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Monday, 21 August, 2000, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Are British lads really so bad?
British guys are "scrawny, pale and unhealthy looking" compared to their "tanned and athletic" US counterparts, according to the teenage daughter of the American ambassador to Britain.
15-year-old Catherine Lader went on to say that British boys' idea of a conversation is "to ask two questions and then ... feel entitled to stick his tongue down your throat".
The only thing they've got going for them in her opinion is their "sexy accent".
Are British boys really that much of a turn-off? Madonna certainly seems happy with Guy Ritchie, and Jude Law is hardly "unhealthy looking". Do you think the average American man has a certain edge?
This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your e-mails are posted below.
Margaret Shannon, Washington, DC. USA
As half Yankee and half Brit, I feel fully qualified to say to the Americans - "shut up!" and to the Brits - "loosen up!"
If only her father had said something so eminently deserving of international debate.
Amanda, English living in USA
Congratulations BBC, this is whole
exchange is highly amusing. The
comments of a 15-year old bring out
lower than high-school standards of
critical judgement, analysis and
objectivity in an audience whose lives
are obviously deeply touched by the
subject matter of this talking point.
Catherine Lader didn't know what she was talking about when she called British boys "scrawny."
I'm born and bred in the USA but I'm scrawny. Then again, my ancestors came from Great Britain.
T. Diggs, Alabama, USA
I don't think Ms Lader can make a judgement about the entire British male population and neither can she judge the American male population. True, as a 14-year-old girl myself, I admit that some boys are "scrawny, pale and unhealthy looking" and some do "ask two questions and then feel entitled to stick their tongue down your throat" - but I'm sure that America has its fair share of these guys too!
She obviously hasn't been to college yet and been spewed on by all those brawny jocks. Why is racism such as this tolerated in the press?
I can't imagine why there has been such a strong
reaction to the off-hand comments of an adolescent;
Adolescent behaviour (as I have observed) seems to be
strongly dominated by excessive hormone issues,
masking the characteristics of mature adult they will
eventually become. Please allow our ambassador's daughter
the allowance that you might expect from your own children
This 15 year old needs a good paddle. Lived in the UK for 4 years and the comparison of men by a l5 year old is laughable. Why is this even a subject of conversation?
My goodness! Thank God I'm gay!!
Surely its because the young lady has only been snogging supposedly eligible Brit boys - who must be public school boys, locked away from female company. What does she expect? Long discussions on Sartre at a party?
As to American boys - I think she'll realise that ultimately, most men are after one thing. Get real honey!
The real shame in this girls statements is not that she stereotyped British Men, but that she also stereotyped those of us in the States as well. While growing up in Minnesota, I can guarantee you I was not "tan and fit", rather I was bundled up for the 60 below zero temperatures and was white as a ghost. Granted, there are those here in the States who are tan and fit, but there are those who are also flabby and pale. I would have to say the same about the UK.
Thomas Smekal, Canada
Unless, our education system and parents encourage the development of more mature, tolerant human beings where there is a high premium placed upon instilling strong values and morals into children, our boys will always appear shallower and less able than their foreign counterparts.
It will take time as this means attacking mindsets and prejudices which go back hundreds and thousands of years, but this type of behaviour can't keep going on and as a society, we can't continually excuse it.
I used to live in the US and really liked my time there. However, if it had been the other way round and a British Ambassador's son/ daughter was slagging off Americans whilst in their country, I somehow doubt they would be too pleased about it.
Come on guys, Miss Lader is only a fifteen-year-old. Certainly she's entitled at this age to be less tactful and diplomatic!
Why all the noise about a fifteen-year-old's comment?
The young Miss should be reminded that English boys grow up to be English men - like Hugh Grant.
Once again we see the effects of media overplaying certain items of news. The only thing this proves is that possibly US parents are not overly strict. For Ms. Lader, I say, this is not how you win friends and influence people. If you are going to be an ambassador like your father someday, you need to start learning some tact, finesse and diplomacy.
This all smacks of discrimination.
Why is it OK to make comments about men when similar comments about women would bring out an outburst of feminists going on about 'sexism'.
J James, USA
The reaction to the statement says more about Britain than the statement did. Kudos to the many who played it for humour. British humour is obviously alive and well. For those who found the comments of one 15 year old girl to be anything more than the comments of one 15 year old girl, get a grip.
Gad... she needs to come up north of the border. Fit? Me and ALL of my male peers rune 8 miles before breakfast! Sexy? Com'on... we're Scots!
