What I still don’t understand about Americans

After living in the US for almost eight years, there are still quite a lot of thing I don’t understand about Americans:

1. The dating culture: Are you seeing someone, talking to, hanging out with, dating, doing, or in a relationship with him/her? Do you have an affair or are you guys lovers, fuck buddies, friends with benefits, have casual sex, or booty calls? HELP! So many words and descriptions for so many stages! And when is is allowed to talk to, hang out with, or seeing two or more people at the same time? This might not only be an American phenomenon, but I feel as if it’s definitely encouraged by American media. If you translated the four German words that describe the different relationship stages, they would be “friends,” “relationship,” “affair,” and “something in between.” For the “something in between,” Germans have started to adopt the countless American expressions.

2. Using only forks: Why do you “cut” your meat, for example, with a fork? I mean, who does that? To a steak (I’ve witnessed this several times)? And why only eat with forks, if it’s so much easier with both knife and fork?

3. The big ass gaps between toilet stalls. WHO thought of this? And why? Are you guys into watching people dropping deuces or what? You know, there’s fetish sites for that. Someone please work on this!

4. The excessive waste of napkins: Extra napkins are everywhere – and my American friends use about 5-10 napkins per meal. It’s like they clean their hands after every bite.

5. The amount of these tiny hot sauce or ketchup packages you can request at a fast food restaurant and all of them that go to waste. You request “extra hot sauce,” the cashier will give you 15, but you only use 5.

4. “How are you?”: Do you as my waitress or cashier or administrative clerk really give a f@#$ how I am feeling if you’ve never seen me before? I don’t think so. I’m always tempted to say: “I’m doing terrible. My boyfriend just cheated on me with a man and one of my friends hung herself yesterday. But anyway, here are your $22.57 for my groceries.” If you giving me the argument that it’s just a greeting, why don’t you take away the question mark and thus make me feel less pressured to answer?

5. “What’s up?” Nothing. What am I supposed to answer to that? “Your momma?” If you ask how I’m doing or what I’m doing at the moment, I’d be clearer as for what you want to know.

6. Soda refills: We all know soda is bad for you but the US is hereby making a great effort to harm its people and worse – other countries have adopted this practice (including my home country Germany).

7. Americans who haven’t been abroad, or worse, never been out of their frickin’ state (especially if they live in a border state) because they believe America has everything there is to see: Yes, America does have a lot of natural and cultural variety, but have you ever seen or touched anything that has been built thousands of years ago? Please google the Roman Colosseum, Egyptian pyramids, Greek and Mayan temples and tell me again that America has everything.

8. Americans who still believe that Hitler is alive or seriously ask me if Germany has leaves (yes, leaves. On a tree): Simply no comment.

9. Checking this damn race box on all kinds of forms without the option of belonging of the “human race.”

10. To get political: Racism. To uphold a 200+ year old amendment that’s clearly harming citizens. Your current president. Tuition fees,… REALLY, ‘Murica?

11. A dog named “Trigger” shooting his owner in the foot. Only in this country.


I still got mad love for you, though 😉


Featured photo courtesy of Mike Mozart (Flickr)

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  • This made laugh out loud. The “what’s up?” one gets me every time. In Ireland our version is “what’s the craic?” Equally ambiguous so I usually just give a “not much” in reply. Also, the napkins. Someone think of the planet!

    • Jennifer Schlueter


      Haha, that sounds funny. Looks like saying “what’s the crack,” too. So no sense at all. Glad you can relate haha!