10 American Habits Brits Will Never Understand

"I'm supposed to put this, where? Between my teeth?" (HP)

“I’m supposed to put this, where? Between my teeth?” (HP)

Love Americans as we do, there are some cultural proclivities that will baffle British expats for as long as we live here.

1. Flossing
Digging sharp string between your teeth everyday is standard oral hygiene procedure in America. We know we’re supposed to do this too, but it hurts and it’s boring. Most Brits probably own a tub of floss, but only dust it off before a date or dental appointment.

2. Compulsive baking
This one I like, although I don’t get how people with children and jobs and pets find the time to whip up regular batches of themed, iced and elaborately flavored cupcakes, muffins and brownies. It’s America’s most family friendly superpower.

3. Sending personalized holiday cards
By this, I mean those creepy Christmas cards with a family portrait on the front. The children are wearing elf outfits while the parents grin unnaturally. Inside, there’s a run-down of the family’s year and, more importantly, its achievements. I’ve even heard of people inserting copies of their kids’ report cards.

4. Talking to strangers unprompted
This happens most often on public transport. I’ll be on a plane or train in the U.S., minding my own business, when someone I’ve never met will try to start a conversation. Short of pretending to be deaf and/or French, there’s nothing to be done.

5. Whooping
Americans like to let the world know that they’re having fun  or approve heartily of what’s being said or done in front of them  by contorting their vocal chords into a shape that will allow them to pump out obnoxious mouth hoots, one after another. One word: earplugs.

6. Compulsive sentimentality
Gushing public displays are usually meant well but give Brits the creeps. For instance, my husband and I recently checked out of a B&B after a two-night stay. Instead of bidding us farewell with a firm handshake and a receipt, the owner – a man in his 50s – latched on to me, then my man, for a prolonged hug. Just when we thought it was over, he announced, “I’ll miss you guys!” No, actually. You won’t.

7. Drinking milk
Moo juice is meant for putting on cereal, adding to pancake batter and pouring in tea. Americans must have missed the memo because they drink the stuff neat. To me, this is only slightly less absurd than eating a plate of salt and pepper for dinner.

8. Ordering supersize portions
In American cinemas, patrons load up with pails of soda so vast they require their own seat. They must have bladders the size of hot air balloons. Plates of food, meanwhile, more closely resemble those guilt-inducing, this-is-what-you-eat-in-a-week spreads laid out by TV diet gurus than a single course of a single meal meant for one person.

9. Taking home leftovers
Thanks to the previous point, doggy bags have long been part of American restaurant culture. I can’t quite bring myself to make off with my unfinished fare. It feels… icky. Plus, I’ve usually overeaten, and I’m convinced I’ll never want to look at food again. Naturally, I regret this decision in the morning.

10. Eating breakfast together
You know in films featuring perfect American families there’s always a scene where an implausibly jolly parent makes the kids pancakes in the shape of dinosaurs, then the entire household sits down to a sumptuous spread. Well, I am reliably informed that this kind of thing actually happens here. Breakfast is something Brits have if they’re hung over or if the hotel they’re staying in provides it. We’d never be so eccentric as to sit down and eat it at the same time — and in the same location — as our loved ones.

See also:
10 British Habits Americans Will Never Understand
10 Things Americans Do That Drive British People Nuts
10 Things Brits Do That Drive Americans Nuts
Five American Things Brits Have Never Found Cool

Which American habits baffle Brits? Tell us below:

Ruth Margolis

Ruth Margolis

Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.
View all posts by Ruth Margolis.
  • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

    I’m American and I’ll just make a few points:
    1. I don’t floss.. Ever. If I have something stuck between my teeth, I pick it out.
    2. People who bake compulsively are annoying. Plus most of its sweets and desserts and I don’t like stuff like that.
    3. I despise cards. I throw a fit when someone gives my a birthday card.
    4. I hate strangers. I do not ever engage in conversation unless prompted first.
    5. ‘Whooping’ is annoying.
    6. Eww.. Just eww.
    7. The taste of milk makes me want to barf.
    8. I don’t eat that much.
    9. When I eat somewhere, I eat everything on my plate. If I don’t eat it there, what makes anyone think I’ll want to take it home and eat it then? I don’t. I left it for a reason.
    10. I don’t eat breakfast.

    If this is the case, I’m more British than I thought because I feel the same ways as Brits about some of these things.

    • Kristi Neises Newcomb

      Right! Way to suck up, Brit-wanna be.

      • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

        I’m having trouble deciphering whether that’s supposed to be an insult or a compliment.

        • Slaven

          Dude, you clearly have a holier than thou mindset and it’s obvious you are a wannabe brit, or an annoying hipster. This is America, if you don’t like it you can giiiit out.

          • Cally

            Actually, more like, this is America: You can do whatever you want here (law abiding) and that includes stuff that annoys the heck out of other people. Liberty and all that. He’s more than allowed to be completely annoying in America, and so are you.

        • limeyobserver

          Brit humour,mate.
          It’s a back-handed compliment.

      • HalfElvenWizard

        Are you saying that someone doing something that is natural to them is making them a “wanna-be”? Because honestly, that’s not what it is. You do realize that you can be from different countries and still have the same habits and opinions, right?

        • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

          Thank you! All of my habits aren’t because “I want to be British” or something. They just developed over the years and I can’t help that.

      • splicernyc


    • Anon

      Leftover bags are for people who are too full to finish their portions. If you don’t want it, then, fine.

      • sub specie aeterni

        I’ll go you a step further. If you don’t want your leftovers, I’ll take them. I’ll put them right in my fridge, then eat them tomorrow. It’s called either practicality or frugality (or even disgusting).

    • Anon

      Also, “2. People who bake compulsively are annoying. Plus most of its sweets and desserts and I don’t like stuff like that.”

      You must really hate bakeries.

      • JR48

        He’s never eaten at my aunt’s house either. Elderly woman that is an old school midwestern baker. She can make a homemade wild blueberry pie that would drop a gourmet chef to his knees.

      • emw12

        I’m one of those people who bake all the time. I had no idea I was annoying. I take it to work and they eat it up! Who knew?

        • JR48

          When I was just out of college, my mother had a job where she would cater meetings and such on the side for extra cash. There was ALWAYS a boatload of really great leftovers…

          I was in my first professional job and she would bring all of that stuff over and my colleagues would plow through her cooking like they were starved for homemade anything.

          When I left that position, I told them that I thought that they’d miss my mother’s cooking more than me. They agreed! LOL Me or homemade lasagne or lemon meringue pie? The food is gonna win!

    • http://www.facebook.com/liz.m.kerr Liz Musselman Kerr

      Congratulations, Ravenclaw. You’ll fit right in across the pond!

      • E

        Only in the southern bit though and good luck finding the money to stay there

    • Rebecca Rotzell

      I bet you hated these things “before it was cool” huh? That and you think the wardrobes from your grandfathers closet are just the coolest? DB

      • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

        1) I never knew it was “cool” and no, I’m not a hipster, okay.
        2) My grandpa has been dead for over ten years and I think people that wear ‘grandpa clothes’ are weird… unless they’re actually a grandpa.

        • George

          I think they’re still weird, even if they are grandpas. Seriously, nobody should be wearing that crap.

    • swmluvah

      One question: you say you “hate strangers”…. So, does this mean you don’t have any friends, because all friends were strangers at one point, yeah?

      • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

        I meant strangers as in people I’ve never seen before and will never see again. Strangers in the sense that I don’t really know them but I see them occasionally are not that bad. And yes, I do have friends. I went to school, duh. I was around people that I knew everyday.

    • jerslan

      “3. I despise cards. I throw a fit when someone gives my a birthday card.

      4. I hate strangers. I do not ever engage in conversation unless prompted first.”

      You must have so many friends that way…

    • JBeezee73

      Good on ya. But you do kinda sound like an irritating douche.

      • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

        I’m not a douche, I’m just different. When you READ it it does sound douchey, but I keep my opinions to myself in real life.

        • HalfElvenWizard

          I truly feel sorry for you Ravenclaw. Everyone is attacking you for just saying what you felt about all of this. This is what happens when people post their opinions and it’s terrible!

          • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

            Thank you :) It really is pretty terrible isn’t it? I don’t let it bother me because its my opinion, they can’t change it and they don’t know me so they can’t actually call me ‘douche’ or ‘hipster.’ And no one that knows me thinks that stuff.

          • Belial Issimo

            Aww, Ravenclaw, I think you just need a hug.

    • skybluskyblue

      You might be autistic if…

      • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

        I’m not autistic, that’s just rude.

  • John H Harris

    #4 actually happened to me while I was visiting southern Wales back in 2007. Of course, my taking snapshots of what most of the people on the commuter train considered mundane (such as a weir on the Rhondda) sort of gave me away as a tourist, as did visits to a number of tourist spots, such as Caerphilly Castle and Castel Coch. I had a number of very enjoyable conversations, all of them initiated by locals.

  • HalfElvenWizard


    1. I floss like a Brit. Before a dentist appointment.

    2. I have a friend who does this, and at first you would think that they are some kind of superhuman like you mentioned earlier, but they don’t actually do their work or anything for school. Ever.

    3. I think they’re creepy too. Thankfully we only get one and it’s just a Christmas picture of my nephew/birthday party invitation

    4. What city did you visit? I feel like you were on the coast because here in the Midwest that never happens. It’s nice.

    5. Sounds like high school boys…

    6. That’s just plain creepy. Normally they just glare at you as you walk out.

    7. I’m lactose intolerant so that answers that one…

    8. I normally eat until I’m full, but portion sizes are ridiculous here in the States.

    9. I like taking food home because I normally heat it up for lunch the next day.

    10. I have never met anyone who does that. People rarely even eat dinner together.

  • Jamie R.

    While I was studying in Lancaster, my flatmate pointed out that I usually used the edge of my fork to cut my food, ignoring my knife all together. He says strange, I say, why soil an extra utensil?

    • Liz L

      I lived in Lancaster for a few months in the ’90s. No one ever commented on my use of utensils, but the ladies did find it a bit “rough” that I would order a pint of beer (instead of a half pint).

      • http://www.grannybuttons.com/ Andrew Denny

        When I started drinking, in 1970, it was the convention that ladies who ordered pints were lesbians. I’ve found it hard to shake off this conviction, although I know I should!

      • Sharon Blair

        in England ladies always drink ½ pints, she may drink several ½ pints though.

        • Charlie Wildy

          what utter dross, I’m a women I drink pints I’ve always drank pints. none of my female friends who drink beer will take a half pint over a full pint regardless of the company we are in.

          • Sebastian

            This is a example of the class system in England. I personally frown upon any lady that drinks a full pint, it’s not very elegant!

          • Flying Mint Bunny

            This will scare you, but I can finish a case. And, I’m a girl.

          • Anon

            Are you from Britain? I doubt it, we have a lot less elegance than you think, maybe in the top 3%-5% in wealth this may happen, but the British are very different from each other, and from everyone else depending on many factors, some of the things in this list are true, but half of them aren’t, we used to get a half pint of milk at school every day in First School, I still drink loads.

            In fact, I just took a second to re-read that list, and I’ve done every single one of them on more than one occasion other than sending personalised ‘holiday’ cards – and believe it or not but I’m somewhat posh.

            I’ve met many of the higher classes and even more of the lowers, all have very similar habits despite huge differences between the lives they live..

            If you want to really know the British, I suggest going to a pub, a nice independant one with local beers and ales, find the scene that suits you most and people will happily talk to you, just don’t be pretentious or a typical tourist, sadly many of us can be too proud in front of our peers. Lastly go somewhere outside of London such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, or my personal favourite Newcastle, (The north is the most down to earth in my opinion), as I’ve spent more time in the north, I can’t comment too much from the south, however London does not represent Britain fully.


      • Gunnar Wentzel

        You’re joking right? What a bunch of sally light weights, jeesh. Good for you.

    • LG

      I do that too, my British in-law don’t understand, though only my mother-in-law really comments.

    • Michele Jones

      My Brit friend who visited last summer is still teasing me over this issue! Well, this and the fact that we eat apple sauce as a side dish! 😀

      • Cherrie White Mayer

        How are we supposed to eat applesauce? I usually just have it as a snack.

        • JN

          That’s what the knife is for.

          • TT

            Wtf I’m from the UK and we always have apple sauce with pork

        • CptnSpldng

          It is THE condiment with pork chops.

          • James

            That’s just nasty.

    • Cherrie White Mayer

      I’m american and I usually use my fork to cut things too, whenever possible. I agree, there’s no need to dirty an extra utensil if you don’t need to. But, that’s how my Grandpa taught me to cut things. :)

      • lgeubank

        I don’t think you need a knife to cut a fried egg. The side of a fork does nicely.

        Have you seen these people who “carve” a fried egg into bits with a knife, emitting a tremendous clatter as if they were carving a Thanksgiving turkey? Bizarre!

    • Jimmy The Goat

      When Brits visit us here in the US, they eat hamburgers with a knife and fork. This infuriates me. The next time I’m in the UK, I’m going to eat shepherd’s pie with my hands to retaliate.

      • Chris

        Are you kidding? I have never seen another brit use a fork or knife on a burger in my entire life. In fact british are generally regarded as rude as we use our hands to eat almost any food.

      • Dan

        That’s BS. Either that or your visitors are plain weird.

      • robert hingston

        I’ve never seen a Brit ever use a knife and fork on a Hamburger no more then you would see a yank doing that, but I have been told this Possibly might have happened in Britain Amongst the upper classes..

    • Emilie Noel

      You may notice that the truly american foods, like burgers, are eaten with the hands. I’ve heard a theory that these kinds of htings were established when the US didn’t have the money for silver, and thus, we’ll eat without it!

      • Pinkie Pie

        I see what you’re saying, but if like to point out that hamburgers aren’t American at all. They originated in Germany and they get their name from the town of Hamburg, Germany

        • Kellymoe

          Hamburgers as we know them today were invented in America. The German variety was not served on a bun and often included a fried egg on top. Few people today would consider that a hamburger.

          • ThomasNeidhart

            yep, totally diff from the hamburger they’re trying to say Germany made.

  • Estrellita

    I’m guilty of flossing too often. The rest of the items on the list are things I find odd. My family is full of people who whoop. It is extremely annoying.

  • http://twitter.com/doughtywench Marina Stern

    You didn’t mention iced tea!

    • Jenn

      That’s really only the southern US….

      • Camelot

        Unfortunately it isn’t only the south. Most Americans, everywhere, assume tea is a cold drink. I’m forever trying to educate them but it’s an uphill battle.

        • frozen01

          I’m a little baffled by the comment. I grew up in the South but currently live in the Midwest, and if you asked for “tea” without elaborating, you would most likely get a cup of hot tea. I mean, unless it’s really, really hot outside, then someone might question you (“did you want that iced?”), but other than that, tea is served hot.

      • rubina

        pre-sweetened ice tea is southern. I once tried for iced coffee in Toronto, no go.

        • Moni

          I’m from the South and I love tea-hot or cold or made into ice cubes-but I can’t stand canned tea. Blah! It’s unnatural.

      • Kpilk

        I live in the Midwest and I drink iced tea by the pitcher full, in the summer

    • Gary Blanchard

      I drink sweet iced tea with lemon and hot tea with milk and sugar. love them both!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112764270 Lydia Keller Beam

    It would seem I’m more British than American, because out of these, only the baking one is actually something I like doing. ^^

  • TK

    What’s so crazy about drinking milk? I find it odd that you don’t..

    • rerememe2002

      People all around the world drink milk of some kind. Indians drink milk (sometimes with turmeric – bleh!), some Africans drink milk (sometimes with blood – bleh!), and Bedouins drink camel’s milk (bleh!), just to name a few. Yeah. I’m pretty okay with American’s drinking cow’s milk and really don’t find it that odd at all.

    • bowyer1

      We aren’t SUPPOSED to drink milk. We are the only species that drinks milk after infancy on a regular basis. (Don’t tell me cats do it. That is opportunistic. When was the last time you saw a cat hanging from an udder in a field somewhere?) Strong bones…bull patties. Whales, elephants, wolves, giraffes, I could go on, all have healthy strong bones without checking how much dairy they eat on a daily basis. You know how much dairy product they eat? NONE! We don’t need it.

      • JBeezee73

        Did you alone decide that WE as a species are not SUPPOSED to drink milk after infancy? If you don’t drink, then don’t please don’t. I don’t, but I don’t foist my presumed superior attitude and knowledge on others.

        • Lookitup

          You must be twelve or have never taken a health class not in the middle of Kansas. I thought everyone has known for years that it is actually unnatural that we drink milk straight, not just because of the huge amount of proccessing and additives. Please take five seconds to research something in the future before you talk.

          • Ummm….

            Aren’t we also the only species that cooks our meat, makes tea, grinds grain for bread, and makes metal tools? I’m fairly sure that drinking milk is one of the least unnatural things we do.

          • Kpilk

            Um. Farm country. Fresh milk. Totally different. I must agree…it’s a condiment.

          • Simon James Pryor

            Moronic comment is moronic. As someone else said, we’re the only species to do lots of things. Technically, yes, we don’t NEED milk, but it is a good source of calcium, protein and so on and the fact that our bodies weren’t designed specifically for it does not make it inedible or unhealthy.

        • Carmella Rosenbach

          No, we are the only species to drink the milk from another animal of our own free will, and of course after being weened off mama’s milk. If you took a closer look at all that goes into dairy farming and milk production, as I have, you might just loose that taste for that really nasty stuff. Just sayin’.

      • Lynne

        There’s something about this comment that makes me think of the recent Kevin Ware injury…

        • Killian

          Kevin Ware had an undiagnosed stress fracture already present. Otherwise, his bone would most likely not have snapped like that, even with the torque, and certainly not so cleanly.

          But good point just the same. =)

      • JR48

        As a species, we do not eat the amount of vegetable matter that it would take to give us adequate calcium, which is not absorbed to the same degree as those of us that ingest dairy foods. Matter of fact, we don’t do a lot of things that we’re supposed to do to be healthy, and as such the vitamin/mineral supplement companies are making billions off of that truth.

        If we got into a discussion as to what people ‘should do’, we’d be here all day.

        • bowyer1

          We do not eat the amount of vegetable matter we need to by choice. I am not a vegan but I have a 1/2 dozen or more friends who are and haven’t had milk or calcium supplements in years. Carnivores don’t drink milk either. They get calcium from animal sources. The push to make us drink milk is driven mostly by money. What we should or shouldn’t do could take us all day but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.

      • Lucinda Wyman

        I LOVE milk and despise soda. That’s why I drink it. Liquor sucks and I drink juice at breakfast.

      • farmerj

        It’s worth pointing out that there was, in Europeans, a massive selective sweep for a gene for lactase persistence. People who were not naturally good at drinking milk were almost entirely outcompeted by those who were. Assuming you’re a Euro, your ancestors for thousands of years not only drank milk, but crushingly defeated the non-milk-drinkers. How much more natural do you want?

      • George

        It may be unnatural, but only in the same sense as “It’s unnatural to live past 30.” There’s a lot of stuff that animals don’t do but we do, only because we have a society that has pushed lifespans farther and farther.

        We do what we can to keep our lifespan as long as possible – and one of the things that comes up later in life is osteoporosis, so we need to combat that. Milk is the easiest way.

    • Ren

      Plus there is nothing better than a cookie and glass of milk.

    • Janet Reed

      If you’re eating Oreos, you HAVE to drink milk.

    • http://www.facebook.com/barbie.tejedor Barbie Tejedor

      I love milk and I’m not ashamed to admit it! My hispanic family thinks it’s the weirdest thing ever. Milk is supposed to be for cafe con leche or cereal and that’s it. I also drink mine on ice. Delicious!

    • Bec

      thank you for starting the most entertaining chain of comments so far (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧
      also, i don’t care as for whether we should drink milk or not. i like it so i drink it (in surplus). and for people dead against it, i’m pretty sure cocaine is bad for people too, but see what happens when you start lecturing an addict….

  • Kristi Neises Newcomb

    Flossing is good hygiene .and saves you a ton of dental work later in life. Look around, people who have crappy teeth do not take care of them properly. The rest of it I suppose is kind of weird, but it’s how we’re brought up!
    I personally like PDA and Breakfast together, take that however you will.

    • johnbuoy

      But aren’t Brits known for their lovely teeth? (not)

      • Lynne

        Thank you.

  • Christi Hulett Torres

    1. I use a toothpick.
    2. I’m not a compulsive baker. However, I do bake and not just sweets but dinners and suppers too. AND ONLY DURING HOLIDAYS OR IF SOMEONE IS COMING OVER.
    3. I used to send holiday cards with nothing in them. Photo cards are too expensive. Then regular cards got expensive. Now I make phone calls.
    4. Only if I need help. I don’t know if the stranger is someone dangerous.
    5. Only at sporting events.
    6. I’m a woman, a mother, a grandmother. DEAL WITH IT!
    7. Yes, I drank milk. Now I can’t because I’m lactose intolerant. Ageing sucks.
    8. No supersized portions thank you I can barely eat what I have.
    9. I have taken home left overs. Re-heat and eat, no need for fast food restaurant.
    10. It’s a way of spending time with each other when you do not always have time to. PS. There is no such thing as an extravagant breakfast unless you are rich. We had cereal or eggs and a side order of whatever.

  • hypnoladyl

    I agree with everything you said except the cupcakes!

  • http://twitter.com/highlander_m Margaret_H

    Ice….when living in London when in university would get a soda in a glass. It would be served with one lonely ice cube. Being from So. Calif. I am use to a glass full of ice cubes. When I asked for more Ice I was looked at like I was an alien …. but they would at least give one more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/liz.m.kerr Liz Musselman Kerr

      Margaret, same thing happened to me in London many years ago. I was ‘jonesin’ for a coke with tons of ice cubes, but couldn’t find a pub or restaurant to indulge me. I finally took matters seriously and walked to the nearest American-style hotel with a large cup in hand, pressed the elevator button to the nearest floor, and preceded down the hallway to the ice bin and got my fill of refreshing pristine cubes. I did it four times in a month and I am not ashamed.

    • jenisedai

      Thanks to teen years spent in Scotland I grew to prefer soda without ice (waters it down, especially in warm weather) so now I get weird looks when I ask for no ice.

      • Broody

        Born and raised in the US, and I can’t stand ice. It feels like a copout to give you less beverage than you’re paying for. Nevermind that if you don’t use a straw (I don’t), it smacks you in the face when you’re trying to get to the last of your drink.

        • miracatta1

          When I worked as a waitress, I learned that soft drinks are formulated to be drunk with ice. They taste better that way, too thick and sweet otherwise.

          • Christian Hanneman

            That’s only if the soft drink comes from a fountain dispenser. If it comes from a bottle or can it’s usually okay without ice.

          • Ketti

            At my college in the southeast US, they water the soda down in the cafeteria. The only drink you want with a ton of ice is the sweet tea, because it’s usually just above room temp and sickly sweet otherwise.

        • Cherrie White Mayer

          oh yeah. That’s the other reason I don’t like ice in my soda. I really hate the ice hitting me in the face when I drink it. I don’t know how anyone can enjoy that. If it has no straw, then I don’t want ice. I prefer no ice anyway, but yeah, I don’t understand how people can drink it with ice and no straw. :/

          • coute

            Most of my drinks are more ice than drink. I just prefer it that way. I chew the ice afterwards.

      • http://twitter.com/highlander_m Margaret_H

        I now live in Washington State and very rarely use ice now. Funny how we alter our needs to the climate or area we live in. PS I have been to Scotland a number of times. Love Scotland Like England. Cheers

        • Cherrie White Mayer

          Washington State, here, too!!! The only thing I ever order with ice is iced espresso. But that comes with a straw. I pretty much only drink hot coffee at home.

