American Things Other Countries Find Weird

The word “weird” has come an extended way since its origins in Old English. It was first associated with destiny, or the “power to regulate one’s fate”, and later was engaged with the supernatural. From there it started meaning odd or uncanny. And odd and uncanny is what we’ll talk about today when looking at folks in the good old USA. With help, we can see American Things Other Countries Find Weird.

American Things Other Countries Find Weird
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Every nation has some kind of collective idiosyncrasy, such as those Brits that certainly talk about the weather a lot, or those Japanese that created cuddle cafes where lonely businessmen can repose in the warm embrace of a stranger by the hour or for the whole night. Male friends in some countries kiss when they say hello, women in other countries hide their faces, and this can seem weird for those who don’t understand it. Today let’s look at just one country in particular, in this article we see, Weird Things Americans Do.

Weird American
Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy from Pexels

A Bucket of Coffee please Ok, so maybe it’s not only Americans that do this, but we reckon Americans excel at it. In a story by British author Julian Barnes in the book “Lemon Table”, one elderly British woman points out how waiters in some restaurants habitually keep filling up her coffee. It’s quite nice in fact, but in Britain, such service would cost you a small fortune. And Americans seem to drink coffee by the gallon. Go to France or Italy, and in many cafes, you’ll find your cup of coffee isn’t cheap and comes in a tiny cup or glass. Americans are mass consumers of coffee, and we doubt any country can match it. U.S. comedian Bill Hicks made a joke about Americans and their coffee habit before he died. The joke goes, he asked for a coffee in one restaurant and therefore the waiter said, “You want the 32-ounce or the large?” How big is the large asked Hicks, and the waiter replied, “You'll wanna pull your car around back? I'll start the pump.” The Beast of the Feast So, you probably already know this, and you don’t need to have visited the USA to have heard about it, but visitors often remark on how damned big portions are there. We’ve talked about this before, but not the real beast eaters. You see, in the states, all over the place, you’ve got those ‘eat this ridiculously large, heart-stopping, gut-busting meal in 30 minutes and you get it for free’. Godzilla would struggle to steer out of that deal without begrudgingly coitus interruptus his wallet- yet there are names on the plaque on the wall. But why would anyone literally make themselves sick and buy it? Only an American could explain. The question was asked on Quora about this, and most of the people said food is reasonable, and large portions sell to the bulk of individuals in everyday restaurants. But we like this answer, which type of flips it: “Your question might rather be rotated to ask why are portions within the remainder of the planet so small? The US features a good food supply and other people expect value for his or her money.” Knights everywhere You won’t find this happening everywhere the place within the states, but you will likely be called Sir or for a woman ma’am at some point in your trip. It’s very polite and visitors will have nothing against it, but being called Sir will feel strange for most. Perhaps if you are in the armed forces, it might work.

Weird American
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Even calling cops sir seems weird to outsiders. For most people, you've got to be knighted to be called Sir, although admittedly some school kids within the UK might call their teacher Sir. For Americans, it’s a sign of respect, for anyone else, it’s over the top. You’ll find it’s more common in the south of the U.S. Smokes and medicines this is often weird to only about anyone outside of the USA- the very fact that at some pharmacies or drug stores, you'll buy cigarettes. While many pharmacies in the U.S. stopped doing this, you can still find it. It does seem rather odd that the place selling you things to enhance your health would be selling you those cancerous sticks of tobacco. In 2014, CVS Pharmacies in the U.S. stopped doing this, stating, “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.” Hmm, took a while to figure that out. Beer everywhere While you must be 21 to buy beer in the United States, you can get it in some surprising places. One such place is the aforementioned pharmacy, but you can add to find beer sold in vending machines, at some clothing stores, some coffee shops, at some Drive Throughs, and even some special hospitals will have a beer for sale. These admittedly are rare. Accident Lawyers If you’ve watched the show Breaking Bad, you’ll know there’s a lawyer who will make sure you get paid for an accident you had or even didn’t quite have. In the U.S., you can see signs for these sometimes-sleazy guys on TV, or even see their shiny white teeth on giant advertising boards. This wont to be weird within the UK, but over a previous couple of years, the Brits also are getting into on accident claims, and their TVs also are full of nice people saying, “Did you have an accident? Do you know you'll get compensated for that…call this number…?” Drug dealers on TV The last thing you need when all you really need is some exercise and clean living is someone on TV telling you can buy a possibly addictive, happy drug that can solve all your problems. These commercials might have calming music, birds flying over rainbows, people skipping and dancing through the park, and then someone saying a wonder drug made that happen.

