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(Guardian)   Visiting London for the Olympics? American? The advice is to pretend you're Canadian   (guardian.co.uk ) divider line
    More: Obvious, olympics  
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2250 clicks; posted to Sports » on 20 Jul 2012 at 9:21 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-20 01:52:36 AM  
If you're American and pretend to be Canadian you should know the basics
Names of provinces & territories. The major cities. Prime Minister.
Hockey teams. Famous Canadians. Etc.
 
2012-07-20 02:43:55 AM  
if a real Canadian catches you, god help you. i heard their submarine sank something yesterday.
 
2012-07-20 05:51:12 AM  

some_beer_drinker: if a real Canadian catches you, god help you. i heard their submarine sank something yesterday.


Sank what, a canoe?
 
2012-07-20 06:56:09 AM  
Also, if you look a bit foreign, don't run on the tube platforms
 
2012-07-20 08:58:17 AM  
Real tips for Americans (and Canadians): You'd think that they would speak English in England, but really they speak a variety of languages, most of which involve putting large numbers of marbles in their mouths. You will not be able to understand what they are saying most of the time, but nod and smile anyway

And then there's the Welsh. The Welsh speak English, but not to the English. (Apparently they're still bitter about something that happened in the 1300s or somesuch.) Make every attempt to signify to a Welshman that you are, in fact, an American (or Canadian) and not an Englishman. Otherwise, they will talk in this weird moon language behind your back.

Don't try to explain the US system of Government. Seriously. While it may make sense to you, even the most basic concepts seem lost on a Country who has an unwritten constitution, an unelected upper house and an inherited, inbred monarchy. Find a Canadian to translate for you.

Don't wear a fanny pack... or at least don't call it a "fanny pack" in public. You'll get horrified stares.
 
2012-07-20 09:25:07 AM  
I had a great time in England. Everyone I met asked if I was from Canada and I had to explain that I was from the US. I never had any problems and most people spoke fondly of times they visited the US.
 
2012-07-20 09:26:34 AM  
I thought Obama was going to restore America's image. I feel lied to.

/politics in my sports thread?
 
2012-07-20 09:28:56 AM  
That article is probably funnier if you're British.
 
2012-07-20 09:31:55 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat:
Don't wear a fanny pack... or at least don't call it a "fanny pack" in public. You'll get horrified stares.


Bad advice. Proper advice would be to bring several fanny packs with you. They're all the rage and sure to find you friends among the young women there. When you see an attractive young lady, ask her "Care for a fanny pack?" or, if you really want to fit in, "Fancy a fanny pack?"

Also, if while eating at McDonalds, you spill something on your lap, don't be embarrassed. Feel free to tell everyone "That was so good, I stained my pants!"
 
2012-07-20 09:36:09 AM  

MugzyBrown: I thought Obama was going to restore America's image. I feel lied to.

/politics in my sports thread?


"Americans: While you're here, why not pretend to be Canadian? Very few Britons can tell the difference, and it will allow you to rescue yourself from awkward conversations about the death penalty."

Yeah, it's too bad Obama didn't ban the death penalty.
 
2012-07-20 09:39:03 AM  
Uggghhh...was this supposed to be satire? I can't tell if it is supposed to be funny or if the author is a Freshman in high school doing his first article.
 
2012-07-20 09:48:17 AM  

Gunny Highway: I had a great time in England. Everyone I met asked if I was from Canada and I had to explain that I was from the US. I never had any problems and most people spoke fondly of times they visited the US.


The only issue I ran into over there was a drunk asshole that kept trying to invade my personal space in a West End club who was looking for a fight. At first, after getting bumped numerous times by the guy, I put my hand out to establish some space and said, politely, "Do you mind? I am just trying to enjoy my drink." To which he said, "Do you wanna dance," and started bouncing as if to signal a fight. I said, "Not really, I am not a fan of Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer, but maybe the next song." Apparently, the taking the request literally threw him off and he moved away.
 
