7 Things That Frustrate and Perplex Me About The USA

7 Things That Frustrate and Perplex Me About The USA

The US is quite the country. So many people from other countries dream to move to the US and live the “American dream”. The US has great shopping, the best military, loads of power, an amazing music and film industry, and it’s the birth country of Wikipedia and Disneyland.

I even married an American, which is perplexing in itself, but in spite of this country’s awesomeness there are some things that sometimes really frustrate or perplex me. 

1. Their work is their identity.

Americans define themselves by what they do, hence the awful common socializing question: “what do you do?” This question is not very common in Latin America nor Europe. People don’t live to work in other countries like they do in the US. One’s job is just part of what they do, and only part of their life, not their whole life and identity.

2. Everything is a competition.

The US wants to be the best country of the world, because of this, I do admit they are a pretty good country; but it doesn’t stop there, everyone in the US competes against each other too. Competition is inbred in kids since very young and because of it life has become a game in this country; a game to climb the ladder and reach the top, never to be satisfied with one’s position. They play to win instead of to enjoy the journey of the game.

I wish the whole country would just take a step back, take a chill pill, relax, play, make time to cook with fresh food, have time to gather with friends and family, and have time to do so much more there is to do besides work.

3. Women can’t be nice to men just because (and vice versa).

Coming from Mexico I see a big difference between men and women relationships. In the US, if a woman is nice to a man, the man automatically thinks that she is into him. Same thing happens the other way around. It seems like men and women in the US really can’t be just casual friends. In Mexico, I had tons of guy friends which I never even thought of dating (even if they were attractive.) And frankly, it was really nice having friends of the opposite sex without any sexual tension.

Additionally, I don’t know what’s up with American women that they love accusing men of sexual harassment. It’s a problem. Also, men can’t be friendly to stranger kids without the fear of being accused of pedophiles.

The whole situation is frustrating.

4. The dichotomy of American football.

The image is self-explanatory.

5. Being, technically, the only country in the world that doesn’t use the metric system.

United States Vs The Rest Of The World Measurement Chart

To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius you have to deduct 32, then multiply by 5, then divide by 9… or something like that. I just want to know if I need to bring a sweater today.

Also, every time I get asked my date of birth for anything in the US I feel like they’re going to think I’m making it up if I have to stop and think to remember my date of birth when I’m just trying to figure out the order.

6. Creating their own vocabulary and insisting that everyone else is wrong.

british spelling wrong

No red squiggly lines! You’re wrong.

7. Setting the drinking legal age at 21. 

18 is way better. I felt like an adult since I was 16, you’re going to tell me I can’t drink until I’m 21? Even worse is moving from a country where the legal drinking age is 18 to the US (where it’s 21) when you are 19 years old. I’ve been drinking for years already, come on, just serve me a beer. And even more frustrating, being over 21 but they won’t take your recently expired driving license. I promise you, my date of birth didn’t change when my license expired.

Do any of these bug you too?

24 Comments

  1. Living in Australia [ex pat Englishman] I find there are some commonalities….especially the ‘wriggly red lines’ [sorry Bill you gotta learn to spell wright!!!] and the endless macho image that is now causing men to wonder just what/who they are supposed to be. You know I would add the American sense of humour ‘see the squigly red line’, has a banality second to none. They have to learn to take the piss out of themselves! Oz is now almost the 51st state. Hate it..as do many more of us antipodeans.

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  2. I love this, #3 is a pet peeve with me too, everyone is always on the make in america, its quite disgusting! I also dont like the way many Americans proclaim America is the greatest country on earth and they dont have a clue how wrong and ignorant they are!

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  3. For the most part I found this list quite funny, but I stopped laughing when you wrote you “don’t know what’s up with American women that they love accusing men of sexual harassment. It’s a problem”. Have you perhaps thought about the link between this ‘problem’ and the point you raised immediately before – that it’s common for men to try to sexualise any relationship with a woman, even if she had just been looking for friendship? I found your analysis a bit flippant there.

    But you’re definitely right on the point about Celsius vs Fahrenheit – it’s just common sense surely!

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  4. All true. Another thing I find frustrating is when you say something positive about some other country, like for instance Victoria’s comments about France in her comment above, you will invariable run into someone obnoxious who will say something like “if it is so great there why don’t you get the hell back there?”.

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  5. Haha, I enjoyed reading this! Being a friendly neighbour to USA and travelling a lot in and out, I am totally confused by the conversions. My daughter lives in New york and I cannot find out if she is warm or cold, from the U.S TV channels…I simply call her to find out the truth!!! I have used two words with squiggly lines under..Ugh…I don’t care! I have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with this nation…appreciate their hard work and patriotism!

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  6. I’m an American (living abroad) and I totally agree with the first four, though actually the nice to women/men thing is way, way worse here in India. (And at least the generations can be friends in America, it’s too awkward here.) Got to admit I prefer American football to the other version though. I see #5 and #6 as quirks that make me smile, not as problems. #7… well remember that at the beginning of the 20th century America banned alcohol altogether, so it’s really not surprising, is it?

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    • You’re right, the women/men relationships are worse in India. I guess I was comparing with my experience in Mexico.
      And actually, I love American football, don’t get me wrong, I was just talking about the name. 😉
      Yep, I remember about prohibition. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Definitely 1 and 2.

    And if I may add one? (Kind of goes along with the superiority thing)

    Americans’ view of other countries seems to have been formed the last time the US military rolled through and then got stuck. So, for example, their view of France (the country where I live) was formed during WW II and hasn’t fundamentally changed since. It’s all Lost Generation, the bucolic countryside, poor service (but good food), and inadequate plumbing.

    What I see today when I go out and about here in France are: the well-maintained infrastructure (roads, bridges), the high quality public schools (clean and well-funded), the incredible efficiency of the public sector, a health system that is rated number one in the world, a middle-class that is doing very well with good jobs, nice houses/apartment and a social safety net that works. Not to mention nuclear power (and bombs including nuclear submarines). France is both modern and prosperous.

    And I find the difference between what Americans think about France and the reality to be incredibly funny. At least it’s funny right up until I go home to the US for a visit and I see the dysfunctional political system, crumbling bridges, potholes in the roads, friends struggling with their health insurance companies, other friends just trying to do as well as their parents did, and public schools so bad that when my daughter visited one she couldn’t believe what she saw (and this was one of the better ones in Seattle with an international program and everything). And then I just feel so sad for my country. I’m not sure what happened but clearly the rest rose, folks, and today coming in from Europe or Japan it’s very hard to see what Americans have to feel superior about.

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    • Wow… just from this, France really sounds like an amazing country to live in. I feel like the US has it good compared to many many countries, including probably all 3rd world countries… but it’s true, they do have a superiority complex and they really don’t have a lot of tolerance for different cultures.
      I also hate how everything seems to revolve around money. Greed is becoming an increasing problem. You really can’t do anything without money here.

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  8. 1, 2, and 3 are real problems. 4, 5, and 6 made me laugh. I understand where you’re coming from with 7 and I’d be irritated if I had to deal with that (even if I don’t really drink). Love the graphics!

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  9. The first two bug me. We do place way too much importance on a person’s job and Americans do need to learn to just chill out. The US does have a major superiority complex too, which is why I don’t see anything changing!

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    • “superiority complex” right on the dot! They totally do. If they don’t understand or like something about someone else’s culture it means they do it wrong… e.g. it’s not the other side of the road, it’s the wrong side of the road.

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