Allow me to take a quick break from the PNG chronicles to give you my opinion on Americans.
The Nikki and Inga show had a brief comeback tour last week when I made an impromptu visit to Kanagawa, Japan, where Nikki is living with her Tennesee navy boyfriend. I spent 10 months as an exchange student in Kyoto back in the day, so Japanese culture didn’t come as a huge surprise to me….the US naval base, on the other hand, certainly did.
Apparently the United States Navy wants its troops to be comfortable wherever they’re stationed; whenever you walk on base you’re essentially walking into America. There’s Subway and McDonald’s, the power outlets are American, they use US Dollars, the groceries are American and so is the beer. I felt like I’ve just spent 5 days in America instead of Japan.
And it turns out I LOVE America. At least, I love the America that’s populated by a couple of thousand military personnel in their twenties. In Australia we’re saturated with American TV shows, music and pop culture, but I confess I’ve only met maybe 2 or 3 Americans in my entire life. I held onto the stereotype that the majority of Yanks are loud, obnoxious and ignorant, and thought my bloggy friends must be the minority. As it happens, I’ve since realised the Australians are loud, obnoxious and ignorant – the Americans are an absolute delight. They’re friendly, polite and earnest, and when you tell them you’re Australian they invariably exclaim “day-um, Orrstraaalia?” and look as if you’ve just told them you’re going to give them $500 and a puppy.
The men have so much more respect for women than our Aussie bastards. Regardless of whether he’s Australian or American, a guy coming up to a girl in a bar has one intention. The difference lies in their skills of persuasion.
An Australian man will make meaningless small talk for maybe five minutes, stare down your top, then ask if you want to come home with him. If you say no, he’ll look ridiculously wounded, maybe call you a bitch, tease or a whore, and stomp away like a toddler.
On the other hand, American men seem to have made an art out of the pick up. All of them will insist on buying you a drink. From there, they branch off into their own manoeuvres. Some ask incessant questions about Australia, some of them will perform magic tricks on you, some will spin you onto the dance floor and one guy even asked me about my hopes and dreams, told me his, then performed a rap he had written. And even when you’ve made it clear you have no interest in climbing into their dormitory bed, they still stop and say hello when they see you on the street the next day, or the day after that. If these blokes came to Australia, they would get vagina thrown at them like confetti.
And don’t get me started on black Americans. Oh my god, they just ooze sexuality – men and women. Nikki and I both had some African Americans try it on with us (yes, men AND women), and we literally squealed like twelve year olds and ran away. We have no coping mechanism for that level of charisma. They’re so sexy it’s overwhelming. And my god, can they dance. They were busting out moves like they were in an Usher video clip. Every now and again a song would come on, and everyone on the club would pile onto the dance floor and start dancing in sync, white people included. We don’t do this in Australia, unless it’s at a wedding and it’s the Nutbush. They even did the Gangnam Style dance, which would get you beaten up over here. I mentioned this to someone, who tactfully pointed out how snobbish this sounds – and he was absolutely right.
There were other cool things, like seeing people drink out of those plastic red cups that are in every American teenage movie I’ve ever seen. The fire hydrants look just like the ones in Sesame Street (I couldn’t even tell you what our hydrants look like). A large McDonald’s meal is a LARGE McDonald’s meal, the sandwiches come with a pickle on the side, and you can buy a ‘handle’ of vodka for $14. That’s a jug of spirits so big, it literally requires a handle to carry it. And don’t get me started on Cheez-Its and the ubiquitous ‘hart saaarce’ on every condiment rack. There is now no doubt in my mind that I will be coming to America at some point to do it all again.
As for Japan, I have two words: CAT CAFÉ.
Yes, for 600 yen you can have a coffee and play with a room full of cats for 30 minutes. How jealous are y’all?
And finally, here we are being completely obnoxious to a young gentleman exhibiting the kind of patience that’s only observable in those wanting to get into a chick’s pants.