How to Piss Off an American Abroad

United States Student Work
by Reda Wigle Aug 14, 2014
Be an American pretending to be a Canadian.

Nothing enrages me more than a red-blooded American cross-dressing as a Canadian to avoid persecution. Granted, foreigners almost universally prefer our neighbors to the north, but they invented genetically modified foods, ruthlessly exterminated their native population, and gave us Alanis Morissette, so, to be fair, everyone has skeletons in their closet.

Subject us to unsolicited political conversation.

Please do not assume because of my country of origin that I want to engage in an impassioned tête-à-tête regarding its foreign policies and many political failings. I get it, Uncle Sam has grossly mishandled wars, coups, genocides, and so much more. But my country, however flawed, is a little like a slutty younger sister. Was it virtuous of her to tagteam the lacrosse team? No, but I still have to defend her against haters and naysayers.

Same goes for ‘Merica. Of course this whole debacle can be avoided by not bringing up politics with me in the first place, and leaving my barstool and me well enough alone. My beer and I are not solely responsible for the moral decay of my country. This conversation is most aggravating when initiated by a German…seriously Dieter, do you really want to go toe-to-toe on atrocities?

Assume we’re here to party.

Yeah, I am. Ceaselessly defending my Americanism makes me thirsty, but I also enjoy museums, indigenous snacks, and other nuances of cultural exchange. Allow me to apologize for my countrymen who I’m sure have at one time or another desecrated your homeland with an unholy trinity of vomit, blood, and semen. I assure you we’re not all the same.

While on the subject, Australians historically take the crown for revelry, though recent reports show Moldovans are the new dark horses of throwing down and throwing up.

Assume we live in Texas, California, or New York.

It’s a giant fucking country, okay?

Ask us if we know any celebrities.

This is a natural extension of assuming I live in Texas, California, or New York. I grew up on a farm in a landlocked state. The only famous people to be extracted from my area are Jeff Goldblum and the chick from Fargo. I did make out with the lead singer of Good Charlotte like 10 years ago but he’s only half-famous and it happened out of state, so I rest my case.

Cut in line.

While rule breakers in most senses, we Americans hold tight to order and the hierarchy of the line. Mayhem on train platforms and cutting in line at the street-food stand will be met with huffy, passive-aggressive remarks.

Take our picture.

The first time I was cajoled into a photo with complete strangers in Seoul, I was totally flattered…thinking maybe I resembled some B-movie actress of straight-to-video releases available exclusively in Korea. Countless flashes and peace signs later the novelty wore off, especially when the photo in question was taken without introduction or permission.

Sometimes I wake up with the cold knowledge that someone, somewhere has included me in an insufferable vacation slideshow. See that silly white girl eating the chicken on a stick or retching into that metal trashcan on the public beach? We Americans like to be the ones doing the picture-taking, especially of ourselves.

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