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If I ever judged the UK by what I saw on TV when I lived in the US

(490 Posts)
Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:09:16

Everyone in the UK would either speak with a Cockney or RP accent.

They would all either live in an over crowded terrace or a huge country estate.

All the schools would be crap.

The populace would spend their entire lives in pubs.

Now, I never believed any of that, being a relatively smart human being.

So am I being unreasonable to wonder how come I'm constantly battling US TV stereotypes here on MN?

It's a thread about many many many threads.

Pascha Tue 03-Sep-13 10:11:51

What stereotype in particular do we tend to get wrong? Can you give an example?

mrsjay Tue 03-Sep-13 10:12:28

<waves> hi tee people can be silly sometimes eh like a bit of a light hearted posting ,

we all have to fight sterotypes I would like to see scottish people not sterotyped as the drunk hardman or the heather weaving scone baking mother grin

You forgot we all have bad teeth

Onetwothreeoops Tue 03-Sep-13 10:13:48

People do believe what they are told though, perhaps it is your MN mission to educate, educate, educate! Maybe you could try and sell it as a programme to Channel 4, it could work smile

lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 10:15:48

American stereotypes about the English:

Everyone has High Tea at 4pm (my brother still struggles to believe this isn't true).
Bunch of Snobs. (Actually I'm increasingly convinced this IS true)

As for stereotypes about Americans firmly cherished by many Brits & Europeans I meet, DON'T GET ME STARTED.

slapandpickle Tue 03-Sep-13 10:17:45

Stereotypes: crumpets, scones, tea, etc. Bad teeth. All being socialists.

Regina Spektor seems to be under the impression we don't have Netflix or WiFi in Britain - odd as the venue I saw her in recently had 3 open networks to choose from, she then whinged about no WiFi both while onstage and in subsequent interviews.

Most Americans I have known have also conflated the UK with England or thought (republic of) Ireland was part of the UK.

SoleSource Tue 03-Sep-13 10:19:47

I know and have always believed that most Americans are kind, smart, upbeat people . I love their humour and their country.

SilverApples Tue 03-Sep-13 10:22:03

Numerous Americans I know are startled at just how small the UK is in comparison to the States. And how teeny tiny our houses are. grin
Because that's not what gets shown on TV.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:25:08

mrsjay yours was just the latest in a looong line of 'but I saw it on TV!!' type posts here.

And not just here. In real life too.

It's TV, people. It's not real!

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Tue 03-Sep-13 10:27:22

I post on a mainly US forum, it is amazing how many times you see threads along the line of: Visiting the UK doing Scotland in a day, what to see? and: Do all the shops shut at 4pm for afternoon tea? grin

Can I make a massive generalisation?

You'll let me cos I'm a pal.


American telly has too many adverts.

Din't shout.

<<hides in corner from TeeBashing >>

Can I make a massive generalisation?

You'll let me cos I'm a pal.


American telly has too many adverts.

Din't shout.

<<hides in corner from TeeBashing >>

Can I make a massive generalisation?

You'll let me cos I'm a pal.


American telly has too many adverts.

Din't shout.

<<hides in corner from TeeBashing >>

FreudiansSlipper Tue 03-Sep-13 10:32:52

i have spent a lot of time in the us (dad lives there)

i feel when i am there it is the us and the rest of the world is separate from the news and political/social programmes

so that stereotype i can understand where it comes from

but not the all people in la are glame (they are certainly not), mid americans are all fat and dumb, again no (but obesity there is on a different scale to here) and those from new york are rude, well americans tend to be more upfront that british

GooseyLoosey Tue 03-Sep-13 10:33:14

There are a lot of US stereotypes in the UK. I was born in the US to an American father so I notice them a lot. However, as I have a very English accent, people never think to reign them in. The ones that immediately spring to mind are:

- Americans are all loud and brash
- Americans eat huge amounts of unhealthy food
- Americans have no sense of humour and don't understand sarcasm
- Americans are all right wing and have guns under the bed
- Americans are much more friendly than the English
- Americans are good at customer service

SoleSource Tue 03-Sep-13 10:34:37

UK telly has average fourteen adverts in between programmes. I know because I count them. Used to be nine about five years ago.


Ubud Tue 03-Sep-13 10:34:57

Everyone I've met outside the UK think we are all rich and have tea and scones. If they go live there they have a massive shock when they realise that we have poverty and beggars on the street.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:35:53

Chaos my love...GET A NEW PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I agree with you. There are too many adverts on US TV.

FS I'm actually surprised when my family has seen something that's happened here in NI on the news there. The US is very UScentric. I'll admit that totally.

I was promised November.

He's mived the goalposts.

'sJanuary, now.


I was promised November.

He's mived the goalposts.

'sJanuary, now.


I was promised November.

He's mived the goalposts.

'sJanuary, now.


I was promised November.

He's mived the goalposts.

'sJanuary, now.


SoleSource Tue 03-Sep-13 10:39:27


lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 10:43:07

Phone Hiccups, Chaos?

Americans are all...
Rich in material wealth
Happy ( confused )
Have perfect teeth
Incredibly ignorant about geography
Have huge houses*

*Actually their houses like their cars are inverse tardises. Huge on the outside and astoundingly badly used space on the inside.

Can't argue with the too many adverts comment. I love advert breaks on UK TV.

farrowandbawl Tue 03-Sep-13 10:44:12

grin @ Chaos.

I'm actually going to miss it when she get's a new phone.

AFishWithoutABicycle Tue 03-Sep-13 10:46:28

Brits are all alkies
Americans are all light weights
Brits are stuck up
Americans are brash
Brits are machiavellian
Americans are perky
Brits all live in tiny terraces or castles
Americans are live in the ghetto or Beverly Hills

The media like to portray people in a certain way... It's never true in my experience.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 11:25:40

Hmmmm... my sterotypes...

Americans are often very religious and they distrust atheists
They have a worse obesity problem than we do.... so far
They love their guns irrationally
They also love their cars irrationally and they dont walk anywhere
They are a bit hazy about foreign affairs because all they watch is Fox News which doesnt show anything like that
They dont resent success and they are interested in new people
They have extremely, weirdly, carrying voices- a mixture of volume and tone somehow
They have learnt to be extroverted and even the introverts feel they ought to whoop from time to time
They are better than we are at showing respect to traditionally disrespected groups such as the poor, serving staff and other races

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 11:31:14

I'll tell you my iconic US telly programme- Extreme makeover, home edition with Ty Pennington. A whole community comes together, rebuilds a house for a deserving family, often has a collection to pay off the mortgage too. Shows small town America coming together for community action and doing genuinely good and wonderful things for neighbours. Also shows how hard it can be to be poor in a land of medical bills.

And a lot of whooping.

But I always cry at the end. [embarrassed]

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:36:16

The part of that show they don't put on TV: the huge increase in property taxes, the jealous neighbours and the poor construction that falls apart in 3 months. grin

I always cry at the end of it as well.

dufflefluffle Tue 03-Sep-13 11:38:46

I worked in a hotel in Switzerland once during a french motorway strike - traffic diverted past us so we got a lot of different nationalities in. Usually bus tours so I don't know if that reflects a particular level of society. Anyhow, pretty much all of them conformed to their stereotype! To the extent that you could predict how they would react to things and what they would order, what they would have an issue with, etc. It was surprising to me.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 11:43:48

"It's TV, people. It's not real!"

It's not?...Brunch, that's real though eh? sad

YANBU. Although my country (not UK!) gets great stereotypes, so I'm happy smile

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:45:07

Brunch? As in something eaten between breakfast and lunch? It's not unreal.

TigerSwallowTail Tue 03-Sep-13 11:46:06

What is an RP accent?

My SIL and my friends wife are both American and are both very stereotypical, but yanbu as America is a big place and I know better than to base my attitudes towards Americans on just them.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 11:46:43

Brunch as in when people on tv go out for brunch - people really do that?

<is for some reason heavily invested in the idea of Brunch>

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:50:15

Yes. People go out to brunch.

Not all people. Not all the time. But it does happen.

I have brunch hmm

redlac Tue 03-Sep-13 11:54:13

ah yes MrsJay the great scottish stereotype of the drunken yob. I stopped watching EastEnders when they made Mo's horrible husband Trevor a Scot. How many scots have you heard of with the name Trevor??

I try not to stereotype american's but i do want to have an american teenage house party with people dancing holding red and blue cups! My teenage houseparties consisted of spewing drunkards swigging straight out of the bottles of buckie and tenants smile

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 11:56:03

"Yes. People go out to brunch."

Yay grin

Just so it makes a bit more sense...I had a jokey argument with someone about brunch where they insisted they'd never heard of such a thing as going out for brunch and I was adamant it must exist because I'd seen it on tv - which I admit is poor evidence, lol, but I figured it wouldn't happen on tv so often if it didn't actually exist as a thing.

But no, I don't picture all Americans going out for brunch every day or anything.

God I have boring arguments. hmm

Buzzardbird Tue 03-Sep-13 11:56:22

RP Received Pronunciatin Tiger

We are very repetitive in the UK <chaos is anyway> grin

stopgap Tue 03-Sep-13 11:59:36

I've lived in NYC for ten years (so not real America ;)) and can say that some stereotypes are generally true.

Americans are usually friendlier than Brits, and on the whole far less snobby about backgrounds.

Americans--even high-earning ones--don't eat as well as Brits, and the ones that do tend to take it to be extremes and be raw foodists and such.

To those who say Americans are obsessed with cars, I'd say that the Brits are far more obsessed. You see a lot more older cars on American roads, and far less people living in three-bed semis scrimping to afford, say, an Audi TT.

Obesity is a problem here, but I think it's almost level-pegging with the UK.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:02:05

It's a Sunday or maybe Mother's Day thing, tabulahrasa. I personally don't like it. I'm hungry when I wake up, I don't want to wait. Or if I eat breakfast then brunch, I don't want lunch and then I'm hungry long before dinner!


SilverApples Tue 03-Sep-13 12:04:57

We all do Brunch most days in this house, we are not morning people.
DS calls it Second Breakfast (LOTR) and OH calls it Elevenses.
DD and I say Brunch, but it's all the same really. smile

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 12:10:04

To be fair, by the time I eat breakfast it's probably brunch...but I really want to go out for brunch, not just eat at that time and call it that, lol.

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 12:10:31

Anyhow, pretty much all of them conformed to their stereotype! To the extent that you could predict how they would react to things and what they would order, what they would have an issue with, etc. It was surprising to me.

Group behaviour is always easier to predict than individual behaviour.

Say you have a German group vs a German tourist. talk about stereotypes The individual German tourist may or may not leave his towel on the swimming pool to mark his place. But, in the German group most will (probably all, because who would want to be left out when every one else was reserving their chairs?).

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 12:11:11

I think there is a certain snobbery among some Brits when talking about the USA. For example my mother would dismiss some things that she couldn't be arsed with didn't approve of as 'very American'. This would include things like baby showers and halloween.

JerseySpud Tue 03-Sep-13 12:12:06

Americans have no idea where Jersey is. If i say i live in Jersey i get asked which part of New Jersey...

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 12:17:14

Americans have no idea where most countries (continents?) are, let alone small islands.


One idea I have stuck in my head about the US is that if you don't haven't medical insurance they just don't treat you. I watch 'Sicko' and it made sad viewing.

how true is that that??

DustBunnyFarmer Tue 03-Sep-13 12:21:38

There is a subset of Americans who are terribly, terribly genteel, rather than brash. I managed to massively offend a lovely Texan woman over breakfast ina B&B in California by saying "bloody", which is considered a pretty mild swear over here.

JerseySpud Tue 03-Sep-13 12:21:45

grin lweji

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 12:24:04

"Americans have no idea where most countries (continents?) are, let alone small islands."

I've been asked in all seriousness if I need a passport to get back into Scotland from England, whether Scotland is an island, whether it has its own currency and if I might know someone's auntie jean with no surname and no idea where in Scotland they live...all by English people.

So I'm not convinced that a lack of knowledge about geography can possibly be worse in America.

Tbf, I can get the Jersey thing. If someone said they lived in London, I'd assume London (UK) rather than London (Canada), because it's bigger/more important and local- like an American would assume it to he NJ, I guess?

eurochick Tue 03-Sep-13 12:25:50

I love Sunday brunch in America. Loads of food, often mucho booze and there for about 3 hours with a big group of friends.

When I was over last I stayed in an iconic hotel and you had to pre-book Sunday breakfast otherwise there was a massive queue of non-residents taking up all the space for brunch gatherings.

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:25:52

Big houses.
or apartments.
Pupils in high school wear their "tribal " clothes - jocks, cheerleaders etc (and break into song and dance at any moment)
Paper boys throw the paper on the lawn.
The police in the South are pretty mean and call you "boy".
Go to a diner and you'll be served the best food this side of the Rockies.
If you go into a forest, you'll meet hillbillies / murderers.
Supermarkets give you brown bags to carry stuff home.
No one walks anywhere.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 12:28:34

Oh I've got another american tv show question...

Do lots of high school students actually drive to school? I assume they're not all actually about 35,lol, but it seems to be pretty normal to drive to school and park there, is that true?

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 12:30:46

I'm curious to hear some examples of the stereotypes that you're referring to OP.

Are you saying that all Americans are not obsessed with teeth then? wink

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:31:25

You can drive at 16 in America

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:39:38

"One idea I have stuck in my head about the US is that if you don't haven't medical insurance they just don't treat you. I watch 'Sicko' and it made sad viewing.

how true is that that??"

Not true. They treat you. But they'll bill you and you'll be paying for it the rest of your life if it doesn't make you bankrupt. And that's not even true any more with Obamacare.

Nancy not all of America. Driving age varies by state.

And there's the number one stereotype of the US. Most laws are not federal. They are State. Something that is X in one state will be Y in another.

StuntGirl Tue 03-Sep-13 12:46:27

I base my views on Americans on my visits there and the Americans I know. Stereotypes generally have a grain of truth somewhere, that's why they're stereotypes.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:46:32

And do you constantly hug each other all the time like they did in Friends?

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:48:59

Yes. I hug so much my arms hurt when I'm home.*

*I'm lying.

farrowandbawl Tue 03-Sep-13 12:49:15

Is Obamacare up and running then?

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 12:55:45

Well here's my stereotype for you:

I think that most British people would have a better idea of life in the USA than most people in the USA would have about people in Britain. Of course not all of what they believe is true and none of it will be true for everyone in the USA but by and large I think the exposure to US culture is far greater in the UK than vice versa.

mummytime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:07:31

A surprising number of people in the USA don't know much outside their State. I met a highly educated Californian who had only left California once; to go to the Grand Canyon.
I also taught Environmental Science to Uni students in Chicago, and was shocked to realise some of them hadn't ever seen the sea.

The news can be such that you don't have a clue what is happening anywhere including the rest of the USA or even during a big story (a hurricane heading towards NYC) in your own town.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:10:12

there are a hell of a lot of Brits who don't travel very far either.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:15:05

My American snippet is based on the film Clueless. I was amazed that Cher could drive by herself on a learner s permit. So no I assume that all 16 year olds drive about unaccompanied when they are learning.

The other erroneous one is that Americans don't get irony, and somehow their sense of humour is less sophisticated than the Brits. Which is bollocks when you think of Seinfeld, John Stewart etc.

There is quite a lot of sneery anti Americanism on mumsnet sometimes. You only have to have a thread about trick or treating, or baby showers, for people to complain about brash American traditions which are hateful. Yes god damn those yanks for daring to have nice celebrations. grin

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:15:18

Americans have big cars.

