Last night, The Wife explained to me how Germans and Americans differ in the way they interact with strangers. She said, “Germans are like coconuts and Americans are like peaches.” I thought this was pretty clever, so I immediately stopped listening in order to concentrate on my own interpretation of the comparison.
From what I’ve gathered, Germans come off a bit cold; hard on the outside, like a coconut, and lacking that assumed social warmth to which Americans are accustomed. Germans tend not to fawn over strangers or go out of their way to impress them, so don’t expect Frau Säddlebags over there to perform a joyous Slap Dance when you ask her to take your picture in front of the Brandenburger Tor; her bunions hurt and she’s late for her favorite soap opera, Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten (Good Times, Bad Times).
However, get to know Frau Säddlebags and you would likely find beneath her gruff, coconut exterior lies a soft, sweet center; a combination of generosity and loyalty reserved for true friends and family members. You would also find a disgusting, milky white fluid high in saturated fat.
Americans, on the other hand, tend to be warm; intensely sweet, like a peach, and overly accommodating when interacting with strangers. We exaggerate social protocols in order to leave the most favorable first impression upon people, so don’t be surprised when you ask Mrs. Chickenthighs to take your picture in front of the Statue of Liberty and she has a stroke trying to help you out. “Oh my God, I would love to take your picture! Just stand right there you guys — OH, what a cute couple! Where did y’all say you were from again? Aaaaaaand, CHEEEEEEESE!”
However, get to know Mrs. Chickenthighs and you would likely find beneath her sugary, peach exterior lies a cold, hard pit; a combination of gossip and paranoia reserved for her closest friends and family members. You would also find a near-lethal dose of cyanide.
And just to summarize — yes, I am American, though I am not a peach at all. I am a peanut; two salty nuts with a talent for sending small children into anaphylactic shock.
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