Should I call this post a boast? Should we call Facebook Faceboast? Let’s face it dressing up our lives, adding filters, art directing our social media are all narcissistic extensions of projecting an artificially enhanced existence to impress our friends. In addition, I work in Marketing & PR so my whole professional life and edit a lifestyle magazine so my whole professional existence is based around creating covetable content.
But one the other side of the coin who wants to spend their life moaning about how everything is depressingly dull. I have a positive posting policy so if I can’t big it up then it’s not going online. Now I thought I was a blogging blaggard but actually I don’t think I am. I’m lucky to have travelled and experienced many things.
However, more than one in ten Brits (14 percent) have claimed they have visited a place they have never been to, enjoyed a book they’ve never read, or eaten food they secretly can’t stand, in a bid to appear more “cultured” according to a new study.*
MSC Cruises commissioned researchers to carry out the study* into cultural experiences, which reveals the hilarious exaggerations Britons tell to appear more interesting, better-travelled and more worldly-wise.
According to the survey*, 21 percent have even fibbed about where they have been in the world – with New Zealand, New York, Australia and Rome emerging as popular places people wish they had visited, but haven’t.
Meanwhile four in ten Brits claimed to have watched a film they’ve never seen, while around one in five (19 percent) have overplayed their interest in politics in a bid to impress their peers.
A similar number (17 percent) have also given the impression to their family and friends that they are more into ‘cool’ music than they actually are.
There are even a handful of people who’ve gone as far as to be economical with the truth when the topic of plays, operas and arthouse films crop up.
According to the study, which also looked into the films the British public are most likely to have claimed to have watched when we haven’t, include Donnie Darko, Lost in Translation and Citizen Kane.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet were the top three plays that Brits said they have seen when they actually hadn’t.
When it comes to books that the sample hasn’t even picked up, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace was popular, as was Ulysses by James Joyce and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.
Another 29 percent make out that they are ‘foodies’ to their friends, family and colleagues – suggesting they regularly dine on oysters, quinoa and sushi – when in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Other popular pretends include joining in discussions about famous pieces of literature we’ve never actually read (17 percent).
A further 35 percent claim they would consider a cruise to a destination such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean in a bid to appear more cultured.
Antonio Paradiso, Country Manager of MSC Cruises UK, who commissioned the research among adults aged between 16 and 65, commented saying: “As a travel company, we know that guests seek to visit new countries in order to broaden their horizons beyond the everyday.
“Visiting somewhere such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean on a cruise is a great way to visit different countries without having to unpack a suitcase and discover differing cultures, cuisines and traditions in a short amount of time, giving guests plenty of new stories and experiences to share with family and friends.”
Despite the penchant for a bit of ‘spin’ from time to time to boost our social status the study found most Brits do get their fair share of culture.
According to the data the average Brit typically reads 16 books a year, will enjoy a fine dining experience on nine occasions and will watch 27 documentaries.
On top of that they visit the theatre four times a year, watch seven independent films and visit four countries or cities.
Top 20 places Brits claim to have visited in a bid to appear cultured.
1. New Zealand (No – on my bucket list)
2. New York (Yes)
3. Australia (Yes)
4. Rome (Yes)
5. Paris (Yes)
6. Iceland (No – on my bucket list)
7. Cuba (No – on my bucket list)
8. Brazil (No – on my bucket list)
9. Venice (No – on my bucket list)
10. Jamaica (No – on my bucket list)
11. Moscow (Yes but only Moscow airport as I flew Aeroflot to India and we had to change flights in Moscow)
12. Dubai (Yes)
13. Milan (Yes)
14. Barcelona (Yes)
15. Morocco (Yes)
16. Berlin (No – on my bucket list)
17. Miami (No – on my bucket list)
18. Florence (Yes)
19. Ibiza (Yes)
20. Sri Lanka (No – on my bucket list)
Top 20 foods Brits claim to like in a bid to appear cultured.
1. Sushi (Love)
2. Dark chocolate (Blergh)
3. Rare steak (Love)
4. Quinoa (Eat it but don’t love it)
5. Oysters (Blergh)
6. Craft ales (Blergh)
7. Smelly cheese (Love)
8. Hot chillies (Love)
9. Avocado (Love)
10. Granola (Love)
11. Raw Vegetables (Love)
12. Sweetbreads aka cooked testicles (Blergh)
13. Kale (Eat it but don’t love it)
14. Korean food (Would like to try)
15. Kimchi (Would like to try but I know it’s going to be blergh!)
16. Sashimi (Love)
17. Courgetti (Love)
18. Rye Bread (Love)
19. Bowl food (Congee) (WTF – not a clue)
20. Aged meat (Love)
Top 20 films Brits claim to have seen in a bid to appear cultured.
1. Pulp Fiction (Yes, love)
2. The Godfather (Seen but don’t love)
3. Fight Club (Yes, love)
4. To Kill a Mocking Bird (Yes, love)
5. It’s a Wonderful Life (Yes, love)
6. The Graduate (Yes, love)
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Seen but don’t love)
8. Donnie Darko (Seen but don’t love)
9. Citizen Kane (Not seen)
10. Taxi Driver
11. Chocolat (Seen but don’t love)
13. Lost in Translation (Seen but don’t love)
15. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (Seen but don’t love)
16. The Colour Purple (Seen but don’t love)
17. Cinema Paradiso (Seen but don’t love)
18. The Red Balloon (Not seen)
19. All About Eve (Not seen)
20. North by Northwest (Not seen)
Top 20 theatre productions Brits claim to have seen to appear cultured.
1. Romeo and Juliet (Yes)
4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (No)
5. King Lear (No)
7. The Importance of Being Earnest (Yes)
8. Richard III (No)
9. Madame Butterfly (No)
10. The Cherry Orchard (No)
11. An Inspector Calls (No)
12. The Crucible
13. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (No)
14. As You Like It (No)
15. Waiting for Godot (No)
16. A Street Car Named Desire (No)
17. Tosca (No)
18. Othello (Yes)
19. The Glass Menagerie (No)
20. Uncle Vanya (No)
Top 20 books Brits claim to have read in a bid to appear cultured.
1. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (No)
2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (Yes)
3. Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone (Yes)
4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (Yes)
5. Life of Pi – Yann Martel (No)
6. Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Yes)
7. Animal Farm – George Orwell (Yes)
8. The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkien (Yes)
9. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (Yes)
10. Ulysses – James Joyce (No)
11. Moby Dick – Herman Melville (No)
12. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie (No)
13. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (Yes)
14. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (Yes)
15. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (No)
16. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (No)
17. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (Yes)
18. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (No)
19. The Colour Purple – Alice Walker (No)
20. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (No)
Looking at these lists it would appear that my theatrical exposure is somewhat lacking. We’ll see if I can up my game. My judgement on a good play is if I can get to the end without yawning once.
What about you? Do you big up your experiences or do you play them down?