Watch Out Brits, ‘Spunk’ Isn’t What You Think

This week the BBC introduced its ex-pat resource blog, “Mind The Gap”, in partnership with Virgin Atlantic to help answer Anglo emigrants’ most pressing questions. From answering how to find a quality apartment to understanding American football, “Mind the Gap” will steer ex-pats in the right direction with what BBC America promises to be trademark wit and vast experience in acclimating to the land of Kardashians and shouty cable news anchors.

The site, which will be updated twice weekly, will also teach Brits things about language and cultural differences. For example, “spunk” in England doesn’t mean guts, but rather sperm or semen. “In England it’s a very rude word that you’d never say out in public,” says BBC’s Temi Hollist, who has been working on development of the site.

We spoke with Hollist by phone yesterday and fittingly she has just moved to New York from London Sunday. She sees it as a “destination portal” and something the British will come to see as “trustworthy” and “authoritative.” They are trying to make the blog contributors as diverse as possible — after all, those Brits move everywhere, including Washington.

One thing Hollist has noticed in the U.S. is how direct Americans are. “The Brits have that passive aggressive nature,” she says. “I’d say they don’t say what’s necessarily on their mind whereas an American will tell you. I’ve learned to not take it as rude. I find them to be quite comical and entertaining.”

Among the things they will be addressing include visa issues, finding accommodations and, of course, those language differences.  “Even yesterday I was saying to my colleagues I need to go to the loo,” says Hollist. “They were saying, ‘the loo?'” Apartment versus flat is also an issue. “If you used apartment in England they’d think it was a very nice flat, a really really big flat.” And fag is not a homosexual, it’s a cigarette. Says Hollist, “Can you pass me a fag please?” She chuckles. “I don’t smoke anyway. There are so many things that are lost in London.”