2012-07-20 09:49:47 AM  

ontariolightning: If you're American and pretend to be Canadian you should know the basics
Names of provinces & territories. The major cities. Prime Minister.
Hockey teams. Famous Canadians. Etc.


Know how to speak Canadian with lots of aboots and ehs.
 
2012-07-20 09:50:57 AM  

Arkanaut: Yeah, it's too bad Obama didn't ban the death penalty.


So sensitive. It's ok he still loves you.
 
2012-07-20 09:52:42 AM  

ontariolightning: If you're American and pretend to be Canadian you should know the basics
Names of provinces & territories. The major cities. Prime Minister.
Hockey teams. Famous Canadians. Etc.


Or don't be a pussy.

I met a mythical American pretending to be a Canadian on a tram one night. The only reason anyone even bothered to ask her where she was from was because she was talking so damn loud on the tram.
 
2012-07-20 09:53:41 AM  
FTA:
• None of us is officially allowed to speak to members of the foreign press.

Ugh, I hate Queen's English.
 
mjg
2012-07-20 09:54:44 AM  
Know your Canadian Facts:

- Ontario is the capital of Canada
- Cuba uses the Canadian dollar as their official currency
- Tom Cruise is from Canada

etc.
 
2012-07-20 09:56:24 AM  

eKonk: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat:
Don't wear a fanny pack... or at least don't call it a "fanny pack" in public. You'll get horrified stares.

Bad advice. Proper advice would be to bring several fanny packs with you. They're all the rage and sure to find you friends among the young women there. When you see an attractive young lady, ask her "Care for a fanny pack?" or, if you really want to fit in, "Fancy a fanny pack?"

Also, if while eating at McDonalds, you spill something on your lap, don't be embarrassed. Feel free to tell everyone "That was so good, I stained my pants!"


Try also to remember that when at the bar (pub), get two drinks and then tell everyone you're double fisting.

/makes a grown man I work with blush every time someone tells him that during Happy Hours.
 
2012-07-20 10:00:08 AM  
As an Aussie who worked in a liquour store and served American customers on a regular basis, I'd simply advise that you shouldn't boast about winning WWII singlehandedy. It wasn't you yourself who won that war, and that "If it wasn't for us you'd be speaking Japanese" shiat doesn't go down too well.
 
2012-07-20 10:00:26 AM  

mjg: Know your Canadian Facts:

- Ontario is the capital of Canada
- Cuba uses the Canadian dollar as their official currency
- Tom Cruise is from Canada

etc.


you win one internets
 
2012-07-20 10:01:16 AM  
Ironically, Americans who do this are perfect examples of why they feel they need to do it.

They think that because they're Americans, they're so goddamned important and special that everyone else will feel the need to focus in on them and give them crap. It's the same attitude behind the morons who go around using the You'd still be speaking German nonsense.

Protip: Most people don't give a rat's ass where you're from. They're not going to waste their time and energy giving you shiat because you're an American. Don't act like a dick and you won't have any problems.
 
2012-07-20 10:03:05 AM  
img502.imageshack.us

Anyone who's done the whole cliche post-college trek through Europe knows that, subby.
 
2012-07-20 10:03:43 AM  

Aarontology: Ironically, Americans who do this are perfect examples of why they feel they need to do it.

They think that because they're Americans, they're so goddamned important and special that everyone else will feel the need to focus in on them and give them crap. It's the same attitude behind the morons who go around using the You'd still be speaking German nonsense.

Protip: Most people don't give a rat's ass where you're from. They're not going to waste their time and energy giving you shiat because you're an American. Don't act like a dick and you won't have any problems.


Although, my experience was that English girls find an American accent sexy and exotic. I'd been told by a few that I "sounded like a movie star".
 
2012-07-20 10:06:41 AM  
This was true when I spent 6 months there in 2005. And THAT was in the midst of the Bush years.
 
2012-07-20 10:09:28 AM  

MugzyBrown: So sensitive


...says the guy who brought up Obama in a sports thread.
 
