As an ex-Londoner now living in America I find myself in the unique position of being an Ambassador for this much misunderstood country. There is much misinformation about America still flying about but luckily I’m willing to take the bull by the horns and separate fact from fiction.
Do Americans have
no sense of irony?
In my experience, I think
it’s safe to say many of them don’t – not really. They definitely have a keen
sense of humour, it’s just not one that is based on ‘taking the mickey’ and ‘trying
to mask our repressed emotions by using humour as a defence’ as we Brits are
want to do.
For example on the day
Ricky Martin came out as gay I adopted a deadpan voice as I told an American
friend the news. While shaking my head as if I’d been winded by the
announcement I muttered, “Wow! I never saw that coming.”
In response my friend
wrinkled her forehead and said, “I don’t know, he always seemed a bit camp to
me. I wasn’t that surprised.”
Which immediately led to me
bursting out, “I was joking! Of course I knew he was gay!”
Yes indeed, there is
definitely something ‘lost in translation’ between the American and British
sense of humour. They just don’t have the same desire to pick something to
pieces for its humour value before tossing the carcass aside. But that probably
makes them nicer people.
Do Americans all
have freakishly white teeth?
For an American, straight
white teeth are very important while for Brits it’s more a case of ‘if it ain’t
broke don’t fix it.’ As long as you have some teeth why sweat it and put
yourself at the hands of a maniac with a big drill who will leave you with a
large bill? Let’s face it dental perfection is very low on most British
people’s list of priorities. Achieving freakishly straight not to mention white
teeth is part of the American dream and if you need to take out a second
mortgage on your house to afford dental care then hey just do it!
Are Americans are
The vast majority are not.
However, look at America via TV and what do you see? A huge growth in the
breast implant industry (pun intended) as well as a focus on chiselled noses,
abs and pecs. For these Hollywood stars the pursuit of perfection is a full
time job. Americans have a very strong work ethic which has rubbed off on these
celebs: but rather than going to work they are having work done on them. It’s
more about looking the part of a celebrity than trying to look younger or
firmer. As for the ordinary folk, generally US culture is less focused on
looking sexy than in the UK.
So, there are some cultural
myths busted, that’s it for now but do let me know if there are any other myths
about Americans you’d like my insight into.
by Emma Kaufmann at www.mommyhasaheadache.blogspot.com