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I'm French But Lived In The US For Almost A Decade; These Are The Weird American Quirks I Still Think About

I mean...these really ARE strange.

Hi! I'm Marie. I'm French — but I spent eight years living in the US.

During that time, I noticed a few funny American quirks. Here are some of them. (Please don't send me angry emails.)

1. Nonadjustable shower heads.

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

How do you clean your butt with these things??

2. Being carded when you're old enough to be an AARP member.

Scene from the movie "Superbad" of McLovin getting carded.
Sony Pictures Releasing

I have gray hair and a bad knee and I need reading glasses; I shouldn't need to show my ID to get some booze or a pack of cigarettes.

3. Being able to buy prescription drugs, a pack of beer, cigarettes, and candies all from a pharmacy??

Picture of a Walgreens.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Your pharmacies are sending mixed messages is what I'm saying.

4. Asking "How are you?" when you just mean "Hello" and don't want to know how the person is.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

If you don't actually wanna hear about my latest insomnia or the state of my mental health, just say "Hello" and don't ask me how I am.

5. Serving water iced no matter the weather or the season.

Picture of a glass of water filled with ice cubes

This is a nightmare for anyone with sensitive teeth. Besides, who needs water this cold in the middle of winter?

6. Waiters constantly checking in on you at the restaurant...

ITC Entertainment

If something is wrong, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'd love to have a whole meal and conversation without being interrupted every five minutes.

7. ...and refilling your glass every few minutes.

I feel like this is just another excuse to come check on people during their meal to increase the chances of getting a good tip. Can't we all agree to fill our own glasses and leave, at minimum, a 20% tip anyway?

8. The concerning number of flags.

Chad Warpinski / Getty Images

Outside buildings, on the street, outside houses...are you afraid we're going to suddenly forget what country we're in??

9. Having to share a room with someone in college.

Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images

French students would probably go on strike if they were asked to live in a dorm and share a tiny room with a rando for a year. But I guess it's a rite of passage and a good way not to feel too lonely once you leave home.

10. The insane number of commercial breaks on TV.

Lifetime /

Ten minutes of ads for a 20-minute show is just too much!

11. Having to tip everywhere.


All the rules around tipping are confusing and annoying. How about you start paying everyone in the service industry a decent wage instead?

12. All the dances in high school.

Paramount Pictures /

Fair warning: My vision of American high schools is mostly based on movies and TV shows. Judging from those, it seems like you have at least two formals a year. I'm actually very jealous of this because we don't have even a single one during high school in France. How is that fair??

13. Being able to vote at 18 but not being allowed to drink.

CBS Television Distribution /

Call me crazy, but if you're old enough to pick the next president, you're old enough to legally enjoy a beer or two.

14. The size of your cars.

European style mobility vs American style mobility #smart #smartcar #pickuptruck #car #truck #mobility #downtown #dtlv #lasvegas #vegas

Twitter: @LVElectrified

I know the US is a big country, with big roads and big cities, but do you really need cars *this* big?

15. And the size of your highways, too.

Ron And Patty Thomas / Getty Images

I guess with big cars come big highways.

16. All the crazy commercials for prescription drugs.

View this video on YouTube

What's the point of making these ads in the first place if 80% of airtime is dedicated to all the horrible potential side effects??

17. The massive portions at restaurants.

18. The huge gaps around the doors in public bathroom stalls.

Also, due to there not being "occupied" notices on toilet doors, they instead make the door gap really large. 🚽

Twitter: @keithpitt

On the plus side, you always know if it's occupied or not.

19. The overuse of air conditioning.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

I, too, love AC in the summer. But do we really need to turn every store and subway car into a refrigerator?

20. The HUGE glasses of wine.

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Your wine glasses almost look like fish bowls, and if you go to a bar where they use smaller glasses, they just fill them to the brim. Not that I'm complaining. More wine is always a good thing in my book, especially nowadays.

21. Prices being listed before tax.

I just want to know exactly how much something costs before I choose it. Is that too much to ask?

22. All the subway and highway ads for lawyers and doctors.

I would trade every obnoxious Hims, Seamless, and Casper ad in existence just to see a Doctor Zizmor subway banner one more time. #nyc #drzizmor #subway

Twitter: @SchadenJake

I miss Dr. Zizmor. (But also, please don't pick your lawyer or doctor from a subway ad.)

23. Writing dates MM/DD/YYYY instead of DD/MM/YYYY.

Lionsgate /

That's confusing in so many ways.

24. Calling this crime against cheese "mozzarella."

Bag of shredded mozzarella

Honestly, this is reason enough for Italy to declare a war on the US.

25. Not using the metric system.

20th Television /

Almost every single country on Earth uses the metric system; get on it!

26. And using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius degrees.

Brandy Arivett / Getty Images

You know what makes sense? A unit of temperature where 0° means freezing and 100° means boiling. Such a unit exists — it's called Celsius and it's used by most countries in the world. You should give it a try.

27. Selling everything in tons of different flavors.

Dear Oreo, what's up w/ all your weird flavors? No need to mess with perfection.

Twitter: @colleen_brianna

Torture for any Libra.

28. Putting rugs in kitchens.

29. The fact that all of your bank notes look almost the same.

Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

Don't tell me you've never been drunk at a bar and given out a $20 bill instead of a single. I know I have.

30. The obsession with flavored lattes and Fraps.

Picture of a Starbucks purple frapp
Michelle No /

Can't we show a little respect for coffee??

31. Laws changing from state to state.

Disney–ABC Domestic Television /

I know that's the whole idea behind federalism, but it can get pretty confusing.

32. Easy Cheese.

33. People going food shopping in their PJs.

hahaha RT @beckylong Grown man in holiday-critter pjs @ grocery store. I am really hoping he's single. Fingers crossed.

Twitter: @paxr55

I have seen this in the wild several times, and I'm actually into it! Who said you shouldn't wear pajamas at the store? The world is going to shit, so anyone should just wear whatever makes them feel comfy and cozy at all times.

34. Calling a (not even) North American competition the "World Series."

Logo from the 1994 World Series

This just in: The world is bigger than just the US and Canada.

35. And calling this "French bread."

Not entirely convinced enough people understand the importance of $1 French bread at Walmart

Twitter: @AminaSwitzer

This is an even bigger affront to French culture than Emily in Paris.