Brunch, Baseball and Four Other American Crazes That’ll Drive You Crazy

The "pups in purses" scourge started in Hollywood and became a worldwide epidemic. Thanks America! (Photo: Solent News / Rex Features)

The “pups in purses” scourge started in Hollywood and became a worldwide epidemic. Thanks America! (Photo: Solent News / Rex Features)

America has been at the forefront of innovation and cultural trends, but when it swings and misses, it really misses. Here are six U.S. crazes apparently thought up just to annoy Brits:

Putting dogs in purses
That all-American heroine Paris Hilton pioneered the trend of stuffing miniature hounds into handbags. Now everyone’s doing it. Which is a good thing really, because what Chihuahua pup doesn’t grow up with its parents grooming them to one day sit atop a pile of old lipsticks and tampons that have broken free of their wrapper?

Baseball
This brain-saggingly tedious game can last for hours — three of them on average. Do players get to wear pajamas to work because there’s so much standing around doing nothing they might need to sneak off and take a nap?

Indoor cats
Before moving to New York, I’d never heard of anyone keeping a healthy, young cat in their house – or, as is often the case in this ludicrously expensive city, an apartment so small your kitchen is a fridge. And not letting them out. Ever. When the Cat Bin Lady story broke in the U.K. back in 2010, Americans were horrified, but many of them for an entirely different reason: what was the dumb Brit owner doing letting their precious bundle of fur out into the big wide world in the first place?

Brunch
A contrivance of the American restaurant industry, “brunch” is the best way they’ve found to get otherwise sensible people to pay fifteen dollars for eggs. Brunch crowds are noticeably more obnoxious than those assembled for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Perhaps it’s the bottomless Mimosas made with high ethanol, sparkling puppy urine.

Infinite coffee options
Unless you’re planning to get your Joe on in the most basic of diners, the statement, “I’d like a coffee, please” will be met with at least one but possibly two or three follow up questions. It’s like walking into Radio Shack and saying, “I’d like a phone, please.”

Hipsters
There are aloof trendies who wear bowling shoes in the U.K., but the American hipster, native to Brooklyn and Portland, is the undiluted original. They’re nearly always parentally sponsored artists of some kind (usually the bad kind), or they work for a tech start-up to get money for falafel and hats. (See also: a British woman’s guide to dating a Brooklyn hipster.)

Join us Friday at 1 pm/et on Twitter for #MindTheChat, our weekly discussion of issues important to Brits in the U.S. This week’s topic: joining expat groups in America.

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.

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  • Slate

    Complaining about the length of a baseball game when England has given the world Cricket in either 3-4 hour form (comparable to baseball) or “Test” form, over 5 days?

    • RedLorryYellowLorry

      The difference is that baseball is much more widely watched in America than cricket is in England. Cricket isn’t classified as “England’s Favourite Past-time”

  • erazoner

    Obviously there are no coyotes in the UK who like to “brunch” on house cats (and purse-sized dogs) as there are in many parts of the USA. And if Brits love their songbirds as much as they say they do, why do they still let puss outdoors?

    • MontanaRed

      Owls and other raptors will eat cats, too (and small dogs).

  • expatmum

    I must admit to being horrified when I found out about house cats, but worse – that they are declawed! Argh! However, I have to defend baseball. I know I have been indoctrinated to a certain extent, but the more you know about the game and what’s going on before each pitch, the more interesting it becomes. Now football? That’s another matter. Yawn.

    • therealguyfaux

      With no men on base, baseball essentially IS cricket. Baseball is really only interesting if there are men on base. And a player is lucky to reach base maybe one-third of the time. So two-thirds of the time, it’s a man with a ball trying to put it past a man with a stick, and succeeding, or getting him to hit the ball to a fielder and be retired. Meanwhile, most of the other players are motionless. Like cricket.

