America can be very confusing. I'm American, and even I don't know what the hell is going on. Health care, schooling, etiquette- none of it seems to make even a tiny bit of sense. We certainly do our own thing over here.
But if you think the US is whack, imagine how people from other countries see us. MrNoName_ishere asked:
Non-Americans of Reddit, what confuses you the most about America?
Let’s begin with the bathrooms, shall we?
Kid had it coming, tbh.
“Why is there space under THE BATHROOM STALLS???”
“I was at a wedding once and my friend was taking a sh*t and some small child tried to crawl through the space under the stall wall and my friend was so shocked he reflexively kicked the child's face.”
“Why everybody when talking about income calculates how much a person makes in a year instead of monthly like we do in my country?”
“Just convention. It's how we're used to hearing about it. Also, different jobs pay differently. So I get a check every month, but I think my dad gets one every other week. Some people get them weekly, others on other schedules. Discussing it by year makes it pretty easy to divide up by your own pay periods.”
We all sound like news reporters, apparently.
“From England here. I grew up in a county called West Yorkshire, a semi-rural, semi-urban, working-class county which, along with the rest of Yorkshire, seems completely unique when compared to the other English counties. There is so much slang, grouped and contracted contractions (wouldn't - 'wunt', shouldn't - 'shunt') and the accent here isn't always understandable. Yorkshire slang, especially that spoken by the older generations, sounds and looks like a completely different language, even more so when spelt phonetically.
It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to understand the majority of Americans. They speak with so much clarity, non-specific slang and the accent just helps. It reminds me of the news reporters.”
“Why is one Kansas, and the other not Ar- Kansas?
Edit: also, why is Worcester pronouced [Whooster], not Wor-cester? I studied in MA and this still baffles me.”
“Arkansas comes from the Osage people. Kansas comes from the Kaw, or Kansa, people. They are unrelated words.
A Google search shows that the last S is Arkansas is silent, as it's a plural word, and French explorers/settlers dropped the S on a plural—la fille vs. les filles, pronounced "la fee" and "lay fee" respectively.”
You know, the weird thing about growing up here is how normalized all of these weird things become.
Nothing wrong with living with your parents.Carey Mulligan Snl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
“I don't know if this is just about America or most 1st world countries but why is living with your parents a bad thing or laughable.”
“In the US, it's seen as being a failure because you can't pay for your own housing.
I agree with you though, living with your parents isn't bad. I lived with my parents (mostly) until I was 24 and my parents housed my grandma for years, which I thought was sweet.
If you've got a good, supportive family, there should be no problem with helping each other.”
Sweden is much more sensible.
“How your blood/alcohol limit for what counts as drunk driving is so high. 4x as high as Sweden’s.”
“That's a bit of a simplification and it depends upon where you are. In my state of Washington, between .02 and .08 is 'officer's discretion' as to whether you're arrested for DUI.
Also, if you have a CDL (commercial license) the limit is .04 regardless of the vehicle you're driving.”
It’s all about aesthetic here.
“It confuses me how come American-style homes are so tidy outside. I am always amazed when I use Google Streetview to "stroll" around some random road in the U.S. I wonder why and how the houses and backyards look so clean, with newly-mown bermuda grass and well-painted roofs and walls.
I can't help but compare this to my country (which is a developing one). I'm thinking what's wrong with our citizens such that when I use Streetview on our streets, they're usually filthy. "Ordinary" American-style homes can only be found in high-class villages and subdivisions here.”
Maybe all of these confusing things aren’t so bad.
So many life paths, so little time.its always sunny in philadelphia job GIFGiphy
“As someone from India, the possibilities many Americans feel they have is both confusing to me and admirable. I'm 28 and I already feel the rest of my life is going to work on a rigid schedule. Most people here have very less risk taking ability."
"But I read of American stories like this guy's who worked as a masseur for a year, then as a swimming coach, then suddenly got into law school and become a lawyer. After hitting his 40s, he got interested in programming, so he became a programmer! Reading biographies of famous American businessmen brings out many such stories.”
We get a bad rep sometimes, but we’re usually pretty chill.
“How nice and friendly most Americans are. I did a roadtrip all across United-States in 2011 with 3 friends. In any city we were visiting, the second we would unfold a map, 2-3 persons stopped and asked us if we needed help. In the end of the trip, we would fake unfolding the map to actually ask people for directions. It worked everytime.
Much love from Canada! Those news networks do not show how cool our southern neighbors are!”
Leftovers aren’t really a thing in foreign restaurants.
“Why are the portion sizes so big??????”