        • John Muller

          I’ve heard that the energy required to freeze Ice is more expensive than the chemical flavorings…

      • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.nuss.5 Thomas Nuss

        I always ask for no ice. I’m paying for soda not a cup of ice with 2 ounces of soda. When you buy it out of a tower it is under 40 degrees and unless your going to nurse it all day it’ll stay cold enough until you finish it.

      • Cherrie White Mayer

        I don’t like drinking soda with ice for that same reason. I HATE watered down soda. And it’s not the cheapest thing to be drinking either, so I’d rather it be cold from the fridge and ice free.

    • Gary Blanchard

      I still wouldnt trust the water in England to this day. Have you ever heard of the Black Death or the English Channel? Not the most savory water source. I dont know if I would gamble my intestinal health on some murky ole water that I am not sure is filtered. bottled water ice cubes or just drink beer. they boil the water when they make the beer. kills the pathogens.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.penrod.3 Sarah Penrod

        Why would you assume that water isn’t treated in England? If they weren’t and the entire British population and all tourists were drinking bacteria riddled untreated, unfiltered waterthere would be a lot of sick people all over the news. And most bottled water companies use a “municipal water source” so they’re selling you a bottle of tap water.

        • expatmum

          The only water in the UK you should ask about before drinking is water in bathroom sinks. In very old houses, that water used to be collected in tanks in the attic, which wasn’t treated and sat there for weeks. A friend of mine has only recently made changes in her house to the whole system, and you can now drink her bathroom tap water. In most cases it’s not a problem, but according to one Water Board person I spoke to, it differs region to region.

          • BRossow

            My English wife, who has been in the US for years now, still isn’t used to the idea that you can drink water from the bathroom tap. :-)

          • expatmum

            Yet you wouldn’t believe the amount of Americans who tell me I’m wonrg I”m sure because they can’t believe it might be true.

      • frozen01

        I could actually drink the water out of the tap in my fiance’s kitchen in Manchester. If you were to try that in Madison, WI, you would be spending some unpleasant time on the toilet.

    • Guest

      Maybe I’m strange, but I like ice and prefer it in nearly every drink. Even when I’m drinking it at home.

      • Bell

        I do, too. I usually end up drinking it rather quickly, so I guess that’s why I’m not worried about watering it down.

    • Emilie Noel

      I’m told this is because in most of europe each glass must be paid for, so why waste room with ice?

  • misslemonade

    I hear peanut butter is not very popular over the pond. So: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; few latchkey kids would survive the after-school homework hours without it. (Unless they’re allergic. Then maybe a cream cheese and jelly sandwhich would do the trick. (mmm, now hungry) Don’t forget the glass of milk! (Blechh!)

  • Randi Good

    I think that it is always dangerous to group an entire culture into one great lump and say that they are all the same. One thing an article like this does is to point out the differences with out any attempt at understanding them. For example, point
    #1. Americans who floss have likely made an investment in their teeth via regular dental visits, orthodontia, veneers etc, Flossing is a simple part of a regiment that protects that investment. And I would like to add that the American Smile is famous and envied the world around .

    Has the author ever visited America or basing their idea of Americans on TV shows and movies ?

    • Jeff K.

      Why so serious?

    • expatmum

      The authors of MTG are actually Brits in America, many of whom have lived here for donkeys’ years.

  • hotgeek88

    1. Flossing
    Maybe once a month. It IS boring, but my mouth is always much happier when I do it than when I don’t.

    2. Compulsive baking

    Only when I have people over. The rest of the time store bought pre-made stuff is good enough for me.

    3. Sending personalized holiday cards

    I never personalize, but I do send cards. I buy the ones from the store with sayings in them, sign my name, address and send. It is a nice way to let your friends and family know you were thinking of them even if you couldn’t afford to send along gifts as well.

    4. Talking to strangers unprompted

    I’m super shy, so I can honestly say I’ve never done this.

    5. Whooping
    Only at sporting events or big life events. If a friend gets engaged, you can bet I’ll be squealing with excitement for them. If that makes me odd…eh…oh, well. That’s how I was raised.

    6. Compulsive sentimentality

    “Y’all come back now, ya hear.” I’m southern, born and raised…no sense of personal space at all whatsoever, and the first words out of my mouth will probably be “How are you?” even if I’ve never met you before. Sorry. I don’t know where this little quark of culture came from, but that’s what is considered hospitable down here.

    7. Drinking milk

    I don’t like milk, but I do drink it on occasion(0%/All calcium but no fat). The calcium is good for your bones and lowers the chances of osteoporosis.

    8. Ordering supersize portions

    Supersize soda is part of the fun at the movies…I don’t think anyone ever finishes them. As for the portion sizes, I usually take the leftovers home for lunch the next day. Its more economical that way, I think.

    9. Taking home leftovers

    See #8.

    10. Eating breakfast together

    Only if we are having breakfast for dinner…and even then, it is a hassle to get everyone into the same room…and yes, we do have breakfast for dinner on occasion. Ihop and Waffle House have made their names off this habit.

  • anon

    I love drinking milk- particularly whole milk- though I rarely indulge and mostly keep to the 2%. None of that skim crap. I completely agree with the British view of #4, 5, 6, and 8. I enjoy breakfast time with my husband and kids and don’t know why it’s odd. I hand make cards as a hobby- and send them out for birthdays and Christmas, minus the yearly family report. As for taking home leftovers, why wouldn’t I, if it was an enjoyable meal? I paid for it… And I love to bake, but don’t give in nearly as much as my sweet tooth would dictate. Flossing is important!

    • Shane Williford

      That’s fine about the cards, but make them personal *to the person you’re sending them to*…NOT to you. LEAVE OUT THE FAMILY PORTRAIT! :)

      • sawagner09

        People like to see pictures of how their family and friends are changing and growing around the holidays. I agree that putting a full bio in the card is creepy, but we send out post cards with our family picture on them for Christmas and either get thank you letters in return or a picture card back. Far away friends and family just like to know how you are when you don’t see each other often.

        • George

          Honestly, I think it’s pretentious and narcissistic. Only our richest family friend does that, and the only other people I hear are doing it are the Kardashians.

          • Don castiglione, jr

            It’s not narcissistic…people do that so to keep in touch. Everybody does not have e time to call or visit their respective friends and family as they would like,so cards are a way of telling others that you are thinking of them in the form of a mailed momento

  • Jeff K.

    fwiw, in the interest of understanding

    1. We buy it out of guilt after being lectured to by the dentist, then proceed not to use it. Most of us do not even use it before we go to our check-up and just lie. We know it is pointless, we feel guilty, repeat.

    2. Smells good, is relaxing, nuff said

    3. I don’t know why we do this, but we feel guilty if we don’t.

    4. & 6. Like our British cousins, we are profoundly uncomfortable in forced social situations. Being American, it just makes sense to do the opposite of the Brits.

    5. Yeah, that thing. We are all cowpokes at heart. Ditto 7.

    8. & 9. Those portions don’t come cheap. Besides, we hate waste when it’s food and our dime. Otherwise…

    10. Mainly on weekends and this goes with 2. Sometimes flapjacks sound like a brilliant idea, but what’s the point if it is only you?

    My fellow Americans, if you are so sycophantic as just say “uh, I don’t get it either,” you are a hipster doofus. If you are offended, on the other hand, get a life. Lovely blog…

    • Tiff

      Yep I agree to all of the above… Lol I’m a poor college student turning 29…if my parents want to buy me a meal then lol I’ll eat what I can and if it’s something that can be saved and eaten later I will.

    • Cherrie White Mayer

      I agree. We don’t do baking here (I love to cook, but I always tweak recipes, and you can’t do that quite so much with baking, so I tend to avoid it). And yeah, definitely taking portions home because it’s not cheap and if it can be eaten later (even if it’s someone else in the family), then I feel less guilty about the meal. I would feel guilty if I left without taking my leftovers. My family eats breakfast together only when we have breakfast for dinner. haha. I don’t have the energy in the mornings to cook a huge breakfast for everyone, plus my kids are young and very picky. I agree on the milk drinking…though, if it’s chocolate milk, that’s a whole different story. :p

      • Cervantes3

        I love hurricane parties, lots of food and drink. A few years back when Ike rolled through Houston, I had 3 families in my house. I made a GIGANTIC plate of migas, pancakes, bacon, toast, orange juice (out of actual oranges)..then asked them what they planned to eat..naaa, we all sat around the breakfast area and living room eating and talking..

    • frozen01

      #9: We’re told since we’re able to eat solid foods “Don’t waste food. There are starving kids in Ethiopia.” Portion control is an art form here 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulajedi Paula Vaske Roeterdink

    1. Flossing is necessary because 90% of us don’t have dental insurance and fillings are $200 each. 2. Baking – not all of us. I hate it with a passion. 4. Talking to strangers – depends on the state. Florida is so UNFRIENDLY people won’t even make eye contact. 8. Supersizing – god not me. Fastfood is bad. 10. Breakfast together? On what planet? We’re all too busy getting ready.

    I often wondered: Why do British people leave gaps in their teeth when they are SO easy to fix. LOL

    • UrbanFuturistic

      Gosh, that’s funny, because when we moved to Florida from Chicago I noticed exactly the opposite.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulajedi Paula Vaske Roeterdink

    P.S. If you don’t floss, do it now, then smell it. That’s what your breath smells like when you kiss your significant other.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kaylynne.phillips.3 Kaylynne Phillips

      I flossed in my little cubicle at my old job and a very young co-worker (20) was fascinated. She took some floss and started in. Then she smelled the floss and was grossed out. She couldn’t believe the smell and kept trying to get me to smell it, too. No thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/johanna.mora Johanna Mora

    I’m from America and the only thing on your list that I actually do, is drink plain milk and floss. The other stuff is just as annoying and pointless to me as it is to you Britons.

  • msj

    About #4. I’m an American who generally doesn’t talk to strangers. On trips to London in 2010 and 2011, Brits would strike up a conversation with me every place I went. I didn’t understand it. I was on the Tube one day with 4 British friends and two different strangers started conversations with me. It’s not like they knew I was an American–they were often surprised to hear my accent.

  • mountaincoco

    Has anyone every noticed that Brits have nice teeth (save for, perhaps, the Royal Family)?

    I think not.

  • badfae

    Hint: flossing doesn’t hurt if you do it as often as you’re supposed to.

    • Anthony Monico

      I was going to say the same. It’s like when you go o to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, it’s 100% pain free if you take care of your teeth.

    • Broody

      To be fair, driving metal spikes into your hands doesn’t hurt if you do it regularly. Diabetics and tattoo aficionados can corroborate.

      • Julie Bestry

        Funny, but untrue. Diabetic here, and four times a day, it hurts just as much as the first time.

      • wfwefwef

        Tell that to my mum. She has to drive a needle into her stomach 6 times a day, and it never hurts less

    • Bec

      it’s still boring :b

    • alfuso

      Have never flossed in my life. Teeth are fine. I use a sonic toothbrush.

      • Zach

        Sonic toothbrush is probably enough for most people. The thing about flossing is that it’s for prevention of gum disease but that doesn’t mean your teeth will fall out if you don’t.

        Though people who don’t floss most likely have gingivitis in some areas.

        Wisdom teeth + no flossing can really speed up gum disease since Wisdom teeth can open up room for bacteria to grow same as letting plaque get down under your gums.

        If your gums ever bleed from brushing or flossing then the area that they are bleeding from are infected already. When you have gingivitis or worse your gums are bleeding already internally and stimulus such as brushing lets the blood leak out.

    • Gary Blanchard

      i am English and I floss my teeth. I live in the US though LOL

  • PCS32

    Hold on a tick…for the record, we don’t have nearly the amount of ‘puddings’ you all have…are most of those not baked???

  • http://mangabotblog3000.popanime.net/ Brand

    I wish movie theaters had smaller portions. Now, if I go I tend to get a kids pack.

  • Juliette

    After living in Germany, Paris and London, I have found, coming back, that strangers talking to me for no reason is really annoying.

