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The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

Old Jul 30th 2004, 9:13 am
  #1  
Bob Fusillo
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Default The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

The Difficulties of Looking American in Europe.



Every mid-day I sit in St. Mark's Square ( Piazza San Marco) for my
first Campari of the day. I sit, and nibble goodies and watch the thousands
of tourists mill about; some in pairs, some alone, many following high-held
umbrellas. Other times of the day I lean out my window and watch the passing
parade. In the evening I am often in the restaurant downstairs - one of the
most popular in Venice - and there are many tourists there.

And they all look alike. Americans, Germans, the Dutch, and an
increasing number of young Italians are often taller than most - but their
nationalities are only discovered made after one hears them talk. But the
clothing is indistinguishable from nationality to nationality. Slacks or
cargo pants, t-shirts or sleeved shirts in summer, light non-descript
jackets in colder weather. Some "better-dressed" women wear skirts or simple
dresses, a few men wear jackets and ties ( presumably visiting from the
yacht); some, mostly larger women, wear ghastly-fitting shorts of a lurid
color. T-Shirts with the logos of American or British sports teams are
popular. But nationality appears to have nothing at all to do with it. They
all dress the same.

And for the most part the Venetians dress the same, too. The
handful of office-working Venetians, if they are young, are tall, and wear
handsome black suits and white shirts or blouses, and carry briefcases.
Older Venetian men wear drab checked jackets, dark slacks, and ties of a
somewhat old-fashioned style. (They wear the same to restaurants or to visit
friends in the evening.) Elderly Venetian women look the same as elderly
women all over the world. Some of them, who seem to have been to crone
school, wear shapeless dark or black long dresses and beat their way thru
crowds and push themselves to the front in shops and all need a smack in the
head-but that's another story. But the rest of the Venetians dress just like
the tourists, and the tourists all dress like each other.

Tourists, of course, carry cameras, and backpacks and Walkmen if
they are young, and maps, and stroll slowly six abreast thru the narrow
calles, obstructing everyone and spilling blobs of gelato as they go. But
all tourists do that, regardless of nationality. If they are at all tall,
Venetian shopkeepers address them in English, assuming that many Europeans
speak it. Even the short ones, tho, are usually addressed the same, unless
they initiate the conversation in their own language.

It is true that shopkeepers and restaurateurs of very long
experience can spot nationality very quickly, but they do it by mannerisms
more than by clothes. And they are often wrong. And fellow tourists are not
at all that perceptive.

So it is very hard to look American. Try a loud Brooklyn accent, maybe?

rjf
 
Old Jul 30th 2004, 11:47 am
  #2  
Psmith
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

I find that you can often tell by the shoes, Bob


"Bob Fusillo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:qSyOc.184965$%_6.20531@attbi_s01...
    > The Difficulties of Looking American in Europe.
    > Every mid-day I sit in St. Mark's Square ( Piazza San Marco) for my
    > first Campari of the day. I sit, and nibble goodies and watch the
thousands
    > of tourists mill about; some in pairs, some alone, many following
high-held
    > umbrellas. Other times of the day I lean out my window and watch the
passing
    > parade. In the evening I am often in the restaurant downstairs - one of
the
    > most popular in Venice - and there are many tourists there.
    > And they all look alike. Americans, Germans, the Dutch, and an
    > increasing number of young Italians are often taller than most - but their
    > nationalities are only discovered made after one hears them talk. But the
    > clothing is indistinguishable from nationality to nationality. Slacks or
    > cargo pants, t-shirts or sleeved shirts in summer, light non-descript
    > jackets in colder weather. Some "better-dressed" women wear skirts or
simple
    > dresses, a few men wear jackets and ties ( presumably visiting from the
    > yacht); some, mostly larger women, wear ghastly-fitting shorts of a lurid
    > color. T-Shirts with the logos of American or British sports teams are
    > popular. But nationality appears to have nothing at all to do with it.
They
    > all dress the same.
    > And for the most part the Venetians dress the same, too. The
    > handful of office-working Venetians, if they are young, are tall, and wear
    > handsome black suits and white shirts or blouses, and carry briefcases.
    > Older Venetian men wear drab checked jackets, dark slacks, and ties of a
    > somewhat old-fashioned style. (They wear the same to restaurants or to
visit
    > friends in the evening.) Elderly Venetian women look the same as elderly
    > women all over the world. Some of them, who seem to have been to crone
    > school, wear shapeless dark or black long dresses and beat their way thru
    > crowds and push themselves to the front in shops and all need a smack in
the
    > head-but that's another story. But the rest of the Venetians dress just
like
    > the tourists, and the tourists all dress like each other.
    > Tourists, of course, carry cameras, and backpacks and Walkmen
if
    > they are young, and maps, and stroll slowly six abreast thru the narrow
    > calles, obstructing everyone and spilling blobs of gelato as they go. But
    > all tourists do that, regardless of nationality. If they are at all tall,
    > Venetian shopkeepers address them in English, assuming that many Europeans
    > speak it. Even the short ones, tho, are usually addressed the same, unless
    > they initiate the conversation in their own language.
    > It is true that shopkeepers and restaurateurs of very long
    > experience can spot nationality very quickly, but they do it by mannerisms
    > more than by clothes. And they are often wrong. And fellow tourists are
not
    > at all that perceptive.
    > So it is very hard to look American. Try a loud Brooklyn accent, maybe?
    > rjf
 
