UK

Well I'm sorry, but I'm saving myself for Winona Ryder.
Oliver, UK

Dates? Surely those are only for women you are already sleeping with?
Magnus, Bath, UK


Hanging around pubs and talking about football

Helen, US, formerly UK
I found the vast majority of British men to be extremely lacking in energy and unmotivated, and not interested in doing much except imbibing vast amounts of alcohol, hanging around pubs and talking about football. Their get up and go seemed to have got up and gone - if they ever had any. I ended up emigrating to the States and marrying an American. And judging from the amount of English and Irish women living in my immediate neighborhood, many of us feel the same way!
Helen, US, formerly UK

Ms Paltrow, if you really want to jump in the American gene pool then go for it. Please don't come running to us crying when you spawn a George Bush or Garth Brooks rather than a James Bond or a Trevor MacDonald.
Justin, London, UK


I will be sure to offer a pint of brown booze and a pack of scratchings at the after show party

Owen, UK
The next time I see Ms Paltrow on her way into a glittering film premiere I will be sure to leap the barrier and offer to pay for a pint of brown booze and a pack of scratchings at the after show party. All the while avoiding the heavy blows directed at my face and neck by minders resembling gorillas in sunglasses. I would rather we were known as shy or even dull than a nation of perverted and delusional stalkers.
Owen, UK

As an American girl living in the UK I've found that getting dates is like pulling teeth, Painful. Hence, I only fancy and give dates to the brave. My favourite approach was "Would you like to come out with me one night. I think it would be nice to get to know you, instead of just falling into bed drunk"!
Chaya Zeltzer, UK


Englishmen are better looking, kinder and sexier


Debbie, UK/ex-South Africa
Englishmen have a great sense of humour and above all are better looking, kinder and sexier than men from anywhere else in the world. Girls, ask them out if they don't ask you first, I did and landed up marrying my gorgeous English gentleman.
Debbie, UK/ ex South Africa

I decided not to ask her out in case she became so overwhelmed she started on one of her acceptance speeches...
Matthew, Luton, UK


Let's hear it for the Brits

Cindy, Farnborough, UK
I'm an American who has lived here and has been married to my British husband Michael for 22 years. I certainly don't agree with Gwyneth, what is her problem? Even in the US I usually dated non-American men. Let's hear it for the Brits, I wouldn't be married to anyone else.
Cindy, Farnborough, UK

British men are totally pathetic wimps, I waited seven years for someone to ask me for a date and even the interested parties couldn't pluck up the courage. Finally out of desperation I went out for the kill and now I'm married to a lovely bloke. I really am surprised anyone manages to breed at all in this country!!!
Louisa Morgan, UK

It's a bit rich the Canadians and Americans moaning about us. If you have more than one small beer in the presence of a North American girl you have "alcohol problems"! They're the wimps!
Ian, UK

Gwyneth Paltrow might say "wimps", and Leah McLaren might say "repressed homosexuals" but my response to Gwyneth is that I wouldn't fancy a date with her, and to Leah I'd say that I'm not repressed at all, I'm a very successful homosexual, no longer practising, I've got it right, so she and Gwyneth can get lost, they're probably jealous because I get better guys than them.
Anders, UK


There is definitely a breakdown of dating culture in the UK

CM, UK
British men aren't wimps but there is definitely a breakdown of dating culture in the UK. Men and women are growing further apart and leading independent lives. This is bad for everybody.
CM, UK

Years ago a Brazilian girl told me that "American men were all money and no honey", while "Englishmen were all honey and no money". Maybe the English in the US just get fed up with "I just LOVE your accent", or "Which part of London is England in?"
Tony, Grenada

Who's Gwyneth Paltrow? Are we supposed to know her?
Paul B, Oxfordshire, UK

I think the reason no-one asked her out is that no man in their rightful mind would want to spend an evening with some salad-eating, anorexic woman who blubbers like a child whenever anyone mentions her family.
Paul Noble, UK

