Stereotypes save time, and as in any generalizations, dangerous as they may be, help you figure out your way around the world… unless they are just incorrect. Here is a list of several stereotypes related to Europe that I just can never confirm or found out to be totally incorrect. Maybe they were valid generalizations at another time in history and nobody noticed the change, may be not. Enjoy!
- Italian ice cream is best: Are you kidding me? Can’t find it. Been to dozens of ice cream shops and bought the cheap ones to the expensive ones and didn’t find a single one that will beat my Häagen-Dazs back home. By the way, Häagen-Dazs is a brand of ice cream established by Jewish-Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York.
- French dont like to speak English: I have been to Paris and also to the South like Montpellier and Marseille and I interacted with many French people and they all made an effort to communicate, sometimes unsuccessfully. That idea of the French pretending to not knowing English or being standoffish is something I never found.
- Americans are monolingual: Oh, come on, most people from any other country you visit only speak their own language. We are not stupider than others. Fatter yes, but not stupider.
- Italians use the horn too much while driving: Can’t hear that! They are aggressive drivers, but silent. Try driving in Miami, however, and you will know what it is to have your vehicle propelled by horn sound.
- French don’t like Americans: There are some French people that really despise Americans. But those are the French people that despise everybody. They don’t have any special feelings about Americans… they are equal opportunity snobs. Just don’t like anyone who is not French. Oh, and sometimes they also don’t like French from other areas too.
- Be careful with gipsies in Romania: I was warned many times to be careful in Romania, that the place is full of Gipsies… no it is not! Romania is as dangerous and fucked up as many other countries. Nothing special about it. You have to be careful as a standard procedure like you have to be careful with pickpockets in most of Europe, with con artists, and crazy drivers. But I would not single out Romania as worse than others, unless you are afraid of vampires.
- Italian drivers are the worst: As you go South so goes the quality of your driving experience. But that is not a particularity of the Italians. Drivers from Southern France, and Spain are also notoriously aggressive. It is not that they don’t know how to drive well, not about the technique, it is about their compulsions and sense of masculinity that gets threatened every time there is a physical possibility to pass the vehicle ahead of them. They just can’t help themselves and will tailgate you shamelessly, share the lane dangerously, not yield, cut in, and do any other vehicular douchebaguery necessary to take your space on the road.
- Venezia smells bad: Without cars actually the air quality there is excellent.
- Italians are very elegant: We see the Italian tourists in Miami or Boston or New York and they seems super elegant and pretty and well put together, but that impression will not survive a visit to Italy, where you will see the Italians dressed in shorts and flips flops and a jersey of the Inter of Milan, side by side with elegant tourists from Boston, New York, Miami…..