Foreigners Share The Weirdest Things About The U.S. That Americans Don't Even Realize
Let's be real--the USA is a weird place.
If you live here, you know. It's like 50 small countries all tied together by a loose governmental structure. That in and of itself is already weird.
But there's so much more to the story that even Americans really don't grasp. Those who have come in from out of the country have an entirely new perspective.
Here were some of those answers.
Not The Telly You'd Like
How your medical ads show an old guy living life well because of X-drug. He has the best time, the wife is having the best time and it's all because of the drug making things better.
The end of the ad is full of warnings about how this happy drug can potentially kill you and your family, nuke your dog and make cats impotent.
Recap the cliff-hanger episode of life in Alaska before another ad break.
I went to Seaworld with my mum when I was in my mid teens. Halfway through the show, the performer (Not the whale) asked everybody in the military to stand up and the whole crowd gave them a round of applause. They sat back down and the show continued as if nothing had happened. Couldn't imagine anything similar happening back in Blighty.
When we were flying between cities, I found it weird to look out of the side of the plane and see towns mid-flight. In Australia, once you leave the city's airspace the landscape is completely barren until you arrive at your destination.
Wholesome Holiday Content
Now that Thanksgiving and Christmas is over:
The weirdest thing is that Americans will ask what you are doing for thanksgiving. Are you going to your family etc... When you say no. They invite you to their home.
(I was a student, My family was thousands of miles away, and I'm happy that the local Cracker Barrel is open and looking forward to a meal there)
My Professor did that. Invited me to his home. I had a good time, but it was strange. I'm meeting his uncles and aunts. and one little girl threw a tantrum, I had to take her to calm her down etc...
It was weird. But also wonderful. In my country things like this would never happen. You don't bring a stranger to a family event.
But I'm thankful things like this happen here.
American that just traveled overseas. I went to a great bookstore in Edinburgh and the cashier asked if I wanted to sign up for a rewards membership. This led to a conversation about how their CEO or something just took over Barnes and Noble in the States. I stated the closest B&N to me is an hour away, and the other cashier jumped in, saying how easy it is to forget how far apart things are in the States. He was just kind of baffled and said it often blows his mind. I moved 13 hours away from my hometown and I still manage to be in the same country, which seems like a foreign concept for most Europeans. When, in reality, I could have moved even further away and still been in the US.
Too Much Of All
Everything in America is huge. I don't just mean the people or portion sizes, because we all know about that- but the roads, the buildings, the ceilings, the space between everything... America is gigantic. It just feels larger than it does here. I'm Australian but I've been to Asia and size-wise it's similar to Australia, and I've seen Europeans say the same about America. Everything is bigger.
Free refills. Went to a restaurant with my dad (both German) and all of a sudden the waiter took away my drink with another perfectly good sipp in it and I must have looked pretty shocked. It was only then when my dad explained to me that you guys have free refills.
All Around Largely Different
For me as British bloke who only travelled for 6 weeks in the US:
Your public transport is largely poor but everything is built for cars and your cars are big.
You advertise not businesses but personalities a lot. So it's not that KGH Estate Agents will well your property but MARY HUGHTON WILL PERSONALLY SELL YOUR HOUSE (with a big picture of her face).
Random people will talk to you. I'm a Londoner so it is different up north in the UK but especially when I got to the southern states people were so happy to talk to random strangers.
You guys actually sit at the bar in bars. When we go to a pub/bar, we'll go with friends and rarely interact outside of that group really. You guys jump up at that bar and just start chatting.
Where homelessness is visible it's bloody awful. San Francisco was horrible for this, me and my (now) wife ended up making a load of extra spag bowl to give to the homeless people outside our hostel because it was shocking to us.
If I think of anymore I'll add them but it's Christmas Day and I should probably talk to my family.
Different Social Cues
Canadian here, I was blown away by how weirdly social people are with strangers. Like some random guy I've never seen before just starts telling me his life story on the street. He is super normal, and doesn't seem crazy, just wants to talk to me for some reason. But then also, the dude at Wendy's is loudly threatening some 16 year old cashier in front of like 45 people. I got the impression the Wendy's guy was uncool, but the other guy seemed normal, and where I live I generally assume that a stranger talking to me for no reason is either crazy or high.
