Things To Know Before Visiting Britain!

So, Its pretty common for people to want to visit Britain (Especially you Yanks from across the pond xD), But here is some things you should probably know before you come over here to avoid a culture shock :P

Things To Know Before Visiting Britain!

1) The Royal Family

Now, Its not uncommon to see lots of hype in the US about the British Royal family, I mean, they are the only English speaking monarchy you know off, so it's cool for you guys, but believe it or not the average British person really does not care about them.

Whilst you guys consdier them a cool part of our nation with lots of history, to us, they are just a bunch of rich, useless posh totties who attract tourists and spend too much tax money xD. Seriously, British people don't care. The only time we do is when a Royal wedding / Jubilee happen's and we all get a public holiday and a day off work ;).

2) Free Refils

Now, In the US, It's pretty much a common thing that in restruant's and stuff, when you get a drink, You get refils for free. Most of the time you don't even need to ask, They will just come round and refil your stuff for you.

Well, In Britain, if you drink all your drink, and you are thirsty, There ain't no free rides on this big red bus! xD. You're going to have to BUY yourself another drink. There are no free drinks in this country ;P.

3) Leaving Tips

Now, In my many ventures to the states, I have noticed, when you buy food or something, it will say on the bill ''Reccomended tip'' or something like that, And you actually HAVE to pay a tip. And, I thought ''How awfully cheeky''.

You see, In the UK, You don't have to leave tips, And if you do, They make such a massive deal out of it, If you slip a waiter £5 or something, You will have absolutely made his/her day, He will more then likely spend the following minute or two asking ''Are you sure!?'' and ''Thank you so much!!'' because tips are so uncommon here.

So, Don't worry about not tipping like you have to in the US, Just be aware if you do tip, You will SERIOUSLY make a waiter / service person etc. a VERY dandy little bunny indeed! :P

4) Manners

Now, In my time in the US, This horrified me. y'all lack some serious manners.

In Britain, You say ''Please'' and ''Thank you'' before and after EVERYTHING. If you don't , You WILL get nasty looks.

When i was in the US, If i were to say Please and Thank you as much as i do over here, I got weird looks like i was some crazy person, but over here you are considered ignorant if you don't. You cannot say please and thank you enough.

And here is one big thing in Britain. YOU ALWAYS HOLD A DOOR OPEN.

In the US, if i held a door open for girls, That considered as a form of flirting..... like.... What !?..... Flirting !??!?!..... If you are in the UK, and you are next to a door, And someone is behind you, You stop and hold that door open for them. It is not optional, you just do it, Not to make them happy, not to make you happy, not to flirt, Because thats the 'Non-Prick' thing to do xD.

A good rule of the thumb is, If they are more then 30 seconds walk away from the door, Don't hold it open as it will be awkward as they do a cute little skip run to do the door to make you wait less, But, If you walk through it, and slam it in there face, You are a bad person.

5) Sense of humour

Now, Despite the US / UK both being western nations, The sense of humour may differ greatly.

When I was in the US, I noticed a lot of jokes to me were very..... 'sarcstic' and kinda lame? xD. Like, People would say stuff to me they thought was hilarious and they were wetting themselves just saying the joke, And im sitting there with a blank face thinking... ''.......... what's the joke?....''.

In the UK, You will find a lot of jokes are..... I don't want to say 'Racist'. But.... ''Proud'' xD. If you went to the UK, and told a joke about... I don't know something you ate. You won't get much laughs, If you told a joke about ''how bad those Canadians are at football'' or ''how much those indians suck at cricket'', People will piss themselves laughing xD.

You get bonus points for making a joke about a different part of the UK to the part you are in, So if you are in England, pop out a joke about Scotland, if you are in Scotland, make a joke about wales, if you are in wales, say a joke about Ireland. Be sure to make the region you are in seem better then the one you are joking. Otherwise noone will laugh.

Jokes here are meant to mock others who aren't where you are from xD. But, Dont get carried away and just be racist, Otherwise you will probably end up getting punched.

6) Drinking Culture

Now, I have noticed, That in the US, And a lot of other countries, When you drink, you do it to have a good time with friends and enjoy yourself and make the most of your lives.

Well..... Not here xD.