2012-07-20 10:13:41 AM  
I will be traveling in Ireland and Spain later in the year. Being an America in Europe never crossed my mind but I am going over there not expecting any problems. I am confident I am not being naive.
 
2012-07-20 10:13:50 AM  

meanmutton: Although, my experience was that English girls find an American accent sexy and exotic. I'd been told by a few that I "sounded like a movie star".


This kind of thing is the usual extent of it.

"Oh, you're from the US? Neat."
 
2012-07-20 10:19:24 AM  

meanmutton: Aarontology: Ironically, Americans who do this are perfect examples of why they feel they need to do it.

They think that because they're Americans, they're so goddamned important and special that everyone else will feel the need to focus in on them and give them crap. It's the same attitude behind the morons who go around using the You'd still be speaking German nonsense.

Protip: Most people don't give a rat's ass where you're from. They're not going to waste their time and energy giving you shiat because you're an American. Don't act like a dick and you won't have any problems.

Although, my experience was that English girls find an American accent sexy and exotic. I'd been told by a few that I "sounded like a movie star".


I have a southern accent. Europeans can't seem to identify it as a southern accent, instead thinking I sound vaguely "American, but charming". Most of Europe seems to think Americans are all southern valley girls that spent a summer in Boston. It's awesomely funny, usually. Getting a European to do an "impression of an American" can be the highlight of any trip overseas. I've never encountered anyone who bothered me for being American, and I've gotten plenty of preferential treatment with your standard Aw Shucks type performance.

Pro-tip: Be charming.
 
2012-07-20 10:21:07 AM  

Gunny Highway: I had a great time in England. Everyone I met asked if I was from Canada and I had to explain that I was from the US. I never had any problems and most people spoke fondly of times they visited the US.


If you aren't being a dildo, being an American is fine most everywhere you go. Though, I often think that people ask if you are Canadian to be polite. It's better to ask an American if they are Canadian rather than the other way around...people seem to err on the side of caution there.
 
2012-07-20 10:22:10 AM  
As a former military brat I was told at an early age that when you are in a foreign country you never say that you are an American because you are hostage-bait for terrorists. (Then again, my dad was a paranoid jerk.) Instead just say you're from North America. When my mother-in-law was in France she just said she was from Texas. For some reason that garnered more respect than saying American.
 
2012-07-20 10:23:37 AM  

TheYeti: Gunny Highway: I had a great time in England. Everyone I met asked if I was from Canada and I had to explain that I was from the US. I never had any problems and most people spoke fondly of times they visited the US.

If you aren't being a dildo, being an American is fine most everywhere you go. Though, I often think that people ask if you are Canadian to be polite. It's better to ask an American if they are Canadian rather than the other way around...people seem to err on the side of caution there.


That makes sense. Interesting line of thinking
 
2012-07-20 10:26:41 AM  
Actually, fellow Yanks, just don't hang around obnoxious GROLIES (Guardian Readers in Ethnic Skirts) and be polite and use your inside voice, and most Brits are very nice to Americans.

/GROLIES just get butt hurt that Britain actually has a conservative press that calls them on their BS unlike the rest of Europe
 
2012-07-20 10:27:36 AM  
GROLIES - Guardian Readers of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirts

/FTFM
//need coffee
 
2012-07-20 10:38:03 AM  

The Repeated Meme: some_beer_drinker: if a real Canadian catches you, god help you. i heard their submarine sank something yesterday.

Sank what, a canoe?


Actually, that might be the one thing that might genuinely offend a Canadian. They've had A LOT of problems with their subs catching fire that killed at least one sailor. No way you could know. Though it goes double if you are a Brit since the UK sold them the subs.

/well, that and "THE BEER SUCKS!"
 
2012-07-20 10:42:18 AM  
Does this American pretending to be Canadian in Europe still work?

I mean in the 80's and 90's.. there were a lot of places in Western Europe (particularly the Netherlands, Belgium) where the people had a lot of goodwill toward Canada because of WW2. I'm guessing that is not so much a living memory now.