America, on a whole, is not the land of the free, but the land of the shallow
and that most certainly extends to their men. With a culture pre-occupied
with the superficial and trivial matters of internal (US) interest only, it is
no wonder their men reflect this. British men are predominantly well
spoken, have travelled or lived internationally and typically have
friends outside the UK. British men are far superior to
American in every way.
This girl obviously needs to come up north.........it would change her views instantly........
From what I have read, Ii would have to say that both British and American boys are droll and uneducated, based on the way they are throwing biased statements and insults at each other here.
I used to have high regards for the British male populations until now. Where else in the world would such an uproar be made over a little girl's opinion? You might as well add "insecurity" to the little girl's comment.
Is England really in that bad of shape. People, it was a child who made that comment. Now brush your teeth and lower that stiff upper lip and move on. I'm just glad to see some English bashing in this comment forum for once. I wish the English would debate
European wars and other high priority issues like they do the comments of a little girl.
Being a male, I cannot comment if UK lads are inferior to US dudes, but surely, if the comments of a 15 year old are causing a national debate, I must say you people must suffer an inferiority complex.
P.S. My feeling - women of all nationalities are pretty in their own manner.
It is really quite sad that the opinion of a 15 year old child has caused such an uproar. Yet, it is not surprising since it seems as if everyone is looking for an excuse to bash Americans - and perhaps expose their own insecurities.
Sean Martin, USA
What's all this talk about "perpetual sunshine?" Not all Americans live in California or Arizona. When my wife and I travel to the "lower 48," or abroad, we with our sickly complexions stand out in the crowd, but for the wrong reasons.
There's a lot of talk about Americans and their tans, which leads me to the assumption that Ms Lader and most of those replying here think that "whites" only populate the US. By the way, I'm British and have a nice, permanent tan thanks to half my parentage (Indian).
Here in the US, Southerners have a reputation for tact and good manners. I don't know what happened with this girl. Needless to say, Americans hearing about this are going to be embarrassed. However, it is hurtful to read all the anti-American comments on this page. Look, America is a big place. How can you generalize about millions based on the actions of a few? If you do, you are no better than this silly girl.
Speaking (and thinking) in terms of generalities is narrow-minded, immature, and dangerous. I'm not surprised at this from an adolescent girl, but some of the xenophobic comments seen here in response are truly dismaying.
Please be assured that there is at least one
girl here in the US who happens to find
British men VERY attractive...and the hulking
masses of Fabio-look-alikes to be vapid
attempts at masculinity. I'm more inclined
to look for personality attributes than physical
(although good grooming certainly helps). Are
British men more willing to treat their love interests
with respect and honour? Maybe when the little girl
who made such blasé statements about the opposite
sex she'll realise how immature her estimation is.
I feel sorry for this lass, only having met southern lads, she wants to come up North and check out some real men, and whippets!
Isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder? Why are we all taking offence at what a 15-year-old child is saying, I am sure that when she grows up and matures she will realise that it does not matter what nationality that person will be, it will only matter if he makes her happy.
I once heard an expression which I believe sums up this situation most adequately: "America is full of wide open spaces... mostly surrounded by teeth." Says it all really.
Put down the mouse, step away from the computer. This is the opinion of a 15-year-old girl. Who cares what she thinks? Don't let her start off a rash of xenophobic comments. ALL countries/nationalities/races have their own traits and it's not for us to make judgements on them.
Miss Lader needs to come up North to Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, etc. It's not surprising she has that attitude, she has been dating guys from London after all!!
What is truly interesting about the comments of this young girl is that they've triggered a barrage of anti-American sentiment. If the daughter of the British, Dutch, or South African ambassador to the US said "American boys suck" it wouldn't cause the slightest ripple in the American public.
Ethan Tucker, New Zealand
I don't know why everyone is getting so upset. I'm an 18 year old American and all the British men I've seen are extremely sexy: for example Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, and last but not least Prince William. I'd pick a Brit any day!
The worst thing about all Brits are their horrible teeth! Don't you guys know how to brush?
Ms.Lader is obviously a homesick teenage girl whose idea of a healthy American boy is cultivated from Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues and "Dawson's Creek". Truth be told, no one fits into such a tidy package, and good men come in all shapes and sizes. I do agree that Americans are obsessed with physical appearance - theirs and those of the women they meet.
I know, lets ask Madonna, Britney Spears and Claudia Schiffer what they think of British men. Oh wait, they've already shown a taste for our men. Better yet, lets ask Minnie Driver, whose affinity towards American men got her dumped on national television.
My advice to my beleaguered British cousins is to avoid spoiled ambassadors' daughters and concentrate on educating the many other, more pleasant young American ladies who so often come back telling stories of their enchantment with jolly old England.
