Hi! I'm Marie. I'm French — but I spent eight years living in the US.
During that time, I noticed a few funny American quirks. Here are some of them.
Asking "how are you?" when you just mean "hello" and don't want to know how the person is.
"If you don't actually wanna hear about my latest insomnia or the state of my mental health, just say "hello" and don't ask me how I am."
Unadjustable shower heads.
"How do you clean your butt with these things??
Being carded when you're old enough to be an AARP member.
"I have grey hair, a bad knee, and I need reading glasses, I shouldn't need to show my ID to get some booze or a pack of cigarettes."
Being able to buy prescription drugs, a pack of beer, cigarettes, and candies all from a pharmacy??
"Your pharmacies are sending mixed messages is what I'm saying."
Serving water iced no matter the weather or the season.
"This is a nightmare for anyone with sensitive teeth. Besides, who needs water this cold in the middle of winter?"
Waiters constantly checking in on you at the restaurant...
"If something is wrong, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'd love to have a whole meal and conversation without being interrupted every five minutes."
...and refilling your glass every few minutes.
"I feel like this is just another excuse to come check on people during their meal to increase chances of getting a good tip. Can't we all agree to fill our own glasses and leave, at minimum, a 20% tip anyway?"
The concerning amount of flags.
"Outside buildings, on the street, outside houses... are you afraid we're going to suddenly forget what country we're in??"
Having to share a room with someone in college.
"French students would probably go on strike if they were asked to live in a dorm and share a tiny room with a rando for a year. But I guess it's a rite of passage and a good way not to feel too lonely once you leave home."
The insane amount of commercial breaks on TV.
"Ten minutes of ads for a 20-minute show is just too much!"
Having to tip everywhere.
"All the rules around tipping are confusing and annoying. How about you start paying everyone in the service industry a decent wage instead?"
All the dances in high school.
"Fair warning: My vision of American high schools is mostly based on movies and TV shows. Going from those, it seems like you have at least two formals a year. I'm actually very jealous of this as we don't even have a single one all throughout high school in France. How is that fair??"
Being able to vote at 18 but not being allowed to drink.
"Call me crazy but if you're old enough to pick the next President, you're old enough to legally enjoy a beer or two."
The size of your cars.
"I know the US is a big country, with big roads, and big cities, but do you really need cars *this* big?"
And the size of your highways are too.
"I guess with big cars come big highways."
The massive portions at restaurants.
"Cut that in half and you get a French plate."
The huge gaps around the doors in public bathroom stalls.
"On the plus side, you always know if it's occupied or not."
The overuse of air conditioning.
"I too love AC in the summer. But do we really need to turn every store and subway car into a refrigerator?"
The HUGE glasses of wine.
"Your wine glasses almost look like fish bowls and if you go to a bar where they use smaller glasses, they just fill them to the brim. Not that I'm complaining. More wine is always a good thing in my book, especially nowadays."
Prices being listed before tax.
"I just want to know exactly how much something cost before choosing it. Is that too much to ask?"
All the subway and highway ads for lawyers and doctors.
"I miss Doctor Zizmor. (But also, please don't pick your lawyer or doctor from a subway ad.)"
Writing dates MM/DD/YYYY instead of DD/MM/YYYY.
"That's confusing in so many ways."
Calling this crime against cheese "mozzarella".
"Honestly, this is reason enough for Italy to declare a war on the US."
Not using the metric system.
"Almost every single country on earth uses the metric system, get on it!"
And using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius degrees.
"You know what makes sense? A unit of temperature where 0° means freezing and 100° means boiling. Such a unit exists, it's called Celsius and it's used by most countries in the world. You should give it a try."
Selling everything in tons of different flavors.
Putting rugs in kitchens.
"I can already picture the mad emails I'm going to get for this one, but rugs and floor mats have nothing to do in a kitchen! It looks good in pictures but it's gross and inconvenient IRL."
The fact that all your bank notes look almost the same.
"Don't tell me you've never been drunk at a bar and given out a twenty instead of a single. I know I have."
The obsession with flavored lattes and frapps.
"Can't we show a little respect for coffee??"
Laws changing from state to state.
"I know that's the whole idea behind federalism but it can get pretty confusing."
"This isn't just weird, it's straight up wrong."
People going food shopping in their PJs.
"I have seen this in the wild several times and I'm actually into it! Who said you shouldn't wear pajamas at the store? The world is going to [email protected]#t, so anyone should just wear whatever makes them feel comfy and cozy at all times."
Calling a North American competition the "World Series".
"This just in: The world is bigger than just the US and Canada."
And calling this "French bread".
"This is an even bigger affront to French culture than Emily in Paris."