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Non-Americans reveal the things Americans do that they simply do not understand

Here are 19 things they just don't get.

americans, american culture, reddit

Things non-Americans just don't understand.

A recent viral Reddit thread revealed the everyday American customs that people in other countries have a difficult time understanding. There were so many things that were perplexing to people from other countries that the thread had more than 28,000 responses.

But don’t worry, it isn’t a long list of America bashing. It’s a fun list of things people across the world genuinely wonder about that gives a unique perspective on things we all take for granted.

The thread was started by Reddit user Surimimimi, who asked, “What things do Americans like and the rest of the world not so much?” Many of the responses were from Europeans who have a hard time appreciating certain American customs, cuisines and public facilities.


A big thing that non-Americans find unusual about Americans is our outspokenness. The commenters noted that Americans love speaking their minds on bumper stickers, lawn signs or telling somebody in public how they feel.

That’s probably because Americans are much more individualistic than Europeans. A Pew Research study from 2016 found that Americans are much more likely than our friends across the pond to believe they control their destiny and that it takes hard work to get ahead. Americans are also a lot more tolerant of offensive speech.

The American diet is also confusing to a lot of people. A lot of commenters pointed out that they have a hard time understanding America's love of ice-cold drinks and odd food combinations such as peanut butter and jelly or chicken and waffles.

But if everyone in the world was the same it would be a pretty boring place. So, as they say in France, “vive la différence!” which, in American English means, “Do your thing, man.”

Here are 19 things that Americans like and the rest of the world, not so much.

1.

"College sports. Particularly football and basketball. The rest of the world loves soccer, but nobody gives a hoot about it at the university level." — Scrappy_Larue

2.

"Opinion signs outside their houses. Like 'in this house we support...' I find it weird and unusual." — Bitten Onion

3.

"Bumper stickers." — Back2Bach

To which assortednut added:

"Sometimes I get the impression people put their entire political philosophy in the space of a bumper sticker."

4.

"This used to be much more prevalent in the US but food coloring. When I moved from Japan to the US, I was surprised at how colorful their foods were. These days Americans are now more keen to organic natural stuff so I see it less but it took me a while to realize that blue raspberry is not a real thing." — Awesome Asian

5.

"Root beer and ranch dressing. I brought some to Germany and had my friends try it and they said the root beer tasted like medicine. They politely tasted the dressing with celery and said 'Hmmm, interesting' but the look on their faces was that it was terrible ha." — nargleflargle

6.

"Cheerleaders." — liebe_rootBete

7.

"ICE. Filled till the brim before you pour any drink." — locoliga

8.

"24-hour stores. I was in Chicago working with a colleague from Switzerland who suddenly realized around midnight that he needed a network cable to configure a mobile router for a job the next morning. I told him that I'd meet him in the hotel lobby to drive him out to Walmart. He was happily surprised, as he had forgotten about the US's famous chain of Walmart stores." — Fondren_Richmond

9.

"Waffles with chicken." — glori-hallelujah

10.

"MM-DD-YYYY Date format." — javapyscript

11.

"Peanut butter and jelly." — FlyBuy3

12.

"Flags. So many American flags everywhere." — justmyfakename

13.

"Free soda refills at dine-in places." — Lostarchitorture

14.

"Free public restrooms. I know they're gross but they are nice to have." — vebidib774

15.

"Marching bands. If you’d played the flute in a marching band at my school you would have gotten pelted but in the US you can become a state hero." — Fuzzie_Lee

16.

"Handicap accessiblity. Old buildings/towns in Europe are nice, if both your legs work." — boxatel499

17.

"Lawns...what a waste." — TheFarce_Sighed

18.

"I'd like to say optimism, even if it's blind sometimes. The CAN DO attitude is extremely strong. I would also put belligerence up there for better or worse. That 'Get the f*ck out of my face, I'm not paying for / doing that' attitude. Whether you actually can or not, the American culture makes you feel like you can really do anything. Again, it's a double-edged sword but you'll seldom find an American who's just going to lay down and take someone's sh*t or heed someone who says (to your aspirations) 'You can't.'" — facobi8356

19.

"The switch for the bathroom is INSIDE the bathroom." — [deleted]

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Commence epic reply...


(full text transcribed under the post).

A Facebook user recently commented that the Eagles had "played like they were wearing tutus!!!"

Our response:

"With all due respect to the Eagles, let's take a minute to look at what our tutu wearing women have done this month:

By tomorrow afternoon, the ballerinas that wear tutus at Pennsylvania Ballet will have performed The Nutcracker 27 times in 21 days. Some of those women have performed the Snow scene and the Waltz of the Flowers without an understudy or second cast. No 'second string' to come in and spell them when they needed a break. When they have been sick they have come to the theater, put on make up and costume, smiled and performed. When they have felt an injury in the middle of a show there have been no injury timeouts. They have kept smiling, finished their job, bowed, left the stage, and then dealt with what hurts. Some of these tutu wearers have been tossed into a new position with only a moments notice. That's like a cornerback being told at halftime that they're going to play wide receiver for the second half, but they need to make sure that no one can tell they've never played wide receiver before. They have done all of this with such artistry and grace that audience after audience has clapped and cheered (no Boo Birds at the Academy) and the Philadelphia Inquirer has said this production looks "better than ever".

So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."

Happy New Year!

In case it wasn't obvious, toughness has nothing to do with your gender.

Gendered and homophobic insults in sports have been around basically forever — how many boys are called a "pansy" on the football field or told they "throw like a girl" in Little League?

"They played like they were wearing tutus" is the same deal. It's shorthand for "You're kinda ladylike, which means you're not tough enough."

Pure intimidation.

Photo by Ralph Daily/Flickr.

Toughness, however, has a funny way of not being pinned to one particular gender. It's not just ballerinas, either. NFL cheerleaders? They get paid next to nothing to dance in bikini tops and short-shorts in all kinds of weather — and wear only ever-so-slightly heavier outfits when the thermometer drops below freezing. And don't even get me started on how mind-bogglingly badass the Rockettes are.

Toughness also has nothing to do with what kind of clothes you wear.

As my colleague Parker Molloy astutely points out, the kinds of clothes assigned to people of different genders are, and have always been, basically completely arbitrary. Pink has been both a "boys color" and a "girls color" at different points throughout history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt — longtime survivor of polio, Depression vanquisher, wartime leader, and no one's idea of a wimp — was photographed in his childhood sporting a long blonde hairstyle and wearing a dress.

Many of us are conditioned to see a frilly pink dance costume and think "delicate," and to look at a football helmet and pads and think "big and strong." But scratch the surface a little bit, and you'll meet tutu-wearing ballerinas who that are among toughest people on the planet and cleat-and-helmet-wearing football players who are ... well. The 2015 Eagles.

You just can't tell from their outerwear.

Ballerinas wear tutus for the same reason football players wear uniforms and pads:

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To get the job done.


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