LUV - All countries have slightly unfair reputations. For example, it probably isn’t the case that all Americans are morbidly obese rednecks who go around shooting each other for larks. And, despite the stereotype, not all British people have teeth like a tray of broken crockery. It’s only about 98% of us or something. I don’t know. I haven’t counted.
But, for some reason, Belgium is a country full of unfair reputations. The forgotten neighbour of several other more important countries, it’s boring and flat and the people are all dirty, pavement-spitting, vitamin-starved inbreds with only about 15 IQ points to share between them. That’s what people say. Obviously by ‘people’ I mean ‘probably Jeremy Clarkson or Nigel Farage or something’, but it still counts.
Anyway, these people are wrong. Belgium is GLORIOUS. It’s France without the snobbery, Germany without the ruthless efficiency and Holland without the, dunno, prostitutes or tulips or whatever. The people are delightful. The chocolate is the best in the world. The beer is supercharged to the point that it’s advertised with pictures of unconscious elephants. Bruges is at least the equal of Venice in terms of how picturesque is it. And it’s only two hours away from London. That’s more or less the same time it takes to get to Bristol. And have you been to Bristol? It’s shit.
Best of all, though - and this is the reason why Belgium is untouchable - is the Pissing Boy. Yes, Paris has the Eiffel Tower and New York has the Statue Of Liberty. But Brussels has a little naked boy pissing into a sink. And that’s miles better. A tubby little curly-haired boy, probably no older than about three, arching his back to get a better trajectory as he grabs hold of his little pecker and pisses all over the fucking place. Not in a toilet or anything like a normal person would. All over the fucking place. And that’s the city’s emblem. A naked toddler pissing all over the fucking place. Brilliant.
And because this naked little curly-haired pissing boy is the emblem of Brussels, the scope for souvenirs is enormous. You can buy postcards of the pissing boy. You can buy chocolates shaped like the pissing boy. You can buy snowglobes with pissing boys inside them. You can buy T-shirts where the pissing boy spells out the word ‘Brussels’ in an unbroken stream of hot urine. Best of all, and I can’t overstate how much I wish I had one of these, you can buy corkscrews of the pissing boy where the pissing boy’s penis is a long, pointy-ended spiral. It’s amazing.
A country has to be especially proud of itself to pull off having a fat little curly-haired toddler nonchalantly pissing all over the place out of his tiny little willy as one of its key objects of national identity. The rest of us can only shudder with envy at its unbridled bravado. And that’s why, when I’m voted Mayor of London, I’m going to erect a statue of a nun squatting down for a shit. Take THAT, Belgium.
Incidentally, to anyone who found this website by searching for ‘Pissing Boy’, I apologise. You must be very disappointed.
- Stuart Heritage
HAT - Oh, well done, Belgium. You have a pissing boy as a mascot. You couldn’t go with something decent, could you? I mean, the United Kingdom crest features a lion, which we don’t even have here, AND a unicorn, which doesn’t even exist! That’s how brilliant we are.
But you? You went with a urinating child.
What does that say about the aspirations of your people? Are there curly-headed little Belgian boys who dream of careers as astronauts, or heady summers spent in the Big Brother house, and ask their fathers, “Papa, what will I be when I grow up?” And do their fathers, dandling (whatever that is) the little tykes on their knees, then reply in quavering, pride-filled voices, “Well, son, the very best that you can hope for is that your kidneys will continue to divert the liquid waste from your bloodstream to your urinary bladder, so that you can piss it out of your tiny winky all across our great land.”
Do they? And do they then repeat it in French?
Because that’s what Belgium is, isn’t it? It’s nothing. A drab, sissyish, ambivalent nothing. Neither French nor Dutch, neither fish nor foul. It can’t even keep the sea out properly.
I bloody hate Belgium.
Even though, on paper, Belgium and I should get on quite well. I mean, Belgium’s a bit French, I’m a bit French; Belgium’s famous for its chocolate and I’m a woman, but the problem is, you see - and I find this quite hard to talk about, so go easy on me - Belgium abused me when I was a child.
Every year my little international family would pack ourselves into the car and drive across Europe to see relatives. And nothing would happen on the way to Dover, save a pitstop at a Happy Eater (where I’d inevitably get a free lollipop because I looked like Mowgli from The Jungle Book). Nothing would happen on the ferry (these were olden, pre-Eurostar times) and nothing would happen as we drove through France powered by Fanta and crepes.
But as soon as we hit the flat, manure-rich fields of Belgium? BAM. Our car would get totalled by a breezy Belgian hit-and-run driver. This happened twice. Or I’d get mugged. Or someone would break into our car. Or we’d lose something precious, like our passports, my father’s wallet or - worst of all - my waterproof Walkman.
In the end we stopped going to the Continent altogether - it was too risky. We went to the USA instead, and were so relieved by how unBelgian it was that we stayed there. For ages. So now, every time I accidentally say “gotten” or “orREGano”, or profess my love for Oreos, you can thank Belgium.
Yeah, thanks Belgium. Because of you I sound like one of those really pretentious girls who spends six weeks au paireing in Vermont then comes back saying “cellphone” all the time and can’t use “English money you guys”.
Thanks Belgium, because of you I’m a wanker, and all the waffles and wheat beers in the world can’t make up for that. I hate you. I hate every last soggy beige inch of you*.
*Except Bruges, of course. Bruges is delightful.
- Robyn Wilder
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