Ugly Americans?

Old May 29th, 2014, 02:01 PM
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I tend to see the ugly American as a urban myth since I met over 100 Americans traveling in my country and a few more in 3 travels to the US and I've never found one ugly
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Old May 29th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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Sure - lots, like the gadflies who start silly threads just to be provocative>

really was not my goal - I was looking for funny stories like I gave but I see that it was not a good idea and taken too seriously - my fault- and I agree the stereotype of an Ugly American could apply to many different nationalities.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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<i><font color=#555555>"I can tell you stories of the so-called French fashion cognoscenti showing up at 5-star Manhattan restaurants in flip flops and dirty feet."</font></i>

And I won't even mention the godawful smell coming from their armpits. Some European models don't smell much better during Fashion Week.

PalenQ should be ashamed for starting an ugly thread like this. It's either a really slow news day, or someone needs to plan for a trip.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 03:08 PM
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>>She asked me where we were going to next. I said "Battambang". She said "Is that a Pagoda or something?"<<

THAT is the best you can come up with?
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Old May 29th, 2014, 03:39 PM
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Oh hell, I'll just throw in that the majority of tourists that annoy me in Europe are not Americans. That is all that I'm saying.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Yes, although this happened some years ago. We were in Paris going out to dinner and another american couple heard us talking and glommed onto use in the hotel. They seemed lost - so we agreed to have dinner with them. We were going to take th Metro - but they were scared (don't think they had ever been in a subway) so we agreed to take a taxi (not much for 4 people).

So we get in, greet the driver and give him the name of the restaurant (which any cabbie would know) and we started off. And it was obvios he at least under basic English - and for all I know was perfectly fluent.

So the idiot husband of the other couple starts warning me - in a VERY loud voice - that the driver will try to cheat us and we have to decide how much we will complain and what we will pay. I pointed out that the meter was running - and that was what we would pay, plus a modest tip. He starts going on and on about all Parisian cabbies are cheats, they will drive you around in circles (he wasn't) and then add all sorts of extras for no reason. I pointed out the card showing the rates and told him to just cal down.

So we get there and he starts to berate the driver - saying he's cheating us and we'll pay half the meter. My companion managed to herd off the idiot couple (with the wife saying don't let him fool you) while I apologized and paid the cabbie. The they didn't want to pay their half.

So we told them to find someone else to have dinner with and walked away.

It was MORTIFYING.

But I must admit I have also seen ugly Japanese (pushing everyone else out of the way in terror of being left behind by their tour leader) and even Irish nuns (ditto - in Rome).

I think fear just overtakes these people and they forget how to behave. The difference is that americans do tend to be louder.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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The OP never answered whether he has ever been an Ugly American???
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Old May 29th, 2014, 05:21 PM
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"The term 'Ugly American' is bandied about a lot..."

A lot? What troglodyte hasn't traveled enough by now that they are still fussing over "Ugly American"?

IMO, this is a term that people drag out whenever a travel site feels when an American wants to stare at his belly button. I'm sure it's a technique used by belly button starers throughout the world.

Most of us know that it's just plain silly.

Enough already.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 06:12 PM
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I saw this pair in Cinque Terre, and one leans over to her companion, and uses these precise words: "RICK says, that..."
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Old May 29th, 2014, 06:35 PM
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UGH!, nytraveler. I would have been beside myself. Good for you for dispensing of the boors. Would have done the same.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 06:47 PM
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Jeez. I'm not exactly an Adonis but I have had several successful trips to Europe, Mexico and South America.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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Ha! i know plenty of Southerners who think Northeasterners, as a rule, are Ugly Americans (loud, pushy, boorish, etc.).
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Old May 29th, 2014, 07:34 PM
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As noted above, there are idiots from every country, more from some. On the other hand what determines who is a boor, is how one reacts to the situation. Indignation and disgust are obvious and easy, aplomb and equanimity are learned.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 08:17 PM
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Do you know what an Ugly American is?

He's a fictional character in a 1950s novel by Amnerican writers Burdick and Lederer, and a 1960s Hollywood film, who distinguishes himself from his loud, arrogant (and more cosmetically obsessed) compatriots in an imaginary SE Asian state by calmly, self-effacingly and constructively working with the impoverished local population to help them better themselves.

The stereotype American louts PalQ is trying to ferret out are, in fact, the Cosmetically Correct Americans. It's the ugly one, the authors imply, who knows how to behave.

I've only ever heard the Ugly American term used by Americans - and clearly only by Americans with limited knowledge of their own culture.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 08:23 PM
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Although Flanner is correct, like many words and phrases they evolve to have to second and third meanings.

To answer Flanner, the term was used more readily when Americans first start traveling en masse abroad especially to Europe. As they saw the bad behavior of other national groups who were not as self-conscious, usage waned.

Of course, Palenq intention was that of a child making a funny phone call. "Is Mr. Blackhead there?"
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Old May 29th, 2014, 08:39 PM
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I'll second what tuscanlifeedit says. I have the luxury to spend whole afternoons in Vienna's cafes people watching, and I agree that "ugly" comes in many nationalities.

As a corollary, perhaps, I encounter my share of "ugly" American ex-pats, those friends and acquaintances who refuse to learn even the basics of the local language (German, as is the case.) Their rationales? "Vienna is an international city. Everyone should speak English;" or, "Why bother? I'm only going to be here three or four years;" and, my favorite, "Well, I had my appendix removed soon after we arrived, and I figured that if I could get through that I don't really need to learn the language."
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Old May 29th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Generally there are three types of ex-pat groups, business people, retirees, and those seeking an adventure somewhere else. In the company for which I worked becoming posted overseas was like having herpes, once you always got it, you always got it. These were hardened business people whose mission was business not learning a culture or learning a language. It was astonishing how little they learned about the countries in which they lives, but they were assigned as masters of the universe not as cultural attaches.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 09:39 PM
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OK then, in the spirit that the OP said was his original intention (light-hearted humour), I was sitting on the steps to Sacre Coeur a few years ago, and overheard two young American ladies discussing where to head next. "I've heard about this place in Germany called Neuschwanstein?" said one. "What's there?" asked the other. "Well, I read there's a fabulous castle there," replied the first "Apparently it's based on the one at Disneyland."

I must add that they were not loud nor in any way obnoxious, just two young ladies having a quiet discussion - but it did put a smile on my face!
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Old May 29th, 2014, 09:49 PM
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IMDonehere, even if one is not part of the diplomatic corps there is a certain amount of cultural diplomacy involved in everyday living in a foreign country, even for hardened businessmen and "masters of the universe." Refusing to go beyond, "Sprechen Sie English?" or just expecting everyone to speak English is shameful.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 09:56 PM
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Ugly is everywhere and from every country. There will always be idiots. I'm sure I've done stupid things....people probably think I'm an "ugly American" when I am actually Canadian (born and raised, but live in America).

My worst scene I witnessed was actually on a cruise ship. We were seated at the dinner table with a couple from Israel and a couple from Texas. I was talking away with the couple from Israel, asking about their culture, city, etc. The woman from Texas loudly interrupts and says "I was in Israel last year and they had a circumcision in the hotel. Can you believe that? There are better places to have a circumcision." She didn't stop there. She then proceeded to say that she disagreed with circumcision and with countries that made it a law.

I just couldn't. I was mortified. This dragged on for at least 10 minutes. And, of course, in stereotypical Texas fashion, she was basically shouting. The Israeli couple was very gracious in explaining that this was part of their culture. We requested to be moved the next night.

My husband is the typical ugly American stereotype and he isn't shy about it. I just walk behind and apologize
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