Like I said in my other blog (click here) I go to London quite a lot, and when I do I like to get out on the ground and see real life in all the different places.
I just walk around and find cafes to sit and listen. I follow side streets and lanes and see what’s what. It’s fascinating to see the city alive and living.
And along with my other observations noted in the other blog, there’s something else I’ve noticed too, and for a long time I’ve held off writing about it for fear of reaction – but it’s a very positive observation, and one that I feel compelled to share.
There’s a common thought process in cities that you don’t make eye-contact with others, and doing so certainly invites hawkers and hustlers and perhaps, now and then, people who are not well, but when I’m in London I keep my head up and nod or smile or show greeting to other people. Shop workers. Service staff. Cops. Cleaners. Wealthy people walking by. Drivers and passengers in traffic. People on buses. Other customers in cafes. Other people in queues. Door staff. Security – and without doubt, by a huge margin, there is one defined group that respond more positively than any other – and that’s young black males.
(I want to quickly add that I don’t rush from person to person grinning like a royal prince in a members only pegging club. I try and do it naturally, and so, when the chance presents itself – I show an amiable greeting to others.)
But yeah. It really stands out, and personally – I think one of the nicest things is a smile from a stranger going by. And I can’t say why black males seem to smile more than others or why that is. My methods and observations also have absolutely zero scientific basis, but it’s very noticeable. I told Hannah (my partner) about it during my last trip and that one group stood out by far. I didn’t need to say who. She said black men are way more likely than any other defined group to smile in return, or nod, or even in many cases to say hi or hey.
In contrast – there are also groups that never respond with anything other than very angry glares. And yet others who look through you – but it’s not right to who or generalise that here.
Hannah gets tons of smiles from everyone, but then she’s very attractive. And if I was an attractive woman, it would be a flawed test. But I’m not. I’m a bearded 47-year-old bald white guy. I’m not timid, but then I’m not cocky either, and I don’t give the aura off as either a victim or a potential threat. So yeah. There’s nothing to gain or negate by returning a smile or greeting to me – and most people don’t, but of those that do, by far the majority are black males.
All I can say is what I see and that stood out, and I wanted to share my observation.
(Don’t go into London or any city and start shouting hello at strangers. That won’t end well, and there is a very real risk you’ll be whisked off in the back of a van and made to work in a private members only club for pegging princes.) Miaow. (Pse don’t sue me. I didn’t actually say his name. It literally could be any British prince with a name that rhymes with Gilliam.)