Making New Friends
I lived for a long time in different places around the world, and something that I really missed when moving to a new town was the lack of a US-style bar where it was easy for a stranger to meet people. Outside of the US, it is rare to find a bar where everyone just sits and faces the same direction, whether or not a sporting event was playing on the television. Instead, they have a more 'pub-like' environment, where everyone is sitting in groups at their individual tables.
This makes meeting new people extremely difficult. Think about it, with the "table-style" bar, in order to strike up a conversation with a stranger, you literally have to approach them while they are sitting at their own table with their own friends. It's almost impossible to not look like a total freak! In a proper "Cheers" style bar, you can just say some random phrase to the bartender and if the person sitting next to you wants to talk, they'll just join in on the conversation.
Basically, In non-US bars, if you aren't invited ahead of time by someone, you are damned to sit alone in some corner of the bar.
Being horny can lead to some questionable decision-making.
Something happens to the brain when blood is flowing to other regions of the body.
They should discuss this in health class.
It's perfectly normal, but we have to learn how to deal.
Redditor Sir_Baconstrips wanted to see who was willing to discuss actions made while randy, so they asked:
"What's the biggest mistake you've made because you were horny?"
I can't tell you mine, because my mom might read this. But Reddit was more than happy to share.
History HelpHide Reaction GIF by florGiphy
"I browsed porn and then I asked my mom how to delete the history."
What was that?
"Probably my most embarrassing moment. Was on my work computer (family business so nothing locked) and it was a super slow day and I was alone. Anyways was doing a classic 3 min facebook check and scrolled down for a second and saw the news post about Adriana Chechik injuring her back in a foam pool. Figured top comments on that would be golden. Read one funny one that said 'her and her scene with [performer I can’t remember] is still goat.'"
"Never heard of said performer so I got curious and google her. Of course photos never do justice, had to see the performance ya know? So I clicked a random video, quick glance and thought 'meh' and was about to close the tab before I noticed my mouse twitch on the screen… What was that? No.. that wasn’t mouse error, that was someone… then within seconds I realized the accountant who taps in remotely to finish work came in at that exact moment that I had a browser open for less than 60 sec."
"The worst wart was I could have sworn I had all those remote services off, but she tried to tap in for over an hour and must of did something to wake splashtop (probably had it on some type of standby mode). She even called earlier but I saw a random number and was speaking with a client and ignored it."
"Anyways, decision time, do I call her and play it off as nothing or apologize? Naturally as a fearful 28 year old I play off as nothing. I call, no answer… then a few minutes later i get the call back and her words after exchanging 'hellos … are you finished with whatever you were doing…' still burns me."
"Let my (ex) boyfriend dry-hump me for an hour on a bench outside after summer school."
"The bad news: this bench behind our school was also beside a swimming pool. Where parents were taking their children for swim lessons. Eventually a staff member came out and yelled at us for being inappropriate."
"I still have shame flashbacks today, over 10 years later."
"I had a one night stand with a guy who was, in retrospect, seriously self-conscious about his penis size and kept going on about how if it was on the small size it was just because he has to have sex with it a few times and it would gradually get bigger until it was it’s 'true' size. I really didn’t care."
"But then to make himself feel better he turned it around and started talking about how big and wide my vagina was but kept reassuring me that it was ok because he liked the challenge. I wish I had snapped my legs shut and given him the boot right then and there."
In San DiegoNo Money Bangladeshi GIF by GifGariGiphy
"Lost my entire tax refund and got my phone stolen at a strip club in San Diego."
Always check your pockets on the way out.
The RewardHappy We Did It GIF by StoryfulGiphy
"Hooked up with a girl at a party. Just kind of bored, drunk, and horny. Having to go to the doctor for a case of pubic lice was my reward for poor self-control."
