How to Insult Foreigners

A post was recently published on the Matador Network which detailed ways to upset a Torontonian. It appeals to the British humour, and is a good read, however it thinks on too small a scale. Why settle for merely upsetting the inhabitants of one Canadian city? There is an entire world out there just waiting for some insulting and belittling.

I’m possibly not the best qualified person to write such a post. Jeremy Clarkson’s insensitivity is legendary, he’s made a career out of insulting every nation on the planet. In fact he’s turned it into an art form, unfortunately he turned down the incredible opportunity to write a guest post for this site. Therefore you’ll just have to make do with my tips for insulting foreigners instead.

A bar in La Rochelle in the Poitou_Charentes region of France adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain_Mallory_01225-1

League of Nations, enjoying banter and booze

Americans – it seems prudent to start at the top, insulting the most powerful nation on earth. It’s relatively easy however, just apologise for not having 2 minutes available to discuss their history. Push home the advantage by excusing any ‘mistakes’ they may have made, suggesting it is due to a lack of experience in international diplomacy. They’ll soon be running to their anger management therapist.

Scotsmen – even easier just tell them you thought they were English. There’s little point in inferring they’re tight with money however, they’ll probably take that as a compliment then disappear before it’s their turn to buy a round.

Australians – asking how things are on the penal colony won’t score many points nowadays, the Aussies have long since developed thick skins about such banter. Bang on for ages about Fosters lager being their only export of any value from a country of blond surfers however and the citizens of this cosmopolitan nation maybe a little less forgiving.

The Biritish humour; International mushroom hunting group in Catalonia, Spain adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain_Mallory_056999-1

The bigger the group, the bigger the banter

Italians – everything about being Italian is wonderful, and the slightest slight is a personal attack. A passionate race, and food is almost a religion here so suggesting that “this puttanesca gravy would benefit from some garden peas” will have every Italian reaching for their heaviest rolling-pin.

Welsh – another nation which will see red at any suggestion they might be English. It’s probably true that 95% of the world is offended if you refer to them as English. The only exception will be the Americans, as they’re jealous of our history. We’re masters of alienating other countries, and have been for centuries, long before Jeremy Clarkson outgrew his pimples.

Party goers in Manchester in the United Kingdom celebrating St Patricks Day adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain_Mallory_01257-1

Nobody wants to be English, everybody wants to be Irish

Germans – just point out to them that all the people they just pushed past aren’t forming a conga, but are forming a queue and waiting for service. They may not actually be insulted but it’s probably as close as you’ll get.

Indians – suggesting they’re no longer a major force in cricket is probably a bit over the top but informing them that Indians can’t drive will almost certainly provoke a rise. We all know this is a fact, the Indians probably do too; they’re just not likely to admit it.

Greeks – we’ve been insulting the Greeks for decades, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”. On the back of a myth, we’ve been assassinating the character of a generous nation. Maybe they deserve a pass from bad jokes for a while.

Canadians – simple just ask them “is that an American accent?” and watch them turn purple. This is a good fall back anywhere, mistaking an accent is a constant source of irritation. If you don’t believe me tell a New Zealander their accent sounds Australian.

Remember almost all Canadians are lumberjacks however, nearly 7 feet tall, have the single-minded determination of a Mountie and can tap dance on spinning logs so be careful who you practice your insults on.

South Africans – for some reason we all seem to think like Irish we can all do an acceptable impersonation of their accent. However poor persist with your annihilation of their speech patterns ensuring you quote “fokken prawns” regularly and suggest you sound more South African than they do.  Expect a frosty reception.

Irish – speaking of the those from the Emerald Isle, just ask them if they’ve heard the one about “the Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman”. I doubt there will be time to finish the question.

Egyptians – they’re a little touchy at the moment, and suggesting that they change Presidents like the rest of us change underwear is unlikely to get an invitation to the bazaar.

French – they hate everybody, so any suggestion that a Frenchman is anything other than gallic is a good starter. assassinating the language of romance with liberal use of “bonejaw” and asking “parlay vooooo Onglaze” won’t make many friends either. Finally if feeling especially brave, ask for an Italian wine in a French restaurant, announcing that you prefer to drink locally, and it’s all just Europe anyway.

Spanish – it isn’t even necessary to mistake the Spanish for any other nation, it’s possible within their own country. Refer to a Catalan or a Basque as Spanish and stand well back. You’ll need shout though, as being heard above a group of Spaniards is like getting a beer out of a Scot!

The source of the British humour, Drinks in a special place, the Viceroy resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain Mallory-300-21

The source of the British humour

Genuine insults are taboo, but banter makes the world go round. A little slating of friends, family and foreigners is fair game. As long as we can take as much as we give, that’s the British humour.

For the sake of brevity I’ve not been able to insult all the world in this post. Why not let your own inner Jeremy Clarkson out and give us some tips how to insult other nations, please keep it good-humoured though.

Let’s not forget the English of course, if I’ve insulted your nation here, let’s have your comeback!

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Comments 27

  1. Katka

    Iain! We’ve loads of other “How to piss off a…” posts on Matador! How to piss off an Alaskan, how to piss off a Czech, how to piss off a Zimbabwean…Check them out!