Factor in that Canada's foreign relations have been less-than-well-handled over the past few years, and I am not sure being Canadian gives one much more goodwill than the USA in Europe... or did GWB secure Canada/USA's relative positions in those rankings? Also I find with the emergence of reality t.v. there are some rural US accents that "don't sound Canadian" to the extent they "aren't intelligible to Canadians", so the story might sound a little fishy.
 
2012-07-20 10:46:02 AM  

Gunny Highway: I will be traveling in Ireland and Spain later in the year. Being an America in Europe never crossed my mind but I am going over there not expecting any problems. I am confident I am not being naive.


My buddy and I visited Dublin right after Bush's reelection. Man, I tell you what, the Irish in the pubs sure as hell weren't afraid to give their opinions on our politics! We didn't take it too seriously, took a few jokes (more than one slow golf clap of "congratulations" on our new President), but it was all good-natured. We met one very ugly far right extremist, jingoistic American and she didn't seem to be having fun at all. (BTW, if you think your country is the only good country in the world and everyone else can kiss your ass, why the hell are you traveling?--Not directed at you, directed at the ugly miss.)

Protip: The Irish (and I think the English) buy their pints in "rounds"; ie one guy buys for everyone at the table, and it moves down the line. I figured we were getting along when the natives we were talking to/sitting with were offering to buy rounds for us and letting us do the same.
 
2012-07-20 10:57:52 AM  
I'm American and visited London last summer. I stuck out like a sore thumb, mostly by speaking English while visiting the popular tourist attractions.
 
2012-07-20 11:03:49 AM  

beantowndog: That article is probably funnier if you're British.


I'm going with this and moving along.
 
2012-07-20 11:04:51 AM  

Mad Scientist: I'm American and visited London last summer. I stuck out like a sore thumb, mostly by speaking English while visiting the popular tourist attractions.


I was pegged as an American by urinating in what turned out to be an umbrella stand.
 
2012-07-20 11:08:36 AM  

born_yesterday: Protip: The Irish (and I think the English) buy their pints in "rounds"; ie one guy buys for everyone at the table, and it moves down the line. I figured we were getting along when the natives we were talking to/sitting with were offering to buy rounds for us and letting us do the same.


I find that most people, regardless of politics, find you a lot more likable once you're buying them rounds.
 
2012-07-20 11:09:50 AM  
Went there over a decade ago, with Dad. While Dad had the travel experience (going to England and Europe many times while on business), his advice was still a bit sketchy. OK, nobody in London wears shorts except the tourists. Fine, it's August and we're by the Thames, I'll just sweat the whole time (and I did). One thing he seemed oblivious of is that no one riding British transport (trains, buses) talks. Ever. Except him.

As for pubs, it's a no-tipping country, don't bother trying. Simplest thing to do is just go up to the bar, look at the taps they have, order one, don't ask what it is, it'll be good (except Worthington Mild, bleh). Guinness may be on the blue Extra Cold tap (which is merely refrigerated to American temps), I recommend that for a fallback. Politeness is universally appreciated, give it a shot.
 
2012-07-20 11:14:58 AM  
Oh, shut up. No, it's not a problem to be an American in England. If you believe you're in danger then you should stay home and visit Branson.
 
2012-07-20 11:15:01 AM  
I never made it a secret that I was an American (but also didn't make a big deal about it) when I visited England and Wales in '99. I never ran into any problems, and I had a wonderful time.

It was interesting to see how as I went farther into Wales, the road signs switched from English first to Welsh first.
 
2012-07-20 11:15:11 AM  
These days, given the pseudo-fascist in the Prime Minister's Office in Ottawa, it might be better for Canadians to impersonate Yanks while in the U.K. Obama is far more popular than Stephen Harper on the world stage.

Also, when I was travelling through the U.K years ago, I found that the Brits were very good at picking up accents. (This is probably because of the wide variety in such a small land mass over there.) So, they usually knew right off the bat that I was Canadian.