In the UK, If you are drinking, you have but one single objective

To get as absolutely, completely and utterly wasted, in the shortest possible amount of time, until you throw up and pass out, only to repeat it the next day. We don't drink for fun, We drink to drink xD.

Another thing you should know, In the UK you are aloud to drink in pubs / clubs and stuff at 18, And if you are 16 you can drink Wine, Cider or Beer in a restruant (But you need an over 18 to buy it for you).

So, Don't be shocked when you see 16 year olds walking round drunk xD. Its very very common here.

7) Castles / Landmarks

I see this a lot, the whole ''omg i want to go to the UK they have castles''

Well, Believe it or not.... we don't actually care about castles. To us they are just busted up old piles of rocks and bricks xD.

I mean, The island where i live has more Castles then i can count, a lot of them are offshore fortress' that use to be Naval forts, These things are huge things with islands of their own, But guess what.... we dont care about them xD. They are just castles to us. Big whoop xD.

So don't be shocked when your awesome castle adventure has Brits saying ''Why the heck would you want to visit that? thats so boring....''. :P

8) Smile

Now, This various where abouts in the UK you are. If you are in a city such as London, Liverpool, Manchester (Etc etc), just ignore this point, BUT, If you are in the countryside (Which is the majority of the UK), In a town / rural area where the populations aren't that high, You will find the communities are VERY close nit.

And, If you walk down the street, When you are close to people (Within a metre or two), You will be looked in the face, And they will smile at you. Do not be scared and think ''omg are they flirting ?, Why did they smile ?!''.

Its perfectly normal, Infact, its abnormal if you don't, People will think you are a miserable bugger if you dont ;).

Seriously though, ALWAYS smile to people, Even if you don't know them and they look scary, Smile at them. This goes along with the ''Manners'', When you are in a shop buying something, Smile at the cashier. Its very normal.

9) ''Chavs''

Now, In Britain, there are several things you should avoid, But, The one you want to avoid the most, Is a thing that we call ''Chavs''. You often find them in cities, normally on the poor side's of town. You can often tell who they are by what they wear / how they talk, They will usually wear clothing like this (Normally Joggers / tracksuits or ''Trackies'') and be in groups.

I am not trying to pick on these people, And some of them are nice people, But, a lot are not. You will find most people like this in the likes of Liverpool or other MAJOR cities on the outskirts, And you are best avoiding them, They won't hurt you or anything, But..... I wouldn't go near them personally xD.

The reason i say this, In Britain, There is a very defined 'Wealth Gap', There are your people with jobs and stuff, Then there are your 'Chavs', These are people who live on Government handouts and in council houses, And normally they hate people who have more money then then, And are the type of British people who speak like ''m8 i swer i wil 1 smak u''.

Don't be scared of them, Just dont get involved with them xD. They are usually very very cocky and act a lot bigger then they really are (When i was in school, 'Chavs' and 'Non Chavs' would often fight alot).

I know this point may seem like i am picking on these people, But, Its hard to understand if you don't live here, There is a MASSIVE cultural divide between these two parts of society, And generally both sides dislike one another. With the ''Chavs'' often being more hostile then the Non Chavs. (All those riots in england a couple years ago where half of the stores in london got robbed and set on fire was famously branded a ''Christmas for Chavs'' due to all the theft).

Anyway, Moving on!

10) ''Patriotism is a virtue''.

Needless to say, In a nation that only a hundred years ago controlled 1/4 of the entire planets land mass, British people are VERY patriotic about our Military,

It is common sight in the UK in cities like London, to see Uninion jacks on most streets, Whilst Parades of ''British Grenadiers'' (You call them ''Redcoats'') are a weekly, if not daily occurance.

If you are in the UK, I would avoid insulting its military or you will seriously turn some heads, Not too long ago, An Ex-soldier called ''Lee Rigby'' was killed , And this is 1 Soldier (if this happened in the US it would probably be news for an hour and then forgotten), But, This soldier getting murdered, Sparked national outrage and was in every paper for the better part of a month, We even had Minutes of Silence for Lee Rigby and his funeral was a national event.... Seriously..... we are that proud of our Army.

