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Lost in Translation: Lads on the Lash


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Congratulations, you are halfway through your first term at University.

At this point in my first year, I saw myself as nothing short of a beacon of Britishness. I was effortlessly integrating Britishisms that once bemused and baffled me into my vocabulary, seamlessly replacing my insightful “Damn! He’s a total hottie,” with the equally elegant, “Phwoar! What a fittie!”

Not exactly the “classy and cultured” British persona I was going for, but it was a start.

Unfortunately though, there were still some alarmingly large question marks floating above my head. I had made my first deadline (with an embarrassing touch of stereotypical Asian diligence), but had yet to completely crack the cultural code.

When I put down the teacup (at this point an almost comical extension of my hand), and picked up the Sainsbury’s basics vodka bottle, I felt my carefully constructed mask of Britishness being replaced by the internationally recognizable expression of the foreign tourist: the WTF face.

So here I offer you a brief explanation of Bristol’s behavior after-dark, and the barrage of Britishisms saved specially for those nights ‘Out on the Lash’ (or on a night out).


From Boston to Beijing, Pre-Lash (popular synonyms: Pre-Game, Pre-Drink) gives a group of like-minded individuals the opportunity to gather together and get a little ‘pissed’ (drunk) prior to going out and getting completely ‘rat-arsed’ (even more drunk). However, that is where the similarities end.

Whilst you might expect pre-drinking games to involve a table, a ping-pong ball and several plastic cups, Brits tend to lean towards something a little more ‘laddy’.

And so, more often than not, you will find yourself crammed in a room, clapping your hands, trying desperately to remember the words to some illogical chant that invariably accompanies the raucous rhythm. My advice? Learn one game, play it well, and then accept that calls of “See it away!” and “Down it Fresher!” are going to be the soundtrack to the rest of your evening.

Pub Crawls

As far as I understand, the origin of the pub-crawl can be understood as follows.

Problem: Losing the ‘sloshed’ (again, drunk) state that has been carefully cultivated during pre-lash before reaching the evening’s final destination.

Solution: Devise an activity that allows the reveler to stop in every drinking establishment passed whilst en-route to the pub/club/bar, and drink ‘heartily’ (translation: heavily) within.

Note: Brits partaking in this activity often deem it an appropriate context for costumes: golf-wear is a particular favourite.

On the Pull

As well as being asked if you are ‘Out on the Lash’ (in the mood for getting a little inebriated), you will often find that you are asked whether or not you are ‘On the Pull’ (in the mood for getting a little friendly with someone) when embarking on a night out. One request: please, keep it classy and know their first name at the very least.

Late Night Food

Jason’s Doner Van, Kebab U Like, Dominoes… Everyone has their favourite late-night food establishment, and in England stopping at one of these fine vendors and indulging in a midnight feast is a completely acceptable end to a night out. Just make sure that you dispose of all food remains correctly before bed. Discovering a half-eaten kebab in your bedroom the following morning is chunder-worthy (see next section) to say the least.


It happens to even the most hardened of drinkers. That moment in the night when the drinks you downed at pre-lash, the strawpedoes you drank whilst crawling, and the shots you generously bought your lady-friend all seem to decide that now is the time to revisit the world… In other words, it’s time to use the porcelain telephone (visit the toilet), and be sick. 


For whatever reason, the feeling that greets you in the morning following a particularly ‘big night’ (one involving copious amounts of alcohol) is inexplicably identified worldwide as a ‘hangover’. So when sitting with the girls or the lads the next day, discussing the banter (the chat) from the night before, take solace in the knowledge that students from Tokyo to Tenerife are doing exactly the same thing.

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