People who fulfil heinous stereotypes: loud Americans, rude Germans, boozy Brits. You are doing a disservice to the rest of us who are trying to disprove and get away from these clichés.
Having read a post by the brilliant blogger, Young Adventuress, I found myself angry at the reactive aspersions being cast on Brits, based on those that we resent just as much as everyone else (you know the sort, those that head to Spain and create their own mini-England-in-the-sun without ever integrating), prompting me to write this.
Now, I do not, for one minute, believe that all Americans are brash: I know they’re not. Fun-loving Jean, who offered to be our tour guide in LA next year, after five minutes of meeting us on a Sound of Music tour in Austria, proved as much.
But, naturally, the ones that you notice the most are the ones that fall into this category.
I do not, for one minute, believe that all Germans are rude: I know they’re not. The lovely lady in the bakery in Wolfenbuttle who, despite her limited English and my limited German, helped me with my pronunciation, proved as much.
But, the ones who are, alas, stick in your mind.
And although I love a drink, and even every now and again to get drunk, I hope to god that I don’t fall into the ‘Brits abroad’ stereotype.
I think the main conflict that forms between Americans and Brits is the fact that despite coming (quite literally) from the same background, we have branched off to an extreme.
Whilst Americans, generally, are overconfident, we Brits are, generally, under-confident. Whilst they, generally, throw inhibitions to the wind, we, generally, cling on to them and hide behind them. Whilst Americans, generally, speak their minds or ask questions, we, generally, prefer to remain tight-lipped, silent and stew resentfully.
I think that we could both do to take on some of one other’s qualities. I know that after only a short while on our Sound of Music tour (comprising of two English, one Scottish, two Americans and one Austrian tour guide) their infectious energy and exuberance had rubbed off on me, but equally, sometimes it’s not a bad thing to be reserved.
All in all, I love Americans, and can’t wait to get over there next summer. Us Brits grew up obsessed with imported American TV, so how could we have anything but adoration for their land. We don’t agree with some of the policies (can anyone say gun legislation?), but we’re aware that this does not represent the vast majority.
What I don’t love, are the minority who perpetuate the negative stereotypes- though I’m sure most natives despise these individuals JUST as much.
Regardless, it’s important to remember that although those who fit into these tiny boxes of negativity are the ones who are most noticeable, for every legless Brit, every mouthy American and every course German (etc. etc. etc.) there are hundreds of lovely individuals that constantly sneak under the radar unnoticed and overlooked.
What stereotypes annoy you? Or other pet peeves do you have when it comes to travelling?