How to Marry an Englishman

The Empire has faded, but English surnames are colonising Central Europe at a rate of knots. Here's your guide, ladies, to bagging a Brit. Polish gentlemen, please don't feel too put out there are some useful tips for you, too.

Young men have always been an important export commodity for England. At one time they were sent out into the world to govern the British Empire, to explore or to fight wars. But now that the glory of the Empire has faded and the world is relatively peaceful, this army of wandering Englishmen must settle for a less exciting life working in business or teaching. It is not surprising, therefore, that this adventurous band is easily bored in today's world and always looking for action and romance. This makes them prime targets for the matrimonially ambitious.

But even if Englishmen are easy to catch, why would you want one? Well, there are many good reasons in fact, not least that having your very own Englishman - polite, slightly reserved, unwilling to kiss other men upon meeting - will attract enormous admiration and envy from your family and friends. There is still a great fascination with this once powerful, island race and their easy belief in an in-built superiority. This is evident in the great respect paid to English football teams in the Polish media, despite their poor international performances.

And there's more. He might be rich, and even if he isn't, everyone will assume that he is anyway. He will be generally easy to handle. All Englishmen, no matter how adventurous in their public life, seek what is referred to as “a quiet life” in their relations with women, and they are prepared to agree to almost anything in order to get it and, most of all, to “avoid a scene”. It is possible that your Englishman will show one or two eccentric tendencies. These may include mumbling to himself about such mysterious topics as cricket and beer without bubbles or walking out in front of cars, which he claims are “driving on the wrong side of the road”.

And almost every Englishman has an interest. This will usually be something in which other people can see nothing interesting at all: a little known period of history, a long-dead classical language, or a sport you’ve never heard of, but it is seldom dangerous. If you can put up with these minor irritations and you treat him with a little kindness, your Englishman will stay honest and faithful for years to come.

So, if you think you might be interested, here’s how to get one:

You don’t have to go to England. The English are everywhere, even in small towns all over Poland. If you can’t find a suitable one in your own town, you will find more choice in Warsaw or Cracow. Away from home he’s more vulnerable. And you won’t have to deal with his mother. You must be able to speak English. The English are not known for their ability to speak foreign languages, and those who do speak Polish will probably have been here for a long time and already been snapped up. The English generally consider it bad manners for foreigners not to speak English very well. You should not, however, lose your Polish accent completely, as many Englishmen consider this very sexy, possibly as a result of watching endless James Bond films. Be subtle. Once you have selected your target, you must make him think that he has chosen you. If he suspects that you are after him he will run. Take your time. You must be able to take decisions. When you ask your Englishman what he wants to do for the evening he will usually reply, “whatever you want, darling”. Some people find this very frustrating. An Englishman expects his woman to want things so that he can make her happy by letting her have them. Be prepared to take charge. You shouldn’t show too much affection in public. Your Englishman will almost certainly be just a little shy, so don’t frighten him by kissing passionately in front of other people. Holding hands is quite enough. Check his background carefully. A British passport is no guarantee that you have the genuine article. Make thorough inquiries or you might find yourself coupled with a Scot or a Welshman, whose treatment should be entirely different. They can be a wholly different kettle of fish. Keep him well fed. Your Englishman will require a break for lunch around midday and cannot understand how other people survive without it. He may also ask for “elevenses” before lunch and will expect a bite to eat at teatime (late afternoon) before dinner. This is on top of his cooked breakfast and his late dinner or supper. He may become moody if his requirements are not met, and begin to talk a lot about his mother’s cooking. Get to know his friends. When the wedding is approaching and he takes you home to meet his mates, make sure that they like you. An Englishman thinks a lot of his friends, and if they say that there’s something wrong with you he’ll probably believe them.

If you follow this simple advice you should find yourself walking up the aisle in no time. You will then be faced with the problems of constantly having to spell your surname to uncomprehending Polish officials and being interrogated by English officials every time you want to visit your parents-in-law. You will find, however, that the advantages of the English husband far outweigh these difficulties and that, with a little luck, your life will proceed happily ever after.

The Quick Guide to Marrying an Englishwoman.

For anyone brave enough to take on the challenge, here are some handy hints:

Go to England. She’ll expect you to come and find her. You don’t need to speak English. Silent men are considered very sexy. Be bold. Englishwomen are fed up with shy men. Accept her decisions. Englishwomen like to get their own way. Be passionate. As a foreigner she will expect you to be a bit wild. Don’t ask too many questions. She will want to keep her secrets. Don’t expect her to eat. All Englishwomen are “on a diet” and never eat anything in public. Be rude to her friends. Once she thinks they like you, you’ll be history.

Martin Hinton


at a rate of knots - (idiom:) very quickly (idiom: piorunem)
(to) bag - (idiom [from hunting]:) get sb or sth you've been after (upolować)
(to) feel put out - be upset or hurt, be disgruntled (poczuć się usuniętym z gry)
commodity - goods, asset, merchandise (towar)
wandering - roaming, nomadic, restless (wędrowny)
(to) settle for - be satisfied with, make do with (zadowolić się)
matrimonially ambitious - keen on getting married, getting a husband (matrimony = marriage) (tu: szukająca męża)
reserved - (here:) restrained, inhibited (powściągliwy)
envy- admiring (with some jealousy) what sb else has or does (zazdrość)
in-built - inborn, innate (wrodzony)
eccentric- (here:) peculiar or odd in a quaint way, strange (ekscentryczny)
(to) mumble - say sth too quietly and not clearly enough, mutter (mamrotać)
irritation - (here:) annoyance, mild displeasure (dokuczliwość)
vulnerable - (here:) easily harmed emotionally, sensitive (podatny na zranienie)
(to) snap up - catch, grab (tu: zajęty)
different kettle of fish - (idiom:) a different situation altogether (idiom: inna para kaloszy)
bite to eat - a light snack e.g. sandwich, cake, scones (coś do przegryzienia)
teatime - not just tea! You have a bite to eat, too! (podwieczorek)
moody - temperamental (markotny)
mates - (informal) friends (tu: kumple)
(to) walk up the aisle - (idiom:) get married (sunąć do ołtarza)
(to) be history - (here as idiom:) be chucked, finished with (tu: być skończonym)