"I got my first serious gf in high school. She was two grades below me. So when I finished third year and moved 500 km south we was still a couple. I was so in love (and most of all horny) I commuted every. Single. Weekend. And I was poor. So I took the bus to the nearest station after school. Waited for the long distance bus for 4-5 hours."
"Went to a larger city to hitchhike my way there. I was there Friday night or Saturday morning. Locked ourselves in her bedroom and went at it until Sunday morning. I made my way down to school again and went to class straight from the bus Monday morning. This went on for almost a year…"
I'm OutChris Pratt Running GIF by Parks and RecreationGiphy
"Was trying to get with a girl in college. We were texting and I asked her what she was up to, she said she was training for a marathon and going to the gym and asked if I wanted to come."
"I ended up running 9 miles before I tagged out. So now I know how far I'd go to have sex it's up to 9 miles."
Lord the things people will do when slightly turned on.
Why in this day and age are people still taking nudie pics without triple-checking the recipient?
Why take the gamble?
And half of the time we hit send, mistakes get made.
One minute you're feeling sexy, the next minute grandpa is having a stroke.
Redditor Im_A_Freakin_Joke wanted to hear about the times people have sent photos to the family that left everyone SHOOK, so they asked:
"Redditors who accidental sent a family member a nude, what was the aftermath?"
I have done many things, but I never allow a snapshot.
GrossVacuuming Clean Up GIF by MashedGiphy
"'You should clean your room before you take that.'"
"I meant to send it to someone on WhatsApp that I was dating at the time and didn’t realize I accidentally sent it to my brother, their names were next to each other in my chat list and I chose the wrong one. I frantically called my sister in law and told her what happened and begged her to go into his phone and delete the message with the photo."
"This is before WhatsApp added the functionality to delete your own messages. She was so sweet and understanding and deleted the message. I was so embarrassed. To this day she has kept my secret, this happened five years ago."
"For context, my mom had some life-threatening medical issues when I was a kid, so there were a few month+ long periods where we rarely saw her. One night, I got a text from her that says 'send me a pic of u in bed."
"I thought she wanted a picture of me and my dog snuggling, as he slept with me and was the cutest sleeper. I usually sent her one every few days, even when she was home. It also doubled as her way to make sure I was following my bedtime."
"I was taking the picture, and I get a follow-up 'ignore that' text. At the same time, my dad opens my door so hard the hinges break. He says 'you get a text from mama?' I say yeah, and he says, 'it wasn't meant for you.' And leaves. I felt weird about it for days, even though it was years before I figured it out."
Leave it there...
"I happened to live across the street at the time and a dirty message meant for my now wife was sent to my mother! Luckily for me my mom is notorious for ignoring her phone so I sprinted across the street and said 'hey where is your phone' she told me it was on her desk so I calmly walked over unlocked it and deleted the message. In response to the look of confusion I told her 'deleted a message that was meant for now wife...' And left it at that."
AHHHH!!!! NO!Awkward Episode 1 GIF by HeelsGiphy
"One time my dad accidentally texted me 'sex if the Patriots win' and I still don’t believe I have recovered."
Mom and dad have their own lives.
DisconnectGIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"I didn't accidentally send a nude, but my phone did auto upload ALL my pictures when I connected it to my mom's computer. I'm no longer allowed to connect hardware to my mom's computer."
"I gave my sister my old Iphone (I’m 25, she’s 22). She didn’t realize that her photos were uploading to my cloud and when I went to send a photo to a coworker, at work mind you, I see her pasty a**. I immediately text her and was like STOP TAKING PHOTOS. She called me and asked if I was okay and I told her what was happening. She responded with 'My a** look good though,' and I died laughing. Love my sis, but Christ."
"I didn’t sent a nude. I was in the shower, about age 15, and I heard the phone ring. My best friend had a habit of calling while I was showering. So, I bolted out naked as the day I was born to grab the phone before she hung up. I didn’t realize pretty much my entire dad’s side of the family was visiting my terminally ill mother."
"They saw it all. My aunt jokingly said, 'Well, dang, I didn’t know there was gonna be a show.' And someone said, 'we were just joking when we said you’d grow up to be a stripper.' I had to do a walk of shame back to the bathroom as well."
