I don’t know about you, but I know I’m a bit provincial. I embrace it. But after spending the fall in Europe this year, there are still some things I don’t understand. I’ve tried to get educated, but I get stuck on these 7 mysteries of Europe and Europeans. And you likely will, too.
1. Peanut punch: What were you thinking, Great Britain?
I have a child who orders sundaes with orange sherbet topped with peanut butter sauce. Even she wouldn’t touch this.
Is it a protein drink for starving children? Do you give it to vegetarian kids for school lunches? Wait, are they even allowed to take peanuts to school? If not, this is a doubly useless product. It’s not only disgusting; it’s banned. So what I’m hearing here is that kids want this at home for a treat. Hmmm. Nope, not understanding this mystery. What is this and how is it used? Enlighten me. Does it taste like Reeces shakes or something?
2. But peanut-flavored cheesy poofs sound great. Why can’t we have nice things?
We found peanut-buttery good cheetos at a birthday party in Switzerland. Seems like these would be more widespread, right? Bring it.
So peanuts and peanut butter are considered very American. In Switzerland, we also came across a silly brand of pb labeled with an American flag and called “Barney’s Best.” Who is Barney? I guess they just thought it sounded American. But though this is a culture that professes a lukewarm reaction to peanut butter, they sure came up with a whopper here. Brilliant! And yet not available to us peanut loving Americans. Brits: take note. The Swiss know what to do with a peanut. You are in the learning phases.
3. Is there something about conditioner that offends you?
As Billy Madison says, “it makes the hair silky and smooth.” So why aren’t you in? Do you like your hair, world citizens, all tangly? Why must I trollop like a stereotype from Lush store to Lush store, in search of “American Dream.” And as an aside, what about “American cream” was so hard to translate?
I got brave and asked a Scottish guy once what the deal was with conditioner. “I think we have more of it compared to Europe,” he shrugged. Mystery not solved.
4. Why are the shoes offered to Europeans so darn different from those companies think U.S.’ers want to buy?
Honestly. They’re flat-footed. Perhaps arches are an American genetic anomaly. The rest of them are high tops. Why? Aren’t we all raised by the same t.v.? Why do you like such different footwear? I can point you out by your shoes, Euros.
I tried bringing this up once to a Swiss woman who was wearing those rocking horse shoes that remind me of the roly ink pad thing with green felt on the bottom of it that my grandfather kept in his office when I was a child. I told her those were not American shoes. She googled it, and assured me they were available in America.
Sure, in 2007 for orthopedic reasons.
Now it just makes you look European. You take shoe risks we wouldn’t dare. Hats off to you.
5. Why aren’t you into dryers? Dryers rock.
There’s something about showing the neighbors your drying underwear flying in the breeze that I just find…I don’t know…less private than is optimal.
The drying cycle is important to me. It’s find that I wash clothes when I first arrive in a new city and then strew them everywhere. Really. Till I need jeans. Which take 72 hours to dry. Go ahead. Time it. Then try to use your air dryer with a cheap adapter to dry them. Then throw out your broken adapter and hair dryer. Then tell the owner you blew a fuse and can’t find the fuse box.
6. For as much as we Americans hate big pharma, why doesn’t everyone want giant superstores full of pills we can pick out ourselves?
First of all, you don’t even have Dramamine, so we get trapped on your continent forever. Second of all, this seems like an underwear-on-the-laundry-line sort of issue for me — do you all want to talk to the neighborhood pharmacist every time you have diarrhea? I prefer to keep it to myself. And to shop around. And to solve my headaches between noon and 2:30 p.m. while you’re on your lunch break. Why doesn’t everyone? It’s a consumerist utopia. Kinda.
7. So, Segway tours are mostly illegal for kids under 16. But remaining seated on sketchy carnie rides is optional is a-ok? Does. not. compute.
This guy actually told these kids the ride was over and as they got up to walk to the exit, he turned it back on and laughed.
You smoke in their faces. You don’t give them seat-belts. You make them fall down. We don’t do these things, or their parents would sue us. It seems like you’re having way more fun. And then…no Segway tours. Do you think adults want to ride Segways? They don’t.
Maybe I’ll learn the languages enough to ask people about these newfound stereotypes and someone can set me straight. in the meantime, I’ll always wonder and never know. Europe has a long history, and a lot of burning questions.