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Are Europeans actually less enthusiastic than Americans – or just dehydrated? | Travel

Are Europeans actually less enthusiastic than Americans - or just dehydrated? | Travel

According to the New York Times, Europe is the top destination for holidaying Americans this summer. This has prompted some anxiety – Jennifer from Seattle wrote to ask for advice on “a closed shoe that wouldn’t out me as l’américaine” – but also a drawing of cultural battle lines between the US and Europe. Classic summer fun: it was at this time in 2018 that the New York Times also published its classic claim that “porridge and boiled mutton” were staples of British cuisine, as if we eat like Dr Johnson tackling a fit of gout.

This year it’s Watergate. Not that one; the TikTok one, which kicked off when an American woman working in Albania with “organs turning into beef jerky” asked the entire continent the provocative question: “Why are y’all not more thirsty?” Apparently, Europeans hate water, and Americans have been remarking on it for months, mocking our tragic Sylvanian-sized glasses and filming themselves joyfully glugging when they finally find a (bottled) source. Reactions included many pointing out our supply of free, drinkable tap water and querying the notion of “Europe” as one homogenous, crumbling, dark and dehydrated entity. Some were funnier: “Never in my life have my lips touched water – all I do is drink wine and olive oil,” one TikTok commenter said. We probably get our hydration from porridge and pea-souper fogs. Maybe our skin is water-permeable when we don’t use our Mary Poppins umbrellas?

I don’t feel cross or superior about Americans getting the wrong end of the Europe stick. We spawned “I didn’t know it was old” Colosseum graffiti guy, after all. I enjoy people exploring cultural differences, which is good because I get served tons of it on social media (I must once have lingered too long on a video about how not to ask for a baguette). Generally, it is gentle: a mutual poking of fun at, and enjoyment of, our own and each other’s foibles.

I’ve watched an American pretending to be a German disgusted at US supermarkets (excess mayo and Little Debbie cakes) and an American pretending to be a Dutch person trying to teach an American how to be emotionlessly underwhelmed when receiving good news. I’ve enjoyed numerous Americans discussing the “straight up depressing” European ice problem (the entire continent gets 48 cubes a day, apparently). There are many theories about our notorious ice meanness, but I think it’s down to dentistry. These British teeth aren’t going to be…

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