    Regarding the baking… I think Americans bake because we do not have good bakeries like there are in Europe. In Paris, you’d never think of bringing your own cake to a dinner. You’d go to a lovely bakery to purchase an immaculately made dessert. We are severely lacking in this department in Europe, and desserts found mass produced at Walmart are just gross.

    • Shane Williford

      Talking to people out of the blue is ‘nice’…it’s called being sociable. Our society has become ‘plugged-in’ to our “devices” and we need to work (back) on getting unplugged and interact with each other. Yes, sometimes ‘out-of-the-blue’ interaction is annoying, but most of the time it should be welcomed…at least IMO :)

      • Lori

        I agree…..in the Midwest it is considered rude NOT to acknowledge another human even if it just to say good morning. I also found that people here in CA don’t make eye contact with strangers as they pass where in the Midwest it is more the norm. I had the greatest conversation the other day with total strangers while we waited together in the doctor’s office…turned that torture into a pleasant way to pass the time.

    • miracatta1

      I hate it when strangers talk to me and totally ignore them. If I’ve chosen to be among them: club, meeting, something like that, that’s fine though.

    • Don castiglione, jr

      I want to disagree with you on me point….we have tons of great bakeries in America. We have many on the level of a European bakery…you just have to know where to look. So, I do not think we bake because of that reason. I think we bake because America as a whole still has that frontier mentality where we like to provide hospitality to our friends and family…and the easiest way to do that is through cooking and baking. Americans are good at providing comfort to others through good food and conversation within their homes. Just think about the Amish…their way if life was what America was in the early days. And now the baking part has carried on. This is really true in the Midwest and in the south….

  • David Haddock

    I think Brits will never understand why we drive on the parkway and park on the driveway, but then again, I don’t understand it either…lol

    • Shane Williford

      Actually, we don’t – we drive on the HIGHway and park in the driveway 😉

      • JR48

        I’m originally from the west coast and there we drive on the FREEway. I stutter now being in the midwest where I have to slow down and say HIGHway. I think that PARKways are only on the east coast.

    • Johnny Panic

      Well, parkways are highways, but that usually run through parks or are heavily wooded on the sides and in the median and are restricted to non-commercial (IE passenger cars) vehicles only.

  • Paul

    I disagree with the milk thing. Drinking milk used to be compulsory in British schools until Thatcher stopped it. I’ve not noticed any difference between UK/US in this regard. I drink it less in the US as it’s rarely an option in restaurants.

  • loola

    This was clearly written by an American! I don’t think any Brit can identify with half of this stuff.. sorry

  • Tracy

    1: I like to floss but not until night time. It feels good to my gums and get food out between my teeth. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this :)
    2: I DON’T BAKE. I have no time to do this except when forced to at holidays when someone tells me what to bring to a party.
    3: I don’t send out family photos at Christmas time all dressed up in stupid outfits. I will send out a family photo like every 5yrs so college mates can see my child grow up. Other than that, they get a generic card because I don’t believe in spending a great deal of my money on cards people throw away. That said, I don’t send out birthday cards, but will call the person on their day. I don’t buy Valentine’s cards for my hubby but will for my child~V-day is a damn waste!
    4: I do talk to strangers when stuck standing in line. It helps kill time and find out all sorts of interests. I love making new friends!
    5: I don’t ‘whoop’ because I find it stupid!
    6: I don’t hug a stranger good-bye.
    7: I’m not a milk drinker.
    8: I definitely do not ‘supersize’ anything I order! That’s just gross & wasting precious money!
    9: I don’t mind taking food home that I’ve spent a lot of money on unless it is something that doesn’t keep well (like salads). Left overs from a good restaurant are worth taking home!
    10: We don’t eat breakfast together. I just don’t eat breakfast but make sure that my child does. If I grab something to eat, it’s usually a banana.
    I don’t know many Brits but drinking hot tea all the time? I do drink tea (Southern style~COLD~ but now unsweetened) I also drink water & sometimes flavor it.

  • Mary&Oz

    Not to sure about this list. Yes maybe to some of Brits and some of Americans. I’m American, married to a English guy and living in Yorkshire, England. Neither one of us take home leftovers, both drink milk, he sends more cards then I do, Neither one of us eat breakfast, he gets the supersize not me, I don’t whoop, I floss, and we both bake but not to the point of excess. As for talking to strangers we both say excuse me (it’s just good manners). And have found lots of very friendly strangers who started talking to us without reason.

  • bowyer1

    We aren’t SUPPOSED to drink milk. We are the only species that drinks milk after infancy on a regular basis. (Don’t tell me cats do it. That is opportunistic. When was the last time you saw a cat hanging from an udder in a field somewhere?) Strong bones…bull patties. Whales, elephants, wolves, giraffes, I could go on, all have healthy strong bones without checking how much dairy they eat on a daily basis. You know how much dairy product they eat? NONE! We don’t need it. By the way, I find it interesting that if I suggest that people sit down with steak and eggs and a glass of cold creamy human breast milk they get all freaked out. THAT IS THE MILK WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DRINK! IT IS OUR MILK! Why is it ok to drink another species’ breast milk but not our own? Gee, maybe that’s why so many people are allergic to it.

    • Paul

      I can’t think of another animal that drinks the milk from a different species. I’ll give you that. I also can’t think of another animal that grows potatoes and marinates steak. When was the last time you saw a cat add ice to a drink or whales cook anything they eat?

      • http://www.facebook.com/kaylynne.phillips.3 Kaylynne Phillips

        My dog loves to eat ice. She barks for it whenever I open the freezer door.

  • Jenna

    So what bothers you is that we Americans have a tendency to act like we care: about our teeth and gums, the people for whom we are baking cupcakes, our families, our fun times, our leftovers (which I bring home for the dogs I care about). I’ll give you the super-sizing, but come on. The rest of this is just snarky BS. God forbid people should sit down together to begin their day. Someone might think they like each other.

    • expatmum

      Oh for goodness’ sake, lighten up.

    • George

      Oh for goodness’ sake, you just added #11 to the list – “having a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude.”

      • expatmum

        Sorry to spoil your hilarious retort, but I”m British – doesn’t really fit on that list. If you’re saying Americans have a “holier than thou” attitude though..perhaps Americans would care to comment.

  • http://twitter.com/AmyChrzanowski Amy Chrzanowski

    Peanut butter! My flatmates were amazed that I was obsessed enough to eat it out of the jar. And it was so hard to find at Sainsburys

  • Bella

    maybe because you all are just unfriendly people who don’t believe in interacting with fellow humans… i’m not suprised by all these comments especially when you say you hate when strangers talk to you…. that’s what’s wrong with the world, you never know who you might meet and they can change your life in a good way…

  • Emily McMahon

    Compulsive baking – I think this really depends on where in the US one lives. I live in the Midwest, which is oppressively hot in the summer and mind-numbingly cold in the winter. I do enjoy baking, but I tend to do 90% of it in the winter. Baking a cake or a batch of cookies really does help warm up the house a bit without jacking up the heat.
    Years ago I worked for a company that supplied a British firm. I talked to the people in the British office regularly and had a very easy relationship with many of them. I don’t remember what I was talking about, but I used the word “dumbass” in a conversation. That word made them bust out into laughter. “You Americans have the best words!” I didn’t know “dumbass” wasn’t heard overseas!

    • MindyDee

      I think the baking thing is a regional event-I live in the icy north-the winters are long, snowy and not fit for man nor beast. Baking is something to do for the family, to cut the monotiny of being stuck inside together for 8 months. I come from a long line of brits, from Devon and Bude. My Grandmother baked bread, had Sunday roasts, and all the other comforts. My american habits are just an extension of that, I think.

    • Kpilk

      I bake to relieve stress. The smell of bread, cookies, pie, whatever is very pleasant. I bake mostly in the Fall and winter. Easter is usually the last time I bake. It’s too hot in the summer.

  • ToTellTheTruth

    I never, ever floss. Then again, I do use a Waterpik. In fact, I think it’s the greatest personal appliance ever invented.

    I do bake about once a week, usually apple pie (how very American!), chocolate chip cookies (ditto), or brownies (ditto ditto).

    I have never, ever sent a personalized holiday card, nor photos of any kind to other people. I mean, if I don’t care about stupid photos of other people’s children, why would I imagine anyone would be the least bit interested in mine? Also, we don’t own any ugly sweaters.

    I do talk to strangers unprompted. Like, all the time.

    I don’t care to hug others I barely know (or even most of those I do know, for that matter). And I can’t stand having to kiss people.

    I don’t drink milk. I do use it for cereal, coffee, tea, baking, etc.

    I don’t frequent fast-food restaurants, and I don’t like soda of any kind, in any size. When I go to the movies (which is infrequently), I usually don’t have anything.

    I love leftovers, when there’s enough left over to love. Otherwise, no thanks.

    There are four of us, and during the week, none of us eat breakfast together, and only one of us eats breakfast at all. On weekends, sometimes, yes, sometimes no. It’s not like we plan it.

  • Alex

    British things Americans don’t understand. Warm beer. Singing drinking songs, a lot. Tiny refrigerators. Did i mention warm beer?

    • Alan Richardson

      The warm beer myth needs busting. American beer is lager style, it needs to be cold. English beer is ale style and having it too cold kills the flavour, that said I believe 50 to 55 Fahrenheit is ideal for a refreshing pint.

      • Kpilk

        The only thing I drink warm (hot) is tea and coffee and hot chocolate. Anything else must be ice cold.

      • lgeubank

        I never visited England. But I always assumed “warm beer” meant sort of “root cellar” temperature — not refrigerated, but kept in a cool place like a root cellar or other storage place.

      • Gertrude

        You are right, of course. But a weird thing here in the US is that IPA tends to be VERY high in alcohol. Just the opposite of in the UK, at least in my experience. “Craft” IPAs here are from 5.5 up to 9% ABV. The downfall of many unsuspecting Brits. Though the pints are smaller in the US, so maybe it evens out some.

      • Disgruntled52

        Personally I have always hated warm beer. Having discovered that Boddingtons can be bought cheaper here than in the UK, it has become my favourite (notice the correct spelling) tipple. Boddingtons is pub ale and should be served at 41 degrees, according to the brewers.

        Just remember that a US pint is 20% smaller than a UK pint.

    • Gunnar Wentzel

      This is false. I drink it like the Brits do, slightly above room temperature. I order it, let it sit for about a minute before I sip. Cold numbs taste buds.

      What I DON’T get is Europe’s aversion to ice in drinks. I’m sorry but that IS weird, if I wanted to drink majority of stuff at room temperature, I would just drink water. If your reason is to get more liquid when you order it, then that’s fine, any other reason just makes you weirdo. A nation of weirdos.

      • expatmum

        Whenever I am given a cup to get any type of soda, the first thing I do is tip out half the ice. I want the actual drink, not a cup of what essentially becomes freezing, slightly flavored water at the end of it. I guess it’s what you’re used to.

      • Bell

        I lived in Germany for a few years, and it drove me nuts whenever I went out to eat! The glasses were tiny and they would give me one little ice cube, even if I was drinking water.

      • frozen01

        Funny, I only like ice in water, really (Yank here – I’ll have a little in my soda, but not very much, and I don’t drink soda very often). When I stayed with my English fiance for a few weeks, he specifically went out and bought some sort of disposable plastic sack thing meant to make ice cubs (there are hollow “bubbles” in which you pour water, freeze, and then just peel the plastic away to get your ice. This goes about as well as you would imagine.) I can’t fathom why anyone thinks those things are a good idea.

        And yes, he kept them in his tiny, tiny, adorable little fridge. If an appliance had cheeks, I would pinch them 😀

      • Liam

        I don’t get ice because I don’t want it to water down whatever I’m drinking. The ice melts, and it mixes with the drink.
        Plus, you know, more drink.