“A lot of us take home leftovers from resturaunts. It's pretty rare to eat the whole meal at once. People generally complain less about having too much that too little.”
"The lack of electric kettles."
"Our electric outlets have lower voltage so it takes longer for the kettle to heat up than yours does, so the marginal benefit isn't as great. I have one though, just not as snappy as ones I've used overseas."
"Valet parking. Why would I want some stranger messing with my car? I can park my own car thank you very much."
"Since everyone here drives, finding parking in a dense area can be a massive pain in the a**, so people who can afford it will park valet because they can just drop it off at the curb right in front of where they're going. That said, I agree with you and never park valet, not just because I'm not rich but also because f**k you, stay out of my car!"
Socks Too?tired maya rudolph GIF by The Academy AwardsGiphy
"Should I take off my shoes or not."
"Just ask. It’s 100% normal to simply say 'Do you want me to take my shoes off?'”
State by State
"Every state works so differently, they could've been different countries without needing a president. I have understood what you guys have been trying to teach me. But the laws are so different, the taxes are so different (but still confusing), the education system is more or less the same (mostly autonomous and free till high school). I mean states have most of the power."
"I live in India but here central government has most of the powers (which sucks) and the central government can make a state ruled by a different party look bad by misusing their powers, But that is hard to do in the US. I mean US is kinda good but confusing if you move between states."
"The news portrays Americans as a bunch of ignorant, gun-toting rednecks. But when I travel in the US, they are really nice, friendly and helpful. My car broke down while leaving the Mount Rushmore parking lot and I couldn't get it started again. I must have had 30 other people offer to help in any way possible."
"Either by letting me use their cell phones to call someone, or look under the hood for the trouble or offer me a ride. I was thankful to everyone. I came away with a good feeling about Americans and turned a bad problem into a not so bad problem. Thanks from a Canadian."
"You can get a gun licence at 18 but need to be 21 one to buy alcohol."
"You can also be drafted and die for your country at 18! But god forbid you have a drink."
"It's been a long time, but I remember thinking how weird the menu choices were in restaurants, especially in LA. Like the options were either super healthy or super unhealthy, you couldn't have a mid-range meal. One restaurant in particular, pretty much everything was deep fried unless you wanted a salad."
"Showing the most horrible violence is totally ok, but if someone accidentally show a nipple then everyone loses their g**damn minds. It's like people needs to be sheltered from seeing natural body parts for reasons nobody seems able to specify, and it's honestly confusing as f**k."
Real KindnessBe Nice GIFGiphy
"How nice, friendly and welcoming the vast majority of Americans are. The 24/7 news portrait quite the opposite."
Working Life Away
"The work ethic. All the Americans I know are so successful and have made such good choices with their careers, and I guess maybe it's because there aren't the kind of safety nets in the US that I am privileged enough to have in Europe, but it exhausts me just thinking about it. I suppose I'm not confused, just kind of envious but also a bit sad because it seems stressful?"
So for all of y'all non-Americans reading this, wondering why our country is so weird--I couldn't tell you, because I don't know either.
Then again, there are plenty of UK things that I don't get. Like the fact that grilled cheeses don't exist there. It's very heartbreaking.
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Not all television and movies are loved by all.
A story and its characters have to appeal to you in order for you to be engaged.
It can take next to nothing for us to lose interest and let the screen go black.
Redditor BarooTangClan wanted to compare notes on all the entertainment we've said "that's enough" to.
"What will make you instantly stop watching a movie or show and why?"
I hate bad acting, writing, storytelling... I hate bad anything.
Stop JumpingFight Scene GIF by Operation FortuneGiphy
"Fight scenes with a million visual cuts. Gives me motion sickness. Contrast the absolutely masterful work in John Wick. long cuts, realistic use of weapons (mostly), 100% skill."
"When the actors whisper the whole movie and you have to crank the volume to hear what's being said - but the soundtrack or some other misc noise starts blaring at a higher volume directly after."
"I basically had to watch Stranger Things up in my attic with the windows and doors closed. I was worried the neighbors would think something was wrong or be annoyed if I watched it downstairs in my single family home. It was ridiculous."
"spice things up"
"Love triangles out of no where in a second or third season to 'spice things up' because studio writers are hacks and their idea of relationship drama is 'potential infidelity' at all times. It's the most tired trope on the go**amn planet and the second I see it rear its head I dip right the hell out."
"The whole concept of a love triangle to begin with an incredibly juvenile. Any healthy functioning adult who found themselves in a love triangle would soon choose to find themselves single."
Save your lips...
