Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him. You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him.

This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment.

I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. That’s not a socio-economic statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a cultural one.

I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy:

You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. You know, dad thinking it was funny to wear a Santa Claus hat in his underwear every Christmas or the fact that you and your sister slept in the same bed until you were 22, or that your mother routinely cried over a bottle of wine while listening to Elton John.

The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.

And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others (i.e., the French) so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.

So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love, the same tough love with which I’d sit down and lecture an alcoholic family member. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome things about you (BRO, THAT’S AWESOME!!!). And it doesn’t mean I’m some saint either, because god knows I’m pretty screwed up (I’m American, after all). There are just a few things you need to hear. And as a friend, I’m going to tell them to you.

And to my foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.

CONTINUE READING: 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America – Postmasculine.

7 thoughts on “10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America – Postmasculine

  1. Hey my blogfriend

    I wouldn’t soften the blow. That’s part of what’s wrong with this country. We want to go hard in the paint on everyone else, but when someone throws it back in out face, we want to whine, bitch, and complain about someone hurting our feelings. This country is like a time I went to McDonalds. This girl didn’t see me and cut me off. So I blow the horn to let her know that she nearly hit me and to watch where she was going. Her dude friend on the passenger side proceeds to flip me off. So the Mick D’s has 2 lanes in which you can order. I inch up a little and I asked him, What did you have to say? The 1st thing out of his mouth was What’s your tag #? So I asked why? He says I’m gonna call the police because you’re harassing me! What? So your actions shouldn’t come with consequences? That incident describes how America thinks about other people. And it’s gonna come back to bite us real soon. So speak on it. Sometimes you have to hurt some people’s feelings to get your point across. Don’t worry, I got your back :@)

    1. You are right, as usual! I feel like other countries look at us like I look at my sloppy, drunk uncle. We all roll our eyes and deal with him, since we can’t get rid of him. He’s an embarrassment, but he’s family…

  2. Thanks for sharing this well written and insightful article. The outside looking in approach is more useful in explaining our being the alcoholic brother. And, the point about being wealthy in America exposes you to a much different America is dead on accurate. It is like living in the city in the “Hunger Games” versus living in the country.

  3. It’s a shame that criticism is considered “un-American.” My grandmother used to say “I love you, but I don’t have to like you!” Which hurt my feelings at the time, but I guess she meant that she loved me, but not all of my ways. I hope that’s what she meant:) If we don’t recognize our own flaws, how will we ever improve?

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