"The British have colonized Manhattan, acquiring minute rent-stabilized apartments in the West Village that they pass on to each other like hereditary titles. It's hard to spot the women—unless they open their mouths. But the British men can be identified by their cropped hair, which they shave to obscure their genetically endemic premature hair loss.
They imagine it gives them a street-hard look. Most Americans think they look like gay Marines with deformed ears. They wear their blue jeans like their school shorts—too high and too tight, leaving them with severe moose knuckle. They will occasionally wear items of indigenous clothing—a baseball cap, a plaid work shirt—just to show that they're not tourists. But they wear them with irony. Indeed, Brits are rarely seen in New York without their magic cloaks of invisible irony—they think that, on a fundamental level, their calling here is as irony missionaries.
They bless everything and everyone with the little flick quotation marks, that rabbit-ear genuflection of cool, ironic sterility. How often their mocking conversations about the natives return to the amusing truth that New Yorkers have an unbelievable, ridiculous irony deficiency, which ignores the fact that a city that produced Dorothy Parker, Robert Mapplethorpe, Abstract Expressionism, Woody Allen, and Woody Allen's love life has quite enough irony to build the Brooklyn Bridge."