11 British References We Don’t Get
Life's a little different over on the other side of the pond. Sure, Canada's part of the great British Empire on paper (Prince Harry is ours, you guys), but there's plenty of differences between the Canadian way of life and norms in the U.K.
Watching Ladies of London has given us a peek into how a wealthy sliver of British society lives. Usually it's just like Housewives – shop, drink, gossip, fight; repeat – but every now and then, something causes us to tilt our head and scrunch up our brow, like, "Wait, what?"
Here are 11 references that left us scratching our heads while watching Ladies of London.
1. The Posh Put Down
Victoria Beckham taught us "posh" way back in the fourth grade when we bought SPICE for one of our BFFs' birthdays (aside: hey, girl, happy birthday forever for that gift), but we'd never heard it paired with "put down" until Ladies of London.
Example: The ladies go to a polo match and Noelle wears a fascinator, because that's the kind of thing American women do when they go to England.
Caroline's assessment: "This outfit is wasted here. We need to transport you to Ascot."
Translation: This isn't a place to wear a hat, you freak loser.
See Caroline sounds kind of nice, if a bit uppity, but she's being as directly mean girl as British girls like Caroline get. And that's exactly what makes it a posh putdown. Get it?
That brings us to Ascot. When Caroline says Ascot, she doesn't mean the type that Chuck Bass wears. She means the Royal Ascot, the famous race meeting with a super strict dress code – including hats for women.
Again: what Caroline is saying is that Noelle is dumb American who should take her dumb hat off and sit down and play with her phone and pretend she's not even at a polo match like a normal, respectful British girl.
In England, saying something is "smart" means that it looks sharp, not that it's brainy, obviously, because shoes can't be brainy and if you were smart you'd know that already. Wait...we still used it incorrectly.
Let's try this again: Noelle does not look smart here, because her hair is messy, but not in that cool Brit Girl Blow Out way, and because her necklace is mismatched and ugly, but not in that fun Miley Cyrus for Jeremy Scott way.
Also, she doesn't look smart because she looks like she's trying / failing to do long division in her head. See, we used it both ways!
4. Patching the pitch
Obviously we knew what patching the pitch is because we've seen Pretty Woman, k? But maybe you didn't so here you go: patching the pitch / divot stomping is when the spectators are invited out on to the field at a polo match at half time to fill in bits of the field that have been kicked up by the horses.
4. Polo mallet
That big stick polo players hit the ball with is called a mallet. Do not call it a club. Juliet called it a club and everyone was like wow Juliet you're soooo stupid, they're not GOLFING out there.
ANYWAYS, you should probably know it's called a mallet already because you've seen Heathers and if you haven't seen Heathers yet stop and watch Heathers before you read 5-10.
Also, we're sorry for teaching you two things about sports in a row so here's a link to a story about the hottest horsemen in polo.
5. Crab claw soup
We'd never heard of crab claw soup until Marissa ordered it and swore it's, like, super British. Marissa is only married-a-Brit British, so we didn't trust her and Googled it. Our verdict is that 1) crab claw soup IS a thing 2) it's only MAYBE British 3) you shouldn't try it, it looks gross!
We all had that one friend in Uni (they call it Uni in England!) who went to the U.K. for a semester and started calling their dorm their "flat" the second they got there. What we learned from Ladies of London is not that apartments are called flats, but that it's very undesirable to live in a flat, even if that flat costs $6,700 a month, which, on the real, seems like waaaaay too much to spend on a flat.
IF you decide to live in a flat you will feel very ashamed of it and it will make it very clear you're the poorest member of the Ladies of London cast and remind everyone that your fiancé is either a) a criminal or b) broke.
7. Spotted Dick
When the phrase "spotted dick" started getting tossed around on Ladies of London, we were like "Gross, get that checked out," then we were like "Ohhhh wait, I've totally been to that bar," and finally we were like, "No...pudding?" Spotted dick is pudding, you guys.
Every time Caroline says fishwife we lean in like, "Huh?" Apparently it means, "A man or woman who collects other people's gossip and spreads it around to all and sundry."
You know, like every member of this cast.
10. Scullery maid
When Juliette shows up to Mapperton in this dress, Julie nicely says she looks very Downton Abbey. Caroline more correctly assesses that she looks like a scullery maid, which, from what PBS tells us, is a lower servant, which sounds even worse than being an upper servant.
Then we found some pictures of scullery maids and, honestly, they don't look half as bad as Juliette in this dress.
OK, we knew this one. But when one American woman says chips to another American woman in London and hands her a plate of fries, we have to roll our eyes.
Tune in to Ladies of London, Tuesdays at 10pm ET!
Russ Martin is a writer who lives in Toronto. By day, he writes about ads and social media. By night, he covers pop culture for publications like MSN, The Grid, Dose.ca and the Daily Dot. Russ watches the Real Housewives like straight guys watch sports. Pass the dip and fast-forward to the fights, please