US vs. UK vs. Italy: Some Brilliant Observations that I Have Made

I’ve lived in the States, Italy and now the UK. Here are some brilliant-if-I-say-so-myself-I-hope-you-understand-this-is-tongue-in-cheeky observations and comparisons:

Men
UK: Football and beer
US: Football and beer
Italy: Football and mamma

Good-lookingness
US: Quite the range
UK: That damn weak chin
Italy: The fuckers are all drop- dead gorgeous

Fashion style
US: Outside of NY and parts of California, no.
UK: No
Italy: It’s not simply that outfits match. Whatever is put on is simply perfect.

Driving
UK: Safely but on the wrong side of the road. (Editors note: The writer is American. Also, I am the writer.)
US: 55mph national speed limit.
Italy: Drive your mopeds on sidewalks if you need to.

Locks on doors
Uk: Clever the way the doors lock – pulling the handle up to get that deadbolt through the door
Italy: Those ridiculously long keys.
US: Who needs locks. We have guns.

very long keys

What to do at a stop sign
US:You stop.
UK: You stop
Italy: What stop sign? Who needs to stop? They can stop.

Food
There is no comparison. You haven’t eaten a tomato until you’ve had one in Italy.

Heath and safety
US: As long as it doesn’t cost money
Italy: Yea, yea, whatever.
UK: A national obsession.

Work ethic
UK / UK: Similar.
Italy: Work ethic? That’s hilarious. Sit down and have a cornetto and cappuccino. They’ll open the office eventually.

Public tranport
UK: Good and expensive as feck
US: Good, expensive in cities.
Italy: Public transport? Thats hilarious! Sit down and have a pizza. The bus will come eventually.

Socks
UK: If you live here long enough you WILL start wearing mismatched socks. It’s a law &/or DNA issue apparently.
Italy: Perfect in color, texture etc. Always.
US: Whatever. Can always buy more at Costco.

The currency
US: Green
UK: The queen
Italy: Bring back the lira!

angry old lady

“Bring back the lira! And the King!”

What students call the teacher
UK: Miss
Italy: Professore
USA: Yo!

The aged
UK: Taken care of
Italy: Revered
US: Fuck ‘em

Politeness
UK: At risk of death
US: If it doesn’t cost me anything, sure.
Italy: Why should I be the one to be polite?! They can be polite, no?

Sunglasses; specifically, how to wear them
US and UK: Like normal people do
Italy: On the back of your head.

back-of-head-sunglasses-guy

How Italian men wear sunglasses,

Overused word
US: awesome
UK: literally
Italy: cazzo

Pronunciation of “th” as in “thing”
US: thing
Italy: ting
UK: fing

Queues
UK: Yes, it’s true, we queue even at bus stops.
US: What the hell’s a queue? You mean, wait in line? Well, if we gotta.
Italy: Queue at the buffet table until the food arrives; then it’s every man for himself.

Smoking
US: Looked down upon
UK: People will roll eyes
Italy: They envy Third World countries with loose laws.

Career goal
Italy: Job for life as an “employee” or just live with mamma and pappa.
US: Work hard, play hard, become an alcoholic
UK: Become an alcoholic regardless.

Streets
US: Big
UK: Not so big.
Italy: This, they resolved. Small fucking cars.

Underground transport system:
US: The subway in NYC has 472 stations.
UK: London Tube 270.
Italy: In Rome, there were 2 lines, A and B for about 50 years. They intersect in one spot. Now there a third line, interestingly called Line C. Now the system intersects at TWO of the 73 stations. Wow – not.

Coffee
US: Sit down and enjoy.
UK: Have a cuppa! (Or would you rather a tea?)
Italy: Take your time ordering say, an espresso – no, let’s actually, let’s make it macchiato– just a touch of milk like almost none – oh, and let’s make it stretto so it’s really strong, and please please PLEASE make it a vetro; I must drink my coffee in a tiny glass cup. Then measure the precise amount sugar in and stir up to 45 turns.

Have I missed anything? Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X Marks the Brits

google images x“You know, you Americans say we Brits are so cold, but YOU’RE the cold ones.”

This was coming out of the mouth of Jon, the live-in landlord who despite dust and dirt everywhere, would freak out and scream if there were drops of water on the counter near the sink.

He continued. “You never put an x at the end of your texts.”

I wasn’t following.

“Well an x is a kiss, right?”

Yea and xoxo means kisses and hugs, so?

“You never write it at the end of your text.”

In time, I came to see that Brits do indeed put an x at the end of their texts. No matter what the person is writing about, there’s the little x. “I’m gonna stay home tonight, but thanks for the invite. x.” “Please pick up some milk. x.” “You’re a flipping cunt. x.”

When I lived in Italy, Italians wrote “baci”, which like the chocolate, means kisses.And I don’t write “baci” or “kisses “or  an “x” and I don’t write flipping “dry hump”, either.

This meant there was a flaw in The American Character?  I really hate representing the reputation of an entire nation. Besides, it’s just a letter: x.

And why, anyway, does an x represent a kiss? An “o” for a hug I can understand, I mean visually, you can get that – my arms around you, yours around me – an “o” more or less. But what kind of person makes their lips into an x – even if I am kissing you and you’re kissing me, where’s the flipping “x”? I’m sitting here in front of my computer, looking at a mirror and trying to make my lips looks like an x. The closet thing I can do is a bit of a fish mouth.

Ok. Time to google. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “The common custom of placing “X” on envelopes, notes and at the bottom of letters to mean kisses dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty. A kiss was then placed upon the cross, by the signer as a display of their sworn oath.”

Texting “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm” isn’t something I feel the need to swear an oath by. If I’m gonna swear an oath at the end of the text, it would probably be more like, “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm, asshole.”

And yet, one does adapt so that if I look thru my texts, increasingly, I have come to, in fact, include an x at the end of texts.

I went back to google to see if others had my questions. On quora.com, a website that is like the university-educated version of Yahoo Answers, someone responded to the question, “What does it mean when British people put an X at the end of text messages or emails?” with:

“No X = for a person you know you will not get an X back from / if you are annoyed with someone / a guy you don’t really know
X = standard for any friend / a girl you don’t really know
XX = a girl you like
XXX+ = flirting / playing a game with someone / going overboard

Two funny caveats of this are;
1. Some people really do take notice of the amount of Xs they are getting. If you send XX to a girl, you may get XXX back, but if you drop back down to an X after, you almost certainly will not get XXX back again
2. People can get offended if you provide no Xs, unless you are renowned for being a no-Xer”

Best be careful or one might become “renowned.” Who knew.

And really, it’s supposed to be a little x, however for me and my iPhone, that’s extra work. If I end my sentence with a grammatically correct period, that damn auto corrector will make that x capital. So do you go back and delete the capital x and put in a small case x? I’m not saying I have answers… all I have are questions.

Cuz I don’t know.

I’m inquiring.

Go ahead, look at your texts. Isn’t there an x at the end? And when there isn’t doesn’t it feel a bit … off?  And if the other person usually ends with 2 x’s but this time wrote only one, should you read into that? I kinda doubt it but what do I know, Dumbass American that I am. x

google x