And seem to drive on freeways in perfect symmetry to allow cars to move through the gaps easily in a car chase.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 03-Sep-13 13:15:50

What would US toddlers think about the UK if all they watched were UK kids programs? Bloody terrifying I imagine - a place full of overstuffed wobbly characters like the teletubbies. And that freak girl in the Night Garden, not to mention the little peg people that live in a dolls house and make constant little farting noises. And the odd creature that appears to live in an Iron Age souterrain and piles up stones and scrubs them. <shudder>

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:16:56

Loads of Brits have never been to London. Which is mad when you think of it as London is easily accessible from all parts of Britain. Far more so than America where the geographical distances are far greater.

joanofarchitrave Tue 03-Sep-13 13:17:38

I'd agree re the travel. I hate the sneering about American lack of passports - if I lived in the USA I could spend a lifetime travelling constantly, experience a thousand different lives and never leave the country.

I had a boyfriend once who lived on the Isle of Wight. Many of his friends 'didn't like to leave the Island' and took the ferry maybe once every couple of years to take their mums shopping in Southampton.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:18:26

And what would Americans think of Brits if all they watched were soap operas. We would be either miserable godforsaken Londoners, camp northerners, bizarre Yorkshire folk or randy teenagers.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:20:18

Plus Americans get a lot less annual leave than we do, standard is 10 days iirc. So if you went on a trip to Europe or Asia or something that would probably take up the majority of your leave entitlement.

MrsHoratioNelson Tue 03-Sep-13 13:26:10

leGav that's true - irony is no problem, it's sarcasm that causes confusion. We Brits are (on the whole) much less direct and open in the way we speak; we understand that you shouldn't take everything anyone says at face value. Americans I have met tend to expect people to day what they mean and mean what they say.

They think my DH is hilaaaaaarious. But then he already speaks like a character in an Enid Blyton novel (he's very fond of calling everyone "chap") and he seems to ramp up the ginger-beer quotient when we go to the US.

forevergreek Tue 03-Sep-13 13:39:47

My American friend was/ is astounded at the amount of stuff British people do with children. She said its perfectly acceptable to just leave in front on tv all day if they want. Where as in the uk people generally let children watch but make excuses for why and try and limit and do other things.

Also the sheer amount of snacking in the US. When we visit no one seems to feed children meals at meal times as they are fed snacks constantly through the day. I had to stop 3 people trying to feed my then 7 month old m and ms!

I also agree that most Americans eat less healthy in general. The uk still has a carb, meat and veg mindset, where as just carbs or carbs and meat seem the norm in the US.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:41:30

Americans are obsessed with eggs!

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 13:46:46

Americans are obsessed with eggs!

It's true grin They have a great deal of terminology simply to order eggs.

Tee All I think off when I see American TV is the food and extreme couponing grin

I'm heading over the the Emerald Isle next month btw! Dont think I'm anywhere near you though.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:00:09

When I watch Hollyoaks, Corrie, Eastenders etc it seems like another country to me too, and Im a Brit grin.

Seriously, all this falling out with people and the aggression and the sleeping around. really?

not like that here is Boringsville, I can tell you [puts her cardie on for a nice snooze]

JerseySpud Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:32

They have seriously better chocolate and fizzy drinks in the US. Peanut butter m&m's for a start!!

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:08:21

Ewww no - chocolate is HORRIBLE in America. Hershey bars? Yuk.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:00

I don't like American sweets. Dd loves them though, and I have nicked some if hers. The chocolate isn't very nice.

My brother used to live in LA and he sent me some luxury chocolates once and they were delicious, but they were the equivalent of Godiva chocolates. Can't remember what they were called which is a shame as I would love to order some.

farrowandbawl Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:49

The chocolate is horrid but Milk Duds are ace!

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:50

god yes, the chocolate alone is a reason NEVER to move stateside.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 14:20:32

The names of the chocolates make me laugh though.

BalloonSlayer Tue 03-Sep-13 14:21:42

mine would be

- all Americans have good teeth

- all people who live in the south are fat and/or rednecks

- all people who live in New York are thin

- all people who live in New York are witty

- New York apartments are really spacious and glamorous (ie a chef and a waitress / an office drone and an unemployed actor can afford to rent massive ones) I know this isn't true cos I read it somewhere hmm and apparently the reason New Yorkers are always going out to dinner is because their apartments are so tiny you can't cook a meal in their kitchens . . . not sure I believe that one either

BalloonSlayer Tue 03-Sep-13 14:24:37

Paper boys throw the paper on the lawn.

kim my very rich sister lives in Australia and has a paper round. hmm I hear you say - yeah that's how she got rich, by being a tightarse.

My DCs did it with her and loved it. She drove the car and they chucked the papers out into the front gardens.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:25:06

Everyone who works in New York carries those one cup coffee flask things with them.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 14:26:18

Anyone who lives in New York is lucky to be alive amongst all the shooting, car chases, corrupt cops...

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 14:27:21

But anyone who is a victim of a crime in Las Vegas will be OK because they have a brilliant CSI team .

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 14:27:51

All American baby boys are circumcised.

Poor Americans in New York have baths in their kitchen.

Chefs in New York only seem to work 4 hours a day (based on Monica Geller).

SueDoku Tue 03-Sep-13 14:28:16

Sadly, the takeover of Cadbury's seems to be moving them in the same direction as American chocolate -- I don't know what they've done to Dairy Milk, but it certainly doesn't taste the same any more - in fact, I've stopped buying Cadbury's chocolate altogether sad

farrowandbawl Tue 03-Sep-13 14:28:23

All cab drivers are either really helpful and chatty or grumpy arseholes...oh, yeah hang on. That IS true.

farrowandbawl Tue 03-Sep-13 14:29:55

I've stopped buying chocolate for the same reason Sue. We don't eat anywhere near as much of it now. Cadbury have really let themselves down.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 14:33:18

The erroneous belief that there is no class system in America. There is, but as a Brit, you'd not be so aware of it.

What was the old Bostonian rhyme?

"And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod.
Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God"

John Collins Bossidy (1860–1928)

When you read about the Mayflower Association, Daughters of the Reolution (DAR), you realise that the class system is alive and well in the USA too.

PiperMaru Tue 03-Sep-13 14:35:15

I kind of agree with a lot of the US stereotypes of Brits.

Our houses are small and have no storage and quite often the plumbing is not as good as it could be. Insulation is done on an ad hoc basis, despite this having been a cold wet country for far longer than houses have stood.

We value our backgrounds more than we should, for something which is essentially random. I can't help where I was born and who my parents were and where I went to school. All of that was out of my hands. Yet it essentially defines me in the UK.

We tend to mistrust people when we first meet them - maybe because we haven't yet got the measure of their backgrounds. This does close us off a bit. I had a decade of living with Americans (in the UK) and when I went back to hanging out exclusively with Brits, I found it ever so ever so hard to hold back the friendliness. sad But it is so necessary.

And frankly dentistry is quite poor over here, although I would argue that a lot of the perfecting that goes on in the US comes under cosmetic surgery and we don't readily go in for that over here. FOr moral reasons, as much as anything.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 14:36:42

That's interesting mignonette. We were discussing regional accents in the office recently and an American colleague said that strong accents in America nowadays are 'a class thing'. I have no idea is she is right or not but clearly there is some sense of a class system.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 14:37:27

I also adore my American brown bags. I have large brown sacks and smaller sandwich/packed lunch ones. They are the coolest thing ever and my children loved taking their lunches to school in them.

Everybody that sees them wants to know where I get them from.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 14:41:50

High i am fascinated by US culture. I have a large USAF near my home town and get to meet lots of Americans. I have been told that people depict the Minnesotan/Wisconsin/North Dakota accents w/ its strong Scandinavian overtones as 'country' (I love it) and of course the 'New Joisey' has been equated w/ the 'Essex'/Estuary English accent.

I, myself am a sucker for a Southern drawl and their sayings! 'Duller than a row of tents'; 'so good it makes you wanna slap yo momma round the head'; 'dumber than a box of rocks'.....So creative although i do not approve of violence against one's Momma.

nickelbabe Tue 03-Sep-13 14:45:56

i was very surprised in the Gordon Ramsey programme on hotels that they're all in hospitality but were swearing a lot
whenever i've spoken to an American on the telephone, they haven't liked swearing at all and call me ma'am grin

dunno about general stereotypes, but judging by health issues - all births are highly medicalised in case you're a complete loon/hippy and choose a MW.
there's NO GAS AND AIR shocksad

PiperMaru Tue 03-Sep-13 14:47:41

There is gas and air, but the mix is different, and the mix we use in the UK isn't licensed in the US. They probably all think we want to be knocked out during birth grin

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 14:47:46

New York women don't use scrunchies.
That is true, of course, because Carrie Bradshaw said it.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 14:49:43

mignonette grin at Momma's head

I also think US culture is fascinating. Whenever I visit I am struck by how familiar it all seems (same language, same shops, same brands) while at the same time it all feels very different to me.

nickelbabe Tue 03-Sep-13 14:51:00

but they don't use it in birth.
it's nothing or epidural.
(i am on a couple of birthing forums where most of them are US and they all say the same)

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 14:51:02

American houses are all made of wood (except in large cities) and blow away quite easily.

Also, there is an alien magnet in the US. hmm

Teenagers are either popular or geeks.

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 14:52:04

tabula re driving to school, my son's high school only allows Seniors (ie Upper VI / Year 13) to drive to school due to space in the car lot. DS and most of his friends have their junior licence, which means they have passed their tests but can only carry one other teenager and have to be off the road by 9pm. They are incoming Juniors (Lower VI).

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:52:22

I love going to an American restaurant and having a baked potato with sour cream and bacon , salad, coleslaw and mac and cheese coming as part of the meal!

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:53:53

Americans call people "Sir / Maam" all the time - which seems true when you hear them being interviewed for British TV / radio.

You hear a US police officer describing an event and they are so polite.

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 14:54:05

And I can confirm that my big American house is made of wood and managed to not get blown away in either Hurricanes Irene and Sandy quite happily!

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 14:54:12

Midwifery is unlawful in some states. Births have to be in the presence of an attending physician.

Nurses assist w/ births in many hospitals. Weird to me.

The not walking much outside of some cities. I got stopped so many times by police and security guards whilst strolling along in many places, sometimes just to ask what I was doing, sometimes more suspiciously.

Jaywalking can be unlawful in some places. But you never see much walking in film/TV.

They all drive trucks in the South. Apparently. They all drink ice tea or sun tea. They sit on porches all day playing Canasta.

The whole of America has a soundtrack of Cicadas and Crickets from dusk. And fireflies are everywhere.

Everybody goes on road trips. In big gas guzzlers. They will either find misadventure, find an interesting and quirky person on their travels or find themselves as a result.

Cowboys never say much. But they have big deep thoughts. They all squint into the sun when asked questions and take their time in answering.

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 14:56:54

And one stereotype that is very true is that American teenagers are often scarily polite and call you Sir and Ma'am or Mr and Mrs CoolStoryBro. I have to keep correcting them with my first name. Having 18 year olds call me Mrs Cool makes me feel too old!!

complexnumber Tue 03-Sep-13 14:57:54

We have several box sets of such quality broadcasts as The A-Team, Magnum and Murder She Wrote.

I think I know all I need to know about the States.

Earthymama Tue 03-Sep-13 14:58:42

I am going to visit US, San Francisco, for the first time in October.

I expect to find:
Good Ole Boys calling'am
Chippy waitresses in Diners
Hippies calling me Maaan
People wearing preppie style clothes
Car chases down the steep hills

I am reeling at the thought of no decent chocolate, say it isn't so!! I like Montezuma and Green and Blacks; there will be an equivalent surely!!

TakeItAsRed Tue 03-Sep-13 14:58:57

No comment on whether YABU, but as someone with a lot of American relatives and a fair bit of time spent in the country, they are a very inward looking nation.

I was once on a greyhound bus, and was asked by a young woman if we had TV over here!!!!!
Combine that with always being asked if you happen to know a distant relative of the person you are speaking with, on the grounds that they live fairly close to you in the UK (think 'close' as in Manchester to Portsmouth!).....

Says it all really. God lov'em

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 14:59:21

High The USA was more of a culture shock to me than other places because i was expecting it to feel very familiar.

I have more-

The Deep South regards Jello with or without salad congealed in it as a vegetable dish. In fact they call it congealed salad. They do have amazing fresh vegetables though as part of their culture because the original slaves from Africa brought that over w/ them.
Texans have big hair.
We think real Chile (A bowl O'Red) has minced beef in it. It does not.
Everybody in Portland is a hippy.
Hawaiians eat the most Spam in the World (true). And wear lei's all day. And sway.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 14:59:37

I was thrilled on my first trp to america when I was called ma'am by a bloke in the airport.

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:00:36

Cheers, Friends, The West Wing, Frasier, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, ER, Happy Days, 24

Plus a whole load of movies.

I did also live there for a while and did hang out in some coffee shops.

Auntfini Tue 03-Sep-13 15:00:55

Do cheerleaders really wear their uniforms all day to school? This is something I have always wondered!

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:01:58

I am planning a trip to america next year, I haven't been for years. I am thinking of going to Nashville and Dollywood.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:03:52


You will find amazing chocolate in San Fran-home of the artisanal food movement in the USA. Try Ghirardelli which opened its first store there. Recchiuti Confections in the Embarcadero is great, Dandelion in the Mission is wonderful and you'll see loads of sellers in the farmers markets.

Artisanal chocolate is fantastic in the USA. I love it and I am pretty fussy.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 15:03:54

- Brunch is a big, all-day event. My favourite one by my old house used to have unlimited champagne and bloody mary's, chocolate fountains, and about three rooms full of food, and had a 10 piece jazz band that played... It was amazing, and I really miss it living here in the UK.

- You do wear your sports uniforms or letter jackets to school, you do drink out of red cups, and you do have kegs at parties, and yes, you drive to school, and leave campus for lunch.

- "They all drink ice tea or sun tea." I'm not from the South, but I loove sun tea. When I first tried to make some on holiday, all of my friends (English) looked at me like I was mad.

- "The not walking much outside of some cities. I got stopped so many times by police and security guards whilst strolling along in many places, sometimes just to ask what I was doing, sometimes more suspiciously." Last time I was home I was crossing the street (at a crosswalk, on the "walk" signal) and someone shouted out the window, "Get a car!" confused

- "Jaywalking can be unlawful in some places." Having received a ticket for this before, I can vouch for this being true.

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 15:04:01

Mignon the culture shock freaked us out at first as we weren't expecting it.

PaperSeagull Tue 03-Sep-13 15:04:08

Thank you for this thread. As an American on MN, I'm often surprised by the outlandish things some people seem to believe about the US. I suppose if they are basing their judgments on Hollywood fantasy, it shouldn't be too surprising. grin

The anti-American sneering can be a bit wearing at times, though. Whenever I see a thread title referring to something US-related, I make a bet with myself about how soon it will be before someone tosses in a knee-jerk anti-American insult. It usually doesn't take long.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:05:58

I adore America and the Americans. Love them. We're not all rude Paper. Amazing country.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 03-Sep-13 15:06:11

Moving house in America is very risky because American houses tend to be haunted.

American hitch-hikers are all serial killers.

American teenagers age badly, and by the age of 17 appear to be around 30.

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 15:07:54

The kids definitely DON'T wear team kit at DS' school. That's seen as really lame. But everyone does drink out of red Solo cups.

Oh, and I'll whisper this but, cheerleaders are often a bit overweight and not that pretty. I know. I couldn't believe it either. I've seen Bring it On One, two and three

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:11:43

Most kids seem to live in either really big houses or in an apartment on the wrong side of the street.

Saying that. I was backpacking in the US and met this guy who let us stay in his house and it was massive. His parents were out of town and they were rich.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:12:32

envy at going to Dollywood.

DH went to an American Football pre-season game while he was in Seattle last week and I was very disappointed to learn that the cheerleaders just 'danced about a bit'. Apparently there were no Bring It On style cheers.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:14:23

I agree with you paper, the blatant anti americanism is one of the few things I dislike about mumsnet.

