On looking "American"

Jul 12th, 2001, 05:20 PM
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Nospam: For someone who doesn't like stereotypes, you sure do stereotype Americans. You said, "One thing is that when Americans travel, they want everything to be "American" -- the false friendliness, the gulped down dinners and lunches, the casual attitudes, and the prevailing idea that "everyone speaks English, they just don't WANT to." "

I'm an American and proud of it. But one of the many reasons I visit Europe is that it ISN'T America. I don't want the false friendliness, the gulped down dinners and lunches, the casual attitudes. I want to linger over a two-hour lunch and a three-hour dinner. I want sincere friendliness. I want all that Europe can offer, on their terms. So, does that make me unAmerican? I don't think so. I believe there are many Americans, quite a few of whom frequent this board, who feel as I do.

Yes, there are some who are just as you describe, but please don't lump us all together under one umbrella.
Jul 12th, 2001, 07:43 PM
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Kalena--I've no doubt your sons are well behaved. You seem like a smart, kind lady.
But, if they got less than a warm welcome, perhaps other American had worn out the welcome mat. My sister was also at Normandy this spring, and was appalled and embarassed that a group of American teens on a school field trip were being shamefully loud while running and shoving, climbing on the bombshells, and even trying to pry loose stones as 'souvenirs'. She even spoke to them about respect and civility, but they were foul-mouthed and rude to her. (Side note--she was travelling with her own three kids, ages 9-15.) If those kids' actions represent the 'broader range of human behavior' that we Americans have learned to tolerate, shame on us all. Maybe a bit more propriety wouldn't hurt us.
Jul 12th, 2001, 09:28 PM
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g: That's definitely bad. And embarrasing. I didn't see anything like that. Had I seen it, I certainly would have said something, as your sister did.

The group of American teenagers that we saw at Mont St. Michel was definitely subdued. But who knows....

You have a point. If their stereotypes are based on incidents like that and the American shows they watch, then we really *are* in trouble! LOL

The cutest (although very loud and rowdy) group of schoolchildren that we saw was at Mont St. Michel. They happened to be British 3rd graders. They were running laps inside (!) the pillars in the courtyard at the top--When they'd finish a lap, they'd say, "well, then, shall we go at it again". You have to imagine that in a British accent.

What I meant about being tolerant to a wider range of human behavior did not mean condoning poor behavior. Our boys came through and drastically improved their table manners to meet the level of expectation at elegant French restaurants. It's just that there should be a happy balance. But then again, they thought France was awsome in many ways. Thanks for your kind words.
Jul 13th, 2001, 04:51 AM
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I noticed with concern the number of Americans who repeat for themselves how much they are proud. It seems like the result of a damaged ego (or at least in need of some repair).

To Kalena, the statement I found difficult to believe is that you believe is that "we Americans *smile*. And for good reason. We are happy".

This is a nonsense sentence from a person with an evident level of education. If you state this, you gave field to the others to thing that "Americans are overweighted", or "Europeans stink" or "gipsys are pickpoctets" or similar statements, who reside more in prejudice that in reality.

I found the most nice people in every parts of the world I had the luck to go, and this includes Europe, USA and parts of Africa. I prefer to keep thinking this way (until I find reasons to think otherwise).

Jul 13th, 2001, 05:19 AM
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Joao, I'm sure you'll get lots of responses to your posts. You may find it hard to believe, but many Americans are simply proud to be American. No insecurities, no hurt egos, nothing to prove, just proud. Also, the American mindset is 'happier' than that of some nationalities. That's just the way we are. No need to mope and talk doom and gloom all day.
Jul 13th, 2001, 07:31 AM
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Americans "tolerate a broader range of human behavior than many europeans."

Are you high? As a gay man who lives in the U.S. and has travelled extensively in Europe, I beg to differ. In my experience, Americans are the most intolerant of a broad range of human behavior of any western culture.
Jul 13th, 2001, 12:40 PM
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As I said, granted there are many regional differences. I'm just lucky to live an a state with great ethnic diversity and tolerance. Bye for now.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 02:28 PM
Rosemarie not Roman
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I may have posted this before "But who knows where or when?"( If you recognize that you are not a spring chicken).I thought perhaps it is worth a repeat. While I may look Italian as my Dad was born in Italy I speak very little Italian.I wear a lot of black. In a Ladies Room in a museum I heard some women speaking English and they were asking where the cafe was. I answered them and they were startled.."Oh I thought you were a native..you know dressed in balck & all".I was not expensively dressed but comfortably and no bare mid drifts (not with MY figure !)or cut offs.So for what ever that proves.On the very crowded bus in Rome when my very tall WASP-like husband wearing a cowboy got up and gave a lady his seat she said to me in Italian,,"How Gallant!" She assumed that I was Italian & he was, especially with the hat, an American. My husband took to wearing the cowboy hat while we travel as he is prone to skin cancer & needs a hat.In MANY countries they asume he is German and we are handed the German tourist translations. He WANTS people to know that he is an American...(I know a USA'er.)It has been a great ice breaker and people have been very friendly to us...I think Europeans like Cowboys and they also seem fascinated with Native Americans.I can't seem to find a wasy to roll this back & check my spelling.grammar and logic...hope it is OK
Apr 2nd, 2002, 04:23 PM
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In response to the comments about Americans and false friendlyness! Is there really such a thing? Either you are smiling and come across as friendly or you're not!! Many times I came across people in Europe that would'nt think of cracking a smile in response to me smiling and saying at least "Hello" (in their language of course). Too many simply ignore an effort at pleasantries. Have been told by a german friend of mine: You know why many people here don't smile? They're too damned lazy and can't be bothered!"
Apr 2nd, 2002, 04:26 PM
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ha ha

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