10 Ways to Spot an American


10 Americanisms in Paris

I was having dinner with a cousin when we were watching people pass by in the window. She would point out all the Americans in the crowd. I didn't know that we were so recognizable! But the more I look, the more I see that Americans are pretty recognizable abroad. So here are the ten American giveaways. 

10. That readiness for competition: I can spot American families right away on the metro because they plan it like a football play. You stand here you stand here, hustle hustle, don't let people knock you around. That's the stance they take on the metro. And I get it, it's new, scary, and you don't want to lose anyone. But it's funny to watch.

9. Loudness: there are many groups that are loud, Italians for example, are loud. But Americans are also loud. I can usually hear an American tourist before a British tourist. I don't have to wait to hear the accent to distinguish it. And that's one of the American stereotypes, so I can see where they got it from. And in most cases loudness is fine, but French people tend to turn their heads because they're not used to it.

8. Money pouches: whether it be fanny packs or the money belts that you shove in your bra and underwear, Americans are known to sport these. And they're not the only ones. But usually the ones wearing them come from outside Europe. And they're useful, don't get me wrong, especially in countries known to steal the phone right out of your hands. But in Paris they choose fashion over shoving money and passports in your undergarments.

7. Light shades of jeans: oh this is one of my favorites, maybe because they remind me of home. Many American men choose a certain style of jean that is light in color and is made of thick denim. They're the equivalent of mom jeans. But in Paris men choose tighter, darker jeans. So seeing the light loose jeans stands out right away, and make me smile.

6. T-shirts: simple t-shirts just aren't seen here. In America it's perfectly acceptable to go grocery shopping in jeans and a t-shirt, but in Paris it isn't. People wear tops or blouses but not t-shirts. And I miss being casual sometimes. 

Not on the list but plastic ponchos are a no no
Milan, Italy

5. Chatty: people say that Americans are really friendly, and that's the truth. Leave my Nonno anywhere in Italy and he'll find a way to start up a conversation. And it seems the second Americans hear English they want to start up conversations. And while it's nice to start up conversations, the keep-to yourself-Parisians don't know what to do.

4. Shorts: in Paris people don't wear shorts, even in the summer. You just don't see it. And I've broken this rule a lot because sometimes it just gets too hot. Whether they are cute shorts or workout shorts, it's a giveaway that you're American because the French just don't bare leg like that in the city.

3. Leggings: leggings, yoga pants, or any kind of stretchy pant is not considered pants in Paris. Sometimes you'll see them, but only under dresses. And in America it's perfectly normal to sport those types of pants. And that's how so many immediately know that they must be American.

2. Big smiles: my cousin explained that Americans have a nice friendly face that Parisians don't. We offer smiles when we make eye contact and most don't have a grumpy face. She explained that she can spot an American based off their smile. And now that she has pointed it out to me, I notice it too.

1. Sneakers: ha! The only people that get away with wearing tennis shoes or sneakers are the women dressed so well that they switch into their heals as they get to their destination. Most of the men don't even wear them. They wear dress shoes. And American tourists wear them almost everywhere. Dead giveaway right there. And I know that with a lot of walking our feet hurt. But Paris prioritized fashion over painless shoes. 

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