An Englishman Explains ‘Taking the Mickey’ Out of Someone

by Neil Bamforth

Given that we have established that Britain has lost the ability to retain it’s ‘stiff upper lip‘, what we haven’t established is whether there is a clear replacement for this ability. I would suggest there is. It could be argued that it isn’t really a replacement as it is something the British have done for as long as they had their formally stiff upper lip. So, perhaps not a replacement so much as something that has survived when the stiff upper lip ultimately didn’t.

The British just love to ‘take the mickey’ aka ‘make fun of’ (something or someone).

The true form of ‘taking the mickey’ isn’t unduly cruel. Well, only if being unduly cruel is really really fun anyway.

Changing the term ‘taking the mickey’ to ‘extracting the Michael’ is actually ‘taking the mickey’ out of people who speak properly otherwise often known as ‘posh people’ as in The Queen.

The British have been ‘taking the Mickey’ for as long as they have been British – or, at least, as close to being British as they could be. In other words, residing here for a decent amount of time.

I suggest that in an early English translation of the Nibelungen Saga, in the scene where Brunnhilde is protecting her maidenhood – for some reason she and Siegfried have to share her bed – she places her sword between them. In a still undocumented version, Siegfried remarks: “Yes, I wanted to get something straight between us two (too?)”

See? Even very early Brits could ‘take the mickey’.

Back in WWII Brits ‘took the Mickey’ out of Hitler by suggesting he only had one testicle – which may well be true as far as I know never having had an intimate relationship with him.

“Hitler, only has one ball

the other is in the Albert Hall

his mother, the dirty bugger

cut it off when he was small”

It is, to me, some considerable consolation that, despite losing our stiff upper lip we can still ‘take the Mickey’ out of anyone and anything and not give a damn whether it upsets or offends them. Indeed, if it does upset or offend them we dismiss their feelings with a comment such as ‘get a sense of humour’ or ‘get a life’. I wholeheartedly subscribe to that thought process.

A new driving student of mine several years ago was called Mohammed. He came out of his house looking like Osama Bin Liners brother. Little hat, long beard and wearing a dress – well, they look like dresses to me.

“You know you’re all called Mohammed?” I said, “how do you know which one’s which?”

He laughed. He knew I was ‘taking the Mickey’ and he also knew that ‘taking the mickey’ is not necessarily malicious. Certainly it is rarely politically correct but who cares? Life’s too short not to have a laugh.

As we reached my car I put my arm out and cupped my ear against him.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Listening for ticking” I replied.

He laughed out loud and we got on like a house on fire for the duration of his lessons – and he passed first time. He also explained that whilst many Muslims are called Mohammed they invariably have other names to distinguish one from the other.

Every lesson he would greet me with “Hello Kafir” – which is an Islamic word for non-believer. He knew how to ‘take the micky’ too and we had a great time together.

We’ve kept in touch too.

So, the Brits may have lost, to a large extent, their stiff upper lip but we haven’t lost the ability to ‘take the Mickey’. Just ask the French and Germans.

Lovely place Germany. Shame really. It’s full of Germans.

Nice place France – unless you’re a frog or a snail.

Asking an American student to point to any other country on a map is a bit like asking a blind man to fly an aeroplane.

The only culture in Australia is in a yogurt pot.

I will now consider the best way to ‘extract the Michael’ as I’m running low on beer.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 MadMikesAmerica
Did you like this? Share it:
Posted by on August 11, 2017. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
Back to Main Page

4 Responses to An Englishman Explains ‘Taking the Mickey’ Out of Someone

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    August 11, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I think you enjoy “taking the Mickey” old bean 🙂 I know I do from time to time.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      August 11, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Sometimes can’t stop…amazing nobody’s punched me ????

  2. Brett park Reply

    August 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Friend of mine took the Mickey out if another friend if ours and got a punch in the face for HER trouble.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      August 12, 2017 at 2:22 am

      Some people just have no sense of humour…..

      Hey! Ouch! Stop thumping me!!????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *