Americans, when you visit a foreign country, do you attempt to blend in, or is it impossible to hide your nationality? In a recent online post, foreigners and Americans reveal how you show the world where you are from. How does one say, “I’m American,” without saying, “I’m American?”
“I’m considered chatty and bubbly by European standards,” reveals an American contributor. “By American standards, I’m an introspective wallflower. It was a weird culture shock to me.”
As much as it hurts to hear, the overall feeling is that when Americans talk in foreign countries, the whole neighborhood can hear them. Send them back home, however, and they fit right in!
2. Spies Like Us
A well-informed observer notes that the “C.I.A. tells our overseas spies not to lean on things when chilling because we do that often.” I am not sure if leaning on something blows your American cover.
Another Euro-skeptic adds, “I’ve heard that we also tend to put weight on one leg where Europeans evenly stand on both.” Weird. Does this sound like you?
3. Fast Eaters
“Recently, in Italy, it felt like the service staff was purposefully trying to teach us to slow down,” explains another American. “They take a long time to get you a check. We learned to chill a bit more and enjoy the company.”
It is just called enjoying life. Not everything has to be a time-saving, efficient experience. Southern Europeans enjoy life, so why rush it?
4. Time is Money
Americans don’t like to waste valuable time on vacation, so some may be hard to stop once they get moving. ”We walk fast and always pretend to know what we’re doing,” concedes a South Carolinian poster. “Even when we’re in no rush and have no clue what’s happening.”
“When I worked in China,” one commenter admits: “Our American partners would usually have a more relaxed fit while the European partners would have more form-fitting suits.” You can usually tell an American apart by their suit fits.
A female corporate worker says she “can still 100% tell the difference between a European and American businessman by how fitted their suits are.”
6. Sports Apparel
One poster says seeing “Older men in New Balance shoes” screams American tourists. I am unsure why New Balance gets the vote here; Nike is also popular among our American tourist friends.
Others say baseball caps and college attire — the college attire thing is my personal choice. No other people alive celebrate university sports teams like Americans.
7. Knife and Fork Game
“I’ve been told that most Americans cut their meat with their dominant hand and then switch the knife and fork,” explains a Pennsylvanian contributor. “Whereas in Europe, they cut with their dominant hand and use the fork in their other.”
I remember marveling at our American guest in England once. He used his knife like a saw, then switched hands and used his fork like a spoon — this was in the ’80s.
8. Talking to Strangers
“Smiling at strangers, being friendly, and making small talk,” suggests another proud American. “These are traits I’ve heard acknowledged most frequently.”
When I lived in the United States, my favorite part was being able to talk to random strangers about anything. If you try this in the United Kingdom, people will first wonder who you are; then, they will form suspicions about what you want and why you are talking to them.
9. Walking With Purpose
“I have heard from some Europeans that we walk differently,” says a Tennesseean. “One guy said it’s like the next step we take is exactly where the universe intends us to be.” The universe best be ready when Americans need to get somewhere. Another contributor speaks of a Japanese friend’s comment: “Every step you take, it’s as if that spot was meant for you.”
10. They Might Be Giants
“There are a few people who are generally as big as us — Icelanders and the Dutch, for example,” concedes a tall American man, “But in many places, I’ve been above average in muscularity and physical size when traveling, even if I’m relatively unremarkable in the U.S.” I am not sure why this is, considering America’s mixed heritage. I will put it down to a plentiful diet full of dairy.
One commenter says Americans tend to favor leaning on one leg rather than standing on two.
“CIA tells our overseas spies not to lean on things when chilling because we do that a lot.” Another person responded, “I’ve heard that we also tend to put weight on one leg where Europeans evenly stand on both.”
Unless you want to be taken for an undercover agent while traveling abroad, stand tall on two feet.
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Source: This thread inspired this post.