  • Keziri

    It’s not even really Americans. It’s just how it’s been played out in movies for so long its like a cliche that sticks. Maybe I don’t know a ton of people but the ones I do, are maybe 4 out of 10 on this list. Flossing, because we were told its good for our teeth, and proper dental hygiene is beneficial for more than just cleaning teeth and fresh breath but also avoiding things like gum disease. Now I love the British but you guys also have a certain cliche when it comes to teeth. As far as milk goes, we also like healthy bones and generally Vitamin D, found in milk, is a good source. Your comparison of salt and pepper to a cup of milk is awkward to me mostly because there are actually benefits to drinking milk compared to a plate of salt and pepper. Now the rest of the ‘Murica is Fat/Food comments go, I can’t really dispute it because its not just in the movies, its real but thats how our society is whether its wrong or right and all other countries aren’t immune to fat. I haven’t been to a ton of other countries so, I don’t know how they work. Maybe they don’t have a McDonalds and KFC on every corner, maybe they have fresh fields of food and markets everywhere. If I was to go by movies like everyone else, I’d say other countries have food markets at every corner selling fresh fish and vegetables and hanging poultry etc, what appears to be fresh goods just as frequently as we see some golden archs for McDs. Put it this way, if the apocalypse happened tommorow and I needed to get food supplies after all the grocery stores are being picked clean, I’d have to rob some fast food places, because the nearest fresh farmers market is over 20 miles away. Also doggy bag, well I intend to get what I paid for, and it comes in handy for reheating later. I grew up hearing “Don’t you know people are starving in Africa”. Honestly, should be asking don’t I know people are starving anywhere at any given time.

    Some of the other stuff on this list, I’ve only ever seen in the movies. I mean lol really personalized greeting cards? Whooping I’ve maybe seen at a sports event but um.. people have been “whooping” and doing warcries since the dark ages. Then again, there are the people who whoop while drunk for attention, but I’ve only ever seen it in the movies.

    The sentimental I have seen before but its rare and it comes from people who were brought up in close communities. I noticed it once I went to go visit my grandma’s town, people waved at you everywhere, even if they didn’t know you. Might not be on the lines of grabbing for hugs but where I come from, you’re lucky to get a nod of the head when you go by. Sorry my ramblings are all out of order, lol. Im at work and doing several things at once.

  • Amanda Kurtz

    First, EVERYONE should floss. I am sort of compulsive about it. It is so disgusting to me that people would leave food to rot between their teeth, erode the enamel and corrode their gums with fatty acids and the the like. EW.

    I think #2 is a misconception, I don’t know anyone who compulsively bakes.

    Three is admittedly weird.

    What is wrong with conversation?

    Milk is gross. Almond milk is amazing.

    Not everyone orders supersize portions, only the sheeple who eat at McDonalds.

    Starting the day together as a family sharing meal? OMG how crazy!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ANImaniacPJS Jerrod Schembs

    If your flossing to the point of pain I think your doing it wrong. Also as an American I don’t get the whole milk thing ether, In fact I kind of find it strange that we as a species are the only species on earth that on a large scale seeks out other mammals milk for our consumption.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nightmaretheatre Mike Ensley

    ICE! Get some ice trays, Britain!

    • JR48

      Oh my, that was probably the thing that set me off the most when I went to Europe for a few weeks. The lack of ice and they were having a heatwave. Don’t get the room temp drink thing.

  • Allijkth

    I’m pretty sure people in the UK drink milk straight – I’ve seen English teens walking through London and drinking it from the carton, which is taking it a little far by American standards. (Milk is an inside-drink.) Also, wasn’t there an issue with a recently deceased “milk snatcher,” who upset the country by taking kids’ daily milk away in school? Drinking milk is an English thing.

  • Jess

    As an American, I don’t understand why my fellow citizens feel the need to justify or explain these habits in the comments. (Actually, I do–it is perhaps it is the 11th Annoying Habit left unwritten here.) Of course all Americans don’t match each one of these behaviors–but this is a non-US perspective on our culture. It’s a cheeky, fun piece and it’s okay to read a non-US perspective without going on the defense over something as stupid as leftovers. Now excuse me, I must find someone to hug.

    • expatmum

      Thank you! The piece starts out with “Love Americans as we do..” so there’s obviously no malice intended.

      • Expat yank

        Ah yes, when a Brit says that, it generally malicious. In fact, malice is an essential part of British flattery.

        • expatmum

          Sigh…..we can’t win can we? And here’s me laboring under the delusion that Americans tend to see the best in everyone/thing.

    • WisconsinMom

      found this hilarious, as an American. I too am baffled by some of the things my fellow countrymen do or don’t do. But I fall into a few of these categories. How do you meet new people if you don’t attempt to strike up a conversation? This is the manner in which I met my husband. =)

  • Chicky

    Why would this blog POSSIBLY upset people? Good gravy. Toooooo serious.

  • Stacy

    I am an American, I hate milk aside from dipping cookies in it, making or baking food with it, or putting it on cereal. Also, not a big fan of breakfast. If a stranger speaks to me, I will definitely acknowledge them, but I do not go out of my way to prompt conversations with strangers. Personalized Christmas cards are cheesy. I will say out of this list I am guilty, very guilty of two things flossing and taking home leftovers. I am partially guilty of compulsive sentimentality, but only with my husband. I am personally baffled by a few of these things myself lol.

  • rogue188

    As an American this list makes me surprised at how British I am. I love that! At the same time, I don’t know anyone who actually does anything on this list.

  • JR48

    1. Flossing: There used to be a little calligraphy sign at my former dentist that said “Only floss the teeth that you want to keep”. Flossing is a drag but it gets food and plaque out from between teeth and helps you avoid gum disease which is the primary cause of tooth loss. Gum disease has also been connected to heart disease. Floss or don’t, but it’s not about the visual of food stuck in your teeth. You’ll always be asked ‘are you flossing?’ by a dentist and the most common answer is ‘not as much as I should’.

    2. Love to bake, don’t do often because I don’t have much time for it and we don’t need the extra calories. Anything that you bake at home is better than the average store bought stuff, and overly ornate things at bakeries are usually far more caloric than the average bear should indulge in. I’d save the latter for a party of some sort.

    3. I never send the holiday cards that you describe. When I’m ‘good’, I’ll send a friendly card to family and friends. I’ve never done the ‘holiday letter’ but if I see a kid or a dog in an elf hat, I laugh which is what it’s supposed to do. Know that average people don’t go to such lengths, but we all know someone that does this.

    4. I talk to strangers, we’re friendly here. What I don’t do is talk to people who obviously aren’t interested in human interaction unless I’ve done something like forgotten to wear a watch and need to know the time. Even then it would be ‘pardon me, but could you tell me the time?’ and then go back to minding my own business. But if I’m in a good mood and a stranger is too, sure I’ll chat. I think that part of stranger avoidance is a function of major urban living. A lot of that behavior goes by the wayside in large cities. Suburban/Rural people are far more likely to chat.

    5. I don’t usually hoot. The only people that I know that hoot are males at sporting events and children playing. I’m female and middle aged and just learned to hoot this year at my son’s hockey games because people hoot there. LOL It’s fun, try it sometime. I find it interesting that a Brit would act like hooting is strange considering what I’ve seen the crowd do at soccer(football games) in Europe. Seems like ‘hooting’ is a mild in comparison.

    6. If I had that experience at that B & B, I would have been a bit creeped out too. However, my mother was a ‘hugger’. I do hug under the right circumstances. There are social rules about this, it’s usually not random or against someone’s will.

    7. More people should drink cow’s milk than they do. The calcium in liquid dairy is actually better absorbed by the body than the calcium in vegetables. If you get it non fat, you’re now looking at a premium protein and calcium source. However I rarely see adults drinking it in public these days. I stopped doing it a long time ago however if I were ever to run into a peanut butter sandwich, it would be necessary.

    8. I’ve been supersized against my will at the movies but I never supersize my portions on purpose. This is to cater to adolescent and young adult MALES and makes a boatload of money for movie theatres. Even if I were to order a soda and they give me a ridiculously sized one, doesn’t mean that I’d drink the whole thing.

    9. I’m not one for doggie bags at restaurants, but will take home really good chinese food. They always give you too much, I paid for it, and it’s lunch the next day. Other than that, I leave it behind.

    10. I sit with my kids while they eat breakfast before school, and we usually eat breakfast together on weekends. It’s a special occasion to do pancakes or waffles. It’s not about the food, it’s about spending a little time together as a family because we’re really busy. Cooking with kids is an opportunity for fun and conversation. Memories are created, fun can be had and they don’t even know that they’re learning to feed themselves for the future.

    This has gone so far in my family that my now teen daughter can whip up breakfast or dinner. She’s not going to be eating ramen noodles when she hits college. Although I’m drawing the line at things like flaming alcohol sauces because that almost went south for my kitchen the last time it was attempted. LOL

    • George

      Regarding #7: I think there was a study that basically said “whatever they do to milk to turn it into skim milk removes some of the proteins that help you lose weight,” and concluded that it’s no better than whole milk for someone that’s dieting. Plus, even “whole” milk is watered down enough because of all the fat they take out of it for other products.

  • Meg

    You have to floss because of all the baked goods. And I would never say no to a baked good! (although I’m not good at flossing- I am for 3x week)
    I lived in the UK before blueberries arrived and my mother would send me blueberry muffin mix and my british friends were horrified I would eat blue food. In recent years I have noticed blueberries are everywhere in the UK. Hopefully peanut butter will be next- it’s good for you!
    I’ll join the anti-picture brigade. Why do I want to see pictures of children I don’t know? I do love when friends have pictures of themselves. Then I can go “they’ve gotten so old!” although I have too.

  • Randi K

    I Just had a great time reading this 😀
    I admit to all those things except the large portions (you can get normal ones too usually lol)
    I personally love the Southern Hospitality, I have an Aunt that will invite you in, feed you, give a glass of the best darn sweet tea, and then send you on your way with snacks for the road.
    She is from Italy though, and that is what you do over there too (or what you used to do)

  • Patty T

    Flossing. Maybe this is why we have better teeth.

    • miracatta1

      A root canal or two will get you religion!

  • Heather Skipper

    I’m American and I pretty much agree with the first 9 and #10 until the day I moved out and got married. The British just have common sense. Ok, rephrase that. The European people have common sense. Afterall, they aren’t in the running for obesity like Americans. And yes, I do want to move to the UK – to those who think I love it so much that I should.

  • Shane Williford

    To my American comrades – if you send a card with your family photo on it, STOP IT! I think sending cards are cool…it’s personal, but I don’t care to see a pic of your family. I disagree with most of the other items above. And, if you don’t floss??….uh, you’re just plain gross! Supersize? No, but for Americans in general my guess is they do. Thus why we’re such an obese nation, unfortunately :(

  • Lori

    I find the objective perspective interesting since I have never lived outside of the US. I have British friends and they entertain me with similar conversations and requests for me to explain why Americans do what they do. I have lived in the Midwest and now in California and there are as many differences in cultures from one state to another.

  • fulshawpark

    Speaking personally 1, 9 & 10 were all part of my upbringing in th eUK that I continue with now I live in the US. Not drinking milk or eating breakfast together must be a UK trend within the last 25yrs.

    • fulshawpark

      I meant 1, 7 and 10 :)

  • Elizabeth

    As an american who has lived in the south of England and the North I can tell that this was most likely written by a person from the south probably london or within an hour of that area. As far as the list above goes I have met more “brits” that do the above stated than americans, whoever reliably informed you was of the american minority or was born in the 1950s. The only habit I have seen on a regular basis in america is the marathon baking but we have a lot of bakesales. Also in the north of england I am approached by more stranger who tell me about their day than anyone on the subways, trains, planes, or buses at home. Cheers

  • Usta Livedere

    I lived in the UK for years and 90% of this is ridiculous. Don’t drink milk? I did at school! No over sentimentality? Whaaaaat? No baking? I never ate more fresh baked scones in my life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.barrow.75 Matt Barrow

    1. I don’t floss. I hate flossing and feel it to be a waste of time.

    2. My mother and my wife tend to do this type of thing during Christmas. God forbid a guest leave without a sugar coma

    3. I hate cards. Again, my wife, my mother, and my mother-in-law act like they’re a cure-all to not ever speaking to someone all year

    4.I tend to keep to myself, although I am a private investigator and have to talk to strangers unprompted. And yes, it’s strange and annoying, but it goes with the job. But if I’m not on the job, I mind my own damn business

    5. That’s a sign of accomplishment. I don’t do it, as I taught that a man never brags and lets his work speak for itself

    6. Something else I do not do. If I barely know the person, what’s the point in being sentimental? It’s different if you’ve known them for years, but if you just met don’t do it.

