If you are stepping your feet into Europe for the first time, be prepared for surprises. Most of the natives will seemingly welcome you with all their well mannered courtesy, but there are always things that they will say to mock at some of your idiosyncrasies at your back. Come on, who doesn’t find differences between a foreigner and a native in his own country? So, go ahead and enjoy your fish and chips, lasagne or Sunday roast or take a few selfies near Big Ben or London’s eye while we try and remind you some of the most common things that Europeans say behind your back.
“You sound like an idiot when you imitate our accent”
Hello! Welcome to the land of Queen’s English, 24×7 BBC radio and your favorite Benedict Cumber batch and Christian Bale. Though most Europeans will act as gracious host and have conversations often interrupted with ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’, ‘begging your pardon’, they will always judge you for the difference in your accent. Better go by your native accent and enjoy nice company. Remember being you is always better than trying to be someone else.
“Why are you smiling? You don’t even know us”
While you have been taught from kindergarten that it is always nice to smile at strangers and your city’s early morning laughing club might just hold their sessions in the park outside your apartment, but remember a French guy might not mind maintaining a no-nonsense face all his life. You might act a little extra gregarious and invite all your European friends to a house party, but if you are expecting the same from a German friend or a colleague, you better kill the expectation in your mind. In a nutshell, remember, Europeans are mostly reserved by nature and they might not like all the hullabaloo that you enjoy.
“You eat too fast”
If table manners are a major way of judging a person, possibly there are a very few people in this world will beat the Europeans. If you fancy those discovery channel challenge of eating the largest burgers or hot dogs in the least possible time, remember Europe is just not the place. Europeans will always complain that the Americans eat far too fast and can rarely enjoy a good meal will grace. Besides using the fork and the knife right, chances are you will be judged by the facts that you are far too garrulous at the dinner table or at times of the fact of you being inconsiderate towards the presence of others. Hence, following table manners and slow eating is one of the ways to face less of public criticism in Europe.
“You drink too much”
It is quite possible that you come across an European who wakes up with a bottle of chilled beer by his bed side and does not goes to sleep without finishing at least five bottles on average, most Europeans hold the convention that a foreigner drink much more than them. Judging by the quantity Europeans might drink much more than say Americans, but vodka shots or bottoms up are not quite the European ways of drinking. So if you want to mingle with the locals you better drink your beer or wine slow and with perfect grace like any other meal.
“You work too hard”
Unlike the United States which still claims to be the land where all your big dreams come true provided you work your ass off, European just claim that they can work for the right number of hours and handle their work and leisure with a subtle perfection. On any major festival evening, say Christmas be prepared to see all Europeans in their homes, deserting all the restaurants and pubs unlike the family get together and parties in restaurants and five star hostels in some Asian countries even during major festivals.
“You are a prude”
Yes, nude beaches and nude parades might just be a little more common in this part of the world, but America would claim even central Park is coming up with its new nude cowboys!
“Seriously? We speak three or four languages and you can’t be bothered to learn to say ‘Do you speak English?’ in ours?”
Rosetta stone, people. Rosetta stone.
“You don’t know the difference between ‘Baltic’ and ‘Balkan’ or, for that matter, what The Hague is”
Geography might not have been favourite subject at school , but think deep do you really know the capital cities of all the small and scattered European countries. Can you instantly differentiate between the geographical location say between Prague and Hague? Just as you do not expect a foreigner to know each small city in your country, Europeans living in far smaller countries have a better chance to intimidate you by questioning your geography. But always remember Google maps are your best friends at such moments and while you cannot imitate an accent or learn European table manners in a matter of few days, you can always test their geography by googling towns and cities in Kazakhstan or west of Namibia.
“You dress like a slob”
Many European like to believe that Paris or Milan is the fashion capital of the world and rest of is just filled with yankies. Most part of this continent is more deep rooted in its tradition than America is and hence its people love raising an eyebrow when you highlight your curls with blue or violet colour. But as long as you can carry what you are wearing, you are all set to set your own style with confidence. So just ignore these as some of the things Europeans say behind your back and get going.
“We know your history better than you do”
Yes, it is true that European schools train their kids with more of history and geography than maths and science and hence the claim that they possibly know the history of every nation in this world. This indigenous pride among the Europeans might not always be true. But better not enter into a debate on world history if you are not absolutely sure of the facts that you are quoting.