HOLDING HANDS, DOGS AND SHOPPING TAMPONS
The longer you live in a country the more you realize the smaller differences in culture. I picked 3 random smaller things from daily life that amused me over the last weeks. Let me know what you think and if you experienced similar moments!
Culture difference #1: HOLDING HANDS IN PUBLIC
It’s amazing to observe it when traveling the world: It is so different how couples show their affection in public. Holding hands or kissing is quite common in Europe while you won’t see it that often in the US. When walking the streets here in Chicago, you will see public “touching” not very often. Yesterday I was walking down the streets and I saw an older couple holding hands and I thought I was wrong. However, coming closer I heard them speaking French to each other. I also hardly can see any public kisses but at the same time, Americans don’t shy away from dressing very revealing. How do you exchange gestures of affection when you are living abroad? Do you adjust to the local culture or do you stay true to what you are used to? I am still holding hands and also can’t help it. It just feels so natural that I normally do not think about that.
Culture difference #2: Carrying dogs
Another smaller difference I noticed between Europeans and Americans is how they treat their dog. Chicago is THE dog city. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there are almost the same amount of pet shops than jewelry stores. On every corner, they are selling collars and snacks and often you see dogs wearing the flag of Chicago. They look very cute and you will see all kinds of breeds. Summer is also the time of street festivals and most dog owners will bring their dog along no matter how hot, loud or crowded it is. It seems as the dog is part of a status symbol. Often you see people carrying their dogs – even bigger ones. Please if you know why tell me! I am dying to know 🙂 I guess the Europeans and most of all the Germans have a bit different relationship with their dog. In Germany, the dog is part of the family but he or she is still an animal which has to be respected and therefore small apartments in big buildings with few running spaces are not seen as an adequate place to live. The same goes for festivals with incredibly loud music.
culture difference #3: SHOPPING FOR TAMPONS
A couple of weeks ago I was walking down the aisle of a drugstore when I overheard two guys giggling. When I came closer I noticed they walked down the aisle of tampons by accident and felt uncomfortable. Funny enough they have been both grown-up men around 30 I would guess. I then reminded myself of the time when I was in the hospital for my emergency operation. My husband had to get me a sanitary towel. An older woman next to me overheard our conversation and after she realized he will actually go and ask for it she turned to me and said: “Oh, this is a good guy. You have to keep him. Not many men would ask for that kind of thing in public.” I found that very amusing as to this moment I did not even think about it. However, I realized that in America products for female hygiene are indeed a very sensible topic 🙂 How is it in the country you are living in? And if you are living in the US, have you made similar experiences?
I hope you learned something new or have found yourself in one of these situations. Let me know what you think and what your experience is!
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This is a very interesting post. I’m an American married to a German and we live in the Middle East for his work. He’s definitely a hand-holder and likes to show his affection very publicly. I always thought this was just his personality — maybe his love language — but perhaps it’s also cultural!
It’s all so relative. People from East Asia believe that Americans (especially on the West Coast) are libertines. Certainly, social conservatives in the US think the contemporary US is libertine.
And, um …. regarding the “Hi, I’m German too”, thing … you might not have realized what that is, I guess? That’s White Americans who distance themselves slightly from being white, — or really, like that they can sort of claim a specific ethno-social identity. Which they can, in the context of the US, because it really just means, “I’m not a WASP”. They’re also trying, in their way, to find a piece of common ground with you.