    7. It tastes good, actually. It’s also a good source of calcium, and strengthens bones and teeth. It is because of my milk-drinking habit that my hand wasn’t broken all the way through after an auto accident.

    8. We’re taught to eat all we can so as not to waste food or money. It started during the Great Depression. Our grandparents did it, taught it to our parents, who in turn taught it to us, and we teach it to our kids, etc. Vicious cycle

    9. Again, if our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, then we can take it home and have the lunch the next day. What’s the point in wasting good food?

    10. This is usually on weekends, when everyone is home. When I was growing up, it was a pretty rare occurance to eat breakfast together. The whole eating breakfast together everyday thing goes back to my grandparents’ generation. Back then everyone ate together.

    And as for the using a fork like a knife thing, in America we only use the knife at dinner for 3 things: bread, butter, and steak. Most anything else, you can use a fork or spoon for

  • Crystal McFarland

    I’m proud to say I do all of these things.Well except for the creepy Christmas card thing and breakfast-who eats breakfast?! I live in the Midwest,so baking during the winter is essential in keeping the house warm without raising the bill.Milk is for drinking,not just cooking with and hugging makes you feel good. What I don’t understand the Brits for warm beer,overcooking veggies,neglected teeth and nails,not tipping,and unwillingness to chat with a stranger while in line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.mcintosh.16 Kathy McIntosh

    When living in the Netherlands and attending University there, my British friends always made fun of us Americans for cutting up all of our food, setting down our knives, and then eating only with the fork in one hand and the other hand placed on the lap. (I partially blame John Clease for joking about this on Fawlty Towers.) This is an American custom that nobody seems to understand. It started during Revolutionary times when tempers were hot and short and sharp knives were necessary to cut meat at supper. Innkeepers were tired of all of the stabbings going on, so they made the rule of ettiquette described above to end carnage in restaurants. One can imagine how bad for business daily stabbings would be. So, there you have it.
    As far as drinking milk goes, it is strange. But, since we do it consistently, most people don’t have a problem with it. It is yummy! I did read where the Vikings brought milk to the natives on what is now North America. The natives LOVED it and told the Vikings they would always be welcome. The Vikings left. Upon their return, they were mostly slaughtered, as the natives ended up with massive GI problems due to drinking milk and took that as something the Vikings intended. The natives did not have the proper enzymes to break down the milk as none of them had drunk milk since infancy. Too bad for the Vikings, in that case.

  • BB

    “Eating breakfast together… I am reliably informed that this kind of thing actually happens here” reliably informed by the 1950’s?

  • Doodle

    As a Brit who has never been to the states, I say this article is complete codswallop, and I find none of the above strange or difficult to understand. In fact I do most of them. Is the writer typically British? Obviously someone who has never left the south or even London.

  • Steph

    So we’re polite, courteous, well groomed, boisterous, happy, family oriented, with very strong bones. Heaven forbid!! How dare we??

    • Jesus Christ

      it says things Brits dont understand, not ‘things brits find offensive about americans’ try not to take it so personal and understand it’s a different point of view.

  • Patrick Henry

    Items 1 through 10: If it annoys and baffles the Brits, that’s motivation enough to keep doing it, right?

  • http://www.grannybuttons.com/ Andrew Denny

    Drinking milk ‘absurd’, Ruth Margolis? Clearly you went to school after Mrs Thatcher was education secretary :-)

  • jimmy

    Was sat by an American couple in Ireland who didn’t know what coal was. “Is it wet logs?” Does coal exist in the USA? thank you

    • Patrick Henry

      Yes, but here it’s used in great quantities to generate electricity, not in stoves to heat your home.

    • JR48

      Yes it does. We have a lot of coal fired electricity plants in various parts of the country. However, no one ever sees it unless they’re a coal miner or in the industry.

      Home heating is either municipality produced electricity or natural gas. If a home is not hooked up to ‘city’ heating, then it’s propane or fuel oil in a tank. Some rural folks use wood stoves or wood pellets.

      I don’t know of any area that commonly uses coal personally for an individual. They may exist but I don’t know anything about it.

      We do use charcoal briquettes for outdoor grilling/barbeques (or again, propane), but that is charred wood, although it looks like coal.

    • rampantbombedrat

      No, we have no coal at all in the USA, only stupid tourists, which we export whenever possible.

    • Coal miner’s grandson

      I think it would be rare to meet an adult in the USA that doesn’t know about coal, even if they haven’t seen it up close. Not only does coal exist in the USA, you’ve probably felt the heat from it if you live in Europe. The Netherlands is #1 and the UK is #2 in terms of importing USA coal. The USA has more coal reserves than any other country, and we also have inexpensive natural gas, so our coal is increasingly being exported to foreign markets. (One begins to better understand the basis of the USA’s “super-size mentality” when one experiences the overwhelming natural resources and expanses of land, and then feels the temptation to take those things for granted.) While virtually no one burns coal in their homes anymore in the USA, just under 50% of the electricity produced in USA power plants comes from burning coal. (I’ve found pieces of coal in the cellar of my 1920s home.) Coal mining remains a critical industry in mountainous regions of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern Illinois. Coal miner safety and the environmental consequences of different mining practices (e.g., mountaintop removal) are discussed regularly in the media.

  • Taylor

    Living in England for 5 years as an FSE, I most enjoyed exercising #4, that is randomly speaking to strangers. It was great fun and I found that once I started a conversation, many of those I targeted seemed to enjoy it.

    • JohnAnnArbor


  • martin

    this is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard.. I’m english, floss (not as often as i should admittedly),my mother bakes, I talk to strangers on public transport, as an 80’s child we were forced to drink milk every day at school, always grab the doggy bag (maybe just a tight Yorkshireman!) I’ve lived in the us, and know that all americans are different and don’t necessarily live up to stereotypes and likewise the brits don’t either.. why has this even been written?

    • gn

      “Rubbish”, together with withering sarcasm, is Ms Margolis’s special(i)ty. Check her previous contributions to this blog.

  • gn

    I flossed every day when I was growing up in the UK, and continue to do so in the US. Your strange attitude to dental floss (“it hurts”?? only if you have a gum condition or you’re doing it wrong) tells us more about your own dental hygiene than that of Brits as a whole.

    But thanks for confirming a widely held anti-British stereotype. Not.

  • SoccerUSA

    And now we have a whole new meaning for the term “lactose intolerant.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/SamSJoubert Samantha Sterling

    This is awesome! No matter where you come from, you’re always going to be strange and weird to someone else. Heck, I’m strange to my neighbors right here in downtown America. Maybe that’s because I always hug them?

  • Ryan Herbert

    1. Flossing may be annoying, but it really doesn’t take much time and it keeps our teeth healthy and looking good. Brits clearly don’t care about their teeth. We’ve established that. Hahaha!
    2. I love that Americans love to bake! Whenever your invited to visit someone’s house you can almost be sure there’s something good to eat waiting! My grandma also bakes all the time. Cakes, cookies, waffles, muffins, why wouldn’t anyone like that? And that doesn’t mean we get fat, anything can be enjoyed in moderation.
    3. Yah, holiday cards can be weird sometimes, but they symbolize the unity and care of your community. The holiday season is all about spreading the joy, and that’s what that does.
    4. Talking to strangers, TOTALLY depends on which part of the US you’re in. The Deep South is extremely friendly and family oriented. The northeast? Not so much! (Oh and south Florida doesn’t count as “the deep south” because everyone there is from the north)
    5. I’ll just end with the leftovers thing, you said yourself you regret your decision to not finish your food the next morning, well good news! In America, you can just pull the rest of your food out of the fridge, heat it up, and you’re on your way!
    Oh, and I just thought everyone drank milk.
    Hope this helps make some of American culture somewhat more understanding :)

    • https://twitter.com/MetroIssues Metro Issues

      No, we don’t all drink milk. I’m an American, and I’m like the Brit in this article… only for cereal and recipes. Now, I’ll make an exception if I’m having an especially rich dessert — milk helps it go down easier.

  • Gary Dexter

    What a bunch of Xenophobic crap!

  • Devon

    Not many Americans floss the way they should either.

    I always take home the floss I get from the dentist and tell myself (with all intentions of actually doing it) I will floss and six months later when the hygiene technician asks “How often do you floss?” I’m responding with a guilty “Less than I should.”

    As to the compulsive baking, I’m guilty but it’s really just to fill time and for events. I don’t know if it makes sense but it’s delicious :)

    Annnnd the breakfast… I don’t know… my family never really had time for breakfast like this. I guess when I stayed at friends houses as a child or even as a teenager (if my friends had younger siblings), there would be breakfast with whoever happened to be awake. We certainly have sit-down breakfast for special occasions/holidays but otherwise, when we eat breakfast together we go out to a restaurant for a brunch-type thing.

    Maybe the list should have included our obsession with brunch. Seriously, I don’t know about Brits but us American’s love our brunch.

  • warren bower

    Oh man #4…

    As an American family we went on a cruise that was mainly UK residents and it may as well have been a private boat. Incredibly difficult to get those people to talk at all.

  • Servalan

    Americans taking everything incredibly seriously and missing irony and sarcasm a great deal of the time. I thought it was funny at first but after 8 years it just annoys me no end.

  • Ozzie

    Well I’m an Aussie living in California and I think the Brits and the Yanks are all barmy.

  • Alan Richardson

    Another subjective and amusing list . . . now I need to see the previous list of habits to find out if I have lingering habits that annoy Americans.

    1 I floss occasionally especially before seeing a dentist or dental hygienist.

    2 I don’t suffer from compulsive baking …

    3 I received these kinds of cards; wouldn’t dream of sending one.

    4 My brother-in-law is adept at this; in the rare moment I find myself doing it …

    5 I maintain a stiff upper lip . . . whistling and hollering at a concert used to be a sign of disapproval in Europe.

    6 Gushy over-friendliness gives me the creeps, too.

    7 Ah, I’m old enough to remember school milk; third of a pint at morning break; often frozen in winter.

    8 This follows the American idea (mistaken) that bigger is better …

    9 … and the rest can always be taken home.

    10 Yes, meals together as a family is a distant memory from childhood now …

  • Joshuah

    This is so great! It’s really a treat to have someone with an outside perspective comment on American culture. I’ll admit, I don’t floss as much as I should, but as to the other 9 I am guilty almost daily. Very interesting read.

  • Michaelgregory

    A sandwich should have more than one slice of Deli meat on it…the greens should never be bigger than the meat and cheese side of it. I was in London ordered a sandwich and it seemed to have just lettuce and tomatoes on it.

  • Marsha

    Of course these are stereotypes, although there may be a bit of truth in some of them. It is not accurate to group all Americans together, as there are differences based on geographical location, socioeconomic level and personal preferences. One thing I will say , regarding numbers 4,5 and 6, many New Englanders tend to be more like Brits than other American in these behaviors: we are more reserved and thus less likely to impose ourselves on strangers or call attention to ourselves with loud vocalizations or with public displays of emotion, especially toward people we do not know well. (We even have some language usages which are more in line with the British, such as our pronunciation of the word “aunt” and the term “bum” for one’s posterior.)

  • alliewanders

    My dad makes pancakes and sausage every Saturday and every Sunday he makes french toast and bacon for breakfast! Its so fun to sit and read the paper, chat, and catch up with each other. Plus, then you have more energy for the rest of your day

  • James

    I can only HOPE this is sarcasm. How moronic, if not.

