Captain Sasha June 21st, 2009
If you observe and study the behaviour of Europeans vis-a-vis Americans, it quicky becomes apparent that Continental Europe and United States are seperated by much more than an ocean. It is cultural attitudes towards living, sex, alcohol, eating, money, wars, patriotism, religion, etc. that make for the bigger difference between Americans and Europeans. This is installment one of a two part article to sum up these differences in brief, so that Europeans can better understand what Americans are made up of and vice versa.
(Left) Having dinner, the American way. (Right) Europeans having dinner.
Quality vs Quantity
Americans associate quantity with quality. Bigger is better. For example, Americans associate cars with large engines and larger size over a smaller car with say, better handling and better materials, not to mention a better fuel economy. Another example of American quantitativeness could be their dietary habits - Americans eat larger portions of food, as a larger serving of the same food is seen as having more value than smaller portions of a better variety of foods. The result? Americans are, on an average, bigger in size than most Europeans. They also consume much larger share of natural resources for living a quality of life unenviable to most Europeans.
Americans take a puritanical view about the simple pleasures of life - like eating, sex, nudity and alcohol which Europeans take in their stride as a part of their lifestyle. This causes Americans to restrict on these pleasures in normal situations and later ‘bomb out’ in excess indulgences to ’solve’ psychological issues. Europeans eat foods that would be considered abhorrent and fatty to most Americans, yet they remain slimmer and healthier than most Americans, due to an active and moderate lifestyle. Americans on the other hand flit cyclically between crash diets and binges, destroying their health in the process.
A similar attitude is seen in alcohol consumption where American parents restrict teenagers from drinking alcohol till they turn 21. When the same teenagers grow up to get over the age restriction, they binge drink to get drunk. Europeans on the other hand, introduce alcohol in family dinners so that their children learn to enjoy it in moderation. Americans abhor depictions sex and nudity in the media, yet they have the largest porn industry in their world, that caters majorly to Americans. Europeans have a more laid back attitude towards depiction of nudity and sex in the media, without having to delve into the excesses of porn.
Americans are so overtly materialistic that they see money as an end, while Europeans see it as a means to an end. Americans can’t differentiate between ‘earning money’ and ‘being obsessed with money’. Americans consider working hard and making large amounts of money as a measure of personal success whereas for Europeans, success translates to living a life of more pleasure and better relationships. For Europeans, money is something to be spent and enjoyed on things that improves lives. For Americans, money is something to be collected to create a large bank balance, or something to be spent foolishly to fill a psychological vaccum.
A European would be happy making less money if the time could be better spent on enjoying life’s pleasurable pursuits - like music, travelling or spending time with the family. Americans on the other hand have a workaholic mentality. They work, and work still some more, so that they can gain more money and status for being more ‘productive’. Part of it has to do with the capitalist model that Americans live by as opposed to socialist Europe. Europeans work to live, Americans live to work.
Possibly Related posts:
- Europe vs America: Cinema and Television
- Europe’s Hatred for America - Imaginary or Real?
- Is Terrorism a Bigger Threat than AIDs or Malaria?
- Europe vs USA - Lifestyle
- India As An Economic Superpower