I remember hurrying to work in London, where everyone jaywalks, and I crossed the road on a red (I had to run admittedly, a bus was coming) and an american family gaped at me. I was astonished when I found out that it was illegal in some countries.

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:14:33

And they love their ballgames. They all sing the anthem with pride and love SuperBowl Sunday.

But they don't get cricket.

They love an English accent. Probably a Scottish one as well but they love an English accent.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 03-Sep-13 15:15:59

Also, American towns are often attacked by monsters/aliens/homicidal maniacs, but this is okay because there is always a guy with a huge collection of food and weapons in his basement to help defend the place. The locals will have been laughing at him for years, but the jokes on them when giant worms erupt out of the ground, oh yes.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:16:17

I know, Dollywood is amazing.

I don't even like country music really, but fancy going line dancing and all sorts when I am there. I want to go somewhere in the South and Nashville looks fun.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:16:27

One thing I did find frustrating is that, even in the smartest café, you don't get given milk for your tea or coffee - it's just those little UHT pods.
If you ask for fresh milk they seem really puzzled.

But it's lovely to always be brought a glass of iced water as soon as you sit down.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:21:31

Oh I forgot about the water. American tap water is not good, it's like drinking swimming pool water. What do they put in it?

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:23:38

But High Who needs tap water when you can drink from a crystal clear mountain stream? Every American town has one.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 03-Sep-13 15:24:20

In the films 3 American soldiers could liberate a small country. I've worked alongside the American Army. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Everyone wakes up to eggs and cawfee.
But on the flip side; all mancunians live in terraces, shag everybody, move in with people after a few weeks and live in the pub. Apart from the terraces, the same could be thought of people in the east end, and they're all p/t gangsters with thousands in ready cash lying around.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:24:21

Service is great as well.

And I like the way when the bill is brought over to you, they have calculated what 20 percent of the bill is so you know how much you have to tip grin

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:26:44

The armed forces seem to be held in really high esteems. I remember 5 years ago a bunch of soldiers were in Atlanta airport, random people kept going up to them saying well done, letting them push into lines etc.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:27:23

Earthymama - Going to SF? Head straight to Gheridelli square and/or Sees Candy. Real chocolate at either place. SF is home, I was just there myself in July.

Auntfini - They did at my school and the sports teams had to wear ties and jackets on game days.

All people of drivable age could drive to my high school, but it was a huge school with a huge parking lot. And everyone, pretty much, had a car the second they turned 16 and got their license. Yes, including me. I don't drive in the UK, though.

I have been complaining about the anti-American sentiment on MN since I started posting here. It's 100% accepted that if something is crap? It's American. Well fuck you very much. I'm American. I'm not crap. grin

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:27:38

Going by current headlines, Americans would be forgiven for thinking that you have to be an alleged paedophile/sex predator to get a job on a soap.

<<<drags lighthearted tone down>>>

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:28:17

British soaps that is.

mummytime Tue 03-Sep-13 15:28:37

Well when I was much much younger I thought all Canadians were outdoors types and Americans drover everywhere. I since met Canadians who can't walk 400 yards. And American's who do serious trail hiking.

If you walk in the US, beware that the distance on their trail posts seems to be measured on a large scale map, so if its up hill 2 miles may be more like 4 or 5.
The USA has amazing National and State parks, and it was in some of these that I began to really appreciate how even the most remote European place has been massively changed by man (and the extinction of the European Beaver).

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 15:29:03

Or be a tv presenter?

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 15:29:43

The cheerleading uniform thing seems to really vary. A friend of mine was a US cheerleader and always rants about it on TV shows. She maintains that you wear your uniform only on match days and anything else is deeply naff.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:30:10

HighJinx - Chlorine in a lot of places. And fluoride. I never drink tap water in the US.

PiperMaru Tue 03-Sep-13 15:30:17

I really miss pot-luck dinners with friends. It is the perfect way to actually relax and enjoy people's company without having to think about providing a top notch three course meal.

In the UK people think you are testing them if you ask everyone to bring something.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 15:30:18

CoolStory Really?! It was a rule that you had to wear your uniforms on game days, and it was definitely a thing to be proud of.

HighJinx I think all the tap water has fluoride in it in the States (or so I've heard... Never knew if that was actually true or not.)

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 15:30:33

LeGavf I was at the beach and 2 soldiers arrived and spent the entire day walking from one end to the other while people shook their hands and clapped at them. I swear they were only there to hit on women grin

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:31:05

I want to live in America

<<<<<throws self on floor at Mummys mention of the national parks>>>

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 03-Sep-13 15:31:29

To be fair, mignonette and lweji us Brits could be forgiven for wondering about that.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:32:08

Contrast, I meant they wear their cheerleading uniforms on game days. Sorry, not clear there! Although they wore their letter jackets all the time.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:32:13


Quite right.

BalloonSlayer Tue 03-Sep-13 15:32:40

"In fact they call it congealed salad. "

AIBU to be sitting here flapping my fingers and saying oooooooh yuuuuuck at that?

I have another one.

All balls in America are yellow and blue with a star on them. Like this one. They are not allowed to have any other design. It's the law. (Seriously if there is a ball in any US cartoon, it's always like this. Why?)

Auntfini Tue 03-Sep-13 15:32:48

I'm beyond happy that they actually do wear team uniforms. I am ignoring the poster who says they don't at her ds' school as it ruins what I imagine high school to be like in the US

nancerama Tue 03-Sep-13 15:33:04

I was in the US when John Prescott lamped a protester who threw an egg at him. That was the only piece of "international news" they featured. blush

droppedscones Tue 03-Sep-13 15:33:21

Ooh I love a good stereotype. If I move to America all my new neighbours will bring me home-made cupcakes and pies.(pumpkin or apple). Is this really not true? Snivel. Oh, and I will get shot or car-jacked- yikes.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:33:47

Congealed salad is disgusting and very Southern. I grew up in New England, we almost never ate Jello and I hate it, in fact.

TakeItAsRed Tue 03-Sep-13 15:34:32

reggiue .... god I had forgotten how much I miss champagne brunch on a Sunday!

SamHamwidge Tue 03-Sep-13 15:34:40

The thing about Americans that annoys me most - their reference to the 'british accent'. So would that be an accent from Newcastle or Liverpool, or where, then?

In the interests for fairness, the thing I hate most in the British attitude to Americans is that 'they don't et irony'. So blatantly untrue. Watch any number of U.S comedies e.g. Big Bang Theory, Family Guy - irony in abundance. It just makes us sound very up ourselves to say that.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:35:22

I pounce on baby shower, halloween and christmas threads and growl at anyone who comes out with any dodgy comments. There is absolutely no need for it. Replace american with asian or whatever and it simply wouldn't be said (by non-morons anyway).

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 15:36:07

Tee - Ah, so we agree smile. It was mostly a few years ago when Heroes was on and Hayden whatshername lives in her uniform. Ditto the Glee girls more recently.

Sparklysilversequins Tue 03-Sep-13 15:36:34

The last American I met, I asked him where he came from and he said sceptically "there's no point telling you, you won't have heard of it". I said "try me" he said "Wyoming" looking like hmm. I said "oh Wyoming, western, landlocked state?" He was over the moon grin, he said that every British person he knew had never heard of it and asked where it was in relation to Florida or New York. So I don't think it's just Americans that have woeful geographical knowledge.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:37:27

Exactly Orf. Not only would it not be said, it would be vilified on here and instantly deleted by HQ if someone was moronic enough to say it.

Sam they mean RP. See my original post.

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:37:58

All kids go to school in a bright yellow bus.

And they all sit in individual chairs as the principal makes announcements over a tannoy.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:38:27

Nobody lives in National Parks in america do they? Or have I made that up.

That is funny about the soldiers on the beach grin

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:38:30

Yes, Sparkly. Ask British people to label every American state on a map and they'd struggle w/ most of them.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:38:37

Sparkly I can't even tell people here I'm from Connecticut originally. I get hmm or confused when I do. I now say 'I grew up an hour outside New York City' which is true and they know where that is.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 15:38:42

As someone with family in Northern Ireland, may I admit to getting a bit annoyed by the number of Americans who seem to believe Britain in the correct term to refer to the whole of the UK. Also the number of people who believe England and Britain are the same.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:39:22

That is true Orf. National Parks can't be built on. Well, the Rangers live there, but there's no towns actually in the Parks, so far as I know.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:40:46

As an American who lives in Belfast, Contrast, I agree with you. grin

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:41:21

I have never been chatted up as much as I was in Tampa. It was fantastic. No fucker ever chats me up in england.

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 15:41:22

If you walk in the US, beware that the distance on their trail posts seems to be measured on a large scale map, so if its up hill 2 miles may be more like 4 or 5.

That's possibly because of Pythagoras.
2 miles in a flat map corresponds to the hypotenuse of a triangle, although it won't be twice as long. smile

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 15:41:31

I thought you might Tee. I've seen you mention that you live there. smile

oscarwilde Tue 03-Sep-13 15:42:00

I met a naval student once who had joined the US Navy to work on submarines. He'd never seen the sea and couldn't swim until he arrived in Rhode Island to start his basic training .... That BLEW my mind.

Can anyone tell me why british soaps/sitcoms look completely different to the US equivalent? It seems to be more drab and the visual quality is grainier somehow?

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 15:42:53

Sparkly This is very true. I'm from Colorado, and so many times I get comments (from Brits), "Oh, did you used to live in LA?!" "Oh, I bet it's amazing there being right on the beach..." [stifle laughter]

On the other hand, I just recently had a friend who was planning a trip over to visit, and she asked me how far Great Britain was from London...
Erm... About ten minutes or so? hmm

lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 15:42:55

It's easy to find people who have barely ever left Norfolk (UK).

Americans Do Have National Socialised Medicine, Free at Point of Use. It's called Medicare and the catch is you have to be age 65+ to access.

A lot of poor people rely on charity clinics (Catholic hospitals) for accute care and they get virtually no care for chronic conditions; until their health is so bad they lose all their money & can go on welfare and then they get free health care after all.

I never met a circumcised penis until I came to live in Britain.

There was an American poster on MN really het up about which accent her child took on while living in Britain, insisted that people like Richard Feynman & Bill Clinton were doomed-to-failure (because of their wrong accents).

My dad & I discussed observed obesity rates (we're from SoCal which makes a difference, I'm sure). He reckoned that you see many more super-size people in USA but putting aside American super-obese, the average in UK is plumper. Said that British teens were poorer dressers, too. I said it was seasonal; British teens don't know how to look good for summer but they're pretty good at looking smart in cold weather, opposite for Californians.

mummytime Tue 03-Sep-13 15:44:20

Not me! I've got this fun app on my phone. I do still struggle with Iowa, Idaho, Missouri and Nebraska.
My youngest DD is pretty good on the presidents because she enjoys shooting aliens with them.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:44:39

There are plenty of british people who don't know the difference between the UK and great britain.

National parks, it seems amazing that such huge swathes of land are completely uninhabited. That's small island thinking for you grin

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:44:41

Ask the English to label every county in England and I think that would be interesting.

But - I think I can do States in the US better than counties in the rest of the UK (except England)

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:44:50

Tee - New Haven white clam pizza from Franks or Sally's. Homeland of Fundamental orders, named after the Native American name for its Eponymous River. Mystic the village with the cool name and Hartford home of Colt. 'The Ice Storm'- great film showing great Mid century/Ranch architecture. Greenwich-one of the wealthiest regions of the USA.

I want to walk the Appalachian Trail and part of it traverses Connecticut.

I didn't google that BTW.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:45:55

lljkk my son is doomed then as his Belfast accent gets thicker and thicker... grin

I never met an uncircumcised one until I came to the UK. Well, met my husband, and that actually happened on US soil, so...

mummytime Tue 03-Sep-13 15:47:04

Lwej but when our trails say its 2 miles, they mean its two miles as you walk it, not if it was flat.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 15:47:52

LaGavrof - That is indeed true. I get annoyed with them too smile But I was thinking of the fact that you often hear high ranking politicians, army spokespeople, etc from the US referring to Britain on the news when they should say the UK. It's like no one ever took them aside and briefed them.

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 15:47:59

I never met a circumcised penis until I came to live in Britain.

So, the Sex and the City Girls were just very (un)lucky to get mostly (only) circumcised penises?

I did wonder...

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:48:02

You forgot Hartford, home of insurance.

And Fairfield County, home of the rich who don't want to live in Westchester County New York.

I grew up in Fairfield County, btw, but my mother is still alive so I'm not rich yet.*

*That was sarcasm laced with truth. For the record.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:48:21

I still laugh at Charlotte's (SATC) description of uncircumsised penises as looking like Shar Pei's grin

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:48:43

Oscar the reason the tv programmes look different is because they use different filming formats, NTSC and PAL. I think that's now obsolete in the days of HD, but that's the reason why old episodes of Cheers and whatever look low resolution.

I am a dullard for knowing that sad

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:50:20

Mystic Pizza! One of my favourite films. How could I forget?

And Yale. Inventor of the Frisbee if I remember correctly although others have claimed that honour.

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 15:51:00

Lwej but when our trails say its 2 miles, they mean its two miles as you walk it, not if it was flat.
Ah, it must be the same glitch that resulted in that probe crashing on Mars then.

Tee When you next go back to America can you send me some coupons and a huge slice if pizza? grin

If cant send I shall pick it up on route to my dads grin

I watch CI channel and it seems all Americans want to murder each other!

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 15:51:40

Connecticut makes me think of Katharine Hepburn.

Don't you now tell me that she was believed to be ghastly in real life by people in connecticut, tee, because that will shatter my illusions.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:53:38

I have no idea what people in Connecticut think of Katharine Hepburn and I am not even sure why Connecticut makes you think of her. Sorry.

nickelbabe Tue 03-Sep-13 15:53:40

I have a US friend who said that she never saw an uncut penis until she came to UK ,and she saw a lot of penises.

and the that forum i talked about earlier, the birth one, they're always complaining that their DHs want their son's circumcised so it looks like theirs and so that they don't get laughed at in the shower confused
yup, they all want to chop their own child's knobend off just in case a boy teases them for it hmm

kickassangel Tue 03-Sep-13 15:54:48

The populace would spend their entire lives in pubs.

^^ Tru dat

Sparklysilversequins Tue 03-Sep-13 15:55:10

I have to admit though that my "detailed" knowledge of the western and mid western states is straight out of the Little House on the Prairie books grin. The rest kind of just falls into place after that.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 15:57:50

Agree with the circumcision. My DP is English, and his was the first uncircumcised I'd ever seen (we were drunk the first few times we slept together, so I didn't notice really, and god was I in for a shock the first time I saw it sober!) grin

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:58:54

DH works a lot in Seattle. He had to travel there with a (British) colleague last year. They mentioned to him that it was a long flight 'considering Washington is just down from New York' confused

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 15:59:11

In Mississippi you can't hang men's and women's underwear on the line at the same time. confused

In loads of places you aren't even allowed to have a washing line shock

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:00:34

I watched Chelsea Lately recently and she told her guest that she was 'really spastic' at something - can't remember what - DIY maybe.

Was quite shocking to hear that sort of language on TV especially as I tend to think of the US as being more PC than us.

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 16:02:03


She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

Dorothy Parker, speaking of Katharine Hepburn

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 16:03:46

No washing lines allowed here. I know someone who put one up and their neighbour went crazy at her screaming she "didn't want her neighbourhood looking like the fucking projects".

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:03:51

Well, it is, Jinx if you're talking about DC! grin

Spastic isn't considered un-PC in the US, Nancy. Or at least it wasn't when I lived there, 10 years ago.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:04:06

Everyone (and I mean Every.Single.Person.) in the USA has a absolutely huge fridge. It's the law.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:07:14

Oh, just because she came from hartford and moved back there in retirement, thought she would have been regarded as a local celebrity.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:07:32

That's actually true, Jinx. I have been in some of the tiniest apartments in New York and San Francisco and the 'fridge is always the same size as someone in a huge house in the 'burbs.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 16:08:02

HighJinx And you can get ice and water straight out of the door... [sigh]... I miss big fridges.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:08:52

I like that quote reeling grin

She was the original box office poison apparenrtly.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:09:26

I lived near Hartford from age 1.5 to age 3. And then never went back.

