A lot of things are done differently across the pond. Tinnies in the park vs kegs of beer. A nice aged cheddar vs cheese in a can. Jorts vs any other item of clothing that is not Jorts. Circumcised, uncircumcised. Tomayto, tomahto. There’s differences, alright? But no differences are as pronounced as when it comes to the fine art of pulling. Pulling in Britain is such a well established game that we know our way around it almost too well. Meet. Get on alright. End up on a night out together. Get off. Go back. Shag in two positions for 15 minutes max. Go to sleep. Maybe do it again, maybe not. One of you ghosts the other, repeat.
But for the lucky UK students who hop across the lily pads and reach the US of A, the game is refreshingly different. The boys are bolder, the girls are looser (apparently?), the culture is more shagging than relationship heavy and the dorm rooms are…shared. It’s completely different. But don’t take it from me, listen to the defectors. They know what they’re talking about.
‘Every profile on American Tinder shows a boy with either a gun, a tractor or a massive fish’
“Boys are WAY more complimentary, even when you’ve only just met them. I’ve never had nicer compliments in my life. They compliment you way more on like deep stuff like your eyes and how funny you are, like not once did I get a sleazy compliment – even on Tinder like wtf.
“They aren’t afraid to approach you, which I feel is a foreign concept for British boys. They don’t get as drunk because they’re always drinking lite beer (classic) so you never have to carry them home it’s the other way around. They’re also more respectful, so when I brought boys back they’d just appreciate a cuddle and chillin’, they wouldn’t want a shag and then leave which I feel is the British motive.
“I thought American guys were gonna be dicks, I was shocked. They’re obsessed with our accents, we felt like royalty. Every time you open you mouth they swoon it’s hilarious. Oh yeah and the Tinder was hilarious – most of their pictures contained either a gun, a tractor or a massive fish.
“But there’s still the frat boy mentality, like they had a social called ‘champagne and shackles’ where the frat boy brings a date, you get handcuffed the entire night (even to pee) and you drink champagne the entire time, and they have competitions on who shags first and stuff like that. But it wasn’t all frat boys I met so it completely depends! It’s also difficult because basically everyone shares a room so that’s a bit of an issue. Our RA (like dorm mother) was so fussy so you had to be careful bringing boys back as it was an all girls floor.”
Anna, Cardiff, University of Vermont
‘Boys are more confident… and circumcised’
“I found that guys were a lot more confident and happy to come up to you and chat you up. They loved the British thing and thought you were really classy which is the first time anyone had ever said that to me. They’re definitely a lot more forward but probably less likely to take you out a date. Like I think being one of the lads or one of the guys is a huge thing, especially for Frat boys, so dating is a lot more casual.
“That being said, the university I was in was in the South so there were still traditional values so my roommate and my other British friends roommate are now engaged which to me is mind boggling. I had my first experience with a circumcised penis which was interesting. It’s certainly a lot neater and prettier. However due to the whole roommate thing you can’t be as spontaneous as usual and had to be planned which is a bit annoying.”
Phoebe, Glasgow, The University of Texas at Austin
‘If a girl is going to a frat party, it’s understood that she’s gonna pull’
“The US is a big ass place with loads of subcultures, but this was my experience in Colorado from what I can think of: Guys are definitely more direct, there’s faaar less subtle sharking, it’s very forward when they’re trying to pull, especially in the club, it all seems quicker. As for girls I’m not sure, compared to the UK, groups seem more merged together in a club over there? In the UK it feels a lot more segmented with people in their groups
“I’d say they do use chat up lines more, from what I heard some of them are cheesier. I’d say one night stands are probaaaably more common but not by much.
“Another thing I noticed is if a girl is going to a frat party, it’s like understood that she/her group are usually going to pull. It sounds kinda unconsensual but frat parties are often branded with that reputation. I’d say hookups are more spontaneous and they’re less likely to go on dates, I’ve seen more relationships develop as a result of hookups out there.
“The hookups mainly develop from drinking games at parties, every 40+ size house party always has a beer pong game and a card game going at least, girls are definitely more involved in the games. Every other girl would thrash the majority of Brits at beer pong it seems. So there’s a lot of bonding/flirting and shit happening through the drinking games, especially at the early stages of a party.”
James, Reading, Colorado State University
‘Americans are way less relationshippy, it’s much more of a hook up culture’
“The main difference I would say is pulling in the US was SO MUCH EASIER – due to the British accent. All the British exchange students put it in their Tinder bios and Americans would stop you in the streets and talk to you and want to get with you just bc your British accent. It was the same for girls and boys. Teachers would even favourite you and pick on you in class to hear your accent, and then everyone in the class would hear it and you’d get a few people sliding into your DMs that way too!
“In terms of relationships, overall I’d say Americans weren’t relationshippy. They are in sororities and fraternities and everyone’s just looking for one night stands. Dating (as in going on dates) is much more rare and most would just ‘hook up’ after nights out or even one night.
“I’d say girls are easier over there , they just wanna fuck and I think they have lower standards than British girls here (which personally I love! It seems more equal over there). The boys are also easier – but then again English boys over here are easy too so I would say it’s about the same. Pulling (kissing in clubs) is much more common too and Americans are a lot more touchy in public – even the library! They have zero shame.
“In terms of flirting, Americans are so much more straight up. If they meet you in person they’ll straight up say ur hot and can they take you out, you should come back to theirs etc. I feel like UK play it cool, like boys act so cool and reply really late and read and ignore for a bit etc., but Americans just go straight in. It’s quite intense.
“With actual sex – it might’ve just been my luck, but I found that American boys were better in bed, and also bigger. My UK friend who’s a boy also thought American girls were hotter. It’s also quite stuck up – so sorority girls would only wanna date guys in a frat. And sometimes vice versa – although the frat guys were less picky. Boys who weren’t in a fraternity often struggled more to get girls.”
‘The guys brag more, and people stare’
“I definitely noticed that American guys were a lot more forward and to the point, like way more confident. A bit cocky too. I feel like British guys I’ve met anyway are way less to the point like if they just want to hook up they may not say but some American guys will straight up tell you, which is good and bad I guess?
“Where I lived anyway guys would deffo brag more than the UK but girls were still judged more for hooking up to be honest. If they hooked up with someone they would be so gassed and try and act cool about it but be proper chuffed with themselves. I remember I was at this bar once and I got with this guy and legit everyone just stopped and stared like wtf, someone ended up filming it too – so awks. I feel like in that sense it was more private like my friend over there had hooked up up with a few people are there was a lot of judgement towards her.
“I noticed American guys thought British girls were wild and up for anything, honestly. I feel like we don’t mind making fools of ourselves/ being silly as much as Americans in a way. Also deffo we drink waaaay more and I think with that in mind the guys I met thought I’d be up for more because of that.”
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• The differences between UK and US uni culture which prove we are not the same
• The 12 main differences between studying in the US and the UK
• An American gives his perspective on British drinking culture