The original Zoloft (anti-depression drug) ad, told you, “You just shouldn’t have to feel this way.” Maybe not, but to many Europeans, pushing it on TV seems a bit too much. Drinking Games Now for something a touch more fun, but still associated with drugs. If you visit America, and certainly if you are young, you might get caught up in any number of drinking games they have over there. Beer Pong, that’s got to be American. Or what about Truth or Dare – works better when alcohol has oiled the inhibitions. Or Quarters – no cursing, no first names, no right accepting…no chance of staying sober. There’s even Drink-A-Palooza, an actual board game for drinking. In most other countries drinking isn’t always that much fun. What happens in America, stays in America Ok, so many of those videos out there on YouTube showing the glaring ignorance of some Americans about the rest of the world were made by Americans, so we don’t feel like we are picking on Americans too much here. But it’s not only just world history that some folks from the USA might not have read up on. We heard a story a few guys that asked an American friend when traveling in Europe what accent she thought she had. She replied, “I don’t have one.” She thought she spoke pure English. Another tale we heard was of a young man from West Virginia who met some Brits while traveling in Israel. He asked the Brits how the highways were in England. The Brits, jokingly, replied that they didn’t have cars and still used the horse and cart. The guy replied, “Wow.” When the question was asked on Quora why some, and we say some, Americans don’t know much about the world, the answers were mostly related to the education system focusing only on the U.S., and the country already being so big and diverse. The American writer and intellectual Noam Chomsky wrote that the reason why Americans know so much about sports but so little about world affairs is because that’s just the way the system was set up for most people. Is it weird? You’ll find it everywhere, but those videos we see do seem to make some Americans seem quite ignorant of the world outside America. Let’s just say if you can’t get close to the point where North Korea is on a map but hate the country, there is a problem. Peeping Tom Ok, let’s stop being so harsh now. We’ll address something amusing and ask why within the USA, some toilet stalls have such big gaps between the doors and therefore the outer piece of the stall, so people can virtually watch you do your private business. Many Americans have asked this online. Foreigners ask this a lot, too. One guy on Twitter writes, “When ur sitting on the restroom and u make eye contact with someone through the small crack within the door.” a lady asks, “What's the point of a restroom stall door when there's a 2-inch gap on each side?” Most answers we can find were related to safety, to know someone is in there, to get you out quickly, and making it easier to clean.

Weird American
Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

There’s an enormous debate on TripAdvisor about the subject, but nobody seems to understand the solution. How Are You This could be said to be similar in other countries, but when an American asks “How are you?” they're not usually trying to find a solution. It’s just a way of saying hello. An extensive reply about your ingrown toenail, your setback with coin, and the fact your father didn’t give you enough attention as a kid, is probably not what your interlocutor was wanting or expecting. You can just answer with, “Hey.” the important Home of Football Ok, as we’ve just had the planet Cup of a game called football, we'd also go ahead and say that the remainder of the planet thinks America is weird for calling its strange stop-and-start game, football. But we should tell you that it was the Brits that first called the game soccer, which is a diminutive of the words “Association Football.” The word ‘soc’ came from the association and the Guardian tells us Brits back then loved to put an -er at the end of words. Later the Americans naturally called it soccer just as the Brits did. Then the Brits decided the word soccer sounded too American and let it go. Now, the Brits and Europeans had been playing this football thing since medieval times, and it had been called football some time past too. But there have been many sorts of football, including rugby. That’s why the word soccer became a thing. Americans just took the word football for his or her own game even as Europeans had done. But to be honest, American football is much closer to rugby, so it’s still a bit weird. But just let’s finish by saying if any Brit or European gives you a hard time about calling the game soccer just tell them what we told you. They started it. You have no defense though for calling a game played mostly with the hands, football. 

So, can you add to this list? Have you visited America and found some things weird? Are you American and disagree with what we said? Let us know in the comments! 

Post a Comment