Category Archives: The Special One

Study: Americans are bigger than Brits in the bedroom department

When I moved to the UK, most of my furniture ended up either in a couple of houses in Cambridge, or in a big yellow skipdumpster outside my house. Given that The Special One was left in charge of bossing around the movers and deciding what did and didn’t survive the cull from my erstwhile bachelor pad, it’s perhaps not surprising that there’s little left from my days as a man gadding about London Town.

The one thing that did make the trip however is my pride and joy of a bed. As the first bed I’d ever bought, I spent many hours painstakingly, erm, lazing in a horizontal manner on dozens of options to ensure that I got the most comfortable sleeping environment for my money. And while I was prepared to leave the UK behind having met The Special One, there was no way that there was going to be a parting of the ways with my beloved bed.

The problem is that while in Britain my bed would be considered a palatial kingsize theatreer of snoozing delight, in the United States it’s suddenly like something that you’d put in a dolls house. There is no doubt in my mind that Richey Manic, Jimmy Hoffa, Lord Lucan and Shergar are not missing, but instead they climbed into an American bed somewhere and still haven’t managed to find their way out. Not necessarily together, although I wouldn’t rule anything out.

Every time I insist to The Special One that my bed is a king, the derisive snort I receive resembles the kind of noise I occasionally hear when cruise ships are leaving harbour at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Apparently there is such a thing as a California king, which is conceivably large enough to play a couple of sets of volleyball on. A wife could be cheating on her husband while he slept in the same bed, and the husband would be none the wiser. By comparison, my British kingsize is practically an American single.

None of this would be a problem, of course, if it wasn’t for The Special One. By day, she’s a perfectly normal woman. But when she’s in the deepest of sleeps, she twitches like a retired breakdancer who just can’t let go of former glories. Occasionally I have to wake her, just to make sure that she’s not having a stroke. At the same time, when she’s dreaming, she regularly issues forth grunts and groans as if knocking a vicious forehand volley across the net at Wimbledon. It’s like going to bed with Monica Seles and the Rocksteady Crew at the same time. And to be fair, if we were in a Californian king, we’d probably have room for all of them.

Still, given the economic climate, we’re sticking with what we’ve got for the moment and I’ll put aside my feelings of inferiority. After all, they say that size doesn’t matter in the bedroom, right?

When two become one

When you’re part of a transatlantic family, it’s inevitable that – from time to time – your conversations over dinner or a glass of wine (or two) will turn to the differences between your respective countries. The Special One may, for instance, point out that the UK is practically prehistoric for having most of its shops close for the day at 6pm. This Brit Out Of Water might counter by invoking the barbarity of the death penalty – a comparable issue to the store opening hours issue, as I am sure you will all agree.

As it happens, our discussions can go both ways. In my opinion, America is a much more relaxed place in which to travel than the UK (particularly by air), but The Special One points to the gloriously civilised nature of the British train system. Clearly she’s never been stuck on Crewe station for three hours awaiting the arrival of a train to Euston.

Every so often though, we find ourselves in complete agreement, which is mildly reassuring given that we tied the knot just over two months ago. And ironically, one of the things that we agreed about most has been the attitude of our respective nations towards teamwork. Particularly when it comes to music.

I find it difficult to believe that I hadn’t thought about this before. But when it comes down to it, the greatest and/or most popular solo singers of all time are generally American. Whether it’s the founding fathers of rock’n’roll including Chuck Berry, Bill Haley or Elvis Presley, 60s and 70s icons such as Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor or Jimi Hendrix, 80s legends Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson or (like her or not) Whitney Houston, through to modern day mega-selling stars such as Norah Jones or Jay-Z, the biggest solo acts all hail from the US. Sure, Britain has the Rod Stewart’s, Tom Jones’s or Amy Winehouse’s of this world, but they’re still small-fry compared to their American equivalents.

Yet at the same time, if you think about the greatest bands of all time – the bands that could fill stadiums the world over – they are as a general rule British. There’s the Beatles, obviously, but add on top of that the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, U2 (Oirish, but close enough for the purposes of this argument) or even Coldplay. Of course, there’s the Beach Boys, Metallica or even Aerosmith (and Australia has AC/DC), but nonetheless it remains true that when British musical acts perform well on the world stage, they tend to be bands.

All of this leads to the question of whether Britons simply work better in teams, and Americans tend to be better off on their own. Perhaps Brits just don’t have the confidence to go out on their own and conquer the world? Maybe Americans can’t bear to share the limelight with anyone else, and have to plough their own furrow if they’re to be truly fulfilled?

Given that I’ve just got married to an American though, it’s probably not a question I should probe too deeply on. After a solo career that lasted more than thirty years, this Brit Out Of Water is more than happy to be part of a combo at last.