Old Jul 30th 2004, 12:39 pm
  #3  
Padraig Breathnach
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

"psmith" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I find that you can often tell by the shoes, Bob
In recent years most Europeans have prospered sufficiently to buy
shoes.

--
PB
The return address has been MUNGED
 
Old Jul 30th 2004, 12:59 pm
  #4  
Cathy Kearns
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

"psmith" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:_5BOc.977$T_6.478@edtnps89...
    > I find that you can often tell by the shoes, Bob

Last summer in Italy I found the shoes I brought from the US I could buy all
over Rome and Sorrento.
 
Old Jul 31st 2004, 2:32 am
  #5  
B Vaughan
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

On Sat, 31 Jul 2004 01:39:56 +0100, Padraig Breathnach
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >"psmith" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>I find that you can often tell by the shoes, Bob
    >In recent years most Europeans have prospered sufficiently to buy
    >shoes.

An Irish man I knew as a child said that Irish men were very
particular about the crease in their trousers and didn't care much
whether their shoes were polished, while American men polished their
shoes to a spit-shine, but didn't care much about a crease in their
trousers.

Back in those days there may have been a certain truth in it. (At
least the American part of it rang true to me.) However, these
differences have disappeared with jeans and athletic shoes.

-----------
Barbara Vaughan
My email address is my first initial followed by my surname at libero dot it
I answer travel questions only in the newsgroup
 
Old Jul 31st 2004, 3:35 am
  #6  
Luca Logi
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

Bob Fusillo <[email protected]> wrote:

    > But the rest of the Venetians dress just like
    > the tourists, and the tourists all dress like each other.

Usually there is a way to tell tourist from locals: tourists look more
stressed and tired than locals, above all in late afternoon :-)


--
Luca Logi - Firenze - Italy e-mail: [email protected]
Home page: http://www.angelfire.com/ar/archivarius
(musicologia pratica)
 
Old Jul 31st 2004, 4:29 am
  #7  
Padraig Breathnach
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

[email protected] (Luca Logi) wrote:

    >Bob Fusillo <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> But the rest of the Venetians dress just like
    >> the tourists, and the tourists all dress like each other.
    >Usually there is a way to tell tourist from locals: tourists look more
    >stressed and tired than locals, above all in late afternoon :-)

In cities, the locals are the ones walking while tourists hobble on
sore feet.

--
PB
The return address has been MUNGED
 
Old Aug 1st 2004, 12:02 am
  #8  
Gerald
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

    >> But the rest of the Venetians dress just like
    >> the tourists, and the tourists all dress like each other.


Never saw a Venetian with a guide book, a map, a camera, or one of
those waist band carry things.
 
Old Aug 1st 2004, 5:42 am
  #9  
Bob Fusillo
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

And?
This suggests that you can tell a Venetian from all the other Italian and
other tourists. How do you do it?
rjf

"gerald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > >> But the rest of the Venetians dress just like
    > >> the tourists, and the tourists all dress like each other.
    > Never saw a Venetian with a guide book, a map, a camera, or one of
    > those waist band carry things.
 
Old Aug 1st 2004, 7:58 pm
  #10  
The Reids
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

Following up to Padraig Breathnach

    >In cities, the locals are the ones walking while tourists hobble on
    >sore feet.

Now, just a minute ago you said we all had shoes!
--
Mike Reid
If god wanted us to be vegetarians he wouldn't have made animals out of meat.
Wasdale-Lake district-Thames path-London "http://www.fellwalk.co.uk" <-- you can email us@ this site
Eat-walk-Spain "http://www.fell-walker.co.uk" <-- dontuse@ all, it's a spamtrap
 
Old Aug 2nd 2004, 1:38 am
  #11  
Miguel Cruz
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Default Re: The Difficulties of trying to Look, or not look, American in Europe.

Padraig Breathnach <[email protected]> wrote:
    > "psmith" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> I find that you can often tell by the shoes, Bob
    > In recent years most Europeans have prospered sufficiently to buy
    > shoes.

Yes, but many have found they can make a tidy profit selling them to London
bed-and-breakfasts, which carve them into strips and fry them up with eggs
in the morning.

miguel
--
Hit The Road! Photos and tales from around the world: http://travel.u.nu
 

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