Some random English person has once again gone out of his way to insult me because I'm fat. This wouldn't have happened in America.
I know I'll be attacked for this, but I'm fed up right now and I can't WAIT to get back to the U.S. Forget everything you've ever heard about the differences between Americans and the English. It's a load of crap!
I see it all the time on solo. The English often attack Americans on here. Well, you're wrong. No, two weeks in England doesn't make me an expert, but I think I have a pretty good overview.
Myth #1 - Americans are loud and obnoxious while English people are polite and speak in hushed tones.
HA! The English are LOUD! In the grocery stores here there are roaming gaggles of teens who laugh and talk and generally make mayhem. I've been in three grocery stores now (because my husband has a fascination with the strange foods here) and in two of these stores this has been the case.
Also, people talk on their cell phones ("f***in' this" "f***in' that") really loudly in public and they don't care who they annoy.
Myth #2 - Americans are coarse while the English are polite and genteel.
Would an American say "c***" or "f***" while having a loud public conversation? Not likely. Over here it doesn't get a second glance.
I've yet to meet anyone here that seems more polite than the average American. In fact, in America, if you catch someone's eye by accident, you'll usually smile and they'll smile and then you'll look away. Here, they just look away quickly. It seems rude to me.
Myth #3 - Americans have a crappy education system, but the English know what they're doing and turn out intelligent and fully educated people who know multiple languages and can do algebra easily.
I've seen more roving packs of barely intelligible low-class teens in the two weeks that I've been here than in months of being in D.C. And I used to live right in South East D.C!
I shopped in Camden and found myself around a lot of teens who seemed very middle class and average. They were every bit as juvenile and twitty as any random group of American teens. I was also around a lot of teens at the Boosh show. These teens were presumably a bit more intelligent than your average teen since their senses of humor must be fairly developed. Still, they seemed much like American teens.
Myth #4 - Americans are superficial and addicted to tabloid magazines, celebrity lives and the pursuit of physical beauty.
From what I have seen, England is entirely too wrapped up in such things. It doesn't compare. It's totally opposite to the myth. England is all about celebrities and other superficial things. The obsession with weight here is just insane. I thought it was bad in America, but here it's gone from an obsession to a neurosis. They can't stop talking about weight. (Meanwhile they are eating more candy than another other nation on earth while making fun of Americans for their piggishness.) I overheard two conversations while walking on one London block. The first conversation snippet I heard: She must have gained at least twenty since I last saw her! The second snippet from an entirely different conversation: ...been gaining weight and...
Myth #5 - Americans are arrogant.
This one would be funny if I was in any kind of mood to find it humorous at all. What's more arrogant than proclaiming yourselves better than an entire country just based on hearsay and steretypes? English people do this all the time. (I'm sure lots of solo archives could be wrangled up if someone were in the mood to do so.) America is fascinated with the rest of the world. We love nothing more than to encounter someone with a foreign accent. Especially an English accent. We've always loved the English and we've always been good to the English.
Myth #6 - Americans are bullies.
I'm finding the opposite to be true. I'm not having a good time here anymore and it's all because I'm terrified of being insulted once again. In America it's not acceptable to be mean to random people on the street. It doesn't happen that often. Once in a while it will, but not enough that you have to live in fear of it if you're fat (or outside the norm in any other way).
Myth # 7 - Americans are fat because they are lazy and eat huge portions of fast food and sweets.
Oh. My. God. We might be a little fatter than the English, but it has very little to do with these things. Pub food is basically fried dough with sausages thrown in there somewhere. The portions are every bit as large as American portions, by the way. Yes, there are a few chain restaurants who will give you outrageously enormous portions, but this isn't the norm and it's often a gimmick. Also, when served these huge portions we eat a bit of it and then take the rest home with us for lunch the next day. We're not idiots who will eat everything that's put in front of us anymore than you are.
The candy is everywhere. I've found it difficult to get a healthy meal while here. The only way I can eat healthy here is to go to vegetarian/organic restaurants or the grocery store and buy prepackaged sandwiches and salads, which do seem fairly healthy and nutritious.
Don't start with me about my fat. I have horrible medical issues that you know nothing about and that will kill me one day and this (and the treatments for my disorders) are what has made this so. I eat the diet of a near-anorexic, so don't EVEN start with me.
PLUS, on average, you all drink WAYYYYY more than we Americans do. Somehow that kind of gluttony is acceptable since it doesn't always manifest in having extra flesh.
So, yeah. I'm disgusted at the moment. I've felt very unwelcome here. There are some wonderful things about England, but not enough to make up for the unpleasantness I've had to deal with here. This has been an eye-opener.
I apologize to my English friends. I don't include you in this at all. I'm just very upset right now and I needed to type this up while I'm still feeling angry. There is a nasty segment of every population, I've found. All my life I have assumed that English people are partly right for criticizing America. I'm not at all happy with America at the moment and I was likely to join in with the anger-fest, but not anymore. America is the world's scapegoat at the moment. I'm really tired of it.
I don't disagree with most of the stuff you've said, however, it's really unfair to act like all English people believe in the stereotypes about us. We really don't. Seriously, everyone jokes about how people from other countries seem to have this impression that we're all polite and stuff. You've learnt the hard way that we're not, even remotely. Swearing in casual conversation is completely socially acceptable, in all classes. I've never heard anyone say that America has a crappy education system, by the way. Ours is definately crap, though. You're right about the healthy eating thing, though. Eating healthy and cheap is hard, I normally end up getting a sandwich, as you said, or in London there's a couple of cheap vegetarian takeaway places. There's a couple of vegan cafes I go to as well. But yeah, I agree with most of what you've said, except we are actually aware of how bad we are. Which probably makes it worse.