So yeah, Never insult the British Armed Forces, As a nation we are fiercely patriotic about it, They are one of our proudest features that has quite rightly defined Britain over the past few centuries and the famous ''RedCoats'' are a powerful symbol all over the world.

Thank you for Reading, I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, And don't forget to try some 'Fish and Chips', They will change your life xD.


Join the discussion



What Girls Said 24

  • Many years ago, I worked for a company managed by Brits and I became friends with most of them. I'm sorry, but I never could get past your Number 5 (Sense of Humour). You say Yanks need manners, but your sense of humour just seemed awful to me. I was insulted all the time by these Brits, to the point where I wondered if I wasn't outright being bullied.

    Finally one day, I thought I'd fight fire with fire. After being insulted by one of them yet again, I came back with, "That's fine coming from someone who is a donkey nut-licking, knuckle-dragging, open-mouth-breathing, cuntburger." Suddenly, the gales of laughter were everywhere. Honestly, that's what it took: insulting the puke out of them back and I was accepted. Bizarre bunch you are. LOL

    • Omfg, 'Cunt-burger'' xDDDDD.

      This is what i mean matey, Our sense of humour is a lot more... 'Rough' then yours, You cannot tell a simple joke here and expect to get a laugh, But if you insult the fuck out of someone, That shit is hilarious xD. I can understand why you would feel like its bullying if you didn't grow up with it. In Britain, we call it ''Banter'', The objective of which, Is just to insult the living fuck out of each other xD.

    • Sense of humour varies with the Swiss. I get it. If it meant our friendship, cutting them off at the knees, then I was willing to do it. LOL

  • *hisses at the word "Yanky"*

    • What's wrong with yank matey? ;)

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    • Mhmm, You see, Here is how it works. There is Great Britain which consists of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Isle Of Man (Where i live), Guernsey and various other channel islands.
      Each of these has their own form of the Pound. BUT, In ALL of them you can use the English Pound, Whereas the regional pounds can only be used in their own land. I. e, I can spend English pounds on the Isle Of Man, But i cannot spend Manx (Isle Of Man Pounds) in England or anywhere else in Britain.
      I don't know why its like that, its kinda stupid, I guess its just a bit of regional patriotism or something? (Sort of like how some places in USA still fly the confederate flag).

    • Not anymore since it's banned XD

  • Nice take. But yeah I don't care about the royal family. The only prince I thought was remotely hot was Sweden's Prince Carl Philip. But now he's married. :P

  • Hmm they don't have any manners. Only the older generation have manners. Sorry haven't met a lot. Only one English girl and chinese helped me out. The younger ones tend to be very self absorbed.

  • I'm British and I agree with pretty much all of this :) I'm not patriotic and I'm not really proud of our army but the rest of this is on point! Especially the drinking and the chavs :P

  • Hold the phone- y'all don't get free refills? What in the world o.0

    Cool take though! Britain sounds like a neat place!

  • Lol what an entertaining take! Love it!

    What does a Brit from the countryside do when he goes to the city? Does he automatically drop his smiley face to fit in and give cashiers angry looks?

    • If i ever go to a city, Well... I never do xD, Everyone is a miserable prick! xD.

      I just avoid eye contact haha.

  • This has been an interesting Take! I have always wanted to travel to the UK. I even dated a Brit for a few years. While he did tell me about some of these (I am polite and whatnot to begin with, but the chavs was new to me), it's good to get a refresher I guess you can say, before I plan my vacation trip there.

  • I agree with everything on this list. But I never follow it, been living here for 7 years.

  • I think pride in our military is something both Yanks & Brits have in common :)

  • i agree - this perfectly sums us up, but fish and chips deserved an entire paragraph not just a little reminder at the end

  • Great take!! I'm looking forward to live in Britain 2 years from now :D
    It's one of my goals, hahah :P

  • I reallllllly want to go to the UK, especially the countryside and "boring" castles and such haha. I'm a little concerned because I'm a Muslim and wear hijab - but I'm also white so maybe wouldn't stand out as much - I don't know, no one seems to mind me in general around the U. S., thank God, but I'm thinking people might not be so welcoming in a smallish British town. What do you think? I've just heard so many bad things (from the media of course) about reactions to Muslims.