I have no idea what they thought of her!

I did grow up around the corner from Paul Newman and went to the same high school as his kids, if that makes you feel better?

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:10:27

I won my big american fridge (with cubed or crushed ice and chilled water) in a mumsnet competition. It is the best thing in my house.

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 16:10:37

Dorothy Parker was a right old cow, but funny as fuck grin

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 16:11:26

One of those fridges wouldn't even fit in my kitchen sad

I would die for one too.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:11:38

Yeah for big fridges, that makes me happy actually Tee

I am envy about American fridges.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:12:26

That's cool about Paul Newman!

Nobody famous or remotely interesting came from my home town. Joan Collins was evacuated there during the war though. <Grasps at straws>

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 16:12:27

I love having a washing line, what the frig is wrong with them?

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 16:12:37

lljkk, you must have led a very sheltered life, then.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:12:51

I know reeling. The space is what I envy most about the USA. I know it isn't available in the big cities but outside them, that country is vast.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:13:44

Perhaps it looks uncouth having your knickers waving around in the sunshine.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:06

There are 2 things I miss from America. My family and my refrigerators.

Although it was amusing when we were there on holiday, staying in a holiday home, and my mother was lamenting lack of space in the fridge. I gave her one of these hmm and reorganized the whole thing. They are so spoiled by all the space! I told her I'd take a picture of my Christmas Dinner waiting to be cooked in my under cupboard 'fridge if she wants to see a truly full one!

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:44

Sir Malcolm Sargent came from my home town and is buried in the graveyard there.

WTF do you mean WHO ?

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:16:10

I have more Orf.

Rodney Dangerfield also had a house in my hometown, if you know who he is? I never saw him, I saw Paul several times.

Also, after I left the high school that Paul's children also went to, I went to boarding school where Jane Fonda went. She came back and spoke the year after I graduated, actually, because it was the schools 175th anniversary.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:18:49

I don't know Rodney Dangerfield!

I don't know which is more impressive, jane Fonda or sir Malcolm Sargent grin

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:18:58

Tee I miss more about America than you do and I've only ever been on holiday grin

One of the most bizarre 'attacks' I've ever witnessed on an American was by a Mexican who was enraged that the USA had 'stolen' the words 'America' and 'American' from them as they should refer to the continent(s) and not a single country. It all got very ugly.

Is that something that is widely felt against the use of the term American to describe US citizens?

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 16:21:46

I remember christmas with my old CRAP under counter fridge. The turkey was stored in the car boot and most of the other stuff in a box in the garden.

reelingintheyears Tue 03-Sep-13 16:28:59

I had a miniscule fridge in my room when I lived in a nurses home because all your stuff would get nicked from the big ones in the kitchen.

It mainly held wine, gin and milk.

We had it for a few years when I moved out and in with DP.

<<competitive small fridgeing>> grin

shoofly Tue 03-Sep-13 16:29:25

I've only been to New York City and parts of Tennessee. I loved both places - the people were extremely friendly and interested to hear about us and where we were from. Homeland security and immigration at JFK were lovely and I lost count of the lovely people on buses and subway trains and in Grand Central Station in rush hour who obviously thought I looked lost and asked could they help. (Maybe cute 4 year old Ds1 was the charm)

I get what people are saying about some Americans assuming that because they've met someone from Belfast that because you live there so you must know them but to be honest that happens to me with people in England.

KatyaRachmanova Tue 03-Sep-13 16:31:54

I'd love to go to America. My dad and stepmum are saving for a cross country road trip in a Winnebago. I'll have to fly out and meet them somewhere
Actually, I have a question. Is it preferable to say USA, US, The States or America. Is there a difference in the way there is a difference between Uk, great Britain etc.?

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 16:32:59

HighJinx Yes, I got told off for that when I was in Panama, and I said I was American. "We're all American, you don't have a monopoly on it."


KatyaRachmanova Tue 03-Sep-13 16:34:59

Actually that question probably makes me a thick Brit.Sorry!

OrmirianResurgam Tue 03-Sep-13 16:41:20

"I never met a circumcised penis until I came to live in Britain."

That made me lol a bit.

Never met a bald prick until you came to the UK.... now you know loads grin

AaDB Tue 03-Sep-13 16:43:09

I have a US step family. They loved my cute little home and could not believe how much it cost. It's a normal semi with a 130ft garden.

they were shocked by my maternity leave being in months and not weeks.

They think the food is awful. Food out, I can see where they are coming from. I think we made lovely food for them though.

They thought one bathroom was hilarious. They are right.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 16:45:42

Katya No, quite a valid question really! I don't think anyone really has an opinion on which name you use. I think Americans like "The States" because it's quite English, I think I normally use the US or The States, but they're all the same place, so it won't cause any offense like it would here if you called something the wrong name!
The USA just conjures up images of bald eagles and waving flags... It's a bit too patriotic for me!

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:47:22

reggiebean How are you meant to refer to your nationality then? I know that the country can be called The States or The US etc. But how else do you refer to the people?

Lweji Tue 03-Sep-13 16:50:41

US citizen?

As in: "you can't do this to me arrest me for drugs possession I'm a US citizen"

As you know the US army will deploy against anyone who lays a finger on an american.
Unless it's the american army who's in danger, in which case they'll deploy a nutcase Rambo.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 16:53:47

I'm not sure really, I suppose you're meant to say, "I'm from the US." as opposed to "I'm American."?

I think it's quite clear when someone tries to stutter out, "Yo soy Americano." that I'm probably not South American, so it would be a given, but who knows...

KatyaRachmanova Tue 03-Sep-13 16:55:19

Thanks. smile

Quangle Tue 03-Sep-13 16:55:57

All American houses have staircases that sweep down into the living room. And they have sort of saloon doors into the kitchen from the living room.

Fact <gleaned from watching many episodes of Diff'rent Strokes, Cosby Show etc>

CoolStoryBro Tue 03-Sep-13 17:00:54

Quangle, I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but my stairs sweep into the hall. The living room is entirely separate. The only time we (briefly) did live in a house like that, we moved out pretty quickly because the house was so bloody noisy all the time!

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 17:04:34

I actually never encounter 'You aren't American, you're from the US' until I moved to the UK. And I've spent extensive time in Mexico, although not the rest of S America and I've only been to Canada once.

I just call myself American. shrug

US, USA, The States all mean the same thing. The 50 States that form the United States of America, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 17:05:40

Oh and the time I've spent in Mexico has been with my Sister In Law's family. She's Mexican.

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 17:07:47

CoolStoryBro say it isn't so sad

All houses in the States are open plan aren't they wink We looked at an open plan house last year and were told it had 'an American floorplan' so it must be true

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 17:09:25

Tee I'm sure it's not all Mexicans who feel that way. I was curious though if it was something that was widely felt across the Americas however. This particular Mexican woman was lovely but very feisty.

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 17:10:44

I grew up in a non-open plan colonial style house. Delineated living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, study/mudroom thing that had no name!

That was in Connecticut. Which is next to New York. grin

BalloonSlayer Tue 03-Sep-13 17:12:32

Yeah and all the houses have a front door that opens straight into a large open plan living area with a sofa, sorry, couch, that faces away from everything else.

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 17:12:40

I remember the first time I brought my DP to my mom's house, he was amazed that it was just one story (it's a "rancher"). He was convinced that all houses in the states had at least two floors.

lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 17:25:44

Come to think of it, the American Fridge is yet another InVerse Tardis. Huge on the outside and very badly organised inside so that it's quite hard to get much in it. I can squeeze nearly as much food into our under-counter fridge-freezer in UK as I can into my dad's giant American Fridge-freezer.

When my mother lived alone she had 2 huge fridge-freezers. confused

And the washing machines. OMG, Needed to wash 3-5 outfits for each of 6 people. Could not get the American washing machine even half full with all that. And then everyone thinks you're bizarre if you try to air dry rather than tumble. (sigh, and they wonder why they have an energy crisis).

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 17:28:50

To add to the gaiety of nations, I used to know an Australian who, when drunk, would rant about use of The States. "They aren't the only fucking country on the planet to have them you know. It's just arrogant to drop the America bit and keep 'the States' like they are the only ones..."

I agree about washing machines. My brother lived for a while in another country that goes in for top loaders. On my god, the damage that those blades do to your clothing.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 17:32:48

On Modern Family I find it hard to believe that the Dunphys have that great big detatched house and support a SAHM and 3 kids on a realtor's salary, whereas Mitchell lives in a flat but is a lawyer.

its not real getorf

Hiking seems a really big deal in the us. My brother was always raving about hiking in the canyon on trails. If I suggested going for a walk on Exmoor when he lived in England though he would have told me to piss right off grin can only assume that walking is better in america!

Ooh shoofly tell me about tennessee

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 17:36:26

I thought I was pretty knowledgable about life, but only discovered that Puerto Rico was a US territory a few years ago blush

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 03-Sep-13 17:37:56

The "American" thing can be a bit difficult. When we drive to Canada, at the border when asked our nationality, we always say "US."

I am a Southerner. It is sadly true that congealed salad is a thing here in the South. I hate it. I also do not like grits. But fried okra, now that is the food of the gods. smile

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 17:40:33

Ooh, I LOVE grits... And giant washing machines.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 17:42:41

Talking about grits (what is that anyway?) I suppose americans have their own stereotypes based on My Cousin Vinny, brash types from the Bronx or New Jersey (or wherever they were from) and backwards yokels from the deep south.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 17:45:37

<Gip> at okra.

My SIL has an american fridge as well, it is badly designed and seems to have no room in it. Mine is fabulous though, massive double doors fridge, and a huge drawer underneath which is the freezer, 1700 quids worth courtesy of mumsnet. Which was great at the time because I could say to my family 'SEE - it's worth me spending hours talking shite on mumsnet'

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 17:47:19

Think it's ground up corn? (sounds delicious, I know) You can have it many different ways, but the best way is with loads of butter and cheese.... Mmmmm....

My dad is from New Jersey/Brooklyn, and he fits the My Cousin Vinny stereotype 100%!

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 17:47:44

Okra: the only food in the world not improved by frying. grin

I have never ruined clothes in a US washing machine.

Tumble driers rule. And aren't actually that bad to run. Look at the facts, not the propaganda!

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 17:48:11

LeGavrOrf stop rubbing it in! I want a free massive fridge too!!

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 17:52:32

Tee YES! I so desperately miss having a proper drier. No ironing, and when it's really cold out, you can chuck your clothes in for a couple of minutes, and then you're nice and toasty....

Oh god, now I'm just glaring at my stupid all-in-one shitty steam drier that doesn't do anything right.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 17:53:05

Fair enough Tee, but they are more damaging to clothes. It is the central agitator thing actually 'beating' the clothes around the drum. I've seen studies on it and clothes do pick up damage like stretching, small holes, etc more quickly.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 17:55:50

Oh reggie I would love to have a dad like Vinny grin

Some american accents are brilliant. The new jersey one, working class Boston, southern accents and the germanic wisconsin type accents.

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 03-Sep-13 17:59:37

Tee I am from the same town in Georgia as Joanne Woodward. DH and I slept in the same bed that she and Paul slept in (not at the same time, however.)

reggiebean Tue 03-Sep-13 18:01:34

God, you wouldn't. It's mortifying.

He has one volume, which is ear-splitting, he thinks that if someone is from a foreign country, he just needs to talk slowly and even more loudly (as if such a thing were possible), and he starts fights with anyone he doesn't like the look of. "You lookin' at me?! You lookin' at me?"

DustBunnyFarmer Tue 03-Sep-13 19:53:35

I think there is a lot if truth in the stereotype about Americans (the US type) having massive cars. I remember one of the B&B proprietors in California shaking her head in bafflement that we were going to squeeze our luggage into, and I quote, "that itty-bitty little car". It was a family sized saloon and there were only 2 of us (pre kids). There were also shocked news stories about "gas" hitting the dollar mark. H and I were pissing ourselves laughing because it had tipped a dollar per GALLON (this was 10 yrs ago). It has to be said, with all those massive SUVs and pick-ups hurtling past me on the highways, I have never felt less safe in a perfectly sensible family sized car.

lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 19:55:01

Tumble driers have ruined a fair few clothing items in my experience. Washing machines much less so. I am pretty paranoid about TDing now.

shoofly Tue 03-Sep-13 20:24:18

Le Gav - I wss in Nashville and surrounding areas for a work training course about 15 years ago. I didn't see that much of the place but I can lay a wooden floor!

The thing that amused me most was the sign on the factory gate "All guns must be checked with security" I was supposedly coming from "war torn Belfast", as one of the locals said and they were surprised that this shocked me. I also got to stay in a hotel with a lake inside where a boat travelled round the bars on the "lake shore" inside!

They were shocked because I drank 3 frozen margaritas grin - therefore proving their stereotypes about the Irish and drink!

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 20:39:32

Haha at the wooden floor grin

I used to go to Florida a lot for work, was astonished at how the people were quite happy to drink and drive. Would go out for dinner with my co workers, they would sink a fair few beers and then merrily drive home, which I thought was a bit shocking.

Most striking memory of the place was the humidity and my crazy hair in reaction to it.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 20:40:58

And I remember the Americans pissing themselves at me when I used the word fortnight in a business meeting, they said it sounded like a word from Shakespeare. I had no idea that Americans didn't use the term.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 20:44:06

LaGavrOrf - My favourite is when one person says something like 'shall we table this' about a tricky point, and half the room thinks you mean thrash it out now and half thinks you mean put it to one side.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 20:49:14


I laughed when my Florida workmates came to England for a meeting. On the way to work they went past a cattery. They asked 'what on earth is a cattery'. I just looked hmm at them and said it is where you put your cats when you go at home, what do Americans do. They just said we leave the, at home, they're just cats. grin

Oh my, I am late to this thread, but cumON, Tee, you Americans have got it easy - try being a German in the UK shockgrin.

<<sudden sense-of-humour failure>>
<<oh no, wait, I didn't have on in the first place>>


Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:08:39

I never left my cat alone, when I had one...for more than 4 nights. grin

I agree. They are cats. Big bowls of food and water and a litter tray. Sorted 'til you get back!

Orf the first thing I was handed to type up when I got my first UK PA job was a set of minutes that referred to 'tabling' things. I was so confused as they went on to discuss the item further! grin

No thanks PD. wink

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 21:09:03

I always feel the Germans are unfairly maligned about the whole towels on sunbeds thing. In my experience its the Brits who are rabid and obsessed with it. grin

On my last day at work where I trained, I arrived to find every surface of the office covered in huge bathtowels... I looked a bit like this hmm - did not have a clue what they were on about - while all my colleagues where looking at me expectantly and like this: grin.

My lack of response and puzzlement just confirmed my typical German lack of sense of humour. I had to explain that never ever having been on a package holiday, I had never ever been guilty of the heinous crime of sunbed-claiming-with-towel.

They did give me a rather lovely, huge and fluffy beach towel as a going away present grin.

Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread.

I grew up between the States and Germany and have had many, many memorable conversations on both sides of the Atlantic about the relative merit of the other side.

'Do you come from East or West Germany?' - Ehm, seeing that this was in 1976, there war really only one side I could come from...

'Do you have indoor plumbing? Hot AND cold water?' - hmm

'Why do you want to go back home? Why do you not want to stay in The Best Country In The World? - I was asked this at the end of a lovely summer I spent in California aged 14. Wanting to go back home to my family and returning to school and seeing my friends did NOT explain why I was rejecting The Best Country In The World in such an outrageous and insulting manner by turning my back on it!!

I love the US of A and all who reside in her, really grin

LaGavrOrf, I once stayed in a hotel with DH where a whole group of Germans AND Brits had been thrown into jail overnight after a fight over sunbed and claiming-with-towels. A Nairobi jail... surely no sunbed is worth that!

DustBunnyFarmer Tue 03-Sep-13 21:30:07

And I remember the Americans pissing themselves at me when I used the word fortnight in a business meeting, they said it sounded like a word from Shakespeare. I had no idea that Americans didn't use the term.

Same happened to me on our last US roadtrip. When I got home and related this to a group of friends, one of my friends said "se'night" used to be common parlance for a week, which was a new one on me. Then I felt kindred spirit with the baffled American.

portraitoftheartist Tue 03-Sep-13 21:30:56

Stereotypes: toe-curling patriotism and respect for authority.
Their conviction that the US is the best at everything.
Too much whooping, crying in public, self confidence.
1960s type tweeness over bodily functions eg bathroom means a toilet.

Has anybody quoted "Americans and Britains are seperated by a common language" yet?

So true.

My boys think the American use of the word 'pants' is just phantastically hilarious - easily pleased boys; the only thing funnier is a good fart joke

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 21:39:30

Oh my god I am cringing at your dozy Brit work colleagues doing that with the towels. Bloody hell!

And that is crazy to get slung into a Kenyan jail over towels.

My DP worked in Germany for years and learned German there. He has got lots of stories of his German colleagues and friends telling him to go and buy something and the word was x, when it was something rude. He ended up fluent but his mates said he sounded gay because apparently the way he spoke German with his quite voice was effeminate. grin

He knows lots of fabulous German swear words which he has taught me. grin

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:39:51

My father says that all the fucking time PD. Makes me want to kill him.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 21:42:17

When the Americans laughed at my fortnight I felt like I was the country mouse visiting the sophisticated town mice.

Compounded by the fact I had flown in the day before, the airline had left my luggage on Boston, and so I had to go to this meeting with yesterday's contact lenses welded to my eyes, hair of insanity, the jeans and crappy top I had travelled in and flip flops.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:43:42

For a Brit NOTHING is funnier than 'fanny pack'

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 21:45:22

Or the phrase 'kick you in the fanny' which makes my face shrivel.

Sorry grin

The towel thing was quite funny. Once if was explained to me...

Here's another thing every single American household has: a wall-mounted squarish telephone with a curly lead several yards long to allow the receiver to be held handsfree between the chin and the shoulder and a conversation to continue while unpacking shopping (from brown paper bags) or cooking or painting toe nails.
Must be true, I've seen it on TV

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:47:03

Roseanne had one of those phones....

Oh yes, fanny pack grin

even funnies as I have an Aunt Fanny

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:48:25

'that's it, slide your fanny right over'

....said to me by a cab driver last time I was in NY. I would have hoped that aged 46 I'd have matured but nope. Still funny.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 03-Sep-13 21:50:20

Yup. Still funnygrin

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 21:50:30

The American ring tone scares the shit out if me.

All those horror films.

Trills Tue 03-Sep-13 21:51:04

If you judged the UK by what you saw on TV...

Everyone would always live in the same village/street that they grew up in. Someone moving in would be referred to as a "newcomer" for at least 20 years.

ILikeBirds Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:02

"Someone moving in would be referred to as a "newcomer" for at least 20 years."

Where I live in the UK it is like that smile

We looked around a house and asked if the owners were moving out of the area, they said yes and named a village 4 miles away!

Trills, I've been here for 20 years and I'm most certainly a newcomer grin

aladdinsane Tue 03-Sep-13 21:58:57

extreme either size 0 or size 28
loaded or skint
hardly get any holiday leave
live in mansions or on a trailer park
v v right wing
carry guns

Liara Tue 03-Sep-13 21:59:08

The difference is that us brits are crap at selling ourselves whereas the US are really good at it.

You would have to be daft to think that what you see in British TV is true to life, American TV is just much more convincing.

(my stereotype: Americans are good at selling, Brits are crap at it)

Disclaimer: I have worked a lot with sales people in both the UK and the US and I think this is actually true.

Well, that's the whole point of stereotypes, isn't it: there is a kernel of truth in a lot of them...

Americans think nothing of driving for absolute hours to, say, go to the cinema
Americans don't walk anyway - unless it's a 'work-out'
Americans all love and adore European fashion
Americans aspire to driving certain European high-end cars

I've witnessed all of the above. Some of the time. From some people.

I was once stopped by a police car for walking in Bel Air grin

Trills Tue 03-Sep-13 22:12:27

Americans will drive 3 hours at the drop of a hat, and back again the same day.

Brits going anywhere over half an hour away requires long discussions in the pub over "should you take the A303 past Stonehenge?".

grumpyoldbat Tue 03-Sep-13 23:44:50

I live round the corner from where I grew up but I'm a newcomer because my parents didn't grow up here. If still here my grand children may be considered local smile

AuntySib Tue 03-Sep-13 23:52:07

Used to be a solicitor and in my youth did some criminal cases, requiring court appearances. Had conversation today with DS18 who said " So did you ever get attacked in court Mum?" "No". "Well it's not like on the telly then , is it?"
No. It's not.

stopgap Wed 04-Sep-13 00:28:09

Re: the midwife thing mentioned earlier, I chose to do a midwife birth at NYC's only birthing centre, and routinely had to explain to people what a midwife was. My sister-in-law thought they were just bastions of the local community, unqualified in any medical sense, but particularly interested in babies and childcare (and my sister-in-law is a smart woman).

Americans care far less about fashion trends. Go to the suburbs of NYC of a weekend, and it seems that most people are dressed in Lululemon pants, jeans or leggings, likely paired with a sweatshirt embossed with the name of the college they attended.

WhiteandGreen Wed 04-Sep-13 00:38:39

Even normal seeming Americans will talk about 'God' without embarrassment.

Ubud Wed 04-Sep-13 00:50:10

I also think Americans go over board on positivity. I had a tennis lesson the other day, the coach was American, I said ""phew it's a bit hot" and got it in the neck for being negative!!!

CoolStoryBro Wed 04-Sep-13 02:56:05

stopgap Which burbs are you going to?!! I don't know one woman who would be caught dead, outside her own in-home gym, in a sweatshirt with her college name on.

And I've never had a conversation about God either. That maybe because all of my friends are Jewish and I'm not though.

kickassangel Wed 04-Sep-13 02:57:25

Having just seen The World's End, then obviously the entire British nation pretty much lives in the pub.

In desperate need of a pint now = a British one!

missingmumxox Wed 04-Sep-13 03:56:11

Okay here I go,, lived in the USA and just come off a thread on FB about a friends crap customer service in the USA, something I wish to confirm, I found Customer service rubbish in the US.
Washing machines....don't get me started.. I had 3 first 2 buggered every bit of clothing I had, no idea why but they would get holes in the clothes I enventually sucked it up and brought a front loader...problem solved!
you know when you buy clothes and it says wash separately as colours may run? and you just wash...welll my god! in the USA the colours did run all the time.
American do get sarcasm and irony...they just don't expect it every minute, they do have humour but again they don't need to use it all the time.
I remember sitting in a "pub" with some American girlfriends, and feeling awkward, after a few beers I suddenlty realised, no laughter in the pub, Americans do laugh but they don't do it all the time, I found eating out was always strained as i am used to people laughing around me.

Americans are more class consious than Brits, they really are (shock to me) most American who got to Know us when we lived there would remark we Brits are very Education consious , as in me didn't give a fig about someones status but we did put a lot of credit in education/being quick/clever, i only have 3 GSEs grade C, trained nurse, alot of American's found I though I was equal in my mind to them due to the fact I am quick with the funny retort... I always found that funny they needed to point this in ...we have more money why do you think you are our equal...well because I am??? you only earn more money?
America was more class counious I felt in the UK

JollyHappyGiant Wed 04-Sep-13 04:59:39

I've been meaning to ask for ages about the drink driving thing. Do most Americans drink drive or just the ones in every single tv show and film?

echt Wed 04-Sep-13 05:31:10

Upthread someone mentioned the ire of non-US persons about the appropriation of America by the USA.

There is another way: Usanians. Google it. It fits. It works.

sashh Wed 04-Sep-13 06:03:44

In the UK people think you are testing them if you ask everyone to bring something.

It's called a 'Jacob's Join' but only in parts of the country, but where it is called that everyone knows to bring a dish. I have no idea where the phrase comes from.

sleepywombat Wed 04-Sep-13 06:11:48

The stereotype of America I found to be true was the sheer quantity of FOOD.

We have stayed with my dh's family in Connecticut a few times & also extended family in Ohio. Its just eat, eat, eat (& they are not particularly big people). I am permanently full & bloated when there. Portions are massive. Between meals, coffee & donuts are fetched (dunkin donuts does good coffee, so may as well get some donuts whilst at it), then better get thinking about next meal...

My mum lived in Washington DC as a child & was fat. I can completely understand why.

Dh's aunt also spends a lot of time trying to persuade me to go to 'outlets' to shop. She tells me I should buy 6 t shirts for $6 & can't understand why I only want 1 t shirt. I thought this was just dh's aunt, but I have a great friend from Denver who insists this is pretty normal behaviour (buy, buy, buy, who cares if you need it or not). Admittedly, people in the UK may be like this too - I've just never been a keen shopper.

Things are very cheap there. Or in Connecticut & Ohio anyway. Dh's 24 yo cousin's first house cost $120 - it is MASSIVE - 3 double ensuite bedrooms, plus 'den' in basement etc, could get similar here for about $400+.

I have found Americans (or at least those I know) to be much warmer, friendlier & welcoming than Brits - no 'stiff upper lip' I guess.

DustBunnyFarmer Wed 04-Sep-13 06:27:30

I'm hoping sleepywombat missed some Ks off those house prices, otherwise housing in the US is exceedinglycheap.

Ubud Wed 04-Sep-13 07:23:53


I have found that too. I know a lot of Americans where I live and when they invite me over for a BBQ they follow it up with "bring a couple of dishes". I would never dream of asking anyone to bring food to a BBQ because I invite you, then you invite me - right! Sometimes I decline the invitation because I think it is a bit cheeky.

Nancy66 Wed 04-Sep-13 07:27:12

Jolly - I found that drink driving to be much more prevalent in the States than the UK. Not so much in NY where they have excellent transport but in LA nearly everyone drank and then got in their cars.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 07:44:56

missingmumxox what part of the US? Because I can say the opposite to everything you just said. And I've lived all over the country except the south.

People are a lot more relaxed about drunk driving, I have no idea why. It's just as dangerous and, I think, just as heavily prosecuted.

Sleepy where in Connecticut and Ohio? I've lived in both places and never seen such low house prices.

Trills Wed 04-Sep-13 08:10:17

In the UK I find that people who live in the country are more "relaxed" about drink driving than those who live in towns/cities.

So more drink-driving in the US may simply be a result of where people's houses are relative to the places where they want to drink.

It's also a bit of a generational thing - much ore common 30 years ago - maybe attitudes change at different rates in different places.

mignonette Wed 04-Sep-13 08:21:28

I find our self deprecation sometimes baffles. My American friends all try to 'buck me up' if I say something self deprecating seeing it as low confidence whereas my British friends see it as modesty!

Trills Wed 04-Sep-13 08:27:39

Do your British friends do a bit of one-downmanship and say "oh you think you're rubbish. listen to what I did the other day"? grin

mignonette Wed 04-Sep-13 08:28:37

Yes Trills we do. We have a daily competition grin. Getting pretty good at it which is the only time my self deprecation slips!

Salbertina Wed 04-Sep-13 08:34:17

View from abroad (not US) here is that Uk:

Crap teeth, crap nhs, crap weather, crap lifestyle

Good for work experience, and ideally acquiring a useful passport confused travelling round Europe and culture

I agree with the crap teeth and weather. Wholeheartedly disagree that nhs crap, relatively speaking. Also think despite weather lifestyle can be good- beautiful countryside, great culture and relatively safe.

Am incensed that UK seen as a convenient way to get a passport, give birth for free etc etc before coming home and slagging it off forever after angry

Nancy66 Wed 04-Sep-13 08:36:58

I also agree with the crap teeth! You see a lot of crap teeth in America too but in the UK you will get well paid, cosmopolitan professionals with shocking teeth which you don't tend to find there.

mignonette Wed 04-Sep-13 09:08:28

England is so green! I hear that a lot even from friends who come from 'green' states. I'd obviously expect it if you lived in the New Mexican desert or High Chaparral.

I kind of see the opposite in the USA in that you get these 'generic' white teeth w/ no individuality. Kind of Rylan teeth. Of course when you step into everyday USA outside of the affluent areas, the teeth are 'normal everyday' teeth.

I am surprised by how run down and desolate whole swathes of American towns and cities can be. But I find dirt roads so evocative-that whole driving down the track in a cloud of dust thing.

The sheer diversity of terrain in the USA is enviable. The whole world seemingly in one country.

I admired the way my American friends rally round anybody who has been bereaved/sick/given birth too. They all talk of a month of hot meals provided by the locals/church/friends and of being cared for and about. Just lovely. This does seem to be a smaller town thing. My friends in NYC don't find pot roasts left at the door!

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 09:11:17

I have got crap teeth. And they will cost ten grand, braces, implants, bone transplants and jaw realignment to fix. So they will stay crap. sad

mrsjay Wed 04-Sep-13 09:20:49

I too have crap teeth years of illness has taken its toll on them I cant afford to have the wide white smile so they will stay how they are,

Lazyjaney Wed 04-Sep-13 09:34:45

I find the look-down-on-Americans-ism of the kids' school friends and their parents quite amusing, as when you say "oh, when/where did you live in the US" you get a foot shuffle and admission that their opinions are formed by TV and visits to Disneyworld.

The crap chocolate stereotype is true though, that's why Canada is allowed to stay independent smile

mignonette Wed 04-Sep-13 09:37:01

Fantastic American chocolate here....

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 09:42:25

Nancy66 i agree with the drink driving in LA

no one seems bothered by it. yes public transport there is pretty crap and its a very spread out city, wide roads etc but shocked how my family and friends over there do not give it a second thought

and the nice teeth also nice nails. even not so glamours women nearly always have nice manicured nails and you never see anyone with money who has bad teeth though quite often they look a little denture like

TakeItAsRed Wed 04-Sep-13 10:04:25

I know we are seen as terribly mean about tipping, and have a reputation for "stiffing" staff. I have explained endlessly to relatives that it is just a different cultural headset, and that 20% is something we pay where service has been amazing but 15% would be about average (and that's up from the 10% which used to be standard). I am advised that 20% is standard - at least in the P.Springs, Sarasota and Boston areas.
Also, the tendency not to tip when we think the service has been less than OK is viewed with surprise.
Over here, its a kindness - over there, its seen as a right. Over here, we pay for added value - over there they tip "high" amounts for the minimal level one expects from an establishment.

That is not a judgemental statement - just one of those cultural differences, but I do know the Brits are poorly regarded for it and it is felt that we should take a "when in Rome ...." approach.
I am not sure we are good at that when it comes to money !!

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:06:24

Manicured nails is because you can get them done for under $10.

LA was built for the car. Most of the US was.

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 10:10:35

I agree with you about the tipping. I think that people should adopt a when in Rome approach and tip as standard. I tip 20% in the US without thinking about it, here 10 to 15 for good service.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 10:13:52

you can get a manicure here for less than £10 in many cities too with all the nail salons about

i know LA was built with the car in mind, much easier to drive over there but that does not make it safer to drink drive just not one seems to worry about being over the limit (not sure what it is)

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:14:17

The tipping is because server minimum wage is less than national level because it is expected they'll get tips.

You're taking away their income if you don't tip but you certainly may tip low or not at all for bad service.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:15:18

Not in Belfast you can't FS!