"When couples in a movie/show have a fight and one of them instantly goes to a friend and end up kissing her/him after talking for 5 minutes. I cringe so hard i turn it off and never watch it again."
"This pissed me off so much in Manifest. Girl is desperate to get back her ex-fiancé, he finally breaks up with his wife to get back with her and she's like 'nah, it's not fair to your wife, let me do this other dude I just met through a calling and be pissed at you for being jealous.' Michaela was the worst and everyone acted as if she were a saint the entire time."
Talk to MeIn Love Flirt GIF by OriginalsGiphy
"Shows where a single polite conversation could fix everything."
We are going overboard with the witty repartee. Talk normal...
Shut UpScared Home Alone GIF by FreeformGiphy
"Annoying main character, especially if it's a kid."
"Kids who have a quippy, sassy retort to everything, and everyone just kind of crumbles before their wit."
"Shows where kids in high school talk like they are 30 years olds who have done everything, been everywhere, know it all and use a ridiculously flowery and extensive vocabulary in every conversation. Like, have any of these writers ever been to high school? Literally no one talks like that. Even worse is when, in addition to this, all the adults talk normal or are just plain stupid, like so weird parallel universe."
"If the movie is too dark. Not graphic, just literally dark. I lose all sense of intensity in dark scenes and I'm not straining my damn eyes trying to figure out what the hell is going on."
"I've seen about 10 percent of all DC movies recently. I've seen all of the individual films in full, just actually saw 10% of each of them."
"Movies in the late 80s had a lot of dark but you could see the depth because of different shooting techniques. Now you cant see crap because its a CGI fest drowned in black color so you can't see crap because you have no depth in a scene. Compare night scenes in dark alleys in 80's movies and movies now. Utter crap show in the new ones."
Pay Attention Storytellers
"Bad editing would be a big one. A lot of modern horror movies can't help but edit the movies like they're trailers, with added noises to scare the audience because they are afraid the script alone isn't enough to keep people watching."
"I remember this is where the first transformers movie lost me. When the transformers are fighting at the end, it's all a big, jumbled mess of metal and I can barely tell what's going on or who is who."
Dramawill devry soap opera GIF by General HospitalGiphy
"When they go straight to relationship drama right away when it wasn't the selling point of the show."
Do better, Hollywood. It's not that hard.
I fear death.
I wake up in cold sweats dreaming about it.
I think about it in my waking hours.
It's an obsession and clearly, I'm not alone.
But there are more preferred ways to exit.
All we can do is hope to be lucky enough to skip the mercilessly awful.
Please just let me go quick and in my sleep.
RedditorCallMehRiverwanted to hear about all the ways none of us what to leave this life.
"What Do You Think Would Be The Worst Death Imaginable?"
My list of the worst deaths is long. My imagination runs amok.
Trappedseason 6 friends GIFGiphy
"For me? Being trapped in a small tube or cave (like the ones you have to wiggle through) and getting stuck to where you can’t move your arms. And all you can do is wait to die. I’m getting chills just thinking about it."
"The more I hear about cavers that get stuck, the more I think that's a crap way to go."
"There’s a great YouTube channel called Ask a Mortician and this was her #1 worse way to die. I can’t remember the exact details or their names, but two well-known divers went into an underwater cave."
"One of them became entangled and died. Years later, his friend dives back down there to try and retrieve his body, the body itself is rotten and his head comes off and the other guy also becomes tangled and dies. Really sad."
A Long Process
"Believed to be in a coma but coherent through the whole 20 year process until they pull the plug."
"Oh man this just reminded me of a story I read on here about a guy who lost the ability to move and speak but was completely conscious. Had to just lay there and be awake but trapped in a useless body. His family thought he was brain dead or something and he couldn’t communicate to them that he was 'all there.' Crazy"
Slow & Steady
"Being slowly impaled by a growing bamboo. It was a form of torture probably used by the japanese during WW2 against Allied prisoners."
"The scariest part is that once you have symptoms, you 100% will die. A 100% mortality rate has to be a psychological torture in itself."
"Not only that, you feel irrational fear. Your brain is literally being eaten apart by the virus and it fu*ks up everything on it. You can't drink water because it hurts you. You feel dizzy, present a fever, excessively salivate, everything hurts and it only gets worse. I'd rather take a bullet and die when the symptoms are still tolerable."
Why can't we all just go engulfed in calm and quiet?
"Some pulpy sci-fi book I read a while back had one of the best deaths of this real piece of crap bad guy. Left to die in a drowning sea lab under the Antarctic ice, he freezes himself in a state of the art suspended animation pod with some kind cold fusion power source that would keep it running for millions of years."