    I look super British, face-wise, if that makes a difference... well British and Eastern European. And I'm very friendly :)

  • This is the best "British tips for Americans" type article I've ever read in my life. When I saw "The Royal Family" being the first point I was like "oh look at this bullocks" but then I read on and was extremely impressed.

    I lived in England for 4 years and can say this is definitely very accurate, but I do have to agree with @Jxpxtxr about the food there. Most of the good food Brits have aren't foods that originate from Britain (chicken tika masala, kebabs, jamaican patties, and west indian foods are all great).

    I'd strongly advise Americans to stick with baked potatoes, bangers and mash, a roast, or fish and chips and not to venture too far from a cornish pastie. British snacks and drinks are fine, but your entrees are severely lacking in flavor.

  • This was a really great mytake and I kind of wish I would have read this before moving to the UK hahah but you forgot the most important point (at least it was to me): FOOD!! D:

    • Wha, You dont like UK food? D:

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    • haha as a vegetarian I can't agree but we all have different tastes in the end :)

    • OOooh, I couldn't be a Veggie, That shit is too healthy for me xD.
      But yah, Whatever floats your boat i guess ;)

  • Some of these are stereotypes or just plain wrong
    "tips are so rare" really? cause whenever I'm out at a restaurant it's rude not to leave a tip.

    • Maybe you just have too much money? xD

    • I have no money
      I am poor as fuck and so are my parents
      tipping isn't a rare occurrence and I see it everywhere I go

    • Eh, Maybe thats just wear you are in the UK, But i rarely see it.

  • This is an amazing TAKE :)

  • I loved reading this.

  • Thanks for the information!

    • Gonna totally make one of the guards smile.

    • Yeah, Just dont go near them or touch them otherwise they will aim their weapons at you ;P.

      a lot of people fail to realise, That those Guards in the red coats, Are all battle hardened veterans who are fully trained soldiers, many of whom have fought in foriegn war zones, if not all.
      So whilst its funny to try and make them laugh, they still do deserve respect and to not be mocked, afterall, they're just doing their job ;)

    • Thats true!! And wow I had no idea. o_o;

  • I liked this take and I plan on visiting as soon as possible.
    I also think the royal family is a bunch of posh totties.
    Here in the west people are very very courtious and respectful. I always say please and thank you. I wave and smile at everyone! We are so different afterall.

    P. s. I love British humor! :)

    • You should do just dandy here then xD.

      Good luck on your adventure matey! ;P

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What Guys Said 26

  • I went to the UK last year, people seemed to really like it that I spoke English and that I called the subway, the metro even though you guys call it the Tube in London for some reason.
    I didn't understand 3 things when I was in London.
    1) Where are alll the English people? Most people were either tourists or EU immigrants.
    I kept hearing that living in London is expensive, I get that but it's your country's capital and there are very few British people except for some areas.

    2) Why does the food and the tea suck?
    Seriously I had to go to a French restaurant because British food was unbearable. The black tea tasted like something out of the sewer. I only drank Red berry tea (since that's the only fruit tea that was available) at Pret.

    3) Why do people smoke EVERYWHERE?
    In Canada there are a lot of restrictions on smoking making it very expensive and it is only allowed in specific areas. In London there would always be people smoking in front of me and the wind would push the smoke in my face.

    Other than that I liked my trip to the UK.

  • When British punks visit Latvia, you can almost always catch them pissing on national landmarks. Now I wonder If anyone has ever returned the favor?

    • Oh and a thing that I have heard about the royal family is that the income from all of the land they own completely outweighs the amount they spend from taxes. The royal family is actually giving your country more than it takes. fyi

  • Good to know if I ever visit, I will say this it probably wasn't the fact that you said please and thank you, it was more that you had the accent so people knew you weren't from here lol. In my town we are the same way as you are in Britain we always say thank you and all that proper manners, people are refereed to as folks and women as ladies and gals lol.

    We have the military thing in common as well, me as well as a lot of other Americans are very patriotic.

    Good mytake, will be useful if I ever visit one day.

