Archive for August, 2010

Untucked

August 27, 2010

Lately I’ve been pondering what makes Americans look so… American.

The English say it’s our wide, white, toothy grins. Probably because they nurse a national self-consciousness about their teeth, and smile so as to hide them.

Another friend says it’s our bad posture. But I don’t think we’re more hunched than other nations, unless Parisian women count as a nation.

Nope. You could take off our sneakers, tuck in our t-shirts, wrap a scarf around our necks – and we still wouldn’t fool anybody. Because I don’t think it’s our looks that make us look American. I think it’s our minds.

When you believe that Jesus watches over you, that self-help books really work, that you are the best DIY project you’ll ever have – it’s a pretty good feeling. It makes you bound around like a golden retriever, licking strangers, wagging your tail, knocking over everything in sight: houseplants, wineglasses, Afghanistan.

Europeans are a bit more guarded. They keep their energy wrapped about them, like a smart trench coat. Disaster could strike any day, and often has; rain could fall at any moment, and usually does; the world could get darker, just wait until 4 pm.

Or 1939. Either way.

Advertisements