"But he forgot to inject himself with the drug that would put him to sleep. So basically he is in suspended animation at the bottom of the Antarctic ocean while his mind is perfectly awake and conscious in a near unbreakable machine that won't run out of power for millions of years and nobody knows about it."
"As an RN I have always thought that the worst way to die (natural process) is ALS. Lou Gehrig's Disease."
"My mom and grandmother have Huntington's disease, which is essentially ALS, Alzheimer's, and Dementia combined into one really messed up genetic disease. I have a 50% chance of inheriting it and if I hit 40 and there's still no cure I can't promise I'll feel like continuing on with my life because that disease is absolutely freaking miserable."
"The fact your chromosomes can be so destroyed your body basically lost it's genetic code and with it the ability to make any new cells. It's literally a 'dead man walking' and you slowly rot away in agony. Stuff is so unimaginably f**ked up."
"What's also bad about radiation is that it affects your nerves and brain cells last, so you have everything in place to feel all the pain of the rest of your cells being destroyed."
GooNot Listening Season 2 GIF by The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirGiphy
"I want to believe anything that slowly kills you painfully to be the worst. Such as slowly being crushed or something where the pain is beyond compare and yet not enough to throw you into shock or unconsciousness."
"Alternatively, being rapidly crushed into goo would probably be the least painful. I'm talking one of those massive industrial hammers they use for large steel work. Basically smooshed before the nerve signals make it to the brain."
Now I'll never sleep again without nightmares of death.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Most Americans think nothing of their humdrum daily activities or amenities available to them.
However, others with a different perspective might romanticize the things that are otherwise commonplace ideas and concepts for US citizens, like going to a diner or riding the school bus.
One Redditor looked to foreigners to hear of their American desires to respond to the following:
"Non-Americans of Reddit: what is an American thing you have always wanted to try?"
The things depicted in film really captivated foreign audiences.
"To visit a diner like in the movies. In the middle of the night, it’s raining and just a few people there with great music from a jukebox."
Iconic Student Transport
"Ride a yellow school bus even if I'm too old. Growing up I always loved seeing them on TV."
Just Like The Ones We Used To Know
"A white Christmas."
"Living in an Australian state where I've never even seen snow in our winter, let alone experiencing that classic Hallmark movie moment of waking up to a street full of it and sitting around a fireplace while opening gifts/preparing a feast."
"Guess it's not strictly American, but the imagery and trope is something I've only really seen from American Films."
They may be ubiquitous for us, but they sure seem to be novel ideas to foreigners.
Let's Be Frank
"One of the hotdogs from those little street cart things."
"A friend of mine from Indonesia said, 'the food chewer in the sink.'"
"Apple Pie made by white-haired grandma, placed near window, who says 'oh dear...' as I levitate towards it."
"Proper tailgating before a ball game, the kind where there's ribs and stuff."
"Deep fried foods at a state fair. I'm from Scotland and we love to deep fry everything and I wanna know if it's just as good or better."
There are places to see!
Places To See
"America’s greatest invention!"
Backpacking In Nature
"I always wanted to hike The Appalachian Trail if that counts. Or see Yellowstone."
"Being able to start a whole new life 'elsewhere' without having to leave my country and going through an arduous immigration process."
My cousin told me she looks forward to visiting a Trader Joe's someday when she visits America for the first time.
Her bucket list option was hardly surprising. My parents used to bring treats from TJs as a novelty souvenir gift item, and my relatives ate it up. Literally.
Let's face it. The snacks at TJs rocks.
Even store locations in New York City would have ridiculously long lines during busy hours because the West-coast-based grocer was a novelty on the East Coast.
Many people work hard from the moment they are on the clock until their respective shifts are over at the end of a long day.
For many of those in the workforce, the wages barely sustain a comfortable living, especially for those who are raising a family.
Yet, there are jobs that are known to pay a higher salary without requiring extreme physical labor, or the requirement of higher education.
Curious to hear what those jobs might be, Redditor ImAMasterBayter asked:
"People Break Down Which Professions Are Completely Overpaid"
Extensive training requirements are not a thing, apparently, with these professions.
Daily Dairy Duty
"I watch milk powder go into a bag and out on a conveyor and get paid $37 an hour."
Eyeing Dirt In Motion
"Mine? I get paid $20.50 a hr to watch dirt go by on a belt all day."
The Handy Man Is Happy To Help
"I am a handy man that charges $50/hr with a 3hr minimum, a couple months ago I got a call for service that consisted of changing 9 smoke detector batteries, 2 light bulbs, and rehanging a picture. I felt bad taking the money but the guy couldn’t have been happier to have that stuff finally done. He asked for my card and is now a very good client."
