Just Not British

Printer-friendly version

Just Not British

by Lin Dale

It's just not British to complain about things. Other nationalities may do so but it's not the done thing in Britain. Of course, if you are prepared to complain, it's amazing the results you can get.


I knew the couple who sat at the restaurant table nearest to mine would have the disease. Ever since their food had been delivered, she had been complaining to him that her Fish Pie was cold, whilst he'd been saying his Lasagne tasted like warm shit.

"Is everything alright with your meal?" It had probably been about fifteen minutes since the waitress had delivered their meal, and it was the first time she'd bothered to ask. But then, why should she, when she knew, just as I did, what their reply was going to be.

"Fine, thank you, love," the woman said. "Really lovely."

Naturally, as soon as the waitress had gone, the man would moan that his wife should have complained, whilst she would respond that there was nothing stopping him from doing the same. An argument would probably develop, and they would vent their frustration on each other, rather than the rightful recipient - the restaurant. Such is the British Disease. Fortunately, I am not infected by it.

"Is everything alright with your meal?" The waitress had hardly reached my table when she uttered the words, and was already turning away from me, about to head back to the kitchen, when I replied.

"No, it is not."

"What?" She half-turned back towards me, uncertain she had correctly heard. Clearly, the half dozen diners nearby were in a similar position, because it suddenly went so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

"You asked me if everything is alright with my meal," I repeated, "and I said no, it is not."

"Oh!" she responded, obviously uncertain what to do under such unusual circumstances. "Er, what's the problem?"

"I asked for this steak medium-rare," I said, turning it so she could see, "and it has been cooked well-done. Presumably that is because the quality of this meat dictates it would be more aptly nailed to the sole of my shoe than put on a dinner plate."

"Oh," she said. "I'm sorry about that. But there's not much I can do about it now. I mean, I can hardly tell the cook to turn it from well-done to medium-rare, can I?"

"Clearly he'll need to start with a fresh steak and cook it correctly, this time."

She stared accusingly at my plate. "But you've already eaten half of it," she said. "You should have complained before."

"This is the first time I've seen you since you dumped the meal in front of me," I said. "I believe it says in your instruction manual that you should ask the client within five minutes whether they are satisfied, presumably to avoid this problem. So, I suggest you take this back to the chef and tell him I asked for a medium-rare steak. Thank you."

With a sniff which indicated I was stepping way over the mark, she did as I requested. After her departure, conversation started to return to the room, although I knew it was all about me - one or two in favour, but most were appalled that I had dared to make such a fuss. It just wasn't British.

It took seventeen and a half minutes for the steak to be returned, and it was cooked exactly as I expected, almost rare - the chef compensating for my previous complaint. Actually, rare is exactly how I like it, but it gives much more opportunity to complain if you ask for it medium-rare.

Four minutes and fifty seconds exactly after delivering the steak, the waitress asked if everything was alright.

"Absolutely not," I said. "I asked for it medium-rare and first you deliver it well done; now you deliver it rare. Look at this!" I pointed at the steak, of which I had devoured a good half, leaving only the very rarest part of it on my plate.

"I have an important appointment so I need to depart now, but I'm certainly not prepared to pay for this meal. I suggest you summons the manager and tell him so. I will meet him at the cash desk."

He was much better than the waitress at dealing with complaints, and I departed without paying the bill and with twenty pounds worth of vouchers for meals in my pocket. I strolled out of the restaurant and towards the accompanying motel where I had a room. I was looking forward to my important appointment - watching a repeat of Morse on TV. As I went through the motel Reception, I smiled at the poster offering: A good night's sleep or your money back.


Next morning, having reclaimed the cost of my motel room - and clearly I was the first to have ever done so, as the girl on Reception hadn't a clue how to handle it - I had an appointment with my hypnotist, Mr Rangachari, at ten am.

Two weeks ago, I had selected Mr Rangachari on the basis of his claims: "Hypnotist. Cure most addictions. No payment until you're satisfied." I'd tried dozens of times before to give up smoking and dismally failed each time. Even in spite of the new ban on indoor public smoking, I knew it was a remote possibility he would succeed where all kinds of devices and placebos had failed.

Mr Rangachari was an Asian who looked just like Peter Sellers pretending to be an Asian, but with a strong Birmingham accent, which made him all the more of a comedy figure. When I'd seen him two weeks ago, I'd thought there was no chance on earth he would succeed.

But miraculously, I hadn't smoked since, and I didn't even feel the urge. I was so surprised, I almost forgot to make a complaint to prevent him cashing my post dated cheque, but just in time I had protested that I had taken up nail-biting instead. Personally, I think it's a repulsive habit, but it's easy to hack your finger nails down to - and beyond - the quick and pretend you're a nail-biting addict. Last week, I'd gone back to him with my complaint, stating that I had an important presentation in five days time which would be ruined by my bad nails, caused because of his hypnosis.

"Don't worry," Mr Rangachari had replied. "I shall get you to concentrate all your spiritual powers onto making your nails grow quickly, so they will be perfect by the time of your presentation."

It had worked! My nails grew like bamboo shoots, which of course gave me the ideal opportunity this week to complain they were growing too quickly. Surely, sooner or later, Mr Rangachari was going to realise I would keep on complaining and wasting his time until he was forced to tear up my cheque.

"My nails are growing so quickly, I can't keep them a reasonable length," I complained to him, holding up both hands for his inspection.

"But they were just the right length for your presentation," Mr Rangachari said, "which I believe you said was last Friday."

"That's right," I agreed, "but they've kept on growing since. I'd need to be a woman to be happy with these nails."

"Yes," he said, "I can see that. Do not worry; I will focus your spiritual powers away from your nails and onto other areas of your body - perhaps your chest?"

"What?" I said, "you mean..." I'd always been conscious of my pigeon chest compared to most other blokes. If he could give me a Charles Atlas chest... why I might even pay his bill. But on the other hand, I reflected, I probably wouldn't.

"No problem," he said, "and perhaps your sexual organ, as well?"

"Oh yes!" I said. Now I really would pay his bill if he could give me a whopping big prick. Not that there was any chance, of course. But on the other hand, he had stopped me smoking and made my nails grow like crazy. Perhaps...

Just as he'd done the previous two times I'd visited him, he fitted me up with his special headset. While it didn't interfere with my vision, it had red, green and blue lights which could be independently shone onto each eye, as well as headphones which emitted strange noises. Just like previous weeks, I'd received three flashes on either eye...

"...and wake up!" Mr Rangachari clicked his fingers in front of my face, and I came to with a jolt.

"I have come to the conclusion," he said, holding up my cheque before me "that I am never going to be able to cash this cheque, and we are wasting each other's time."

So clearly, I wasn't going to get my huge cock and hairy chest. I felt a bit disappointed, but then I'd never really expected any of that to work. Still it wasn't going to cost me anything, AND I'd given up smoking. Not a bad deal for zero outlay.

"Shall we agree," he continued, "that I tear up this cheque, and in return, you never see me again."

I sadly shook my head. I'd spent years developing that little sad shake of my head. "If you want to do so," I said, "I won't object." I could have pushed him for compensation, but knew that was very often the time when people dig in and withdraw their original offer.

He smiled. "So be it." He tore up the cheque, and we both stood up, shook hands, and I departed.


I had thought as we shook hands that the problem with my finger nails wasn't that they were too long - simply that they weren't shaped very nicely. There was a Superdrug just up the road, so I strolled in there and looked over the displays. I got a nail file, but then I picked up some nail-strengthener, and I was just about to go over to the cash desk when I saw some nail varnish, such a subtle shade of pink that no one would notice I was wearing it.

I went back to the car and spent almost thirty minutes filing and painting my nails. I got one or two strange looks from passers-by, but what the hell? I had a set of nails which any woman - or man, of course - would be proud of.

Which meant I was late for my first business appointment of the day, but with my superb nails I felt so much more confident than normal, so I didn't let it phase me. As an Account Executive - well, they used to call them Salesmen, but Account Executive sounds so much better - I had several calls to make that day, and I had it all planned out so I ended up at a motel of the same chain as last night - along with their Good Night's Sleep guarantee.

Naturally, the same restaurant chain was adjoining, and I was going to order another medium-rare steak, but instead decided on a salad. Not that I was fat, of course, but I should watch my weight a little. Also, the skin on my chest had been irritating, as though it was being stretched, and my cock felt very strange as well. Perhaps Rangachari had done some good after all.

So, I missed my trick with the complaint about the food, and ended up using the vouchers I'd received the previous evening to pay for my meal.

Normally, I sleep so well, but that evening I had a terrible night. The irritation on my chest got much worse, and I tossed and turned for most of the night. At about four am when I stared in the mirror, I could definitely see evidence my chest was starting to expand, with fleshy mounds around my nipples. I was a long way from Charles Atlas but even so, as I walked around the motel room, the small mounds wobbled, causing my nipples to rub against my pyjama tops in a most uncomfortable way. With some embarrassment, I realised I was going to have to buy a bra.

