Millions of Brits have claimed to have visited a place they have never been to, enjoyed a book they’ve never read – or eaten food they secretly can’t stand, in a bid to appear more “cultured”, according to a new study.
Researchers carried out a study into cultural experiences and revealed the hilarious exaggerations Britons tell to appear more interesting, better-traveled and more worldly wise.
According to the survey, four in ten Brits claimed to have watched a film they’ve never seen, while around one in five (19 percent) have overplayed their interest in politics in a bid to impress their peers.
Meanwhile, 21 percent have fibbed about where they have been in the world – with New Zealand, New York, Australia and Rome emerging as popular places we’ve never been to.
A similar number (17 percent) have given the impression to their family and friends that they are more into ‘cool’ music than they actually are.
There are even a handful of people who’ve gone as far as to be economical with the truth when the topic of plays, operas and arthouse films crop up.
The study of almost 2,000 people by MSC Cruises UK, also looked into the films the British public are most likely to have claimed to have watched with Donnie Darko, Lost in Translation and Citizen Kane emerging.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet were the top three plays Brits said they have seen when they actually hadn’t.
When it comes to books Brits claim to have enjoyed, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace was popular, as was Ulysses by James Joyce and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.
Another 29 percent make out that they are ‘foodies’ to their friends, family and colleagues – suggesting they regularly dine on oysters, quinoa and sushi – when in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Other popular pretends include joining in discussions about famous pieces of literature we’ve never actually read (17 percent).
A further 35 percent claim they would consider a cruise to a destination such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean in a bid to appear more cultured.
Antonio Paradiso, Country Manager of MSC Cruises UK, who commissioned the research among adults aged between 16 and 65, commented saying: “As a travel company, we know that guests seek to visit new countries in order to broaden their horizons beyond the everyday.
“Visiting somewhere such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean on a cruise is a great way to visit different countries without having to unpack a suitcase and discover differing cultures, cuisines and traditions in a short amount of time, giving guests plenty of new stories and experiences to share with family and friends.”
Despite the penchant for a bit of ‘spin’ from time to time to boost our social status the study found most Brits do get their fair share of culture.
According to the data the average Brit typically reads 16 books a year, will enjoy a fine dining experience on nine occasions and will watch 27 documentaries.
On top of that they visit the theatre four times a year, watch seven independent films and visit four countries or cities.
Top 20 places Brits claim to have visited
1. New Zealand
2. New York
20. Sri Lanka
Top 20 foods Brits claim to like
2. Dark chocolate
3. Rare steak
6. Craft ales
7. Smelly cheese
8. Hot chillies
11. Raw Vegetables
14. Korean food
18. Rye Bread
19. Bowl food (Congee)
20. Aged meat
Top 20 films Brits claim to have seen
1. Pulp Fiction
2. The Godfather
3. Fight Club
4. To Kill a Mocking Bird
5. It’s a Wonderful Life
6. The Graduate
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
8. Donnie Darko
9. Citizen Kane
10. Taxi Driver
13. Lost in Translation
15. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind
16. The Colour Purple
17. Cinema Paradiso
18. The Red Balloon
19. All About Eve
20. North by Northwest
Top 20 theatre productions Brits claim to have seen
1. Romeo and Juliet
4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
5. King Lear
7. The Importance of Being Earnest
8. Richard III
9. Madame Butterfly
10. The Cherry Orchard
11. An Inspector Calls
12. The Crucible
13. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
14. As You Like It
15. Waiting for Godot
16. A Street Car Named Desire
19. The Glass Menagerie
20. Uncle Vanya
Top 20 books Brits claim to have read
1. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
3. Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone
4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
5. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
6. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
7. Animal Farm – George Orwell
8. The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkien
9. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
10. Ulysses – James Joyce
11. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
12. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
13. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
14. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
15. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
16. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
17. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
18. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
19. The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
20. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak