Richard Thieriot | Things I have learned – Week One of the Fringe

1) “Cheeky”, “Naughty” and “Dirty” all mean different things in the United Kingdom.

I discovered this on my second day in Edinburgh when I went to a lovely local establishment called Nando’s. Our landlord, while sharing local points of interest, told us “Everyone likes a Cheeky Nando’s now and again”. So off I went to get myself a “Cheeky Nando’s” before our technical rehearsal.

In the US we use Cheeky, Naughty and Dirty as synonyms and almost exclusively when doing our best British impersonations. They have all come to mean “slightly provocative behavior from someone who is usually quite tame”. So it is not surprising that as I approached the gleaming counter at Nando’s, my American-sized smile on my face, I chose the wrong adjective.

“Hello, I’d like the chicken thighs with peas and a salad. Hot, please.”

“No problem, sir, what table?’

“11 thank you…I love a Dirty Nando’s”

“…”

It was instantly apparent to me that I had done something wrong. There was confusion and a hint of disgust on the young woman’s face. She had been smiling back at me just moments before.

“No.” she said, shaking her head a bit. “No”. She clearly believed that, instead making a benign declaration of appreciation, as i had intended, I had just proposed we engage in a “Dirty-Nando” (whatever that might be). “No…your food will be out shortly.”

“Ok (big smile faltering a bit)…may I…may I have some water?”

“Over there sir.”

My mind raced as I shuffled off: what precisely had I just said I loved? Associating food with sex is nothing new, but spicy Peri-Peri sauce in that context carries an S&M angle that I’ve never even considered. Let alone suggested to a total stranger!

I have returned to Nando’s several times but that particular server always manages to avoid me.

2)   Older people are far more likely to take a flyer from your hand than anybody else.

3)   Scottish people are friendly and attractive and I think I want to move here.

4)  Nobody out there wants to be handing out flyers. Nobody decides ‘I know what would be fun, lets try and stop people while they’re walking by and try to get them to see a show’.

5)  Drink water…lots of water

Richard Thieriot 2 Articles
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