And I don't get the drunk driving thing either.

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 10:16:20

You can get cheap manicures here, nail bars are full of Vietnamese indentured workers though so fuck that.

stopgap Wed 04-Sep-13 11:19:21

Fairfield County. My husband is from the area. Greenwich is bling, so is Westport, but go to Bethel or Milford and there they are: the college sweatshirt folk.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:32:07

stopgap I grew up in Westport.

That's why they are in the US too Orf. Various Asian girls being paid who knows what...

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:41:05

where did you live Tee?

can here nail bars have popped up everywhere but staff badly treated in many sad

JollyHappyGiant Wed 04-Sep-13 11:43:04

Thank you for the drink driving responses. Not everything on tv shows is unrepresentative then.

Quangle Wed 04-Sep-13 12:19:49

Pacificdogwood - I know that phone. They have it on Kramer Vs Kramer, Ditto the brown paper bags with no handles for groceries.

and YY to Americans and "hiking". It's what we call walking grin. Hiking here is 20 miles across Dartmoor in the rain wearing a cagoule and waterproof trousers, not three mile stroll in the sunshine, wearing Banana Republic.

Quangle Wed 04-Sep-13 12:24:13

sadly I think there is one stereotype that's truer than we think it is and that's the guns thing. Of course not all Americans have guns but even those who don't largely accept that it's normal to have guns.

An American friend was telling me she was really anti-guns and that her attitude and mine were really the same on guns with the words "If DD is having a playdate I call the parent to make sure all the guns are locked away beforehand". She had no concept that that is not a call you really ever have to make in this country.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 04-Sep-13 12:56:58

Gun culture is the reason I feel I could never live in the US. DH has had a few opportunities for secondments there, but that is the one thing that really stops me.

I find the US tipping system odd. But I think it's easier if you think of it as a service charge, not what we think of as a tip. I find it odd because I kind of feel the advertised price should be what you need to pay, not a starting point with percentages automatically added on later. A better base salary for staff should be built into the price. That probably seems less odd to Americans because they are used to many others goods having additional taxes added at the point of sale too (because of variations in state taxes), instead of being built into the ticket price. We only really see that with things like building work where we all get the shock of our lives when we realise VAT has to go on top.

That said, we in the UK have a long way to go on paying our service staff properly too, we aren't on the side of the angels on that one.

HighJinx Wed 04-Sep-13 13:00:06

Going back to the original OP - what TV shows are/were shown in the States? Do you get the soaps?

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 04-Sep-13 13:01:07

Ooh, yes, that's interesting. Which TV shows did you Americans watch growing up that were set in the UK?

HighJinx Wed 04-Sep-13 13:09:05

I think the single biggest difference between the US and the UK is the amount of government intervention in people's lives.

Someone was rescued by police while contemplating suicide by jumping from a bridge in the US. Some observers were heard to complain that the US was becoming a 'police state' and that it was unacceptable for the authorities to intervene in someone's personal choices.

It's the same with the gun laws. Americans do not easily accept the government telling them what to do. It is, after all, The Land of The Free™

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 04-Sep-13 13:32:21

Until the advent of BBC America, most British shows were shown on PBS (Pubic Television System) and were/are considered a bit high brow.
Masterpiece Theater featured, for example, Upstairs Downstairs, The First Churchills, Poldark, Brideshead Revisited, Love in a Cold Climate (the one with Judy Dench). Downton Abbey is now Masterpiece's most popular series ever.

Later we began to get the "Britcoms," Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Are You being Served, 'Allo 'Allo, You Rang, M'lord, Keeping Up Appearances, As Time Goes By. No soaps.

But PBS was very much for (and still is) a niche audience, so many Americans would not have watched them.

Now we have much more with BBC America. Broadchurch just started here (no spolilers, please!)

reggiebean Wed 04-Sep-13 13:33:27

No, never got any of the soaps when I was growing up. I thought the obsession with soaps here was very strange... People actually protesting to free characters from jail and giant billboards promoting a new plot line... Very strange.

I don't think we ever got any English shows actually... In high school, a friend discovered Jeeves and Wooster and bought the box set, but I hated it. Think Monty Python was about all we had really!

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 04-Sep-13 13:37:39

Enjoy Broadchurch Scone. Won't give any spoilers, but don't expect it to get any cheerier than it starts!

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 04-Sep-13 13:50:30

Thanks, TheContrast. I should have mentioned that we also had and still have quite a lot of British mysteries: Morse, Inspector Lewis, Inspector Banks, Foyle's War (my current favorite), Rebus, etc.

I was a lover of all things English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish from an early age so watched anything and everthing that came from across the pond. And still do.

HighJinx Wed 04-Sep-13 14:01:25

reggiebean the British obsession with soaps is a bit odd. I'd forgotten about the whole 'Weatherfield One' saga.

It's interesting to hear about what was/is shown in the US. I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that often if a UK series was a success it was remade for the US market, like The Office.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 04-Sep-13 14:21:53

HighJinx, many have been. The most successful was probably All in the Family which was based on Til Death Do Us Part.

A full list:

CoolStoryBro Wed 04-Sep-13 14:27:10

Re gun culture, I think it depends where you live. It wasn't until, post Sandy Hook, and the Lower Hudson Journal (a local paper) took it upon itself to print an interactive map of every gun licence owner in 3 counties that I was even aware of how many gun owners there were locally. 14 on my street alone.

But it really isn't in your face. The only thing I have done differently from when we lived in the UK, parenting wise, is teach my kids if, when at a playdate, their friends ever ask them if they want to see their parent's gun, they always say no. The only guns I've ever seen here were being worn by cops.

SilverApples Wed 04-Sep-13 14:35:46

'An American friend was telling me she was really anti-guns and that her attitude and mine were really the same on guns with the words "If DD is having a playdate I call the parent to make sure all the guns are locked away beforehand".'

I agree Quangle, if a parent told me they were anti guns in the UK, I would assume that they meant no playing with toy guns, no making guns from random items. Not please make sure my child doesn't die on a playdate.

Snatchoo Wed 04-Sep-13 14:39:01

I watch so much TV it's impossible for me to generalise grin

jay55 Wed 04-Sep-13 15:15:43

On the God thing, in my short stint in a Deep South grade school I was shocked that some kids prayed/said grace at lunch, in school, off their own back and no one took the piss.

Waitstaff minimum wage can be around $2 an hour, with employers supposed to make it up to normal min wage if they don't get enough tips but it dosent always happen and you can be taxed on expected not actual tip level so lose out on a slow night.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 04-Sep-13 15:52:15

That's exactly what scares me about the guns CoolStory. I mean, things like Sandy Hook and Columbine are terrifying, obviously. But what really freaks me out is the idea that a child might 'show off' to mine by getting his mum's gun. Or that my teenager might drunkenly try and let themselves into next door and be mistaken for an intruder. Or that my briefly depressed teenager might have easy access to firearms. I've read that, if you own a gun in the US, the most likely victim of a fatal shooting is yourself or a family member. Followed by a member of your neighbourhood. Don't know if that's true, but it scares me incredibly.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 15:57:02

A good portion of my family in the US are in law enforcement, from police officers to SWAT members to Secret Service. Guns still aren't a thing I worry about when I go home. Maybe because my own family is so anal about their storage and always have been.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 04-Sep-13 16:03:10

I would worry less about family like that. It is the random neighbour who is less careful about storage and/or prone to panicking. ..

Nancy66 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:15:14

The God/Jesus thing is very strange if you're not used to it.

You get 'God bless you all' and 'Jesus saves' signs at petrol stations etc.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:25:05

Well, I also never fretted about the neighbours. I don't think I knew anyone who owned a gun when I was a kid.

The law enforcement types started with my generation, so most of my nieces and nephews friend's parents are in law enforcement, as it's my brothers/sisters/cousins who are involved. I certainly don't hear any of them, even the ones who aren't involved, talking about being worried about guns.

quesadilla Wed 04-Sep-13 16:30:31

The thing I noticed most about this when I lived in the US is just how uninterested (and unaware) most people are of what goes on outside the US generally.

I'm not talking about the educated Americans, some of whom are better educated than most Brits, but ordinary people who haven't travelled. People are really quite ignorant (in the true sense of the word) about the world outside the US.

Britain has tons of ignorant, racist people who think anything "foreign" is a source of suspicion, Lord knows... I'm not letting us off the hook for this.

But in the US it seems almost institutionalised. I met otherwise fairly intelligent people all the time who thought that Britain was part of continental Europe, people who thought that London was in the US, etc etc. Masses and masses of people thought I was Australian. I may be wrong but I get the impression that the educational system there focuses almost exclusively on the US and teaches people very little of what happens outside.

Also you have to be relatively wealthy to be able to afford to travel outside the US (and to be fair a lot of people are stuck thousands of miles from a border) so foreign travel is less common. And there's almost no foreign news on the TV, except for either twee "heartwarming" stuff like Royal Weddings or disaster stuff like earthquakes, etc.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:35:12

People also don't travel outside the US, quesadilla because most people get 2 weeks holiday a year. And that has to fit around schools and so on and so most people don't ever go anywhere on holiday, never mind somewhere that takes a plane.

It's one of the most bewildering things about the UK to me, actually, that holidays abroad and taking time off to take them and spending money on them is nearly seen as a right, not a privilege.

quesadilla Wed 04-Sep-13 16:41:24

Tee yes, fair enough... I do understand that for a lot of Americans its simply not possible to travel.

But it does seem more institutionalised than that too. I got the impression that because of the American exceptionalism thing -- the shining city on the hill, the fact that America is seen not just as a country but as the best country and the country that rewrote the rulebook -- interest in other countries is sort of passively discouraged in a way. And that interest in "Old" Europe is seen as a bit retrograde.

Again, I may be wrong and I haven't been educated in the American school system but that's what it felt like. And for what its worth I feel like the average blue-collar Brit has a better grasp of geography/history of the rest of the world than their US counterpart.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:59:42

Oh I'm not disagreeing with that.

Elementary school was 30 years ago, but it was mostly American history, as I recall. And a lot of states concentrate on state history.

I do see more people knowing what's going on over here, but that's thanks to the internet and 24 hour news channels and so on.

BeeMom Wed 04-Sep-13 17:12:18

I think the most confusing of stereotypes are those owned (and waved around proudly) by the Canadians.

Polite to a fault, apologetic, outdoorsy, bilingual... but I heard a rumour that there might be a guy in the Canadian London that doesn't like trees grin

Honestly, though - Brits see us as unarmed Americans with health care, Americans see us as Brits on the wrong side of the ocean.

We are the most two-faced bunch you'll ever meet... the manners and apologies - you'll hear that all day long, but just under the surface, in the deep dark corners that the light never quite illuminates, we're jerks.

BeeMom Wed 04-Sep-13 17:15:10

Oh... and we have a really screwed up sense of humour...

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 17:20:16

Haha bee that made me laugh.

I liked the partisan Canadian adverts, along the lines of 'don't drink that American Budweiser crap, drink labatts, patriots' or something.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 17:44:48

grin Bee.

BeeMom Wed 04-Sep-13 17:49:02

Hell, we have a beer called "Canadian" now owned by an American, or possibly German company

We are apologetically patriotic, but you won't often see tattooed flags, beavers or moose on our bodies. Many Canadians who are old enough to have formed political opinions are either staunch Monarchists or as anti-monarchy as they come (not much in between).

Funny thing, though, if you ask Canadians to say what a Canadian is, we'll fall back on regional stereotypes, too. Fishermen in the Maritimes, big business in Quebec and Ontario, farmers in the prairies, Oil in Alberta, hippies in British Columbia and the Innu in the north.

90% of the population lives within 200 km of the Canada/US border - as much as we try to maintain our identity, the American influence is strong. However, I live in a border town - across the river from the US. The difference between here and there - separated quite literally by 700 m of water - is so huge as to be difficult to believe. Appearance, accent, racial makeup or the communities... all of it. Going from here to downtown Detroit is like driving into a war zone - entire city blocks burnt out, graffiti and vandalism is rampant, people sleeping on street grates for warmth...

Scary, to be honest...

kim147 Wed 04-Sep-13 17:50:41

How do people cope with 2 weeks vacation a year?

Don't you just get burnt out?

BeeMom Wed 04-Sep-13 18:02:57

2 weeks vacation is the norm in Canada, too - and nothing for the first year of employment. I guess if it is all you get, you live with it.

However, one thing we do have going on right in Canada is maternal/parental leave. In total, there is a year's worth of leave to be used by one or both parents - so one can take 52 weeks, or they can both take time (it is divided into maternity and parental - so it can be used after adoption as well as birth). It is not full pay (works out to about 60 - 70% up to a maximum) but your position is protected while you are on leave.

That time is a blessing, to be sure.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:07:32

Just used to it Kim. Of course that doesn't count national holidays.

Usually the longer you're with a company, the more leave you get.

BeeMom Wed 04-Sep-13 18:14:32

We are entitled to 2 work weeks after a year with an employer, or 4% of annual pay in lieu of vacation time. If you don't get statutory holidays off (bank holidays), then you get extra pay for some of them - others are literally bank holidays, like Remembrance Day, when the banks and government offices are closed and there is no postal service but it is business as usual for everyone else.

I guess if you have never had anything different, then 2 weeks is plenty. Many places don't even have that protection.

stopgap Wed 04-Sep-13 18:18:44

Tee, GFA or Staples? grin

I also get plenty of Americans mistaking me for an Australian, South African or Irishwoman. The only demographic who scores 100% correct on this are NYC cabbies, especially those who hail from Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:26:28

There's 2 high schools in Westport? Since when?

Staples. It was the only one 25 years ago! And I only went through junior year when I more or less dropped out and then went to boarding school for 2 years.

RoganJosh Wed 04-Sep-13 18:35:40

There are many more public holidays in the US. I added up those, plus the 'personal days' my US colleagues could take and it almost adds up to the same as our holiday and bank holiday total. Not quite, but almost.

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 18:37:56

I am always astounded that americans and canadians get so little leave compared to us lot. The least I have got is 23 days plus 8 days bank holidays. I now get 30 days, plus the bank holidays, plus the queens birthday and christmas eve off hmm. Takes the piss really.

Do you have the same number of national holidays?

stopgap Wed 04-Sep-13 18:43:49

Tee, GFA is Greens Farms Academy, the private school in town.

Staples is so huge these days, it looks like an airport terminal.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 04-Sep-13 18:45:55

Americans don't know where Wales is (none of the ones I've met have anyway)
Driving long distances is totally normal (I can see why, lovely long and straight roads)
Religion is something openly talked about and part of normal day to day life.
Most seem to love Tony Blair
Say excuse me when not actually physically close to you - that almost gave me a complex on one holiday!
Outrageously little holiday allowance/maternity leave

I find the "Americans don't do irony" stereotype so stupid given some of the tv programmes that have come out of America.

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:50:59

stop I am 99% sure GFA did not go through high school when I lived there. And I think it was tiny. I have vague memories of girls in uniform downtown after school, but not many of them!

Tee2072 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:56:14

I take it back, they did. I really was only barely aware it even existed when I lived there.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 04-Sep-13 22:01:42

Private employers and non-federal public employers in the US are not required to observe the national holidays, and many do not observe all of them.

cocolepew Wed 04-Sep-13 22:08:38

The American version of Milky Way is delicious.
It's a dark chocolate version crossed with a Mars Bar.
And you can get it in N.I now grin.

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 22:10:21


There is an American sweatshop down the road so I will try that.

My daughter loves it in there. Bloody pop tarts for a fiver,

Trills Wed 04-Sep-13 22:39:12

Why would they now where Wales is?

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 22:41:38

I remember when Catherine Zeta was in Zorro and people wondered where she was from given her colouring. Perhaps they thought Wales was I. Colombia or something.

This is probably shite, from a Heat magazine article in the 90s.

