« on: January 26, 2012, 06:57:48 AM »
I see this a lot, usually from somebody who may have been to Paris or Toulouse for a working week and suddenly they are experts on French culture and people. I've been married to a French woman for 31 years now, she has 10 siblings and they all live within 3 miles of each other. Over they years we've spent a total of about 3 years in France, but I still don't consider myself an expert.
When I'm in my wife's village I know everybody and it's normal that we are treated great by everybody, even the ones who claim to dislike one thing or another about America. They're usually like the Americans I meet who dislike France(ignorant). When we're away from home base I still have never been treated with anything but respect, even in Paris. When I go somewhere on my own, with no French inlaws with me, I still have never experienced rudeness. In fact I've had people ask if I'm american and then buy me a drink and ask me questions. I speak my own version of French but it's close enough to the real thing that people understand me and they appreciate that I've taken the time and effort to learn French. Here in the States when I see tourists from Europe they will always have somebody in the group with a good working knowledge of English. When I see Americans in Europe they seem pissed that the waiter doesn't speak perfect English. I've seen Americans get angry that when they order "iced tea", a drink not commonly enjoyed by Europeans, it comes with 2 small ice cubes, or when the food they order is not at all what they expected it would be. In general 95% of the a**holishness I've seen in Europe originates with an American tourist who can't comprehend why things aren't done like they are in America. Last year In Germany I unknowingly ordered a medium rare pork steak(my German is limited to ordering ein bier) but I ate it and enjoyed it because it was my own stupidity, not the waitress. It's my responsibility to learn a foreign language when I travel, not theirs so any misunderstandings are my fault.
End of rant