With my other colleagues we can play 'spot the Brit' in any city in the US as they are terribly easy to identify. White skin that has never seen the sun, shorts that are too short, trainers and dark socks. Frankly I cringe with embarrassment whenever I see a fellow Brit.
Also my American friends are puzzled by the peculiarly British habit of wanting to get totally drunk at every possible opportunity. With the perspective of another country, our short-comings are painfully obvious. This young lady has hit the nail right on the head. Who would want to live in a country with almost permanent grey skies, bad expensive food and a national pastime of whining about everything. Give me America any day.
I'm English and living in America. Trust me when I say British men have more class and manners than most Americans. I live here I see it, the way they treat their partners is horrid as is there dress sense.
I'm South African but having lived in the UK for almost five years, I have seen some really nice looking English guys with great skin and of course a sexy accent. Of course, South African men are still the sexiest!
Andrew Mckillican, UK
How on earth is this news? I know this is the silly season, but since when did the opinion of a 15-year-old ambassador's daughter matter? Give her some homework to shut her up and find something else to write about.
Stephen Block of the USA, we don't hate America, just silly little girls from any country that say stupid things about the country they are living in. I agree with you.
Any resident of London would know well what all international surveys have been confirming for years: namely that the American male is the fattest in the world. UK males are probably more drunken and far more cynical: but American males 'Athletes'? Either the Ambassador's daughter is indulging a speciality fantasy or, I strongly suspect' is restricting her memory of the American male to the Football fanatics of the Ivy League Universities and not the shopping mall fast food restaurants with 15 stone kids barely in their teens.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK
I notice that all our egos are incredibly hurt, gentlemen.
A 15 year-old girl pining for home comes out with some comments when her entire experience (I sincerely hope) is based on 15ish year old boys, which would make her social interactions rather limited (I sincerely hope again).
I personally won't bother myself with her comments. After all, if a 15 year-old little girl has an opinion, it'll probably change about 8 times in the next year. Like every adolescent.
This girl obviously doesn't have a clue. British men are masculine, witty, charming, and basically gorgeous. American men are dim, shallow, and basically pretty. Pretty in men is NOT sexy.
We're definitely not short of talent in Britain - you only have to look at Jude Law, Ewan McGregor or the bloke who sits opposite me in the office! Scottish accent is the sexiest though.
Perhaps British boys are scrawny, but
just wait until they get older - then see
which group of guys are the most
over weight. And let's not even get
started on dress sense.
So American boys are "tanned and athletic"? Would it be safe to assume then, that America's problem with obesity lies with the girl? Can we also assume that America will not have such a problem with obesity in 10 years time? As a muscular, tanned British teen, I am really annoyed.
Like so many of the above comments, I feel I have to apply the comparison to women. Recently in California, I found many of the women attractive. However, we quickly realised, stripped of their tans and accents, they're nothing special.
It's what's inside that counts.
Americans DO look much better and it's not just the food, it's the weather, activities, etc. After reading all your comments it seems that there not just better looking but far more civilised.
Sarah Titterton, Bermuda
The concept that is being espoused here - that Americans are all fat, stupid, have no sense of humour (the most bizarre accusation) and ignorant of world affairs is utter nonsense created to make Brits feel better about themselves. When Brits buy into it, they are being guilty of the same ignorance that they are proscribing to their American cousins. If Americans are all that stupid, why are American industries world-beaters in so many fields?
I don't get it - why do we need to argue over a girl's own perspective? Both British and American lads should have confidence in themselves!
Well, I am an English 20-something living in the US and after many unsuccessful 'dates with cheesy American men, I am now happily living with a Brummie who I met by chance in the street.
Have you ever met an American that doesn't think every thing is bigger and better in the US?
Americans tend to have better bodies and a more positive outlook than (most of) us Brits. Having visited the US on many occasions I have been inspired by their attitude to their bodies and life in general. It's about time British men took a serious look at themselves and kicked themselves into shape.
I have never seen the comments of such a young girl raise such a stink. Obviously it is the opinion of one little girl and now you feel that you must stand-up and defend yourself. Who really cares what she likes any way.
Sam A, USA
Dealing with their loss of status in the world after the decline of the British Empire has been hard for English men of a certain age. That sense of insecurity has clearly been passed on to younger generations and comes across in all the wrong ways - arrogance, 'hardness' and cynicism. The fact is that English women are way, way ahead in their social development which helps guys like me pull more of them!
It is such a laugh to witness all of this national insecurity. Believe me, we do not sit around over here in the states comparing ourselves to Brits. By the way, spending most of my summers in the Greek islands, it is not only us Yanks who are more tanned and fit than our British counterparts.
As a woman living next to the States, I went to the UK the first chance I got. American men may look fitter, but they're self-obsessed from it all. British men are more worldly and far less arrogant. Plus, being polite and not having a culture ruled by the telly is a tremendous asset.
I lament all the time to my roommate (who is from England) about the sad state of American men, and he couldn't agree more. Though American men may be physically more fit and tan, I would take a British guy any day because I have found them infinitely more interesting and entertaining -and definitely funnier.
K. Jackson, USA ex UK
I agree that UK men are generally not half as good looking as US males. They tend to be obsessed with hobbies and sport but general hygiene takes a dive! However they do dress better! So a naked US male would obviously be the perfect solution!
I can only assume that the young lady in question has never happened across a pack of forwards from a school rugby team or she wouldn't be making the generalisation of scrawny. Particularly when the American Football players, being so much more manly, have to wear a ton of padding to play such a similar game.
Morgan Corvidae, USA
Americans might have the benefit of perpetual sunshine and the resultant tan. The British on the other hand have a sense of humour, something Miss Lader obviously hasn't cottoned on to.
Derek Mottershaw, England
OK Mr. Fernandez, I must have forgotten that all citizens of the Netherlands are so mentally gifted - My brain must be too full of laughable irrelevancies.
Why do you feel so threatened?
If Ms Lader is comparing US boys from her native state of South Carolina to English boys then she has very bad taste! I guess that all she is interested in looks because if she has ever heard a SC boy open his mouth and talk then she would definitely have to say 'US boys suck'!
"Pale and unhealthy"???? How healthy is skin cancer?
At 15 outward appearances may be all important. However, as one grows character increasingly features. Most of the British men I meet here in Africa are cool (at times cold and arrogant), straight forward and more knowledgeable of other people that live in this world. Americans in comparison tend to display affectations, approach the rest of us as though the world revolves around them (America) and are either fat slobs or over conscious about fitness.
I think that there is nothing wrong with some British guys but I have to admit that Americans can seem so much nicer looking. I think that Scottish men are better that the English but I suppose that's just my opinion.
Matthew Sutherland, UK
I work with several British "Blokes" all of which seem to be fairly fit, albeit their "Tan" could use a little work. But the real difference is in the conversation. American education seems to fail miserably when it comes to preparing the students to converse and master the English language. Once you sit and have a chat with a British guy (and British women too I would imagine), Americans appear to be dull and rather shallow, except for myself, of course.
I'm fed up with the continual battering the British take. If she doesn't like British blokes then she knows what she can do.
I don't really expect too much more from someone of such an inexperienced age and catered to position. Rest assured young lady, the changes are good your eyes will open and you will grow up.
Arran, Texas, USA
I have never met an American that had an opinion worth listing to till now. What she is really highlighting is the poor British diet; this has come up repeatedly. I think we should become more European and eat better food.
In fact the average height of British people has been increasing at one of the fastest rates in the world (that's for both men and women) - I'm 6'3'' and a lean 220 pounds but don't feel exceptionally big compared to everyone else when I'm at home. Give the young lads a chance, pet, as they are a couple of years behind you developmentally at your age anyway.
How can anyone make such a far
reaching comment on the men of a
single country? I've met "scrawny,
pale and unhealthy looking"
Americans as well as "tanned and
athletic" Brits. I am also fairly
surprised that the statement is
being taken so seriously. She is
15, after all.
Stuart Nield, France
I totally agree. American men are sexier and overall more interesting. English men, or actually European men are too pale, skinny, have bad teeth, and don't exactly smell like roses.
Both sides are wrong. Any female who visits Italy will fall in love with their men. They fulfil every woman's fantasy.
A respondent said, "It sounds, like most Americans, "the little lady" is making vast sweeping generalisations about the British public." Isn't that a generalisation about the American public? I'm amazed that one silly comment from an American teenager can cause such anti-American remarks. Take her comment in the proper perspective and realise that by joining her, you are doing the very same thing you condemn.
Miss Lader wants to get herself out a bit more. Most self-respecting 15 year-old females look for an older man for entertainment. As for English men not looking after themselves, that's rubbish. I've been halfway round the world and in my experience, Englishmen rock. They have conversations not monologues.
I do agree with some previous comments saying that we (Americans) put too much of our attention on looks and not personality. The thing that strikes me is that how little tact the daughter of the Ambassador has. Hello? You're supposed to represent the United States of America in a positive fashion... hmmm I don't think that entails calling British males scrawny pimply faced twerps who stick their tongue down your throat... And to be honest Ms. Lader, I know you're 15 and all, but doesn't daddy given you any training?
Given that a large percentage of the American youth is grossly overweight, perhaps Ms. Leder is mistaking scrawniness for us just not being as fat on average as our transatlantic counterparts!
Shanna, South Africa
It certainly seems as if Miss Lader has a 'remarkable' amount of experience for one so young. However if her penchant is more for 'fit' American 'jocks' than British 'beef' then she's welcome to them. Her predilection for 'looks' seems to confirm the traditional American 'style over content' argument.
Two points that are worth adding to the discussion. Sadly many American girls have run out of conversation after two questions. Chivalry alone demands that the male attempt to fill the ensuing silence.
If it is fair to distinguish between English and American males, it is only fair that the same be done to the females too. In my experience, when stripped of cosmetics, American women are revealed as little different from their British sisters, though somewhat better fed and lesser read.
Alastair Alexander, United Kingdom
I have to agree that the British men will be much more direct and will not fluff as much as the American that would talk for hours about nothing just for the sake of it. So in general I would stick to British Men who are a little like "good wine" and mature better.
Yeah but even the scrawny pale and unhealthy looking ones can drink 14 pints. And I guess it's better than being big, fat and loud.
Where is Ms Lader meeting these young men. With all the controversy and media hype surrounding sex offenders on the streets of Britain surely the Ambassador would feel it safer for his 15-year-old daughter to stay with in the official residence.
It's a little bit stereotypical isn't it -
Unless were to assume that she's met them all !
It sounds, like most Americans, "the
little lady" is making vast sweeping
generalisations about the British
On the other hand, at least British kids have a mind of their own and are not brainwashed by the society in which they live.
Keith Lomax, UK
Brit males - 2 types. The civilised ones (small minority) from decent family and or upbringing:
Profile: Well groomed, educated, sensitive, street smart & savvy, considerate of women, not stuffy, arrogant or snobs. Often living overseas.
The rest: Profile: Questionable upbringing or equally born with a silver spoon. Women are seen as "possessions", no real style, no finesse or true class. No social graces, drink & smoke, act as slobs, most often follow "football" with their mates.
US Males: Regardless of upbringing generally have a solid education, are well groomed (great teeth for example), dress with a degree of class, see women as "equal". Have broad sporting interests which they most often attend with their male & female friends. Class distinction doesn't really exist in the US - so private school arrogance is generally non-existent.
Overall - decent Brit males are in a minority.
Bob Davies, UK
Well, I hate to admit it but I think she's got a point, although it's a generalisation. I've been to the USA many times and guys certainly take fitness more seriously and most go to the gym, work out and DO look bigger and healthier than their British counterparts. I think a lot of it has got to do with the absolutely rubbish English food - it's expensive to eat out or to get a decent meal whereas in the States you can eat incredibly well for very cheap. So the big boys can get their steaks whilst we have to settle for chips. It's a crying shame and indicative of how much we get ripped off in this country.
Maybe the Americans are better looking with their tanned bodies, but they do have one major downfall, and that is they're American. It says it all really.
Maybe Miss Lader finds that she only attracts shallow boys because she herself is obviously shallow, judging boys on their looks and how they talk.
Personally, I wouldn't say that any British accent is particularly sexy, I think
Irish and Australian ones are though!
I work for an American company and none of the American guys are married to
American women - it's European, Asian or Russian. They say they can't afford to date American girls, or worst still marry them as they will be divorced within 10 years and lose everything in the settlement
Ed, Germany (ex UK)
The US Ambassador's daughter has probably never met an "average" man, in the US or the UK. However, take into consideration the fact that in the US food is far better, cheaper, and more plentiful, plus the fact that they have better weather to encourage them out into the sun, and you can see why American men might seem bigger and healthier than British men. We are brought up eating small portions of expensive rubbish while sheltering from the rain, so it's hardly surprising that we're pale and scrawny by comparison.
At least the average British man has an awareness of what's outside his country's borders....
Americans might have the benefit of perpetual sunshine and the resultant tan. The British on the other hand have a sense of humour, something Miss Lader obviously hasn't cottoned on to.
After serving many years in the US military, I was always dismayed by the bad conduct of our "Military brats" especially when stationed overseas. It is far more troubling to read insulting statements made by "Embassy brats" since we expect their parents to exercise some discipline over their children and teach them to respect the citizens of the host country. It should therefore not be surprising to understand why many foreigners have grown to hate America.
What American men have in the physical area, they certainly lack in the mental area. What's the point of being good-looking if everything that comes out of your mouth is basically laughable?
10 Aug 00 | Entertainment
'Brit boys suck' - ambassador's daughter
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