    We don’t have one about how to piss off a Brit though, care to give us some pointers? 😉

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      Iain

      You do Katka, thanks for telling me, i’ll have to check a few more of them out 🙂 Pointers for how to piss off a Brit, are you looking to add such a post to the series?

  2. TammyOnTheMove

    Ha ha, great post. As a German I want to apologize for all my fellow countrymen and women for pushing in queues. I have lived in England for 8 years, so have now learned how to enjoy queuing and I am also trying to pass my new found love on to Germans. 🙂

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      Iain

      Thanks Tammy great to hear that german expats can learn new tricks, and are passing on the good news to their friends.

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  3. Kenin Bassart

    Good Stuff… and just returning from India I can certainly vouch that they can not drive well, unless you consider driving the wrong way down the street while passing rickshaws and ox carts driving well that is.

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      Iain

      Nope that’s not what I call good driving Kenin. It’s probably the only place that I’ve felt my life was genuinely in danger when travelling in a vehicle there.

    2. Phoenix

      So just because you’ve experienced bad drivers in India it means that noone in India knows how to drive, right? Yeah, generalize everything as you guys always do about Indians.

  4. Jill

    What a fun post but how could you leave out Texas? Just ask a Texan how many head of cattle he or she owns or how large their ranch is, and watch them give you the stink eye. Especially if they’re from Dallas. Dallasites crave being regarded as sophisticated and urbane. That tv show infuriates them.

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      Iain

      Thanks for sharing that one Jill I’d never have realised Texans weren’t all ranchers if you hadn’t informed me. 😉 I thought Dallas was a documentary about life the place, though can totally understand it infuriating anybody!

  5. Malu

    Really funny! But I have to say that you’ve forgotten Brazil! Just tell a Brazilian that you thought there were monkeys everywhere(not only in Amazônia) and that the capital was Buenos Aires(that’s actually the capital of our neighbor Argentina) and it’s a huge mistake people do and make us mad. 🙂

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      Iain

      I’m glad you found it funny Malu, it’s always good to have a few laughs. Thanks for sharing the Brazilian tip, I’ll have to try it out on a few friends I have over there.

  6. Derek Freal

    Hahaha now this is a fantastic article! I may have to test out some of your tips soon 😉

    Although originally from America, the only thing I like about that is the passport — it’s like a golden ticket to visit nearly any country I want, unannounced. But I despise having to answer questions about my former country’s policies and actions around the globe. Often I answer the “where are you from” question with ‘the moon’ or ‘bed’ or some other sarcastic statement that reflects how little I care to talk about this topic. It’s not where we’re from but rather where we are going.

    In fact often I’m the first one in a group to start insulting and criticizing Americans. Maybe if more of them got out of their bubble…

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      Iain

      Glad to see you’re laughing Derek, that is what the article was intended for to provide a few smiles. Sounds like you’re the best person to insult Americans but then often it’s our compatriots which do the best job of taking the michael out of us.

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  7. Chris Bazos

    Although I must admit, as a Torontonian, we get teased about having an American accent even in our own country. Makes no difference to me, I’m blessed with the friendly blue passport so I can live with the accent accusations and US comparisons – but you’re right, Im turning purple when asked while on tour. What’s worse, when I say Im Canadian and their next two questions are Where, Montreal? Vancouver? Then, I’m ready to rip their shirt over their head like a hockey jersey and pummel them into oblivion :). As a city boy though, my log spinning is definitely out of practice.
    Love reading your posts, Iain.

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      Iain

      Wow Chris and I thought you Canadians were so cool and friendly, nothing ever phased you. You might need to practice those log running skills, never know when they might come in handy. Really glad you enjoying reading the site, keep coming back and I’ll keep writing.

  8. Tiana Kai

    Being born in Hawaii I’ve grown up knowing not to assume someone is Japanese when they might be Chinese… that is not a great conversation starting. Now, growing up in Miami, we feel like we are our own country, I’m still not sure why we have to share Florida with Disney and Tampa!

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      Iain

      It’s funny you should mention that Tiana, a friend the last person I would ever consider as being racist or anything but she asked me if I could tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese. It shocked me, she wasn’t joking, a totally sincere question. I don’t think you should have to share Florida at all.

      1. Tiana Kai

        Haha, well thank you! I hate sharing 🙂 P.S. I can hardly tell where anyone is from either. I like to pretend I can but I’m usually 68% in the wrong.

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          Iain

          I don’t think it matters that much where we’re from. I’m patriotic about my country but ultimately we’re all citizens of the world 🙂

  9. Arianwen

    I’m English but not very patriotic. I don’t think I’d be upset by any stereotypical insults. Maybe it’s because I’ve travelled a lot and don’t feel that connected with my home country any more. I’m going to try the Fosters comment out in Australia when I get there next week and see what kind of response I get! 🙂

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      Iain

      Give it a go Arianwen, I found most Aussies don’t drink Fosters at all and don’t like when we suggest its all they ever drink. Have fun there, I should be there myself in a a few weeks, where are you visiting?

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