Of course, I could hardly go into the local branch of Marks & Spencer and asked to be measured for a bra - especially at four am - so I spent a few minutes surfing the web, and worked out how to measure myself, and estimated my size was probably 38A. I also used the web to locate a nearby 24 hour supermarket, so I got dressed, walked out to the car, my tits bouncing around most uncomfortably, and drove over there. Fortunately, at that time, there was hardly anyone around and, apart from the discomfort of walking around the huge store with my tits flapping, I was able to select the bra from the shelf and the bleary eyed assistant at the till barely gave it a glance.

By the time I got it home, I was simply aching to put it on. Surely, I reasoned, neither Charles Atlas nor a woman with A-cup sized breasts experienced this much discomfort without a bra. I suspected it was because my skin wasn't used to being stretched over my new shape. I put on the bra and went to bed and at last got a little sleep.

The final indignity at that motel was that, when I complained next morning that I'd had a terrible night's sleep because of the pain, the manager refused to refund my motel payment, saying that was not the motel's fault. Bloody nerve!

Another day on the road, visiting a dozen potential clients, a few of whom gave quite strange looks at my chest. When I got to the motel that evening, I could see why. My fleshy mounds had grown so much, they were horrendously bulging around the sides of my A-cup bra.

When I took off my bra, I was pleased to see they were forming very well-shaped breasts, which any woman would be proud of. It was strange how yesterday I'd imagined I might develop a chest like Charles Atlas - what a horrible thought! The strange feelings I'd been experiencing in my vagina seemed to have gone away, although my clitoris looked awfully swollen.

After measuring myself again, I couldn't decide whether I was a C or a D-cup, so I decided to buy one of each. Since it was still early evening, I decided to go to the local Marks to buy my bras, but of course, as soon as you step inside you see all those mannequins bearing their latest range of clothes. There was a lovely suit which would do perfectly for business, and then a pretty dress and a couple of skirts and tops for evenings and weekends. It took me some time to work out my size - for some reason the assistants seemed to be perpetually in some other part of the store - but eventually I managed to work it out. Of course then, I had to get some proper underwear and some shoes to match. I spent a fortune but was incredibly pleased with my choice.

Finally, as I was retracing my steps to the car, I saw a wig shop, so I went in and chose a couple - one fairly conservative for business use, and the other a long blonde wig.

That was yesterday, and business today has really picked up. Apparently, they'd been expecting some man to visit them, so they really cheered up when they saw me coming into their office, my huge tits wobbling about because my bra didn't have sufficient support. In fact, one of the guys today not only placed an enormous order; he's also asked me out tonight for a meal.

I do hope he's not one of those perpetual complainers - it's just not British.


Author's Note: British born and bred, I can write of the "British" disease without being accused of racism. Those from other countries, particularly the USA, may find our problem difficult to understand - believe me, this problem is for real, although perhaps not often as bad as you see it here.

125 users have voted.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos! Click the "Thumbs Up!" button above to leave a Kudos


British Disease

Ah, That disease! But it's a known fact that Caucasians can not be the victims of racism, just like men can not be victims of sexual harassment. Doesn't happen.

But the disease no doubt helps explain why the typical American tourist is so disliked in the U.K. It's positively unAmerican not to complain. The average American would complain about being hung with a new rope. The excuses he uses wouldn't even get him a free coffee refill here in the States, he'd have to do much better than that.

But obviously the British hypnotists are far superior to their American counterparts, perhaps we need to increase the immigration quotas in that category, get a few more over here. ;-)

Damaged people are dangerous
They know they can survive

Always thought that an odd thing...

Edeyn Of course one should complain about being hung with a new rope... it's much less likely to snap than an old one! My mother stopped using statements such as that on me, I think by the time I was 8 or 9...

Edeyn Hannah Blackeney
Wasn't it Jim Henson who said, "Without faith, I am nothing," after all? No, wait, that was God... Sorry, common mistake to make...

Two ways of looking at it

The purely technical view - a new rope still has alot of stretch in it, so instead of snapping the neck cleanly the hangie strangles slowly. :-(

My view is I'm gonna complain about being hung at all, I don't care what kind of rope is being used!

Damaged people are dangerous
They know they can survive

It should be “Hanged”…

For some strange reason people are “hanged” not “hung”. Meat us hung to allow it to mature a bit and make it edible and more tender.



“It is hard for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” Thomas Hardy—Far from the Madding Crowd.

Since you mention usage

Meat us hung
That should be "is", not "us". ;-)

My dictionary doesn't have "hanged" in it, but it does have "hung": past of hang.