FTFA:

"Unless you can think of a quick and simple way to distinguish yourselves at a glance - flower in lapel? Saddle shoes? Maple leaf eyepatch? - then you are just going to have to suck it up."

informedvote.ca
Worked for him.
 
2012-07-20 11:20:11 AM  

I_Love_Cheesecake: These days, given the pseudo-fascist in the Prime Minister's Office in Ottawa, it might be better for Canadians to impersonate Yanks while in the U.K. Obama is far more popular than Stephen Harper on the world stage.

Also, when I was travelling through the U.K years ago, I found that the Brits were very good at picking up accents. (This is probably because of the wide variety in such a small land mass over there.) So, they usually knew right off the bat that I was Canadian.

FTFA:

"Unless you can think of a quick and simple way to distinguish yourselves at a glance - flower in lapel? Saddle shoes? Maple leaf eyepatch? - then you are just going to have to suck it up."

[informedvote.ca image 366x450]
Worked for him.


If you think that Harper is a pseudo-Fascist, wait until you hear about the politics in Europe.
 
2012-07-20 11:23:40 AM  
I can't wait to vacation around Europe. Hopefully, I'll finally get the chance next year. A friend of mine, who just got back, says most people could tell he was an American before he even spoke to them, and he pretty much felt welcomed in the places he traveled, which was mainly in France and all over the UK.That's good to know, because I would have no clue how to pass as a Canadian. Lol.
 
2012-07-20 11:26:11 AM  
Better brush up on your curling if anyone expects to pull this off. (wikipedia)

Also remember that you don't drink Starbucks coffee you drink Tim Hortons.
 
2012-07-20 11:32:02 AM  

Mr Guy: I have a southern accent. Europeans can't seem to identify it as a southern accent, instead thinking I sound vaguely "American, but charming". Most of Europe seems to think Americans are all southern valley girls that spent a summer in Boston. It's awesomely funny, usually. Getting a European to do an "impression of an American" can be the highlight of any trip overseas. I've never encountered anyone who bothered me for being American, and I've gotten plenty of preferential treatment with your standard Aw Shucks type performance.

Pro-tip: Be charming.



Exactly this! I've been told that I've got a bit of a Texas accent, so I'm thinkin I might not be able to pull off the Canadian thing. Not that I would ever try because it would only take a monumental pussy to try to act like something you're not because you're embarrassed of who you are or where you're from. Be honest, be real, don't be a jerk. It's not that hard.
 
2012-07-20 11:32:06 AM  

CognaciousThunk: Went there over a decade ago, with Dad. While Dad had the travel experience (going to England and Europe many times while on business), his advice was still a bit sketchy. OK, nobody in London wears shorts except the tourists. Fine, it's August and we're by the Thames, I'll just sweat the whole time (and I did). One thing he seemed oblivious of is that no one riding British transport (trains, buses) talks. Ever. Except him.

As for pubs, it's a no-tipping country, don't bother trying. Simplest thing to do is just go up to the bar, look at the taps they have, order one, don't ask what it is, it'll be good (except Worthington Mild, bleh). Guinness may be on the blue Extra Cold tap (which is merely refrigerated to American temps), I recommend that for a fallback. Politeness is universally appreciated, give it a shot.


Generally, being polite to the barman and asking him to suggest something local for you to try will earn points anywhere (presuming you don't do it in the middle of a busy time). People love impressing visitors. Give em a chance to show off. Works even better with local foods. I'm not from here, please impress me.
 
2012-07-20 11:33:11 AM  

Mississippi Hippie: I can't wait to vacation around Europe. Hopefully, I'll finally get the chance next year. A friend of mine, who just got back, says most people could tell he was an American before he even spoke to them, and he pretty much felt welcomed in the places he traveled, which was mainly in France and all over the UK.That's good to know, because I would have no clue how to pass as a Canadian. Lol.


You act just like an American, but you feel guilty about it.
 
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