Thursday, 15 January 2015

LIFE: Commenting on American Culture


A discussion on Reddit grew so popular the other week it even got a mention on the BBC. The thread with over 40,000 comments asked non Americans to comment on the US customs they found the strangest. Finding myself nodding away to their suggestions, I thought i'd compile a list of my own. 

The fascination with university sports, especially American Football here in the US is extreme. Don't get me wrong there is always some university pride in your university teams back in the UK, but in the US it's at another level. American Football matches featuring university teams have a higher crowd attendance that UK Premiership games. To be honest, aside from ice hockey, I don't really understand the huge love for American Football or baseball. Speaking of university - it's cost. From seeing, and without getting too personal, the cost Joe's paid, and will be paying for a very long time for going to university.


Medication advertisements, which pretty much all have a risk of death. Then followed by an advertisement for a lawsuit over a medical complication. Speaking of advertisements, America goes a little OTT for them whether it's celebrating Christmas, tax season or something political.. If you thought party political ads in the UK were bad, here they get down right dirty, personal and often very misleading. 

If you ever visit a public toilet in the US you'll have noticed that "huge" gaps around the toilet door. I'm not sure of the purpose - to make eye contact with the person on the loo? To check if the loo is empty? To make every one super uncomfy?! 

In the wider scheme of things, attitudes to healthcare, lack of maternity provision, the gun culture, sales tax, Black Friday (and by it's extension Britain trying to get all over Black Friday - yeah just no), "news" channels, not using the metric system.

Which parts of American culture do you love or like me, just not understand?!


  1. I always forget about the toilet gap until I go back to America and I'm all weirdest out again. What is the point?!

  2. I have a prejudice that in america people never make anything from scratch.. it all comes in pre-packs or ready mixes, even if it's just pancakes.. of course this is a prejudice and is probably completely wrong, but still.
    Also, why are they so scared of national healthcare?

    I'm a little bit tempted to write a blogpost about all the prejudices I have against different countries, all tongue in cheek of course, but I'm not sure if people might get mortally offended by this and just stop reading the blog, so I'm undecided

    1. I would read that blog Cecilia!

    2. Yeah I should have specify that I meant making food from scratch - crafts wise, I think the Americans are way ahead! Apart frmo knitting, where I think the Norwegians take the top prize.. again.. my prejudices come into play here - maybe I will publish that post hehe, just need to work on it quite a bit!

  3. Same thing with the political ads here...and they are CONSTANT!!!

  4. This was really interesting to read! I've only been to America (Boston) once, but noticed the gaps around the toilet thing. WHAT THE HELL?! They're so big! You can literally see straight into the cubical, so strange!
    emmerliejay x

  5. I actually really love American football. Kami and I watch it on occasion and pay attention to the whole season - not just the superbowl which we do stay up all night to watch. I think my enjoyment of it comes from the fact that my dad used to watch it when I was young so it was always on my sport-radar so to speak. I don't understand why a university team would have such a huge following but hey, whatever!
    Huge gaps around the toilet doors, huh? If I ever do visit America I'll make sure NOT to need to use the toilet in public! Haha.
    Debi x

  6. I don't remember noticing the toilet gaps when I was there but the sales tax got me every time. My biggest problem though was tipping - understand who to tip and when and how much, it's a minefield. Thankfully we were with an American most of the time who guided us but otherwise we'd have made ourselves very unpopular! Which leads to also into my lack of understanding of why people aren't just paid a proper wage for certain jobs!
    But agree on everything else you've mentioned!

  7. How about the fact that the majority of our food is GMO? And i totally hear ya with the gaps around the bathroom doors - there's nothing more awkward than accidentally making eye contact with the next person in line!
    And ads for everything do get quite annoying...I think politicians earn a bad rap for themselves by throwing dirt at each other. It's no wonder they have such an awful stereotype!
    ~ Samantha

  8. There's always something good going on on Reddit! Kris and I read it quite often. I especially love the AskReddit threads.

    I've been thinking of writing a Belgian version of this post... because they're a little strange here too. I've never understood the fascination with sports just in general but I agree, it's very crazy in the US.

    One thing I can't get my head around is the obsession with suing people... It seems like you can be sued for everything in the US. It does nothing to encourage people to be a little less stupid and apply some common sense to life.

  9. I can't understand the American obsession with America (the patriotism if you will...)

    Lizzie Dripping

  10. As an American I love reading posts like this. I love seeing other peoples reactions to what I've grown up with. I agree that there are definitely some things in the U.S. that are TOO over the top. While I'm a baseball fan, I will admit there are people that are way too crazy about sports in this country. The toilet gap is weird and the fact that we want to sue everybody for everything is just ridiculous. The medication ads are stupid too - why advertise that? I'm definitely going to try and track down that Reddit post.

  11. This is so interesting! And I guess some of it you kind of get from tv etc but the toilet door thing?? That just sounds weird! Like the loos in primary schools maybe? Odd.
    And definitely to Black Friday, our American friends can keep that please and thank you.
    M x