American Culture By The French

Because I can’t stand to see one more hateful, rage-filled, or negative story I thought I would post something rather funny. While browsing the Daily Mail I came across something that made me chuckle – Words of advice to anyone from France visiting the U.S. While living there last summer I can attest that we do have very different cultures. I noticed everything from the way we eat, speak, dress, and smile! And apparently as big of a cultural difference it is for us to go over there, they feel the same way. The advice given below via the French DistrictLe Blog De Mathilde, and Pamela Druckerman, is really spot on. However, it does make one chuckle a little bit at the differences in cultures. So without further adieu… I give you a Tuesday morning laugh.

On Greetings:
*  “Don’t ever think about kissing someone. You can hug people you know, but don’t ever try to kiss an American, it would be close to aggression.”
* “The favored form of greeting among colleagues is a firm handshake, Feel free to make his knuckles grinding for a sign that you have confidence in yourself.”

On Friendliness:
* “Don’t be surprised if strangers talk to you in the street.”  The French, who always keep to themselves, are baffled by the American habit of making conversation with strangers.
* “It is not uncommon for a stranger in the street to ask where you got your coat from.”
* “People walking past will often cheerfully greet you hello, your neighbor might compliment you on the curve of your biceps and the supermarket cashier could well ask what you’ll be doing at the weekend.”
*  “These friendly familiarities never exceed the limit of propriety though – the bus driver isn’t expecting to become your best friend because he called you ‘baby’.”

On Punctuality:
* “The French have a habit of turning up late, but the opposite is said of Americans, who thrive on punctuality.”
* “The punctuality is very important to the United States and whether at work, at school or in your private life, you should be on time.”
* And don’t ever think about canceling an appointment at the last minute. Make sure that you are ready to welcome your guests at the agreed time, or even before.

On Pets and Children:
*  “In France a child is rarely considered an equal, whereas in America they are treated like little princes and princesses.”
*  “To avoid insulting parents and animal owners, a person should always, ‘rejoice in the presence of children or pets’. ‘This is the same as the principle of smiling to strangers.”
* “It is obligatory to make a smile or a ruffle of the head if you meet a child or a pet, even if there are ugly.’ 

On Coughing:
* “Coughing into your hands became undesirable in America several years ago.”
* “If you cough into your hands you will be considered disgusting.”
* “Here, coughing into your elbow – which gives the impression that embraces his biceps – is the approved fashion.”

On Take-Out:
* “The French and the Americans have very different portion sizes when it comes to eating out, but nobody is actually expected to finish their food in the US.”
* “Men and women should get over their embarrassment and ask for a doggy bag for their leftovers. It not embarrassing to ask for a doggy bag to take home half of a barely touched plate, or even the rest of tortilla appetizer.”
*  “The art of asking for a doggy bag (or ‘box’ in common parlance) can be a fine art when undertaken alongside waiters who clear faster than their shadow and the dread of appearing stingy.”

On Snacking:
*  “Don’t succumb to the American habit of eating everywhere, even if they do.”
*  “American people eat and drink everything, at any hour of the day, whether they are in the street, in a work meeting, in the car, on the subway in the elevator or at the movies. There are cup holders everywhere; on cinema seats, baby strollers, shopping carts at the supermarket, in cars and even on some bike handlebars.”

On Speaking Positively:
* “Use plenty of positive language in your everyday speech.”
* “The French have a habit of moaning, which they believe is the opposite to the American attitude. So when in America, do not scrimp on superlatives: say ‘great’ and ‘awesome’ on all occasions”
* “Telling a waiter that your meal was ‘Yeah, okay’ implied that it sucked, therefore now express my enthusiasm by a thunderous ‘great.”
* Use words like ‘awesome’ systematically when speaking to someone, alternating with ‘great’ ‘sweet’, ‘nice’ and ‘cool’.

Are these not completely spot on? I am not sure if it is that they are so true or what but they make me laugh every time I read them! Thank you French DistrictLe Blog De Mathilde, and Pamela Druckerman for these wonderfully hilarious and oh so true American characteristics.


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2 thoughts on “American Culture By The French

  1. Haha, this is a great post and delightfully refreshing yet so true of American culture!

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