Author Topic: "Typical French a**hole"  (Read 4702 times)

Offline corkybstewart

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"Typical French a**hole"
« 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
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 07:06:45 AM »
Brushing up on the Deutsch right now. We had an OK level of the language when we lived there (to give credit, the wife was much better).  When we hear some American say in a loud voice "CAN'T YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?" to a German, we shake our heads and wander away.  We have seen this all too much.

Edit: When traveling to a new country, we have found that some effort to learn a little of the language pays back dividends. We learn how to say "Please, Thank You, I don't speak (insert Language hear)", and as a beer drinker "Where is the restroom". 

You can learn a lot of a language in a month it you try.  Made our trip to Italy a few years back much more enjoyable, and I had started off with no Italian. 
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 07:12:08 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 07:12:03 AM »
@hopfenundmalz you really hear people say that? Jeez.

Living overseas certainly gives you perspective on intercultural behavior.

Of course, the problem is that in the touristy places, the waiters etc really ARE jerks, and in a lot of the shops near touristy areas the customer service is HORRIBLE. Ya just gotta go a little further out, is all.

Oh and one more thing to keep in mind before passing judgement: Paris is statistically the most touristy city on the planet, and France is the most touristy country. For customer service and waiters in those touristy areas, they don't care whether you get served or not - there will always be somebody coming in right after you.
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Offline pinnah

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 07:12:56 AM »
We have seen this all too much.

+2.

I spent a summer living on a famous plaza,
and almost invariably
it was the Americans that were loud, fat, and demanding.

No wonder some Europeans have a particular stereotype of all Americans.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 07:13:25 AM »
Yes.  The more frustrated they get, the louder they say it.
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Offline Kit B

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 07:16:55 AM »
Sometimes, people can project their discomfort on others & make everyone seem like a**holes.

For instance, I once went to a family reuinion in Canada (yes...French).
Most of the French-speaking family members didn't mingle with the most of the English-speaking family members (& vice-versa).
At one point, someone said that the families from Montreal were a**holes, for avoiding the rest of us.
My dad asked them whether they had tried to go over & introduce themselves...Of course, they hadn't.
I'm conviced that it wasn't due to anyone being a**holes...It was all about comfort levels/zones.
It was strange, but everyone got along & attended the same parties & games, that week.
I have never seen so many short, portly folks wearing perma-smiles.
I'd like to see that happen again, some day.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 07:20:30 AM »
When I hear a stereotype like that...my tpical response is "I didn't realize you knew everyone from France".

Stereotyping is very short sighted and ignorant. I try to ignore this kind of behavior.
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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 07:32:48 AM »
it was the Americans that were loud, fat, and demanding.

Hey...I resemble that remark...I mean resent  ;D


Of course, the problem is that in the touristy places, the waiters etc really ARE jerks, and in a lot of the shops near touristy areas the customer service is HORRIBLE. Ya just gotta go a little further out, is all.
Same here in the States, and not to just the foreign tourisrts, but Americans as well.
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Online theDarkSide

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 07:35:02 AM »
When I hear a stereotype like that...my tpical response is "I didn't realize you knew everyone from France".

Stereotyping is very short sighted and ignorant. I try to ignore this kind of behavior.

I heard the stereotype for people in Delaware was they are all brilliant and handsome...thanks for setting the record straight  ;D

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Offline bluesman

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 07:38:30 AM »

I heard the stereotype for people in Delaware was they are all brilliant and handsome...thanks for setting the record straight  ;D



Hey...I resemble that remark.  ;) :P
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Offline weithman5

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 08:23:09 AM »
1.  i don't travel to foreign countries because i don't speak the language, or have someone that can. 
2.  similarly i expect people who come here to have a working knowledge of our language, it is right for them to expect me to have a knowledge of theirs when i visit.
3.  most people are assholes ;D, regardless of where they originate
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 09:27:19 AM »
We joke about the French stereotypes in our house because it one of my wife's "this will get her going" buttons.  She spent in a summer in France between Jr. and Sr. year of high school.  She stayed with a wonderful family and we still exchange letters at Christmas.  Our kids know it's all in fun and do not believe all the French are rude, cheese eating, surrender monkeys.

One of the funniest aspects of the Christmas letters is that we right our letter in English and they write there's in French.  I always imagine them sitting around the kitchen table trying to tease out the meaning of our English the same way we do their French.  We have started sending the English version and a Google Translate version to help everyone involved.

Scott Adams once had Dilbert say "Everyone is somebody-else's weirdo" and the same is true for a55h0l3s.

I try to learn at least enough of any countries language to be able ask for food, water, beer and a bathroom.  It isn't perfect but it at least keeps you from completely embarrassing yourself.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2012, 09:32:04 AM »
thank you corky! it drives me nuts.

Sometimes, people can project their discomfort on others & make everyone seem like a**holes.

For instance, I once went to a family reuinion in Canada (yes...French).
Most of the French-speaking family members didn't mingle with the most of the English-speaking family members (& vice-versa).
At one point, someone said that the families from Montreal were a**holes, for avoiding the rest of us.
My dad asked them whether they had tried to go over & introduce themselves...Of course, they hadn't.
I'm conviced that it wasn't due to anyone being a**holes...It was all about comfort levels/zones.
It was strange, but everyone got along & attended the same parties & games, that week.
I have never seen so many short, portly folks wearing perma-smiles.I'd like to see that happen again, some day.


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Offline edvinjonsson

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2012, 10:12:42 AM »
I live in Mazatlan, Mexico, a small town on the west coast, and I see that everyday. A lot of americans come here, and some even live here, and I've never seen ONE trying to speak some spanish, they expect everyone in here to understand english. Of course most people here do speak at least some english, since its a touristic place.

I'm actually american, but I've lived here all my life, so english is my second language. I try to practice a lot cause I like to travel to the US pretty often. Mostly because of the beer. ;)

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: "Typical French a**hole"
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2012, 10:54:56 AM »
I am currently in Iceland, and the language here is nearly impossible to pronounce for the uninitiated. Fortunately, all Icelanders speak decent english. I do try to learn, but the language is sufficiently different as to be a difficult thing to remember. Though my pronunciation is getting better, and I try to say all the words on signs I see to get a feel for it. Mi espanol es mejor... pero no hay mucho personas que hablan espanol aqui...
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