Which begs the question why do I remember heat articles over ten years later?

Catherine Zeta Jones is very confusing to place in terms of colouring/name/accent grin.

Trills, I know where South Africa is and I have never been, I could find New South Wales on a map although I've never been to Australia.

I find I get on better with USArians grin who own a passport... a shocking proportion of the population does not.

missingmumxox Wed 04-Sep-13 23:44:02

CT Near New London, Dh worked and got 23 days holiday rearly took it, but public holidays where frequent.
I purposely didn't mention drink driving, could not get my head round it, but I do think there is a sea change coming as a 23 year old daughter of a friend of mine when i recounted the story of losing my car for 6 weeks in the UK (I had no call to use it) before remembering it was outside a pub I had visited 6 weeks before my friend said "how did you get home?" I said "I walked" never been asked this question in the UK and her daughter said "you see Mum there is no reason to drink and drive people have feet!" her mum drove us back after drinking, I didn't have much choice could have remained at the Mohegan, but all the rooms where booked for 2 concerts that night.

missingmumxox Wed 04-Sep-13 23:59:39

oh my point is that distances are so large in the US walking sometime is not an option, we live in a crowded pedestrian and public travel world, the USA isn't, no point in compaining it is what it is, really made me appriciate the UK so much more, I worked in the NHS and have always had a soft spot for it, since I have been home I have just wanted to cuddle it.

I found the care I got in a hospital in the USA was well below par 4 hour wait to even get triaged?, SARs at a head at that time and all the coughing people wearing the masks on their head like a party hat, doctor examining everyone without curtains in his goldfish bowl of an exam room, being asked to sign consent after glasses removed, and then being over charged for treatment!! that took months to sort out.

these are just some of the issues I had during my so called superior private health care and what made me madder was that the insurance company could not give a fig I had been over charged?? they where paying it, but to me that means all insurance premiums go up if this is common and when I finally found someone in payments who had a brain she found it was a computer glitch and said Oh. looks like we have over charged a lot of people in the past couple of years....and I was the first to throw it up?? really?

I loved living in the US really enjoyed my time but it is not a perfect world no where is.

SoleSource Thu 05-Sep-13 00:35:00

Benny Hill was popular in USA.

Ubud Thu 05-Sep-13 00:43:46

There are many nationalities that do not travel much and I can actually understand why. I know lots of Spanish people and they hardly ever leave Spain. If they want to relax and get a bit of sun they can go drive a couple of hours in their own country. If I was Australian or from the USA I probably would vacation at home too. Don't forget, going from NYC to Hawaii is still domestic and probably further than going UK to Turkey on holiday. We Brits seem to have a travel bug.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 00:52:08

LA was built for the car

see I had thought LA was built for the tram and that was why they built long steep steps to get down to the road

I thought the car and the freeway came later

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 00:58:21

ubud - but if you take europe as the same sort of size as aus and USA and then most uk residence don't travel out of the EU so it wouldn't be much different.

CoolStoryBro Thu 05-Sep-13 01:10:45

We came to the UK a few weeks ago, and tbh, I would have rather have stayed in the US and gone on a roadtrip. There is SO much to see and do here, it's crazy. That said, I loved seeing our families.

And, incidentally, DH gets 30 days leave plus (lots of) public holidays, but he made that part of his contract when he went onto a local contract. However, not every company observes every public holiday. Martin Luther King Day, for example, is a bit hit and miss. The schools are off though.

Ubud Thu 05-Sep-13 02:36:46

True Ivy. If I lived in the US I can see lots of different cultures, cuisine, I can go skiing, go to a beach, on a ranch...there are millions of things to do. I think it is a bit ignorant to say they do not travel nor have passports. It's one thing to stay in your village, it's another to do domestic travel in a massive country.

SilverApples Thu 05-Sep-13 08:04:56

This is a map of the states, with Oregon marked. Oregon is roughly the same size as the UK.
Look how far they could travel, and what variety of country an American citizen has at their disposal without leaving their own country.

Loeri Thu 05-Sep-13 08:07:26

An American never leaving the US is like someone from the UK never leaving Europe. I imagine that is a lot of people. I have never left Europe unless you consider the canary islands or Cyprus to be outside of Europe, and most people don't.

Quangle Thu 05-Sep-13 11:27:05

It's not really like never leaving Europe though is it. Different languages, different ways of life. The US is a big and varied place but it is all one country united by one public life, one history (at least in the way it is taught), one set of national traditions that bind everyone. There might be regional variations as there are in every country but they also share a lot more than Europeans do. They all share Oprah, Obama and Independence Day - oh and speaking English. The equivalent would be all Europeans from Sweden to Sicily and from Ireland to Poland speaking English and sharing Cameron, Lorraine Kelly and Guy Fawkes Night.

I disagree re travel (well, I would, I make the comment about passports grin.

Even if you only travel within Europe you encounter different cultures, languages, different ways of doing things. Yes, in terms of landscapes, climate zones and experiences you could travel a lilfetime in the States and always see something new ('tis one of the things I love about the States). And yes, there are some different culture ie between the Deep South and New England, or Hawai or Native American cultures. However IMO a lot of the native culture for a tourist only feature as cheap tat or a postcard and popular culture is the same everywhere.

But I accept that no amount amount of travelling in Europe (or the US or Canada) prepared me for Africa...

SilverApples Thu 05-Sep-13 11:52:19

You don't sound like tourists though, you sound like explorers and that is a different mindset. The majority of people leaving the UK on holiday do not crave a completely different experience, they want better weather and to see different things but not necessarily to have to struggle with a language or a transport system.
Sun, sea, a hotel with a pool and English speaking staff, or a villa in an area where the locals are geared for tourists is the height of happiness for many.

Quangle Thu 05-Sep-13 12:00:50

That's true silverapples - and I wouldn't mind a holiday like that myself. Brits are not naturally more open or adventurous than Americans or anyone else. Everyone likes their home comforts and their familiar ways of doing things - it's just we have to travel a bit further to get to do enjoy themselves in the sunshine...So I agree with you.

But, the fact is that British people do travel - because if they want sun they have to - and have become familiar with other countries and foods - even if only incidentally. But for many, that then becomes interesting and they find out more or go further afield next time.

I think we probably also do tend to be a bit more intellectually aware of the rest of the world because we are a part of a big international block, have an international history (Empire) and frankly, have a much better quality of public discourse than they do in the US. You can access intelligent debate here via the mainstream media pretty easily so you only have to be a little bit interested and you can access lots of material. Listening to US TV and radio news makes me want to cry.

tabulahrasa Thu 05-Sep-13 12:05:45

"It's not really like never leaving Europe though is it. Different languages, different ways of life"

Not in that way, but I've never been on a flight longer than 4 and a half hours and I've been to 3 different European countries and 2 north African ones...if I lived in the middle of America the same flight times would still only take me to different parts of America.

ILikeBirds Thu 05-Sep-13 12:15:45

I actually met huge numbers of people who had never left the state they lived in. I found that astonishing considering we only lived 50 miles from the state line.

Then again, many americans i met who had travelled were amazed that i lived in England and had never been to Bath.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:15:56

yes ut there are a lot of people in the uk that travel to Europe and never experiance the different culture, language or the different way of life - they are spoken t by spanish hotel staff that speak fluent english and eat egg and chips and other typical english food as for seeing culture they do try the spanish beer wink

Oh and if they do come across a person that doesn't speak english - well then they speak loudly and slowly as that will get them to understand...

I don't think that Americans or any other nation are in themselves more or less adventurous or open to new stuff than others. But they get away with it due to the vastness of their amazing country.

And sometimes that parochialism shows... grin.

Maybe it's just a matter of extremes being more memorably?? I've heard the most astoundingly ignorant statements made about Europe from Americans and I've had some of the most interesting and well-informed conversations with some.

Yy, I think language has a huge impact on an understanding of a culture. And there is the whole 'The Us is The Best Country In The World' thing that just makes me itch. Yes, it has a whole lot going for it (historically and currently) but there are IMO quite huge downsides to the whole set up too that are just impossible to discuss with some rabid 'patriots' who froth at the mouth at anybody questioning 'anything'.

DH and I were in Boston on 9/11 and were totally caught up in that sense of utter disbelief at what was unfolding literally live on TV in front of us. BUT - it was equally quite staggering how people around us (just randong strangers sharing the same small hotel and its staff) could not begin to see that there might just be some people in the world who may have some reason to Hold A Grudge against the US. Or its policies. And (unfairly and outrageously) took that out against its people.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 12:17:53

Re the travel... My step-dad is a perfect example of the stereotypical American. He is in his late 50's and was in the military when he was young. He wa stationed in Japan for about 6 months, and that is the only place he's ever been. He's never renewed his passport, and when I invite my mom and him over, he says there's no reason to come. He's been outside the US before, and there's no need to go again; there's enough "culture" there for him (ha!).

However... I have a real issue with Brits who have a go at Americans for not leaving their country when the only place they've been on holiday is to a Thomas Cook resort full of other Brits. Just because you're drinking by the pool in another country, it does not make you a "worldly" traveler.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 12:21:50

Sorry, have just seen that I x-posted with about four other people saying the same thing blush

To change the subject, something that seemed quite normal to me when I was growing up was saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone I know here is astounded that we were required to say it every morning, and looking back on it now, it really does smack of brainwashing and propaganda!

comingintomyown Thu 05-Sep-13 12:23:37

Hang on hang on just as I was getting all sympathetic about two weeks holiday someone said there are loads of public holidays ? But seriously two weeks I cant take that in !!

My question is do many homes actually have the American flag fluttering outside them ?

Anyway I love this thread !

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 12:27:59

Coming depends which part of the country you're in, but in the more rural parts, yes, most houses have them!

Nancy66 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:30:18

Re. the walking issue. In some parts of the US it's impossible to walk because there are no pavement/sidewalks.

I have a friend just outside Chicago who has daughters at a school that would be around a 10 minute walk from their house but there's no way they could walk as there's nothing to walk along.

In the US even the most dirt poor people will have cars.

comingintomyown Thu 05-Sep-13 13:07:16

Its funny maybe IABU but when I saw a large Union Jack outside a house nearby , bearing in mind there are no Royal marriages coming up, I found it vaguely racist !

Also on that note do Americans love the Royal Family ?

If I could only visit one state which should it be ?

ILikeBirds Thu 05-Sep-13 13:11:12


reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 13:11:57

Personally, I love the Royal Family... I think Queenie is brilliant, and I just love the whole tradition and institution of if.

Biased answer, but you should go to Colorado in June. You can still ski in some places, you can hike (proper hiking, not "walking"!), camp, go rafting, etc., etc. It is the most beautiful state!!

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 13:27:20

Americans do tend to like the Royal Family, but of course, we don't want one of our own.

DH and I fly the flag on national holidays. And we are lefty (by US standards, anyway), Obamacare-loving, foreign-traveling Democrats who live in the suburbs of a large city.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 13:32:14

coming That's a hard one. I think I would have to say New York. You have the City, but also some of the most beautiful countryside in the world upstate. Also Western New York is really culturally more mid-western than the easten part of the state so you will have some of that experience.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 13:37:04

Americans do tend to like the Royal Family, but of course, we don't want one of our own.

You have a president instead though.

I am not sure I would want a president (not overly worried about Queen) so the feeling maybe mutual grin

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 13:37:10

California, northern. SF Bay Area is the best place in the US.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 14:06:17

Generally speaking, in the US when anyone refers to "the Queen," it is understood to mean the Queen of the UK just as it does in the UK. You don't have to say Queen of what.

There are many places in the US named for British royalty including these states: Georgia (George II), North and South Carolina (Charles I),
Virginia and West Virginia (Elizabeth I), Maryland (Queen Henrietta Maria, consort of Charles I), and New York (for James, Duke of York later James II and VII). Many towns and counties have royal names, especially in the east. (eg. Charleston, SC is named for Charles II.)

Loeri Thu 05-Sep-13 14:14:50

You can't get Indian food in America can you? At least not outside of big cities.

Loeri Thu 05-Sep-13 14:17:23

Don't think Americans eat lamb either, or do they drink squash.

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:18:31

Outside the big cities you've got diners. And lots of the national chains in malls serving pizzas and Tex Mex. Fact. grin

Massively based on movies and having lived there for a few months.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 14:21:01

Loeri You are correct about the Indian food... Every curry I've had at home has been terrible. Correct about the squash as well, we just don't really have such a thing there. Very wrong about the lamb though. It's very common and can be found on most menus.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 14:24:48

Where I live there are some good Indian restaurants, and some very good Thai ones, so good curry is possible.

We often have lamb for Christmas dinner.

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:29:30

If you ask an American for squash, they'll hand you a vegetable.

Lamb all over the place.

Again, SF Bay Area awesome curries of all sorts.

kim147 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:31:19

tee I love the Bay area. Worked in Palo Alto before it became horribly expensive well known. Had coffee in coffees shops with bookstores attached and everything grin

ILikeBirds Thu 05-Sep-13 14:38:41

I've had some excellent Indian food in the USA but you have to hunt it out. Most places make the curries quite mild ime, I can eat vindaloos over there!

Nancy66 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:41:35

Apart from London you don't get really good Mexican food in the UK

wishingchair Thu 05-Sep-13 14:42:08

I've been to the US quite a lot (work for an american company) but am British. I like California - but not LA - and New York state (but not in Winter!).

I always think it's strange that in the more rural places, there don't seem to be any fences/hedges/walls to separate one house's garden from another. Compared to here where our little postage stamps of space are so clearly marked and we fight off anyone who encroaches on our land ... this is v.weird! Comes from having the luxury of space I guess!

I love the US. Most people are great, the cities are super cool, been to some amazing bars, and the countryside/coastline is beautiful. I find the inner-cities intimidating, rudeness often hides behind a veneer of friendliness ("Hi!! I'm Joyce and I'll be your server today!! Have an awesome day!!!" - just cos you say the words doesn't mean you actually mean any of them), and the food can be very predictable (steak, chicken, veg only available with some form of cream, etc). And there is an intolerable amount of whooping.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 14:50:18

Nancy Even in London, there isn't really many places that do proper Mexican food. It is one of the things I miss the very most. There's one great Mexican restaurant on this tiny side street on the complete opposite end of London from me, but they're the only place I can find that sells the good green chile, so I have to trek over there from time to time and suck it up and pay £5 for a jar that would cost me $1 in the States.

Though, encouragingly, I have noticed that Waitrose have started stocking canned Chipotle chilies, which I'm thrilled about!

FreudiansSlipper Thu 05-Sep-13 14:51:36

mexican food in la is fantastic

not the texmex, mexican food cooked by mexicans in little cafes

FreudiansSlipper Thu 05-Sep-13 14:52:33

reggie if you are near Brixton, go to Brixton Village nice little mexican place there

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 14:52:50

Wishingchair rudeness often hides behind a veneer of friendliness

I have tried to explain this to my parents (yanks) and it never seems to come across quite right. It's not that people in Britain are rude... They're just not fake friendly, which I much prefer. After living here for a while, I find the American friendliness very off-putting, but my mom wouldn't have it any other way.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 14:54:40

FreudianSlipper REALLY?!?! I'm not far from Brixton at all!! Do you know the name of it? You've just got me SO excited!!

(btw, I love the name... These are my favourite things in the world!)

FreudiansSlipper Thu 05-Sep-13 15:00:41

no sorry but it is at the front of the building in the corner. brixton village is a collection of little shops and cafes/restaurants in an old building it is not very big

they do not do a lot of dishes, but everything tastes fresh and there were quite a few south americans there (not that they all eat the same of course)

Nancy66 Thu 05-Sep-13 15:02:06

Is it Casa Morita?

CoolStoryBro Thu 05-Sep-13 15:02:13

My local Indian does the best King Prawn Saag I've ever tasted! And you can get sushi to die for really easily. The tuna dumplings in our local, no-frills Sushi place are Heaven on a plate.

