Remember the days when Americans roamed the earth with impunity and had amazing good will around globe? Me either, but I've read about. Those days are long gone, as you well know. Since traveling abroad for the last few months and being pegged as American before even opening my mouth, I've devised this handy top ten list for how to pass as a European. Or how to NOT look like an American.
Wear a Fanny pack. I've seen all kinds of beautiful fanny packs here, and I don't mean fanny the way the Brits do. I mean the Grandma chain smoking around the waist-hip-hugging-fastens-in-the-back bag that holds virginia slims.
- Wear a track suit while not exercising. Every man I've seen in the Balkans wears one. You won't be mistaken for an American anywhere in Europe when sporting the matching track suit. You will, however, make any American you encounter think you are his/her gym teacher from grade school OR think you are going to whoop their ass for no good reason at all.
- Wear a track suit AND a fanny pack. This needs no explaining.
- Smoke like a fiend. Everybody in Croatia smokes. I saw a baby in a stroller smoking a cig while in Split, Croatia. He didn't know how to tap the ash, so his mom did it for him. When we were on the 2 hour ferry ride from Split to Hvar island, three men stood up front and smoked a pack of cigs each while two other men strategically stood downwind and picked up their draft...while also smoking. Presumably to take advantage of that 2nd hand smoke. Now that's multi-tasking.
- Eat sandwiches as big as your head while walking down the street. The type of food is negotiable, but local people will be eating while walking because they are busy and late and not on vacation so get out of the way. If you are not good at doing two things at once you can
- Eat while in a park. In America we call this a Picnic, but in other places it's called Life or just plain living.
- Smoke like a fiend while eating in a park. Bonus points here.
- Don't talk. This is a sure give away. If you are wearing a tracksuit and smoking in a park and somebody approaches you and asks you for say, directions or comments on the beauty of your outfit, use your best British accent and confuse the hell out of them.
- Drink Beer at 8am. And not in your pajamas at home because you got fired, but at a cafe. Sure people drink espresso in the morning, but if you want to pass as European, you'll have a beer in a glass.
- Wear shirts with stupid sayings. Must be in block letters. I just saw a shirt that read "FUCKING FUCK HAPPENS" Alternate: giant logo on your shirt. The bigger the better.
Granted, this may only work in Europe, but we are travelling the world and will be sure to update you as we progress!