Damaged people are dangerous
They know they can survive

The English Judiciary…

… say "hanged". When pronouncing the—now defunct, thank goodness—death sentence the judge used to put a black cap on top of his full-bottomed wig and in his gravest voice told the convicted prisoner, "You shall be taken from here to a place of execution and there you shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead." Rather brutal really.

You really need to check in something like the Oxford English Dictionary, or Chambers.

Sorry about the typo, Withheld, thanks for picking it up (or should that be ip?)



“It is hard for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” Thomas Hardy—Far from the Madding Crowd.

When in Rome

Since I'm American, and was talking about a saying in common use in America, I used (and shall continue to use) standard American usage. Should I move to the U.K. and start using English sayings, at that time I'll employ British usage. ;-)

My ma always told me, "Make sure ya don't make any mistakes when yer correctin' others".

'Sides, I've had my Webster's Dictionary fer a long spell, ya know? ;-)

Damaged people are dangerous
They know they can survive

My point exactly

This is a story set in Britain so British terminology applies. I spent several years as a court reporter for a London daily newspaper so I should know.

But let's not squabble about it, eh?

BTW, I have a Webster's too, and it is definitely an American English dicker.



“It is hard for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” Thomas Hardy—Far from the Madding Crowd.


Was that comment which talked about people being hung and the edibility of meat supposed to sound dirty, or is it just me seeing a double entendre where it wasn't meant?

Of course

I would complain about a new rope......those fibers are coarse and scratchy when new. Excellent story anyway

Fun story

This is an entertaining story. It's a pity Mr Rangichari is a fictional character - he'd do a roaring trade from the readers here, and I'm sure they'd be prepared to pay! It's very well written - are you sure you're a 'new author'?

Not quite!

New author is not quite the right term for me - I've been writing off and on all of my (too long) life. Professionally, I write technical documentation - hardly the most gripping of material but it does have to be accurate and grammaticaly correct. In my spare time, I start lots of stories like this - but to get something not only completed but published - well that's a real achievement - mainly due to my being able to keep the story short. Mostly, I start a short story and, like Pinochio's nose, it just grows and grows until it gets too long to control and I lose enthusiasm and start on something else.

Thanks for the encouragement.


I'm not British at all, but I found this hilarious. I'd love to see what else you've got for us.

So British

terrynaut's picture

Being American and having a British girlfriend, I just had to read this, and I'm glad I did. It's great.

I love the twist even though I saw it coming. The main character and odd circumstances outshone the predictability.

It sounds like the main character won't be complaining much in the future. I like that. *giggle*

Thanks. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

- Terry

I still don't know why

you can be just hanged, or hung, drawn and quartered, or hung for a sheep as for a lamb (or is it 'lamb as for a sheep'?)

Anyway, I was at dinner with friends recently and we managed to get 25% off £150 worth of meals because one steak wasn't cooked correctly. Despite being English, I do believe in complaining if goods and services are not up to standard; after all, how else is the supplier to know?

An amusing and well-observed little tale - hoist with his/her own petard? Or is that another story?


I would like to complain ...

... that this story made me laugh when I should have been shocked. Do I get a refund?

Lindale is right. We British rarely complain in public but grumble incessantly in private. I admit I hate complaining although I will do so when pushed hard enough.

I've tried acupuncture (which actually worked despite my scepticism) but never hypnosis. Perhaps I should give it a go ... and overcome my reluctance to complain at the same time. You never know.



Where Do I Go to Complain?

When I noted this story tagged as "complete" I distinctly said, "Rare", but the story turned out to be "Well Done".

Of course, a story as well done as this one is rare, and I'm not one to complain. . .so keep that pound-of-flesh-seeking hypnotist away from me.

Lindale - I've always enjoyed your perceptive comments on my stories and am pleased to respond in kind.

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Well Done?

It is a rare story in this medium that is so well done.

Michelle B


To borrow from the Crystal Hall forums:

+10 pun damage! :)


This space intentionally left blank.

As the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handers are in their right mind!

Just Desserts

"That's right," I agreed, "but they've kept on growing since. I'd need to be a woman to be happy with these nails."

Nothing like taking your victim at their word... I had an inkling of where this story was going to go after reading that line, and it was only confirmed by the hypnotist asking if he should concentrate on the chest / gonads of his victim...


This space intentionally left blank.

As the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handers are in their right mind!

canadians too

Thanks to our British heritage, its very Canadian to not complain, and to even apologize when one is wronged. But thanks to being next to the States, that is slowly changing, and Canadians are becoming more impatient. Nice little story.



It Reminds Me

joannebarbarella's picture

Of an episode of Fawlty Towers, where the only people who complain are American!