Words From An Appraiser
"I make about 40 an hour after tax in the US as a real estate appraiser. You just need a college degree and a year of training and there is a huge shortage of appraisers right now."
"Edit because this post blew up: I only perceive this job as being overpaid because I used spent most of my 20's making pizza for minimum wage and imposter syndrome is a thing. Also, OP said he was looking for a possible career, and I felt like my job post was better than a troll post."
"Appraisers are not real estate agents or brokers. I do not buy or sell property."
"I do not, 'look at zillow and copy the number' and I don't just, 'make the number' in valuation. While I agree there are some appraisers who may lie or exaggerate, the same could be said of nearly any job. However, if I were to intentionally try hit some goal and got caught fudging the numbers, I'm looking at permanently losing my license and possible jail time depending on the severity. It's actually pretty common for me to, 'tank a deal' if someone is paying too much. This isn't the wild west of valuation anymore; FIRREA is a thing now. Appraisal reports aren't just 3 pages of photos with a cover page anymore; my typical appraisal is 30-50 pages with long boring typed pages of market data that I type and research myself."
"Let's talk about the appraisal gap. In most of the US, we are experiencing a, 'sellers market' meaning houses are selling for higher than what they normally sell for. A lot of people at this thread are blaming appraisers for driving housing prices up. Let me be perfectly clear about this: appraiser's valuations are based off of past data. That is it; we look at closed sales from the past. Realtors and brokers speculate on future markets, because they are motivated by profit. If anyone is driving this current market trend, it is the people buying properties over listing price, local government/laws willingness to allow foreign investors, the people who are raising rents, and the people who are making big risky developments. The appraisers have little to nothing to do with market perception of value; in my area at least many market participants are paying over 30% of listing price. Trust me when I say these people are not satisfied when my appraised value comes in less than that."
"The hardest part of the job is definitely the occasional angry phone call. Let's look at an example. Say someone lists their house at 100k, and they accept an offer for 150k, or 50% over listing. Well the appraisal is based off of past closed sales. The bank will only finance up to the appraised value. So if the appraisal comes in at 110k, meaning the subject in relation to comparable sales from the past year in the subject neighborhood equate to roughly 110k, they will either need to renegotiate the price, or be willing to put up 40k of their own money."
"In a sellers market, it's often better to accept a deal with better financing than a higher price. Let's say in this situation instead of taking the 150k offer with a mortgage, you take a smaller offer for 140k that is all cash, no financing. Well if there is no financing involved, meaning no bank, than no appraisal is needed."
Landing work in software seems to be like hitting the jackpot of success.
"I’m in software sales, software sales. Coworker got 100k commission on a deal."
"There are an incredible amount of 'analysts' who just 'own' automated excel sheets they received from developer teams."
"Low to mid six figures is common in HCOL areas."
The Successful Client
"I do the tax returns for a guy who paid 20k for demographic research software and made something like 40M over the last 3 years. His costs are almost nothing and admitted he does like 5 hours of work a week on it."
"I got more likes and comments than I thought I would, and wanted to add some more detail. The guy himself is super nice and easy to work with. It's hard not to feel jealous even though I make good money myself. His business and personal returns are super simple so we don't even charge him that much for them."
"The software is something proprietary he paid a third party for, and I don't know the name of that developer. The data output is sold to political campaigns and he's compensated more if the campaign wins. He did have some clients on both sides but now exclusively works on one side of the aisle."
Salaries in the world of academics got a closer inspection.
"University administrators and board members."
A Stark Contrast
"I'm a professor. I love it. But the 'president's office' contains a staff of 5 people with a total payroll of just under $500k/year. Meanwhile, all the PhDs, MFAs, and DMAs who teach all the classes, advise all the students, and serve on all the committees bring home a whopping $50k-$65k/year, dependent on rank, tenure, etc. It's real fun...
"The president of my institution makes a approximately $500k/year and is provided a house on campus alongside reserved parking if he so chooses to use it. He also gets a country club membership. Meanwhile I have to pay $200 to park at the school where I TA and do research, and I get paid maybe 1/20th of what he does. I genuinely do not understand why the f'k the dude who makes six figures doesn't pay for parking, but I do."
"Edit: that should be half a million."
Some of the cushiest jobs that require less time actively toiling away seem to be paying significantly more than the average livable wage offered in the US.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of what that might be was summed up best by Redditor iadasr, who said:
"Whatever you guys are all doing that lets you browse Reddit all day..."