Colin Frissell Effect

20Oct06

From today’s BA Dinner:

Me: So I’ve gotta ask, did you find it much easier to meet girls in the US given that you have a British accent?

NS: Oh yeah.

[…laughs…]

NS: But yeah, really. A lot.

I had dinner today with an undergraduate who grew up in Cambridge, went to high school in Los Angeles, and is now back in Cambridge doing Natural Sciences (“NatSci,” pronounced nat-skee). Among reminiscing about LA and Stanford (which he recently visited), my friend confirmed what I refer to as the “Colin Frissell Effect,” named after the character in the movie Love Actually who said:

“American girls would seriously dig me with my cute British accent.”

By nearly all empirical observations, having a British accent makes one instantly several e-foldings more attractive in the United States. Any accent from the UK will do… Northern, Southern, Welsh, Scottish, (Northern) Irish. It’s as if by virtue of the way you talk you are automatically James Bond, Hugh-Grant-as-prime-minister, Harry Potter, and Jude Law rolled into one.

Unfortunately, I fear that ‘conservation of sex appeal’ is in effect and American accents are decidedly unattractive. Instead of Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Michael Jackson from the 1980s (international-king-of-pop version)… I’m afraid that my charming Southern Californian accent (dude) only conjurs up images of Eric Cartman, George Bush, and Michael Jackson from the 2000s (only-in-the-USA version). I’ll never forget my Irish friend’s unflattering recollection of American exchange students to his university… “They kept saying ‘kewl aak-cent, deeewd!‘”

For what it’s worth, though, at least one Cambridge-to-California export seems not to have been able to capitalize on the massive reproductive advantage of having a British accent, though he claims it’s due to his current position in life. (Though I should be nice because he mentioned me in one of his columns!)



2 Responses to “Colin Frissell Effect”

  1. 1 Fabio

    Which accent would most likely improve your chances in Britain? Egyptian perhaps?


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