When travelling abroad there are a few general things you should know about the people you meet, particularly if they are from the non-Mexican part of North America. This can be explained using the entirely accurate and not at all offensive practice of stereotyping.
It can be said that behind every falsehood rests a grain of truth but there is no truth in saying everyone of a nationality possess a fixed set of characteristics. You can blame the media, you can blame it on a few bad experiences or you can blame it on hearsay and ignorance, but stereotypes are all around us. So let’s look at a few between the two countries that share the world’s longest undefended border because while some groups may be okay with being confused, like Chinese and Japanese or Aussies and Kiwis, don’t mix up these two nations!*
*Which in itself is a generalization. And a joke. I’m joking. Please don’t get angry.
1. Americans are Fat
Yes, we’ve all read the statistics about the horrendous obesity rate in the U.S.A. but come on… not everyone is fat. Just watch American movies or television – many are anorexic too!
2. Canadians are Hockey Players
Oh you better believe Canadians love hockey. Did you know over half of all NHL players are Canadian? (If you don’t know what the NHL is, you’re probably asking ‘does he mean field or ice hockey? Ugh) But not everyone plays or cares about hockey. Case in point: me.
3. Americans Like to Fight; Canadians Don’t
If you consider the 3+ wars America has going on, you would think that is all they do. Keep in mind America is also the home to countless hippies and peaceful protestors of war and violence as is Canada. If you base it on averages, you’re likely to find Canadians more in favor of peaceful means than Americans, but again, averages don’t apply to all. Ever watched hockey? Fighting is a part of the game!
4. Americans are Ignorant
This could be said about almost any country – particularly when referring to young people – but take a look at the geography of North America. It’s huge and a long way from the rest of the world. So maybe you can forgive Canadians and Americans for not being as worldly as other citizens, but don’t you dare forgive Americans for the Canadia cracks or not being able to find Canada on a map. Some call Canada the apartment over top a fantastic party. Well I guess you have lots of time to party when you don’t have any jobs. Too soon? And no, you can’t come upstairs to score.
5. Canadians Are Bilingual
Ha! Yeah… this is not true. While the official languages of Canada are French and English but most can only speak one or the other – mostly English. It’s shameful, I know. Maybe just don’t tell the rest of the world – it makes us look sophisticated.
6. Americans Are Boors; Canadians Are Polite
Did you know I’ve never been verbally accosted while in Canada? It’s true. Except that it’s not. All of the biggest jerks I know are Canadian and I know many kind hearted Americans. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you tell someone their countrymen are assholes they are unlikely to respond favorably to you. Maybe you are the asshole? Oh yeah, and nothing goes to a Canadian’s head like telling them they’re polite. Thank you, you are too kind.