  • George

    As an American visiting England a few years ago, I recall eating brioche for the first time in London and deciding it tasted so good that I wanted to make a sandwich out of it. The British lady I was travelling with was so offended by this that I might as well have slapped the queen in front of her. Took me a while to realize that she wasn’t joking, either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cyndi.hilston Cyndi Combs Hilston

    As an American, I think the supersized portions in theatres and restaurants is ridiculous. I do think that the actually eating breakfast as a family isn’t as common as you might think. My dad always left for work before the rest of us were up, and my husband is the same. I eat breakfast before waking my kids up, as it’s just easier to focus on them then. Taking home food from the restaurant isn’t strange to me, as I will eat it the next day, and why waste the food? Flossing is proven to benefit your oral health and reduce cavities, so it’s a good practice to do. Being kind toward strangers isn’t something that’s strange; it’s called kindness and common courtesy. Would you rather they be rude toward you? The whooping is annoying, I’ll grant you that. Sending Christmas cards is just a tradition we’ve done for a long time here, and for me, I like to send them to my friends and family, not to show off, but to show I’m thinking of them. I appreciate receiving the sentiment in return, but not the “brag” letters some cards contain. Milk is good for you, and if someone wants to drink it, so what? Every culture has things it does differently.

  • Samantha

    As an American I would like to comment

    1. Flossing
    I only floss when I have something stuck in my teeth

    2. Compulsive baking
    Baking isn’t that hard if you know what you’re doing and decorating things like cupcakes is fun.

    3. Sending personalized holiday cards
    I don’t like getting these things its just a way for people to brag to the family and friends they never see. If I cared I would have know about your lives as it happened.

    4. Talking to strangers unprompted
    I ignore these people or just say “Okay” after the first statement that comes out of their mouths even if its a question. I don’t care and they know I don’t care.

    5. Whooping
    Thanks for the advice. I’ll invest in ear plugs right away. Seriously whooping is annoying clapping works just fine.

    6. Compulsive sentimentality
    I’ve never encountered this. Sorry you had to. Just try to stay at arms length if you can that way they can’t grab you.

    7. Drinking milk
    You need something to drink with the fresh baked goods you just made and sometimes its too hot for tea.

    8. Ordering supersize portions
    I hate this part of America. Seeing such a massive plate of food usually makes me lose my appetite.

    9. Taking home leftovers
    As children Americans are usually told at some point in their lives “There are starving children in Africa who would love to eat that” so we take food home as a way to not waste it.

    10. Eating breakfast together
    Who has time for this? People who don’t work that’s who.

  • akamat

    Drinking Milk… I don’t even know why we do it.

  • Carol Cashman

    I totally agree with all points. Must be my English/Irish/Scottish blood. I’m only second generation American, and yes, I was born with lousy teeth and an under bite. I’ve even realized recently (while watching Dr Who) that the “speech impediment” I had as a child was actually more of a British accent.

  • Dinan

    It isn’t that Brits don’t care or are cold. They care deeply. Just don’t show it to the world as readily. Get to know them, and they relax.

  • LadyMarjorie

    Re: #2, Compulsive baking. The Great British Bake Off much?

  • Robn Patrick

    Fun piece. I love the differences between one country and another. That’s what makes travel an adventure. I can’t believe some of you are stressing over this. No one really cares if you like ice or not, it’s just fun to point out the differences. I am who I am and love meeting people who are who they are. If you travel enough you begin to collect styles or habits from other areas that you like better than your own, while you shake your head over the things you think you could never adjust to.

  • Carly R Everett Phillips

    My husband is British and he will drink milk, eat breakfast with me, he showers more than he used to, flossing is a no, most sauces a no, – He is Welsh so he is more personable than alot of English are and dont get him started how he wants his country separate from England. Peanut butter a No, Root beer, forget it. He used to iron everything but now he doesnt.

  • bscepter

    every day, not everyday. sigh. i expected more from the beeb.

  • Anita Chapman

    Eh. RE #1, I read a quote by a famous actress who said “When you are kissing onscreen, you can really tell who flosses and who doesn’t.” and RE #2, those people with children & jobs & pets aren’t the same ones who bake regular batches of anything gorgeous. That’s a stay-at-home mom right there. But most the other comments are on the money.

  • miracatta1

    Many of us hate those obnoxious “brag cards” sent at holidays. I just stopped sending them and don’t get any back. It doesn’t help that once I published one which read like a newspaper, humorously giving our accounts as crime reports, i.e., daughter Cathy caught setting fires, which was really, she learned to use the fireplace and enjoys it. Relatives were not amused!

  • miracatta1

    Leftovers: The food is great and the gargantuan portions should not be used as one meal. Why not take it home?
    Baking: good bakery products are really expensive. Others have all sorts of preservatives, etc. that I don’t want to eat, and it’s easy to pop something in the oven.
    Supersizing: It’s becoming culturally scorned due to the obesity rate. Hopefully it will die.
    Eating breakfast together????Where??? How?? The food is in the fridge and we all help ourselves.

  • Carmen S.

    I’m American, and I agree with this. I don’t do any of these, but many do. The holiday cards are absurd, never understood why you would need to show off, and especially like that. Oh yes, and the milk drinking. Number seven is very stereotypical, my friends and I always complain about those kinds of people.

    • Carmen S.

      I meant number eight…

  • CL

    Wow, I don’t do any of this x’D
    Except for taking home leftovers…I do that every once in awhile…. but most of the time I don’t even end up eating the leftovers |D

  • Cynthis R.

    The English don’t floss….no surprise they have the worst teeth of any civilized nation. Americans talk to strangers…no we are friendly, not stodgy. I lived in England for 18 months & actually had some people say they like how Americans are friendly.

    • Joel

      Its worth pointing out that a lot of Brits don’t understand starting a conversation with a stranger and so will not do it themselves. Once in one, many will be happy to chat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.kimbrell.18 Jacob Kimbrell

    most of us dont actually floss, we just tell our dentist we do

  • GonzoG

    OK, Yes, I’m an American…SO, I’ll answer the ones I can.
    1. Flossing–I don’t do it as often as I SHOULD, but, I don’t have many dental issues beyond a few fillings–I must be doing SOMETHING right.
    2. Baking–YES. It’s enjoyable during the cool months, and enjoyable to share with friends. Don’t forget to floss afterward.
    3. Holiday cards. Beyond sending a few with checks, or gift cards, or whatever for Birthdays and Christmas–We MIGHT send a few pictures to the ones that don’t do Facebook.
    4. Talking to Strangers. Guilty. I’m overly friendly. I recommend it, though. I like people. Don’t you?
    5. Whooping and other celebratory noises. Yeah–I’ve done it. I also don’t hold back when in pain either. My WIFE’S family would find it rude to scream if they caught fire. They would accept help from the fire department if offered, but would hesitate to call for themselves.
    6. Sentimentality–with SOME good friends–but mostly not.
    7. Milk–I don’t. Haven’t liked it since I was a child.
    8. Supersized–I DON’T always–however, the movie theatre sells buckets of popcorn and barrels of soda. They don’t sell normal sized portions.
    9. Leftovers–I don’t. My wife, however doesn’t eat what a restaurant calls a normal portion–she actually gets two meals for the price of one. It’s actually quite nice.
    10. Breakfast together. We DO share all the family meals together that we can. But breakfast is a rarity due to tight morning schedules. Occasionally on weekends. Christmas morning breakfast is a big deal for us. I make this breakfast casserole that sits overnight in the fridge, then gets baked in the morning. It’s a great tradition.

  • Bec

    this makes me feel slightly british. only key differences are 7. 8. and 9. which can all be attributed to the fact that i eat like a horse and love my moo juice more than even the average american

  • L.E.Blunk

    Warm beer, kippers, milk in your tea, drinks without ice, street food on newspaper, the numbering system on multi level buildings & Zed. But we love you anyway!

  • Timothy Kreuter

    I drink milk all the time, because I get most of my calcium that way. Plus it’s good, as long as it’s ice cold.

    As for things that Americans don’t get that Brits do, that is a list for another time. Simply put, we speak the same basic language (American vs British DIALECT notwithstanding), but we are totally kerfuffled by each other.

  • Kelly

    You guys don’t drink milk, eat breakfast together, or take home leftovers? What is wrong with you guy over there? If anything we will never understand you. Sorry Britain, I love some of your TV shows but that’s messed up.

  • mikeymike

    That’s why you lost the war.

  • Puce Buzzard

    It was $10k (after insurance copay) in dental work taught me me that I really need to floss.

  • sixnineoff

    1. Your kissing partner will thank you for it. Trust us.

    2. A good way to bribe your workmates

    3. One would feel left out as your receive other’s xmas cards.

    4. How else will one make new friends?

    5. Brain cell damage from COLD beer.

    6. In our eyes, everyone is an unique individual. He will probably did really missed you.

    7.We like our milk moustaches.

    8. Overcompensating for charging you $20 bucks for a meal that costs $5.

    9. Midnight snack

    10. With some activities scheduled in a single day, it’s the only time everyone is in the house at the same time.

  • Gary Blanchard

    3 litre soda bottles used to blow my family’s mind when we first came to the United States. Overindulgence is the biggest issue in the country

  • tillzen

    If only you were more like the French.

  • Burt

    Who made this list ? I’m American and I do none of these things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.lambe1 Christopher Lambe

    These things are why USA is #1. Except the Christmas cards, they’re really not acceptable here (only to the ones that send them)

  • hushpuppy

    I’m only guilty of six of the items on the list. Perhaps that’s because my grandfather came from Liverpool and I was born in Connecticut. Sigh. I’m a halfbreed.

  • Jd Adams

    Breakfast together as seen in sitcoms? Where are you getting your information, the Sun? Doesn’t happen. Most families have two working parents and kids who have to hustle to get to school in the mornings. Hubby and I are childless, so our ‘breakfast together’ is a bowl of cereal nabbed in between bouts of getting ready, and it only happens a couple of times per week. And we have BBC America playing Graham Norton while we eat.

    • Don castiglione, jr

      Hey Judy, I grew up,as a latchkey kid in Ohio…but even on Sundays, our fam would cook breakfast. It may not be everyday, but we would set aside Sunday mornings for the big meal. This is especially true for African-American families…..

  • $23275851

    I’m an American..

    It is a strange feeling reading about things that I do being thought of as odd..

    But I guess they kind of are?..

  • dc.she

    1. This might explain some stereotypes Americans have about Brits ;-).
    2. Baking is fun. If it’s elaborate, it came from the store, however.
    3. I am so glad someone else thinks this is weird, too. I always thought my family was the only family too weird not to do this.
    4. You need to work on your b— face
    5. I’ve got nothing
    6. Again, work on the b— face
    7. Dairy Lobby. But usually only children drink milk. Do British children not drink milk?
    8. Americans are getting sick of ordering a small and getting a 2 liter bucket of soda too =
    9. Waste not, want not. And when you get supersized portions, you clearly will have at least another meals worth of leftovers.
    10. I don’t think anyone actually does this, except for a few folks on Sundays.

    • Marshall Cypress

      8. I hate when you go to a mcdonalds and order a small soda and they put a medium on the order. If you correct them they seem completely confused. “but it’s the same price” I DON’T CARE! I ASKED FOR A SMALL! They correct it and you get to the window, and you get a large. WTF! I ordered a small. “but it’s the same price” I DON’T CARE give me a small. “OK” (slowly steps away and calls the police).

      I have ordered one of their enormous burgers and they ask “would you like to make that a meal”? You mean a double cheese burger with a pile of lettuce, tomatoes, and onions is NOT a meal?

      Also the Jack in the box “small” was the large of the 1970’s.

  • Andrew

    Hugging is not universal. Those of us in the region known as New England are less huggy. We do know how to shake hands, tho, which not all British do.

  • kb7rky

    As an American…I resemble those remarks…

  • Bkid

    I’ve only heard of #4 and 6 happening primarily in the south. Being from the south, talking to strangers and the like isn’t far-fetched at all. I’ve heard people in the North find that to be as odd an awkward as you describe it.

    I could be wrong though. :]

  • Edward Bear

    Flossing is weird? And #1? That bites.

  • http://desertsea.blogspot.com Pat

    4., Unprompted conversation, reminds me of the old saw about the two Brits who were stranded on a remote tropical island. A year later, as they were being rescued, they were still waiting for someone to introduce them to each other properly.
    7., Moo juice, is simply another convenient mechanism for consuming more chocolate.