"It was laughed off and it hasn’t been brought up since."
Let me see...
"Sent a pic of my boobs to my mom. Managed to convince her I was trying to take a pic of what I thought was a lump but ended up dropping my phone and sent it while fumbling. Which has happened before. But then she made me show her where I thought the lump was so that was very awkward."
Recover Modedelete black and white GIFGiphy
"I once sent a pic to a GF in college when we were home for break… only I searched her contact by last name and accidentally sent it to her mom!"
"Thankfully it was late and she was able to sneak into her parents’ room and delete it before they saw."
What have we learned?
At the very least, triple-check who you are sending it to one whichever app you use for that sort of thing.
There is so much to learn in the world, it's impossible for one person to know absolutely everything there is to know.
But there are certain things, like common phrases and idioms, that everyone seems to use that might be a little embarrassing to not understand until later in life.
Redditor Curious-2577 asked:
"What's something you learned 'embarrassingly late' in life?"
"My sister was in her fifties when she found out the meaning of, 'You have an addictive personality.'"
"She thought after all these years of therapy that it meant that people were addicted to her personality."
"We laughed hysterically when we talked about this (in a very sad way)."
"I thought that horses had toes until I was 22. I thought the hoof was a 'horseshoe' and the toes were tucked inside."
"How did I learn how wrong I was, you ask?"
"I was walking past a cavalry museum and saw a horse statue and loudly remarked, 'It must hurt so bad when they fold a horse’s toes to put them into the shoe!'"
"Dozens of horse enthusiasts turned and looked at me with wild bewilderment in their eyes."
"The saying is, in fact, 'Nip it in the bud' and not 'Nip it in the butt.'"
"A few months ago, two of my colleagues both handed in their notice at around the same time."
"I kept reading/hearing the sentence, 'They’re both moving on to pastures new’ being thrown about the office in the weeks leading up to them leaving, and I hadn’t heard this phrase before and thought that was the name of the rival company that they were going to, like, 'Pastures New.'"
"I thought it was weird that nobody was talking about how they were both leaving for the same company."
"I was in the car with one of the two people who were leaving and said, 'So where is it that you and X are going to be working? Is it...’"
"And just before I could embarrass myself and say ‘Pastures New,' they interrupted me and said they’re not going to the same place and asked me where I had heard that."
"I think at that moment, I realized I was stupid and didn’t mention it again."
"I think I was in college when I realized that Mario and Luigi are plumbers. I thought they just went and up down these tubes just because that was the theme of the game."
"That Bonsai are not a species of tree, but a way to grow them. Any tree can be a bonsai."
Houston, We Have a Problem
"Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to."
"I learned that pork and beans are not called 'cowboy beans.' I was 18 and asked a grocery store clerk to help me find the 'cowboy beans.'"
"We were looking everywhere and I was getting frustrated because I know that every store carries these beans. After a while, I picked up a pork and beans can with a picture and said, 'See, they look just like this!'"
"He said, 'You mean pork and beans?'"
"Then I realized that my mom called them that so that I would eat them."
"The look of disappointment from that grocery store clerk haunts me to this day."
"Let me tell you about how I thought you were awarded a 'Pullet Surprise.'"
Rum and Coke
"Not too late in life, but I thought my parents were making 'Roman Cokes' until I went to college."
"Which, I think is a much better name for the drink (Rum and Coke) anyway."
Oh No, Not Acoma!
"That a coma was 'A' coma. Until I was probably 19 or so, I thought it was 'acoma.'"
"I thought you fell into acoma."
It Must Have Been a One-Way Trip
"My parents were divorced the whole time and my mom was not, in fact, taking a vacation, lmao (laughing my a** off)."
"I live near the Hospital for Joint Diseases… when I was a kid, I thought was a special hospital for people who had two or more different diseases at the same time."
"Moving cross-country, driving east to west, and crossing from Idaho to Oregon, I noticed huge fields with signs for the Ore-Ida Potato company."
