Monday, June 21, 2010

About Americans

I have been in the US for just over a week now. This week I had the pleasure of spending most of the week in Boston. Which by the way was totally awesome. Thanks to my friends L and L for hosting me.

I've therefore had a bit of time to observe Americans and their behaviour. I would like to therefore offer up a few reflections I have "About Americans."

American women all have nicely pedicured toes - seriously, I dare you to find one woman between the ages of 15 and 45 who doesn't have cute little painted toes. The first thing I did upon arriving back in the great old USA? You got it. I booked myself right in for a much needed pedicure! (By the way, I also got an awesome Shellac manicure. It's a long lasting one. It dries in 2 minutes and is supposed to last for 2 weeks. I'm the type of girl who completely destroys my manicure the second I get to the car, but with this - so far, so good. I totally recommend).

Flip Flops are definitely the summer shoe of choice - Havainas being the most popular at the moment. Skinny jeans (finally arriving here in America) and flip flops seemed to be the wardrobe of choice for women in Boston. But both men and women rock flip flops here. They are worn EVERYWHERE and with everything. With suits at the office, with bridesmaid dresses, with wedding dresses, with shorts, with skirts with dresses and now with skinny jeans...

Americans love their sports teams (especially the Bostonians) - I got to watch the final game of the NBA tournament from Boston - featuring the Boston Celtics vs. the LA Lakers. Unfortunately, the Celtics lost, but it was still an experience to watch a Boston team play a game from a Boston sports bar. First of all this sports bar must have had around 40 televisions lining every free wall space in the very spacious bar. Second, almost everyone was wearing Celtics shirts (at least all the men were and many of the women). Third, everyone was drinking beer - out of plastic cups no less... I started to have flash backs to college right especially since by the end of the night my flip flops were absolutely sticking to the floor so bad I had to pry them off with quite a bit of effort with every step.

Americans are SUPER SIZED. Ok, obviously, not all Americans are huge (although that is the stereotype), but you definitely see a lot more super sized (well fat actually) people here. At least once a day when I'm out and about, I see a person who is just uncomfortably HUGE. In Europe, I don't think I've even seen one person who I've felt is alarmingly super sized American fat. But, just in general, Americans are big. Especially the men. Broad shoulders, big arms, big beer bellies - even the guys who are hot and fit (like the American boy who by the way I did get to meet) are still just big... It's just not the same in Europe. As one American man put it - "I just can't wear European clothing, it's too slim fit for me. I can't fit my shoulders or arms or legs in them." Hmm... why is that? Growth hormones anyone? Or possibly it's the SUPER SIZED proportions - seriously the proportions here are so out of control. Please show me another country where a "doggy bag" is such a common necessity.

American men wear very baggy (and bad) clothes. Ok, as I'm in honest person, I'm just going to say it. Most American men dress terribly! Big baggy jeans. Big unflattering suits. KHAKIS! Ewww... Sports T-shirts. Sneakers. Shorts! Yuck! I am already missing the sleek and tailored (ok, yes slightly metro) way that European men dress. My American girlfriends find it hilarious that I prefer this style to the American style (they think it's beyond metro and swear they could never date a guy who wears skinny jeans). They laugh at the fact that last summer the Beautiful Swede showed up at a Boston bar in Southie with white linen tailored pants, a baby blue collared shirt and a pink (yes pink) sweater over his shoulders and then proceeded to order a glass of Rose wine. The even more hilarious thing in their eyes is that I didn't even notice that this might be out of the ordinary until they proceeded to point it out to me. I have become Europeanized! To be honest, the way he dressed (and ordered Rose) was not at all abnormal in Sweden. I guess men there are just more comfortable with their sexuality and well way better dressers! I could never date a sloppy baggy jeaned American man!

Americans in general are very polite - this never fails to impress me. They are very curteous, they always give compliments and they seem to go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and at ease.

Americans get married very young and the women wear ridiculously sized diamond rings - I have noticed that I am an anomaly being over 30 and not sporting a huge rock on my left finger. This is less uncommon in Europe and certainly there seems to be less pressure to get married (and spend your entire savings on a ring) when you are young.

Americans are not as crazy about the World Cup as the rest of the world - While people are watching the World Cup here, there is not the same kind of frenzied excitement and activity that surrounds such a momentous event that I have experienced while living abroad during the last two world cups. The last two World Cups I had the pleasure of watching it in the same time zone (i.e. I was in Asia - Bali - when the World Cup was in Japan/Korea and in Stockholm when it was in Germany). There is definitely something to be said for being in the right time zone to watch the games (i.e. it's easier to watch them at the bar). The funny thing is that most children play "soccer" but we are not that used to watching it on television for some reason. I have not managed to watch a single game yet and I'm very disappointed in myself... I have unfortunately not had a free moment since I returned to the US, but that's another story.

Taxis in the USA are not very nice - whether eating in a restaurant, getting served at a bar, buying something at the supermarket or a clothing store, Americans tend to provide service with a smile and assume that the customer is always right. In a country with a strong customer service focus and in general excellent service, the one place where I find it appallingly lacking is when you get into a taxi. (probably because most taxi drivers tend to be recent immigrants...) But inevitably you end up with a driver who speaks little to no English and ignores your directions as he yells madly into his cell phone (yes, here it's a cell phone and not a mobile phone) - which I can't believe is even allowed here! It's not allowed in Sweden or the UK that's for sure. Also, I have to say that in Sweden and the UK, the taxi drivers are always very professional. And even in Sweden they speak way better English then the typical American taxi driver.

Americans have finally caught on to cool phone technology. It was not too long ago that while their European and Asian counterparts lost in their world of "texting," had forgotten that mobile phones can still be used to make phone calls, most Americans didn't even know how to send a simple text message. Times have changed and Americans seemed to have caught with and even surpassed their global counterparts. Thanks to Blackberries and Iphones that is. It seems like every American is typing away all the time on one of those two devices. Even both my parents have Blackberries which is just plain wierd.

Granted these are just my observations from the East Coast. I'm headed out west to San Fransisco for the rest of these week to participate in wedding number 3 of the 5 weddings I will attend this summer. I think it's going to be a great time. I'm looking forward to it! So in case you are wondering if the West Coast is any different (or if I will ever meet any cute boys this summer) well stay tuned for a West Coast update!

Hope you all are enjoying the summer!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me smile this terrible morning :)


Lifebeginsat30ty said...

Two reasons why I find almost no american men attractive:

1. Super sized, beer gutted, or otherwise fat.

2. The kacki pants. It's an epidemic.

I hope you can find a European man in Boston! ;)

International Woman of Mystery said...

You are sooo right! What is it about American men and their beer guts? You just dont' see it so much in Europe!

And khakis. Gross. They should seriously be outlawed.

And just what is so bad about skinny jeans? I love them. On women and on men.