  • J2O

    What’s with those tiny American beer cans too?

  • http://www.bogleech.com/ Bogleech

    While I don’t care for real milk anymore – I prefer Almond milk – it is baffling to me that there’s a whole English-speaking country that DOESN’T routinely drink milk. It is first and foremost a beverage, an ingredient and cereal addition second.

    Most Americans I know, especially me, detest “whooping” and “wooing” and all those idiot excitement-sounds, and you’ve got some bad intel on breakfast…I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who has had a movie-style, sit-down family breakfast. Maybe in the South, where people like to be more “traditional.”

    We think British are appalling wasteful for NOT taking home leftovers…and for, I’m told, throwing things out at their expiration date, which is only a loose factory suggestion.

  • serfdood

    I must be 3/4 british then! In all honesty, lumping us altogether with this list of 10 things is a little stereotyping, but still all in good fun. Yeah, we Americans don’t EVER stereotype.I did feel compelled to respond to some (or all).

    1. Flossing. You obviously have not been to one of our quaint rural areas where the population actually exceed the number of teeth. I’m not kidding. Make a trip through Appalachia, or many places in the deep south.

    3. Personalized holiday cards. Pretty much can’t stand those, particularly if accompanied with the “look how wonderful our life and family is” letter. Not everyone does these, but a significant portion do.

    4. Talking to strangers unprompted. I know quite a few people who would not be comfortable doing this. And several that do.

    6. Compulsive sentimentality. That would creep me out too, if the B & B owner did that. Not cool, almost tantamount to the unspoken (male) rule of never talk to anyone whille doing your business in the public bathroom.

    9. Taking home leftovers. You have got to be kidding, you’re really missing out on this one. Scarfing your leftover Applebees babyback ribs at 3 AM? The very best. Also, cold pizza for breakfast, a scientifically verified hangover remedy. Okay, so not really verified by science, but none the less awesome!

    Okay, getting bored.

  • lgeubank

    “Whooping” — it baffles me, too. In the past few years it seems to have taken over as the main way to show approval. Instead of applause, we get these ear-splitting shrieks.

    We just have too many idiots in the population, I guess.

    (P.S. Hey, Brits — learn to use the floss. Or a toothbrush. Or SOMETHING.)

  • Chris in Kansas City

    As an American, dead center in the United States, I can attest that all of these items are factual. And in no way do we think they are weird at all. :) I enjoyed the article and the snarky comments. I laughed several times out loud.

  • Old Fan

    Another Brit unfortunately displays a misguided superiority complex, revealing a tired cold nature. Rather ugly, pretty sad.

    • Jeff K.

      Get a life – you obviously do not get the vibe of this blog.

  • Marshall Cypress

    1. same here in the U.S. people do not floss that much.
    2. baking a cake takes maybe 1 hour. you can’t find time for 1 hour?
    3. I don’t like them either.
    4. Americans hate this too.
    5. Soccer riots anyone?
    6. No. he really means it.
    7. your absurdity knows no bounds.
    8. Not all Americans do this, I don’t.
    9. waste food much?
    10. you watch too much tv.

    • Joel

      when was the last soccer riot in the UK?

  • Sue Hampson

    You obviously didn’t grow up in England in the 50s’ when we HAD to drink a 1/3rd pint of milk that had been left outside and was disgustingly warm. Didn’t matter if it made us sick we still had to drink it!

  • hking

    Dear Ms. Margolis – go home!!!! (Don’t worry, we won’t hug you goodbye)

  • Julia Holcomb

    Re: #3–The funniest Christmas letters I ever got were from an English friend. I used to save them for Christmas breakfast (which we did indeed eat as a family) and read them out loud in all their bragging, boasting, showboating glory with a super-posh British accent while the famjam giggled. .

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003953985695 Jed Clampett

    The reason doggie bags don’t exist in England is because the food is horrid. I survived for 17 days on (great) beer and vending machine food.

    • miracatta1

      Sad. The Indian food in England is outstanding. So are some restaurants. There was one in Rye that served the best pork roast I ever ate. There is good food and bad food everywhere. England has Safeways, so one can buy food there.

  • Shelly Lancaster

    This article was a huuuuuge waste of time. Did the author of this article just realize not everywhere is like the U.K?

  • Pat

    Brits also enjoy having a royal family. – Lame.

  • Jan

    I don’t get “Talking to strangers unprompted” as something British people don’t do. In the supermarket queue, at the doctor’s, in the pub, people are always oversharing about their family relationships and so on: Oooh, I’m buying this for my daughter. Two kids she has but never gives them anything decent to drink. It’s on a account of her being busy since that man o’ hers left her. Never liked him. Knew it as soon as I clapped eyes on him. Ran off with the neighbour’s daughter, didn’t he?…” Maybe not done in London?

  • Baccar Wozat

    I’m happy to say that I’ve overcome every single one of these awful traits. Most of them are pointless anyway.

  • Niki Greer Davis

    Being an American, I agree with you whole heartedly on 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9. Americans. Sheesh

  • Eater of Worlds

    The movie theatres make no money off of tickets. Without the concessions to support the theatres, there would be no theatres.

  • alchemism

    I have never had a person strike up conversation with me on public transit, but each of my girlfriends regularly gets it. I suspect that it happens mostly to women in America.

  • Tammy Tucker

    Yes, the desire to answer this is irresistible. 1. That is why you have notoriously bad teeth. Only the Germans are worse. 2. This is one of the reasons we are so fat. 3. I am American and totally creeped out by this also. 4. Go to the Northeast. This will never happen. 5. Touche 6. Again, if you go anywhere north of New Jersey, this will never happen. 7. It is often, in the course of a day, the only healthy thing an American child consumes, so don’t knock it. 8 and 9. See number 2. and 10. We, in America, seem to have taken your lead to stop doing a funny little thing called “getting married” so this may be obsolete in the next few years.

  • Deborah Lehman

    Talking to Strangers??? Habitual baking??? Are you sure you’re a Brit?

  • Karlsbddr

    Blah Blah Blah Blah!

    What difference does it make what you or I do?

    What chagrins me to the [sotto voce] knackered pillock’s wine club [più voce] is how most BBC-America hacks spend their penny on these “Us… us … us and Them… them… them” Pink Floyd echoes, again and again, on how Brits are blokes, but Yanks are {err} Yanks. But well, bloody hell’s yeah! you know that people will read this drivel and add their tuppence to boot every single time that you do it.

    There is NO dark side of the pond, REALLY.

    What will be of interest going forward is how the Media and the wibble shall erode the Speak in the Anglosphere.


    Here I am, the descendant of a stowaway upon the HMS Fortune who landed at Charleston in the 17th century because he detested the drudgery of his Inns of Court vocation, and I marvel at how many customs and idioms of the “Old South” yet resemble either today’s British English or Elizabethan English.

    Vive la différence, mais il n’y a aucun endroit comme la maison. Aye, let the idiolects have it.

  • bilbo bugger

    bugger off brits

  • Matthew Wright

    Some Brits do eat together at breakfast, drink, milk and bake! I think the States may just be more family orientated in some ways than cool Britania

  • http://twitter.com/emmakaufmann emmakaufmann

    I am an obsessive compulsive baker so I enjoy living in the USA even though I am from UK….lived here 13 years and yes the compulsive sentimentality now flows through my veins and I sometimes even feel compelled to celebrate ‘holidays’ with a Hallmark card…..

  • Wilxter909

    The voice of a nation… errr… nope.

  • Noblelox

    You’re wrong about the milk, so don’t be tarring all Brits with that obscure phobia. 99% of Brits will drink a glass of milk, especially with a curry.

    Re: doggy bags, I just can’t face eating hot food that has gone cold, TV images of yanks eating slices of last nights pizza always makes me wretch. Reheating is never a good idea as bacteria will explode.

  • Miguel

    That’s because British people are very bitter and unhappy. (My own experience, I study in the UK)

  • Macsen191

    I always thought I was a closet Brit… lol. I can’t stand ice in anything, in fact I use our ice cube bin to store chocolate chips, and some ice cream.Don’t bake much, just cookies every once in awhile and that’s mainly for my sons snack day. We really don’t do breakfast in my house that much… just some cereal, fruit, or a granola bar. And the milk thing? I only use it on cereal and that is even rare. I do do the doggy bag thing, but that is because I don’t want to waste the food… and if I won’t eat it the next day or it wasn’t enough to save… well, the dog gets it. LOL.

  • Molly

    You guys (see? American) don’t eat breakfast?! Or bake?? And talking to strangers is called being friendly here. Weeiiirrd.

  • Jake

    I am English and do all of these things? i don’t get it

  • Suzie Quinn

    The one about the guy giving you guys a hug … Yeah that’s not normal. I live in America and people like that are freaking creepy to everyone here as well. Eating breakfast together does not happen here. Sometimes on weekends. But rarely, no it’s a stereotype from the movies. America is known for having good food. England is not. If you ate our food, you’d want to take home the leftovers too. True on the milk thing, I don’t see why people drink it, it’s got hormones and nasty things in it. I rarely put it on cereal.

  • secratio

    I’m British and I do every single of the above?


    im english and all i drink is water and milk!!

  • me

    This should be called “10 American habits Londoners will never understand”. Northerners talk to strangers just fine.

  • Meee

    You Brits are so weird

  • Waldo

    This article about 10 sharp American stereotypes helps inforce about a hundred Brittish ones.

  • Yujie Chiu Frondoza

    I love being with Americans coz we can talk whatever we want, which makes me feel comfortable ,,,,I hate not to talk with ppl around me even though they are strangers ,,,…I need break the silence as Amercian usually do……..i have loads of Brits as my friends…I still remembered that they hadn’t approached to me first at the first time we met somewhere around campus where we are working…..of course, I opened the topic and we became friends since then…..Brits are gentle and nice but they do keep some distance with ppl……( I’m Chinese , anyway) …..I guess I love your guys no matter where u r from…..

  • Gerturde

    Sure, us yanks are supposed to floss, but I don’t know many people who actually do it every day, let alone 2x a day. We lie, people. L-I-E to the Dentist. And they pretend to believe us. Yes, in general, Americans have teeth that are more “looked after” but I think that is changing. Flossing? MAJOR guilt trip. Maybe it is because we are told to visit a dentist more often than Brits are, but my current dentist (she’s Israeli) is always a bit shocked that my teeth seem to have been flossed. I am pretty sure she does not expect it. I only started doing it after too many root canals from a childhood of crap brushing.

  • LoLo

    dirty brits, you should floss every day. And i believe my family and I are closer because we eat our meals together everyday.

  • Fish&Chips

    Drinking milk is baffling? I do it every night. I cut food with my fork, and I eat with my family, (yeah, the ones you see in American movies-like)

    P.S. I’m a Brit.

  • Catherius

    I disagree with many of these as a 30-something year old Brit. Most of my friends and colleagues understand much of them and do them as well. Except the whooping. My mother and father in law would probably agree with the article in full, but I think that is because this describes how pensioners think more so.

  • Tom

    Where exactly does the writer of this live? I know it’s lighthearted but it’s a load of rubbish. If you live anywhere north of London you know it’s completely normal to strike a random conversation with a stranger at a bus stop. It’s also completely normal to drink a pint of cold milk. Plenty of us eat breakfast together. The rest I suppose is different.

  • ThomasNeidhart

    We’d never be so eccentric as to sit down and eat it at the same time — and in the same location — as our loved ones.

    what? eating near a loved one shows eccentricity? um… ok. lol… you silly Brit.

  • alenajoy

    Cultures are different. We should respect the differences and not expect others to function as we do.

  • Bradley

    this is stupid im British i do most of these things. I have plenty of american friends and i dont shy away from saying what i think, this is your opinion but im pretty sure its wrong people are different are cultures are very similar the main difference i would say is are use of words/slang.

  • Nyasha

    I don’t know anyone who eats Breakfast together like in the movies

  • Beric

    This list makes me think living in the UK is miserable. Thank god I live in the USA.