      By the way, which football do you mean– football, or Sumo Rugby League With Padding, alias NFL? The former has a ball and players in motion most of the time, and Americans say you can’t follow it. The latter is played in fits and starts, and appeals to a shorter attention span, but how do you mentally edit out all the downtime? And don’t tell me you try to work out what play will be called– NFL is only slightly less predictable than Halley’s Comet.

  • Polly

    We may not have coyotes here but we do have foxes. I live in thecountryside & a fox here will go after a cat if its hungry enough, but an outdoor cat can & will defend itself. Outdoor cats are usually ‘street smart’ as far as danger is concerned (apart from those living near main roads).

    Urban foxes on the other hand, tend to lunch on a multitude of things including small rodents & the contents of
    rubbish bins.

    It seems a shame to keep a cat indoors its whole life & yes outdoor cats, regardless of whether they’ve just eaten or not, do kill birds albeit a healthy
    bird will not stick around long with a cat on the prowl.

    A dog in a handbag? Why?

    PS: I do think it’s a bit rich to complain about the length of a baseball match when
    we have 5 day Test cricket.

    • MontanaRed

      I have a quibble here… Yes, healthy, adult birds decamp quickly when a cat is around. However, many species of birds spend their first week out of the nest on the ground, vulnerable, where the parents continue to feed them while they develop their flying skills. Fledging season is when I have to keep a close watch on my cats. I’ve managed to rescue a fair few birds from the jaws of death. My bird bath is set up too high for cats (or dogs) to reach, so damp birds who would otherwise be an easy catch have a chance to dry off safely. (I work at bird feeding supply store.)
      My kitties are more than welcome to account for as many mice and bugs as they can, though!

  • Guest

    Letting a can outside is like inviting every tick and flea in the world to come into your home.

  • littlebirdhouse92

    Letting your pet cat outside is like inviting every flea and tick into your home. Who wants that?

    • Emily

      There are barely any insects bar an occasional fly, bumble bee, wasp or ant in England, but certainly nothing that could infest your pets. By the way, I was wondering – purely out of curiosity, I assure you – do you worry about these things when you walk your dogs in the countryside?

      • A sociology professor

        Yes, which is why flea and tick remedies are a million dollar business. While you can use collars they aren’t very effective, and the effective cures (powders and shampoos) are ones most cats won’t sit still for.

  • Sam

    1. The vast majority of us Americans do not carry our dogs in purses and can’t stand Paris Hilton. We also don’t appreciate automatically grouped in with her just because she’s from here. Same with hipsters.

    2. You don’t have to like baseball. I doubt if you come here that anyone will force you to watch a game against your will. What’s worse though is people mocking American football players for wearing pads, particularly helmets. Those people need to read about the huge controversies surrounding sports and head injuries over here. Maybe they’ll understand why people are willing to look less tough rather than risk catastrophic issues later on.

    3. Most people that keep their cats inside are worried for them. It’s different when you take your dog for a walk on a leash, it’s usually for a relatively short amount of time and you can keep them out of situations and places they shouldn’t be in. And there are some people who don’t want someone else’s cat on their property.

    • Ruggerman

      As for the pads part of the second point, there’s an argument to be made (and a good one, I think) that the pads, and especially the helmet, are what gives players the sense of security that allows them to commit the most vicious tackles.

  • http://www.ghookermls.info/ Geoffrey Hooker

    Traditionalists complain about the long pants baseball players wear. They want the sock showing up almost to the knee. In fact, many teams were named after the color or style of their socks (Reds, Cardinals, White Sox, Red Sox, Tiger-striped socks, Browns)

  • Malia

    The indoor/outdoor cat thing confuses me a bit. I’m an American living
    in the UK, and also an animal lover. I find Brits to be overly-zealous
    about their pets in general, with neighbors getting uptight if you leave
    your cat with food and water for a few days while on vacation.
    Considering the overall attitude toward animals here, I’m surprised the
    “indoor cat” is not more popular. I’m not fan of PETA, but even they
    support the idea of indoor cats:
    http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/indoor-cats.aspx

    Does this British attitude stem from the idea of letting animals be in their most natural state possible?