I play a game when we are traveling. Every time I see a bleach blond with sky-high heels, too much makeup, dressed like a hooker I say “Russian mail-order bride”. To which my husband almost always calls me a racist. Russians are not a race, so I refuse this label but I will admit to cultural profiling. No judgements, just the cold hard facts.
If you see a petite someone, smartly dressed, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes. He must be French. Same description but instead filter cigarettes. He’s Italian. Cliché – yes, but they became clichés because they were consistently true.
You can start with the shoes, they will usually put you on the right continent.
Italians: always high quality, fashionable leather shoes and usually dressed warmer than one would expect for 30 ºC.
Germans: look like they are off on an expedition.
Scandinavians: preppy,sporty or both. Usually half-naked or at least in comparison to local population.
English: again explorer clothing such as wide-brimmed hats sometimes combined with mosquito nets.
Americans: Casual clothing or expedition style with high-tech fabric variation. Most often with jogging shoes. **Notable exceptions are extreme trends like the TEVA, CROCS and recently TOMS shoes, which make American-spotting super easy.
In the picture above: the Italian gentleman on the bicycle looks to be in the same age group as the American. Now I ask you which man commands more respect? Which one would you want to be from a Super Power? Sadly, I would expect that they both have the same socioeconomic status.
Care to try your hand at cultural profiling?
Guess where these three are from?