  • I agree with everything except #4. I went to London and manners were something I rarely saw, perhaps cause it was London, but damn, people were rude xD Even the people at the reception didn't like helping us.
    On the other hand, I've never seen better manners than in America. I live in Chicago and I'm extremely surprised to how respectful and full of manners most people are. Even at 8 am when the trains are packed, people hold the door for the one behind it, and every time someone bumps into someone else, they quickly apologize. "Thank you" and "you're welcome" are something I always hear. I don't know what part of the US you've been, but at least here in Chicago I've seen great manners and lots of respect for others, even my father was surprised about this, and he works at a hotel as a manager and always says British people lack manners xD

    • by the way, I didn't wanna sound mean or anything, this is just my experience, as I've met British people that were super nice, but when I visit the country, I found something totally different.

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    • Londoners are known for being horrible, I'd never want to live there, its not uncommon where i live now, a small town int he north, to smile and say hi to people walking past, and strike up conversation with random epople at the bus stop or in a queue. That would never happen down South in England.

    • Yeah, There are a lot of miserable ''City-Wankers'' in london xD.

      In the country and rural towns is where you will find the nice Brits ;)

  • I disagree about castles.

    Yes, most people in the UK aren't fascinated by them but they are cared about in that if someone said "Right, we're going to demolish Edinburgh Castle and build a school" there would be public outrage.

    Also, If you're in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales and you're going to make a joke about anyone it has to be England.


    • Haha, I dont think thats because people care about them, I just think its the hole... ''Dont realise what you had until its gone'' thing.

      Sure, We dont care about them, But, If you were gonna take em away we would!, And the moment they were saved from being taken away, Everyone would immediately stop giving a shit about them again haha.

    • I don't mind them, there's a few castles I'd like to visit actually but the reason we aren't fascinated by them like Americans is - we are surrounded by them. There's none in America, so it makes sense that they would be intrigued.

  • I take issue with your statement about the royal family.

    "to us, they are just a bunch of rich, useless posh totties who attract tourists and spend too much tax money xD. Seriously, British people don't care"

    you do realise they pay tax? They are not tax exempt anymore. also, are you aware of the amount of money they generate through tourism? They are so beneficial to our economy its unreal.

    They also do a lot for charity. Seriously, people need to realise what an asset the royal family are.

  • Most of the things you mentioned are why I love the UK.

  • Perhaps mention that the tube is not an exciting adventure, that it is quite dangerous in certain places and that You can't yell out TAXIIIIIIIIIII and assume one will magically appear!

    • Oh and also, they know that you are American, they have been listening to you announce it all day with you extra loud talking.

    • Brilliant xD

  • You must know that they are rich, because the Indians are poor.

    They're nothing but a bunch of robbers who used to throw shit in front of their houses. London was a COMPLETE shithole before the British started draining India.

    Have a nice trip! :)

  • Drinking to get drunk? I could get used to that.

  • You forgot about the Racism and Islamaphobia.

  • I learned so much from this MyTake!!! Great job. I am looking forward to reading more of these from you.

  • A Marxist government that will put you in prison or ban you from even entering the country if they think you disrupt their Marxist fantasy?

    • I sure fucking hope you aren't talking about Britain when you say Marxist? xD

      You realise you are on about the same country that allows immigrants to flood our country, And actually gives people like Anjem Choudary, A Radical hate preacher who wants to watch Britain burn to the ground, State bennefits and free housing.
      Haha, Britain is one of the most Anti Marxist countries i can think off xD.

    • Britain is far from Marxist, a whole lot more socialist but by no means Marxist, the only true Marxist countries are North Korea, and maybe some middle eastern countries occupied by ISIS

    • That's Marxism: destruction of British culture and replacement of the population for the sake of 'social justice'.

  • That's awesome my take I might go visit England next yr with my family insha'Allah 😃

  • The most important lesson is that any town centre on a Friday or Saturday night is a fucking warzone ;)

    Chavs WILL hurt you if you give them a reason to, including appearing weak or vulnerable.

  • From the way I see it British culture is virtually identical to the southern U. S culture

    • Except we dont have guns? :P

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    • And we are nowhere near as religous as the southern US, or homophobic, or racist

    • That awkward moment when the south is actually more racially inclusive than the west coast, North and 90% of European countries. You may hear about all these stories but there all from the old south lol, try going to Oxford, Mississippi. Memphis, Tennessee. Austin, Texas. Or Orlando. Florida the most diverse city in the World (Ya World). Here blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, or whichever race all live and work together. As for homophobia you can't tell me that homophobia dosent exist in the U. K, it's rampant I've seen British movies, they use gays as insults all the time. I love the U. K and the south, they are a whole lot more similar than they are different, only main difference is one is hot as hell and one is cold as hell, lol.