But my all time fave (with the kids) is to go to our local Family Style Italian. Order 2 huge dishes for a family of 6 and it comes with giant bowls of salad and breads, all for the grand sum of $25. All freshly made and all pasta made in house. We eat out waaaay too much here!! grin

FreudiansSlipper Thu 05-Sep-13 15:02:54

here is is...

For Reggiebean

FreudiansSlipper Thu 05-Sep-13 15:03:14

yes it is

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 15:04:46

Thank you!! (suggesting it for dinner tonight now!)

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 15:08:55

Is it true that waiting staff live of their tips and don't get paid a wage? I would think if this is the case then possible Joyce would say whatever she thought you wanted to here to get a tp at the and of service?

FreudiansSlipper Thu 05-Sep-13 15:10:00

enjoy smile

drinks are nice too and rather strong

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 15:11:00

They do get a wage but its less than half is regular minimum wage. It's called Server's Minimum.

Not that all servers only get paid minimum wage, of course.

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 15:19:44

It is often said that the US is a very inward looking nation. I wonder how much of that is because it simply isn't exposed to any other country in the way that the UK is.

We have the EU, holidays in Europe, but also we are massively influenced by US culture through TV, films, games, books, software, shops etc.

British (or any other) culture is simply not so much a part of life in the US as US culture is around the world.

How many movies showing at your local cinema are set in the States?

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 15:20:48

Sorry meant to add ... and how many movies are set in say Russia or Australia or Kenya?

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 15:25:00

ivykaty44 Yes, most servers are paid very, very little hourly wage (this was a few years ago now, but when I was a server, I made about $2.30/hr) and you also have to share your tips with the bus boys and bartenders, so yes, you tend to be overly friendly because your rent depends on it! The hourly amount varies from state to state, and even from restaurant to restaurant, but on a whole, servers do live off their tips.

For those who say they don't agree with it, or don't like the idea of it: Then don't go out to eat in the States. In the same way that you adapt to customs in other countries, that is a custom in the US. It is considered extremely rude to not tip, whether you agree with it or not. (sorry, bit of a sore spot for me if you couldn't tell!!)

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 15:56:42

Yes. What reggie said about tipping. If you're not going to tip, don't go out to eat. And don't say 'but I can't afford it!' Then go to a cheaper restaurant.

There are some restaurants who are trying to change the minimum or who pay their staff a living wage, but they are few and far between.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 15:59:12

Yet Bollywood has the biggest film output grin possibly we should demand book office viewings of more bollywood films. Then we would think that all of the sub continent dances and signs all the time smile

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 16:27:51

So is it true that apartment blocks people don't have their own washing machines and they share laundry rooms with the other residents? Or is that just somewhere to have Penny and Sheldon meet up?

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 16:39:03

HighJinx Out of the many apartments I lived in, only about two ever had washer/driers in the apartment. The rest were all shared with the other residents.

Who are Penny and Sheldon??

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 16:41:17

That depends. Some older apartment complexes (and probably most urban ones) have shared laundry facilities. Where I live in Florida most newer apartments each have their own washer and drier.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 16:43:00

Big Bang Theory, reggiebean

PaperSeagull Thu 05-Sep-13 16:43:39

Oh, dear. A thread intended to debunk stereotypes is now replete with even more stereotypes. How's that for irony?

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 16:49:01

Ah, thanks smile. Never seen it, so can't verify the accuracy of their laundry room, sorry grin

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:00:51

All of which are being debunked, Paper.

reggie I had shared laundry facilities in all my apartments in the midwest but once I moved to California I had them in my apartment, usually a stacking unit in a closet.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 17:07:27

You Californians are fancy though Tee wink

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:11:45

So very true reggie. grin

PaperSeagull Thu 05-Sep-13 17:13:33

I hope they will continue to be debunked, Tee. It just seems as though even on a thread like this, with an OP that very correctly pointed out how silly it is to hold stereotypes based on Hollywood fantasy, some people continue to post uninformed and sweeping generalizations. Oh, well. Keep fighting the good fight! smile

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:21:18

I think, Paper, people are mostly joking at this point.

grumpyoldbat Thu 05-Sep-13 17:30:10

paper I thought it was kind of the point of the thread. For people to ask about things they've gleaned from TV and film so they can discover what is TRUE and what isn't.

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 18:04:16

grin at can't verify the accuracy of their laundry room

When I was a child I thought that all kids in the US had a phone (land line, no mobiles back then) in their bedroom. [shame]

Oh and I do remember suggesting to my parents that we should move Stateside after watching Grease for the first time. In my defense I was only about 9 and thought that I could be a pink lady and go to the fun fair at the end of term.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 18:09:07

HighJinx You're not far off... I always had a phone in my bedroom, as did most of my friends! (To be fair, back in the days of dial-up, I shared my phone line with the computer, but I think it was more because our parents were so sick of us tying up the phones by chatting all night!)

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 18:23:54

I had a phone in my room. But not my own number.

I also had a TV in my room.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 18:27:36


We didn't have a single tv in the house the whole time I grew up (breaks stereotype of Americans having a tv in every room) because my mom thought it was all corrupt filth (confirms stereotype of Americans being religious nutcases).

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 18:55:25

This is fascinating.

One other thing I've always wondered about is inter-state rivalry. Is there much? Do people consider some states to be more snobby etc?

There is the north/south divide in England before you even start on the different countries of the UK.

Thank you for answering all my questions btw thanks

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 18:56:41

I know there is a north/south divide but are there other subtler differences between the states?

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:00:27

Yes, massive state rivalry. For example, in Colorado we don't like anyone who isn't from Colorado, especially Texans. No one likes Texans (except if you're from Austin. Then it's okay.) California has a massive "NorCal/SoCal" rivalry.

Every state has it's own flag, so quite often at uni, you'll have the flag of where you're from hanging up in your dorm!

ILikeBirds Thu 05-Sep-13 19:06:14

I love these linguistic maps showing variations between the states

What do you call a sweetened carbonated beverage?

More here

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 19:06:34

reggie that's fascinating. I love that people from Austin are OK grin

envy at Colorado.

When I was in Seattle there was a lot of moaning about how many Californians had moved up to Washington and 'ruined everything'

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:08:10

I'm trying to think of other state stereotypes...
- Washington/Oregon = Hippies
- Utah = Mormons
- New Yorkers are rude (oddly, they actually are upstate... The rudest people I've ever encountered in my entire life were there, but everyone in the city was nice enough)

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 19:09:19

Oh, yes. And it is all exacerbated by the collegiate sports rivalries. I live in Florida, but grew up in Georgia. The University of Georgia/University of Florida football rivalry is historic and intense, and spills over into other aspects of life. It is very good-natured, though, most of the time. wink

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:11:55

Yes, we're not huge fans of Californians either, but I used to live there, so they've grown on me (the ones from the North... I still hate LA!).

People who live in pretty states are quite protective of them (though no one is as protective as the Hawaiians!). We have bumper stickers that look like our license plates that say "Native" on them, and someone from California started selling ones that said "Transplant" on them, and there was a spate of vandalism that happened to their cars all over the state blush

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 19:15:20

Scone going to a College football game remains as one of the most unexpectedly amazing experiences of my life. It was like the biggest picnic in a car park ever. No-one could say that the Americans in that car park didn't take their food seriously grin And so, so friendly.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:21:30

ILikeBirds I took that linguistic quiz the other day... It said I was from the inner part of California! hmm so I wouldn't say it's 100% accurate!

The soda/pop/coke thing is completely correct. It's the oddest thing, when you order a Coke in the South, and they ask you what kind. confused

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 19:26:24

reggie how do you feel about British tourists in Colorado?

It is very high on our list of places we would like to visit. Do we need to pretend to be from Austin? grin

We tip wait staff 20% if that helps.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:29:52

No, we quite like British tourists (it's the accent grin) and if you tip, you're more than welcome!!

Honestly, it is the most amazing place, it is SO beautiful. I go back about once a year to visit, though I haven't lived there in about 5 years, and I still am in awe at how beautiful it is there.

When you plan your trip, feel free to message me, I'd be happy to give you a whole itinerary!! grin

Tee2072 Thu 05-Sep-13 19:30:10

Actual conversation over heard in New Orleans Louisiana as relayed to me by my brother:

Person: I'll have a coke.
Server: What kind?
Person: Hot tea.
Tee's Brother: hmm confused


I take those quizzes and totally confuse them. I've lived from East to West and my two best friends in boarding school were from the deep south. My accent is weird.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 19:31:22

Coca Cola originated in Georgia so, yes, it can be generic for soft drink.
DH says pop. He is from western New York.

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 19:39:57

Oh thanks for that reggie I will take you up on that. I think it will be next year now. DH loves American football so I think he wants to time it so we can see the Broncos.

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:43:47

Really?!?!? (You've just absolutely made my day!) They play tonight, it's the first game of the season (and I'm actually sitting here in my Broncos orange right now!) The game is on Sky Sports! (It's on at 1 am, but you can record it!!)

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:44:51

Lots of () I know, but I just got so excited!! grin

HighJinx Thu 05-Sep-13 19:51:22

Yes we have a subscription to NFL online so can watch the games anytime for up to a week I think. We used to get it through ESPN America but we can't get that now (we live in Holland).

Sunday night in this house starts with us tuning in at about 4pm to the pre-match build up then watching games until we fall asleep at about 1am.

The Broncos play at the mile high stadium don't they? Very exciting when you live in a country that is mostly below sea level envy

Go Broncos. grin

reggiebean Thu 05-Sep-13 19:55:07

Yay! Go Broncos! grin

Yes, Mile High will always be the real name for the stadium... That was the formal name back in the 90's, but it's been bought by a few sponsors and they've tried to have naming rights. I think right now it's "Sports Authority Field", but it'll always be Mile High grin

Oh, I'm so excited... You never find Bronco fans anywhere over here!!

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 05-Sep-13 19:56:12

HighJinx Yes, there is nothing quite like a tailgate party. And the Georgia-Florida game is supposed to be the world's biggest. It lasts for days.

On the state and regional rivalries, I remember being a bit hmm when at university in the UK, I was first called a yank. Technically speaking only New Englanders are Yankees; certainly not anyone from Georgia. grin

comingintomyown Thu 05-Sep-13 23:46:48

Ok been at work

There seems to be some conflict over a state I should visit but Colarado seems favourite !

What does upstate mean ? Is there an English equivalent like nearby or something ?

Please can someone explain about holidays too ? Only because 2 weeks a year is bothering me as I struggle with only getting 5 weeks and feel like a wimp !

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 06-Sep-13 00:33:32

scones maybe it's similar (but obviously not as historically important still living this or as heartfelt) as the war of the roses which the infinitely superior Red Rose House of Lancashire won. It's one of the few reasons to tease, etc that is acceptable nowadays in our scarily big brother society.

I just went for an interview in the US where they were offering 3 weeks ( incl sick leave) off. After 5 years, it went to 4 weeks. It was also up cor negotiation as i wasn't a green new college hire. The company I work for now give us 4 weeks and we can buy a week (out of our gross) for a total of 5 weeks. dH and I did wonder if it was more the non professional jobs that get screwed with 2 weeks off only, as if they didn't like it, someone else would want the job.

I am gob smacked that the nursery/preschool I am looking at for DS2 take children from 6wo. I do find that sad. I haVe had a mat leave in UK and one in Canada, the Canada benefits were fantastic! But of course you must pay more taxes for the benefit.

We have only been here for 2 weeks, so far I have noted:
1) House are way too big, we are having problems finding a family home less than 4 bed, 3.5 baths, rec room, study, breakfast room and formal dining! Who wants to so all that cleaning! DH sent me a link in our budget tonight and it was 5 bed, an acre with a resort pool! Less than us400k. A worker at Williams Sonoma in her 60s told me her and her DH lived in a 5bed, just the two of them. She also gave me her number if I needed to ask about anything and offered to introduce me to her daughter if we moved to their neighbourhood.
2) 99% of people don't walk where we are. I was setting up a phone and needed a statement from the bank with Address, as she said there was a branch a block away I walked. It was probably 20mins, there, served and back. They seemed incredulous that I had walked there. And we have discovered we can't manage here with one car only.
3). Politeness to the point of ridiculousness. I can't get irate with anyone even though for eg i spent 10hrs over 4 days sorting our cellphones, which were cut off 3 times and charged a massive deposit 3 times which they have t refunded. Just no room to get a head of steam as they're so nice! Being told you're welcome 10 times in a 2mins phone call too (over exaggeration), as if that person was born to help you. It may do us good and we may become more relaxed, nicer people for living here.
4) I can't get over the strip malls, but they make sense as all people drive and they provide parking
5) parking at work and at malls is free! Which is a novelty as in Canada we had to pay through the nose
6) highways are beautifully maintained, but we pay tolls for the privilege
7) sidewalks in some neighbourhoods (older) but not the newer ones
8) towns planned on a "master community plan" basis with neighbourhood pools and sporting facilities. Seems nice but a bit soulless

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 06-Sep-13 02:58:23

coming Upstate usually means the more northern parts of a state. It is used most commonly in New York to refer to pretty much any part of the state that is not NYC or environs.

Tee2072 Fri 06-Sep-13 07:34:49

HRN every job I ever had in the US started at 2 weeks holiday, no matter my level. But, again, that was over 10 years ago that I last worked there, things may have changed. And they have to take babies that young. Most women don't get more than 6 weeks maternity leave with pay. The US has the lowest amount of maternity benefits in the world, I think.

Tee2072 Fri 06-Sep-13 07:36:31

Scone Upstate to a New Yorker: anything north of Yonkers. grin

For non-NYers in the audience: Yonkers is directly north of the city.

Lazyjaney Fri 06-Sep-13 07:38:46

Americans have less holiday when they start a job, but it builds up. I did note that everyone sloped off on Fridays after lunch like in New York, especially if there was just a sniff of the possibility of snow.

MrsHoratioNelson Fri 06-Sep-13 07:40:51

Upstate NY really is beautiful. We spent our honeymoon there in October - we followed to leaves changing as we travelled south from Niagara Falls (well, you've got to really, haven't you? grin) and ended in Manhattan.

Driving down the Manhattan Expressway in a huuuuge white Cadillac, with the sun shining and that song Empire State of Mind on the radio is something I will never forget grin

kickassangel Fri 06-Sep-13 15:23:53

LAZYJANEY not every job increases the amount of leave. in fact, dh has never worked for a company that did that.

and New England is lovely. Where we live is as well, just starting to get fall colors and the first cider is in the stores.

wamabama Fri 06-Sep-13 16:58:23

If you go by films and TV programmes alone then Britain is actually just England and England is actually just London. We're all stuck up toffs and the only humour we know is sarcasm. We all have mansions or exquisite London apartments and sit around drinking copious amounts of tea all day.

American's are loud, brash, over the top drama queens that live in beautiful big houses with huge gardens. They eat a lot of junk food, laugh too much and all have big happy families. They all own guns and are either super skinny or morbidly obese.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 06-Sep-13 17:11:57

I didn't realise the different accents that there were - brought up on Hart to Hart - so thought the hired help said things like "moyda" for murder and the posh folk spoke with a mild mid atlantic accent.... all over the US....

reggiebean Fri 06-Sep-13 17:24:41

MadeOfStarDust There are a few quite distinct accents, but nothing like you have here in the UK. I still find it amazing that you can be live 20 miles away from someone, and sound completely different.

I'm quite proud of myself for learning some of the accents here though... When I'm back in the states, and I hear someone from the UK, I never ask, "Where are you from?". Instead, it's, "Oh, you're from New Castle?" or wherever, and everyone is always so pleased that I didn't think they were from London (unless they actually are grin)

mummytime Fri 06-Sep-13 20:18:34

Well when I was a kid, I knew people who lived in a certain posher suburb 5 miles away from where I lived.

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