"So I was in my early 20s when I figured out Ore-Ida wasn’t just a brand name but was because their potatoes came from Oregon and Idaho."
"When I was really young, my sister told me she threw her guts up. So I was really afraid of vomiting my entire insides up for years."
Some of these really had us laughing as we realized the revelations some of these Redditors were having.
But when we're really honest with ourselves, we probably didn't figure out some of these until later, too.
While starting a family and having children is a goal that many people have, some do not realize that it's not easy, fun, and loving one-hundred percent of the time. Rather, it's expensive, exhausting, and hard, though it might be worth it in the end.
With this in mind, people shared what they felt were the hardest hurdles of their parenting.
Redditor ApprehensiveShock655 asked:
"What's the worst part of having a child?"
Fear of Not Doing Enough
"The constant anxiety that you’re doing enough to shape them to make good choices, a good life, be a good person and for them to have the life they deserve."
Like the Energizer Bunny
"It's incessant. It never stops. You never get a day off."
"Going from having two days per week to relax and do whatever to literally never having a moment free from responsibility."
No Break In Sight
"I’ve always wanted kids and still do, but this is the only thing that has come close to giving me pause."
"Both my siblings have young kids and I cannot get over how CONSTANT it is."
"From the second the kids wake up to when they finally shut their eyes, it’s non-stop. Then they get maybe an hour or two to themselves, which is mostly spent tidying up, etc., before the nighttime stuff starts with the baby crying, the toddler coming into bed, nightmares, etc."
"It requires years of not getting a full night's rest. You can never just go out whenever you want. No sleeping in, even on weekends because someone has to be up with them at 6 AM."
"Raising human children is an insane task."
Mom's Body After Baby and Dad Bods
"The weight gain is the worst! During the pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds. My belly has stretch marks. My boobs are all saggy."
"And it’s not even fair because my wife only gained like 15."
The Meal Planning
"Coming up with three meals to eat per day EVERY DAY stresses me out so bad."
"This sounds like such a small thing, but it really wears on you over time. You can’t just make something for yourself or something you and your spouse feel like eating: You have to constantly be thinking about if the kid is hungry and what they might be willing to eat."
Keeping Them Safe
"When people ask me this I say, 'do you know those video games where you have to escort a character to a destination without them being attacked?' That's parenting. Those missions are a pain in the a**."
Seriously, Keep Them Safe
"Having to deal with their total lack of self-preservation. They are creative and come up with all kinds of ways to try and kill themselves. Keeping ahead of the game is exhausting."
"They’re just always there. On you, behind you, in front of you, just a little speed bump impeding every task."
Letting Them Live Their Life Their Way
"Having a kid is like having a little piece of your heart running around in the world. When they're sick or get disappointed or just feel sad, it's worse than having it happen to you."
"Yet at the same time, you need to let your kids work through those things to learn to handle them. If you give into the worry and try to shield them from everything, you risk creating harmful co-dependence."
"So it's a constant struggle. But worth it!"
What Is "Sleep" Again?
"I'm only nine years in, but so far, it's been the sleep deprivation. Hands down."
And What Are These "Sick Days" You Speak Of?
"Having to take care of a sick child when you are also sick. For me that has been the most challenging part so far."
Another Full-Time Job
"It's like taking a second job that lasts 18+ years with a 24/7 schedule with no holidays or sick days."
"…And no second paycheck. It's actually like YOU are paying your second salary instead of getting one."
"The loss of freedom. I can't just... go somewhere. Even with older kids, there's so much planning and thinking and getting ready."
"I miss being able to just decide to go somewhere, and go there."
The Time Flies
"The best advice I got was from an ancient hospital security guard in an elevator. 'The days are long, the years are short, cherish them while you can.'"
"The phrase I hate is, 'You don't know it, but one day you pick your kid up for the last time.'"
There are all kinds of troubles that come from being a parent, many of which people don't necessarily think about until they already have a baby in the house.
But reassuringly, many people in the subReddit pointed out that no matter how hard some of these hurdles are to get over, it's still worth it in the end, and it goes by far too fast.