  • americans re just as patriotic.

    • I never denied it, I was just saying, As are we, So it would be no good coming to Britain wearing an American striped T shirt with an American flag shouting ''america is the best'' xD.

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    • Perhaps this is just a Generational / location difference, I don't know where abouts in the UK you live, but im sure your not arrogant to believe all parts have the same mindset and culture.
      Clearly where ever you live, they are different to where i live, And you live in a generation x2 as old as me.
      Yes my views may be conservative, (Funnily enough i support the Conservatives xD).

    • just my view... lol.

  • Well I've lived here for 28 years, 23 of them in the South and the past 4 (im just 28) in the North, you are pretty much spot on, a couple of things I would correct you on is

    1) A lot of people DO like the royal family, mainly older middle class people though and

    2) Chavs aren't just in the massive cities or their suburbs, they are in virtually every town there is. But the general rule of thumb is, the more deprived an area is in addition to its size, then the more hardcore and more violent/cocky/twattish they generally are.

    And dont bother to leave us tips no one will care, and we drink A LOT, you will probably be shocked at this.

  • I agree with most of this but there's a few differences, possibly because I'm from Scotland.
    #8 is very true, about the close knit communities. I visited a village quite deep in the countryside and I was literally the blackest person there. I didn't see one other non-white face and I got a load of stares, especially from the old people lmao

  • As an American who has been living in the UK, some of these things are pretty spot on, some not so much... I do live in the North though, sounds like you may be a bit more of a Southerner...

    1. I had a really great talk about the royal family with a lot of people here, and I had no idea how funded they still were! no wonder you guys I hate them (I agree now too, 21st century and there is still monarchy? crazy)

    2,3. One thing I would add is that often you have to ask for the bill! I learned the hard way just sitting there waiting for the bill too many times...

    4. For one, I don't think people are any more polite here at all with please and thank you or holding doors open... In fact sometimes I think people are completely oblivious I am even there far more often than. Honestly, I think it is a miracle people don't bump into each other all over the place, if I did not constantly move out of the way while walking, I would be knocking people over! I also think people here smile waaaaaaay less as well. More grumpy if anything.. And isn't it always a stereotype that Americans are the overly friendly to the point of being annoying?

    5. I have had many a discussion on humo (u) r here... I think British humor tends to be far more subtle and dry. Lots of really claimed comedies take a me a bit to really 'get' before I start actually laughing out loud. More often I just sit there thinking, 'this is really clever and I know it is funny, but just not laugh worthy'. And not to say anything against good old fashion British wit, but I know many Non-native English speakers here, and many prefer tot he US humor as it is just more in your face and laugh out-ish, but not as smart.

    6. I think if anything, you are far more relaxed and casual drinkers. It is faaaar more common here to have a pint with lunch or dinner than in the US, where I feel like we mainly drink on a Friday or Saturday night out. Heck, my Uni has three pubs in the union! and I meet with professors over a drink to discuss essays! insane! (but I like it).

    9. Love the bit on Chavs, I love that word... and lads, better than saying Frat dudes or dickheads haha (maybe hooligans?)

    Other than that, fun take! I feel like I should make one for brits going in the other direction... seems a big thing to do during Uni, a summer trip around the States

    • I also want to add that you guys are far more obsessed with social class as well. Everything seems to be a class thing here! and people care more about what you were born into versus what you are from what you made of yourself, but that goes back pretty far I think...

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    • Oooh, I love Rugby (Even though I'm Manx, my parent's are from Liverpool + StHelens), And, St. Helens and Leeds almost always play each other in the finals (Fair enough leeds wins 90% of the time, Thus the hate xD).

      Back when i was Obese, i use to play rugby (Because i was just a bowling ball haha), But, As i started loosing weight i had to quit because i just couldnt ram people down anymore :/.

    • Dude, you should seriously do a Take on being an American living in the UK, and what American visitors should expect.

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