European Shit I’m Too American For

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I’ve been living and traveling throughout Europe for about 6 months now, and there are still some things I just can’t get jiggy with.

1. The Metric System

I know all but three countries in the entire world use the metric system, but I’ve never had to use it until I moved to Europe. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Centimeters, celsius, kilometers, mililiters…I figuratively and literally cannot. When I check the weather and it says 30º (C), I instinctively expect it to be cold outside. Instead, it’s the equivalent to 86º (F). How, Jesus? Why would you allow this madness?

I’m usually not so bad when it comes to math, but I like clean and easy conversions. One centimer is .39 inches. One mile is 1.60934 kilometers. I have no capacity for fractions that aren’t a tenth, quarter, or half.

2. Mayonnaise

I actually don’t have anything against mayonnaise. I put it on my sandwiches…it’s crucial in my chicken salad…I might even put some on my burger if I’m feeling extra. But the word extra is key here. Mayonnaise should only be a complementary flavor. Having it as a main condiment is and always will be weird. It’s like dipping your french fries in butter and eggs. Europeans, you don’t have to live like this. I offer you Hidden Valley Ranch in exchange.

You’re welcome.

3. Leashless Dogs

Imagine walking down the street on your way to work and seeing huge Rottweiler standing on the corner. Imagine being on your daily run through the neighborhood and having a little Bulldog decide to join you. Imagine sitting in the park minding your business and having a German Shephard charge full speed your way. Where TF are the owners, you ask? About 50 feet behind them, with no leash in sight. At least 80% of dogs I see on a daily basis are not kept on a leash. Granted, they’re extremely well behaved, but I still don’t like it. I will never not be afraid at first glance of a lose dog.

4. Box-O-Milk

The first time I went grocery shopping in Spain, I spent 10 minutes looking for the milk. I checked every refrigerated aisle, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I turned down an aisle of coffee, granola, and oatmeal, and much to my surprise, I see milk.  Warm, unrefrigerated, BOXES OF MILK. Y’all. Of all the cant’s I cannot, this has got to be the cantest. WHY THE HELL IS THE MILK NOT REFRIGERATED? WHO RAISED Y’ALL?

4. No Household Dryers

Yes, the asthetic of clotheslines across patios is adorable, but damnit I miss the feeling pulling warm clothes out of the dryer. I’ve airbnb’ed in countries all over the continent and only ONE of SEVEN places had a damn dryer in the house. You know how long clothes take to dry outside in the winter? Forever. That’s how long.

It’s the little things, y’all.

5. Pay-Per-Pee

In many European countries, public restrooms aren’t free. Have to pee while you’re shopping? Well you better pay up. Yes, even if you’re already buying something in the establishment. I’ve seen charges anywhere between 30-75 cents. I know it’s not high, but it’s the principle of it. I mean, damn what if I don’t have any cash on me at the moment? I’m literally too poor to have access to a toilet?

As we Americans say, “that’s fucked up, bro”.



What foreign customs are you too American for?

About Lauren Victoria 87 Articles
Lauren is a Chicago native and budget traveler obsessed with foreign languages, neuropsychology, dancing, and applesauce. She recently quit her full-time job in social services to be a human English dictionary in Madrid, Spain.
  • joan pike

    ? too funny

  • I haven’t had an opportunity to visit Europe yet but this was hilarious…especially the mayonnaise! I’ve heard that from a few friends!

    • girl you aren’t missing too much on the food end lol

  • Kellyn Jeremy-Aponte

    Yea! The bathroom thing makes me nuts. Experienced it in Sweden.

    • i don’t care how bad i have to go, if i have to pay im holding it! lol

      • Kellyn Jeremy-Aponte

        My bladder is shot since I had my son. I had to pay. I always carry extra change. Don’t want to take a chance.

  • Outdoorsy Diva

    That pay per pee blew my damn mind. Soooo not here for that and yeah metric system can suck it.