BBC America has what they call a list of 10 things about America that Brits will never understand. A few of them seem likely to be true, but this one is just not right:
6. Compulsive sentimentality
Gushing public displays are usually meant well but give Brits the creeps. For instance, my husband and I recently checked out of a B&B after a two-night stay. Instead of bidding us farewell with a firm handshake and a receipt, the owner — a man in his 50s — latched on to me, then my man, for a prolonged hug. Just when we thought it was over, he announced, “I’ll miss you guys!” No, actually. You won’t.
I can refute the notion that Americans are more embarrassingly sentimental with two words: Princess Diana. Did any country ever show more ridiculous sentimentality than Britain in their “grief” over a former royal person? The old notion of British reserve may still be true in some parts of the country, but most Brits these days seem to take extreme joy in wallowing in sentimentality.