British "stiff upper lip" a thing of the past

A No Kissing sign is displayed outside Warrington Bank Quay railway station in Warrington, northern England, February 16, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The famous British “stiff upper lip” has become a thing of the past, according to a survey on Thursday which found Britons are no longer embarrassed to shed a tear or be affectionate in public.

Nearly three-quarters of Brits now greet others with an air kiss or hug, an increase of a third over the last 15 years, while 63 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed said they had cried in public.

“The British stiff upper lip is finally wobbling as more and more Brits wear their hearts on their sleeves,” said Richard Hayes of Warburtons bakers, who carried out the research in connection with an upcoming advertising campaign.

Brits are also prone to getting carried away when they are excited, the research showed, with 47 percent waving their arms in the air, a third jumping up and down and three in 10 throwing their arm around someone nearby.

Plotted on the “passion index,” which measures how often people display emotion, Britain averaged 69 out of 100, with people in the south most likely to show how they feel while the Welsh were the least emotional.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Steve Addison