After travelling the world and now residing in bonny Scotland, I must admit there is a difference between British men and those from Down Under. It's called an 'accent'. Other than that... all men are the same. I guess if fair Gwyneth isn't impressed by the British lads she can always return to the US of A???
Tracey, New Zealand


Gywneth is right about British guys being much less forward

Michelle, London, UK
Having dated in both in the States and the UK, Gywneth is right about British guys being much less forward. However, when a Brit plucks up the courage to approach a member of the opposite sex it is usually because of a genuine interest in getting to know that individual, rather than as part of the "scatter gun" pulling technique - if you ask enough girls, at least one will say yes!
Michelle, London, UK

Did I miss Ms Paltrow when she visited the local Wetherspoons and curry house? Next time I will be sure to offer her the chance to share a burger, greasy chips, pint of promotional beer and a cab home.
Kev Grant, UK

I'm not a wimp and I'll hit anyone who says otherwise with my handbag!
Andy M, England

Be patient Gwyneth, we'll get around to asking you out. After the beer and football are finished. It's all about priorities.
Andy Clapham, UK


Give me an English woman ahead of an American woman any day

John, Liverpool, England
Maybe Gwyneth should have made the moves instead of complaining when no-one came to her. After all that way she could target the toffs and ignore the rest of us unsuitable barbarian males. Give me an English woman ahead of an American woman any day.
John, Liverpool, England

Hi Gwyneth, fancy going out for a drink?
Jim Wallis, England

Has it ever occurred to Ms Paltrow that we may not find her attractive? I for one do not think she is anything to write home about. Maybe the posh people she prefers feel the same!
George Murray, England


It's very outdated to expect the man to do all the running

Mrs Ceri Patterson, Wales
Why are women still waiting for men to ask them out? I asked my husband out and put him on the spot. It obviously worked. It's very outdated to expect the man to do all the running. We are just as capable and sometimes much more confident!
Mrs Ceri Patterson, Wales

Ceri Patterson, I love you! You are an enlightened woman. Brilliant. I had a similar argument the other day concerning equality with my girlfriend and my mother (I got out... JUST). My girlie commented on the lack of flowers that she receives from me, so I asked where mine were. She was gobsmacked, but realised that I wasn't joking. I think that a nice bunch of white lilies would brighten up my living room hugely. Equality is NOT equal. Ceri you are a gem, spread the word.
Justin, London, UK

Well we're certainly not as shallow and fake as some of her previous lads or people who work in her line of business!!
Craig, England

I wouldn't want to be in the dating game now! Women don't know what they want but certainly know how to tell you what they don't want. It is all to do with both sexes being very much centre-orientated. The ME factor is the biggest problem that any potential dater has to overcome.
Dave , Kent, UK


British men aren't wimps

Dianne, UK
British men are lovely! I lived in the US (New York) for five years and I agree with Ms Paltrow that US men ask women out on dates much more. But then they often expect to be 'repaid' for this at the end of the date. An American friend of mine (male) pointed out to me that for every 50 men who ask you out, only about five are worth considering. Of the five you go out with, only one will be a gentleman. He was so right! At least in the UK the majority of men spend the time getting to know the woman before suggesting anything more. British men aren't wimps - they're gentlemen.
Dianne, UK

Maybe all the other blokes she met didn't fancy her?
Martin, England


Could it be because she comes across as arrogant and patronising?

David, London, UK
I wonder if Gwyneth has ever considered the reason WHY so few men asked her out? Could it be because she comes across as arrogant and patronising, and likely to disparage any man with whom she has a relationship in the press whenever she feels like it? Sorry Gwynnie - I guess most British men tend to prefer their women to be ladies...
David, London, UK

To David from London - the name is Gwyneth not Gwynnie and he talks about arrogance!!!
Peter, UK

Send us your comments:
Name:

Your E-mail Address:


Country:

Comments:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes