SATURDAY’S CHILD: Not your cup o’ tea?
RAFAEL DE LEON, a Trinidad calypso-singer known as the Roaring Lion, captured the public imagination in 1934 with a song that went completely counter to the conventional wisdom. While the idea every man had implanted in his mind was to seek out, seduce and possibly set up “in house” the prettiest woman available, Lion sang:
If you want to be happy and live a King’s life
Never make a pretty woman your wife . . .
So from a logical point of view
Always marry a woman uglier than you.
If Lion’s advice is to be taken seriously and the observation by Bernard Hees is true, then every man should marry an Englishwoman regardless of whether they’re your cup of tea or not.
Bernard Hees is a Brazilian. He is the global chief of the fast-food chain Burger King. A few days ago, while addressing students in Chicago, the 40-year-old Hees spoke about his time studying at the University of Warwick. He said that his time in Britain had offered few distractions beyond work and gave the impression that the reason for this was that in Britain, “the food is terrible and the woman are not very attractive”.
Immediately a lot of people jumped on him. Responding to the story in Britain’s Independent newspaper, one angry respondent suggested, “As punishment for his speech he should be made to eat ten Whoppers one after the other. Or perhaps, the lethal injection is more preferable.”
One Burger King Double Whopper with cheese contains 950 calories, half of a woman’s recommended daily calorie intake. Someone named Colin angrily replied, “Mr Hees, I think you’re ugly. Brazilian girls have nice bottoms but British girls are better.”
That is not the only way that Mr Hees seems to have bottomed out. Several of the comments pointed out that Britain is the biggest market for fast food in Europe and that Hees had just damaged if not destroyed it for his company.
Someone called “Fairpete” described Hees’ statement as a “Whopper” – round, long, but not very edible.
Then it got worse. One writer asked, “Aren’t Brazilian women famous for formerly being men?”
My favourite comment clearly came from an upstanding Englishman, who leapt to the defence of the ladies of his land, “What I will say about British women is that the best of them are not afraid of nature and they are not afraid of themselves.
They are not half-cybernetic creations of silicon and dentistry, nor garnished with botox and lying layers of cement.
“They’re not angular abominations, squeezed out of the fascist factories of fashion mags, and they are not quivering rabbits underneath it all, fearful of imperfection or the unkind tug of time and gravity. They are solid inside and out, Boudicca’s daughters, the strength behind every man. And thank God for it. And thank God that there are women like British women in every country in the world!”
There are a lot of people out there who don’t agree with Mr Hees (even though he subsequently apologized, claiming it was a joke he made to connect with his audience). One supporter said, “I don’t think the food is that bad.”
Another said: “Why do you think the English refer to their young ladies as ‘lassies’?” In fact, a Yorkshire-born Englishwoman, poet Florence Margaret “Stevie” Smith, wrote in 1937, “This Englishwoman is so refined/ She has no bosom and no behind.”
Perhaps this is why an Irishman quipped, “Most Englishmen can never get over the embarrassing fact that they were born in bed with a woman.”
However, the remarks by Mr Hees are not the worst things said about either English food or its women. Mike Norrish, writing in the Telegraph newspaper in 2008, quoted Aurelio De Laurentiis, the president of Italy’s Napoli football club: “With several Napoli players attracting interest from English clubs,
the Serie A side risk having their season ruined by high-profile departures next month.
“If they want to go to England, then in the end they’re going to go,” he said. “But they need to understand this: the English live badly, eat badly and their women do not wash their genitalia. To them, a bidet is a mystery.”
Personally, I don’t like all the Brit bashing. I don’t use a bidet either and I always say to myself, quoting comedian Bo Brown, regardless of how insufferable they are, if it weren’t for the English we’d be talking some language that we couldn’t understand.
• Tony Deyal was last seen asking, “How can you tell if a woman is really ugly?” A cannibal takes one look at her and orders a salad.