Author Topic: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.  (Read 10718 times)

Possenti2264

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Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« on: April 25, 2012, 01:10:47 PM »
Before I start, I'm in no way trying to offend anyone at all.  I don't know the correct terminology or customs, so please forgive my ignorance.

I'm a very friendly person.  I smile at everyone everywhere.  Not in a Forrest Gump kinda way, just in a low-key southern kinda way.  My boss defines herself as a "psychotic B----", and I do as my mom says and "kill her with kindness". 

A few weeks ago, I was in WalMart oogling fresh baked bread, when a woman in a headscarf commonly worn by Muslim women approached the same bread rack.  (I always try to be aware of the people around me, and start off with a smile and a "hi" or some other casual friendly comment.  It tends to make the other person a bit happier, and it also disarms them of any potential thought that I'm a threat.)  The apparently Muslim woman gave a slight scowl in my direction, avoiding eye contact, and turned back to the bread rack. 

Since that event, I have seen other Muslim-looking women, and the same has occurred, tough not necessarily at a bread rack at WalMart. 

Why is this the case?  Why does it seem that Muslim women are unfriendly to me?     

Oh yeah.  I'm a guy.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 01:37:55 PM by Possenti2264 »

Offline Greywolf27

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 01:19:17 PM »
Please don't take this as offensive... or even as correct.  I do not know.

I do not know for fact, if I am wrong, please correct me... but I believe that their belief states that all women should cover themselves, whether it be completely or just the scarf over the head.  You, by not wearing the "required" dress, might be insulting her beliefs...

I like you smile and say hi to most people I meet (I'm born and raised in Southern California) and many times, people will look at me like I'm 1) wierd, 2) trying to sell something 3) some psychotic freak...  The response is definately common among grasshoppers

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 01:24:31 PM »
I do not know for sure.  cultural differences maybe?  I remember reading a newspaper article when McD's opened in Moscow in like '89-'90, and the corporate people had to teach the employees to smile at the customers.  Because in Russia (barely not the USSR anymore) you did not smile at anyone.  it was dangerous.  Hubby was there in '96-'98, and he said that there was a lot of that - smiling was not common on the streets.  Now that is Russian, not Muslim.  but maybe something like that?
When I was an LDS missionary in Montreal, we met some women from Saudi Arabia who would talk to us as Sister Missionaries, but they said that they NEVER answered the door if men were on the doorstep.

Maybe Kayzonara can chime in here?  with some insight?

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 01:33:11 PM »
It is my understanding many Muslim women do not speak to men who are not either their husband or their kin except when required in commerce.

It does depend on how strict their pariticular group is. Also, how long they have been here, etc. If she is dressed in such a way you can see she is Muslim, it is safest not to speak to her or approach her in any way.

As Christianity is not one homogenous religion, so is Islam. Specific beliefs and practices vary as they do among Christians, Jews and any other religion you may care to name.

Offline KitsapRoadkill

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 01:34:53 PM »
There's always the obvious: they see you as an infidel. Not trying to be an ass, just saying. Another possibility is that the person is puzzled as to why you're being friendly. I was raised(in a small town) that if you happen to make eye contact with someone you smile, nod or say "Hi." When I take this behavior to a big city like Seattle I get responses from all over the board. I've had friendly conversations start all the way to vulgar threats to my personal well-being. It just depends on the person.

Possenti2264

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 01:40:23 PM »
I live in Louisiana.  You can't enter a restaurant without being called "honey", "sweetie", or "sugar". 

"they see you as an infidel. Not trying to be an ass..."  no offense taken. 

Offline Greywolf27

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 02:00:35 PM »
slightly off topic...
I can't quite figure out why people think Americans are egotistical a-holes...
I spent a month in Australia as well as a month in New Zealand.  I met people from all over the world.  Just about every one of them couldn't figure me out.  They all said that I don't fit the "stereo typical American"... When I asked what they meant... they said "rude"....

My experiences... Americans are among the most considerate... as long as you get outside the big cities...

Offline Vulcan

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 02:56:46 PM »
As most people have said: I'm not 100% sure I this is true or not.

But as far as I have read Muslim women are of a lower class than their male counterparts (at least in areas of high Muslim population). And men treat them as such. So when a man such as yourself smiles as them they see it as you being disrespectful.

Again, not 100% sure but it seems to be on par with what I've read.

Offline KellyAnn

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 04:16:42 PM »
I second what TexDaddy said.
I used to live in an area with a very high population of Muslims (not too far from the city they filmed that one Muslim related reality show in).
The reason they cover themselves has more to do with modesty & not appearing provocative to men that are not their husband or family.
It is likely that she didn't respond because she didn't want to be seen as "leading you on" or making herself available to you.
I would guess that had you been a woman and said hello, she probably would've responded (at least that's been my experience as a female who dress on the modest side of "average American").

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 06:44:10 PM »
It is not just the Islamic religion either. I live where there are alot of Old Believer Russians, and some two other religions I have not identified yet, but they have a distinctive "dress code" for the women, so I presume they are some sort of sect. I have either not seen the men or they do not have a 'dress code'. Me.. being female, usually gets barely a nod in return to my smile and "Good morning" or whatever I say.

One Old Believer I really enjoyed, when I talked to her at Seedy Saturday one year who was at a table next to mine. I thought we might be able to become friends and invited her over for tea as in a way we had alot in common. She said that she would love to, but was not able as she still had kids at home and they did not really let their children outside the Russian community until they were 16 and they did not invite anyone over who was not Old Believer. Which now I realize why I only see the Russian high school kids. I am sad that "A" and I cannot see each other socially. *LOL* She actually said a swear word at the event. I must have looked at her in horror and then she was so appologetic as she thought she offended me by swearing and I said "No, I just did not expect it to come out of your mouth". So we had a good laugh over that.

When I was in Canada I would walk on the riverwalk when I went into town. There was alot of Hindu/Sikh grandpas on the walk. I used to say hello to them every morning I was there and passed them. Their reaction was as I had been thin air. This went on for months and finally a solitary Hindu/Sikh grandpa said hello back. MONTHS it took for him to say hello. I later found out that it is not their culture to speak to women, especially outside their caste.

When I worked with a bunch of Mexican men at a farm, I was the only white chick there. I worked as a vet tech at that place. Each and every day I said good morning to them in both English and Spanish. It took 2 weeks to get them to respond.

It is not you.. it is not them.. it is culture which binds them.

Cedar


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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2012, 07:31:52 PM »
slightly off topic...
I can't quite figure out why people think Americans are egotistical a-holes...
I spent a month in Australia as well as a month in New Zealand.  I met people from all over the world.  Just about every one of them couldn't figure me out.  They all said that I don't fit the "stereo typical American"... When I asked what they meant... they said "rude"....

My experiences... Americans are among the most considerate... as long as you get outside the big cities...

I also have been told that I do not fit the "stereo typical American". I lived in Canada for 9 years and I do know what they mean now about Americans. I didn't at first. When I was at a restaurant or public event somewhere, you could always pick out the loud rude obnoxious ones and they 90+% of the time were Americans. Used to make me embarrassed for them and myself. Not all, but too many.

Americans tend to also not take shoes off when entering a house. My mom and sorta stepdad included. Myself, when I first moved up there. Sometimes, even if you think there is not much culture change betwwen countries, most of the time there are indeed little ones.

Cedar

Offline technicalanarchy

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2012, 08:04:35 PM »
TexDaddy nailed it. Some of the muslim sects dont believe in women talking to men out of the family, some are very friedly and wear the burka still, so you never know.

As for.other cultures just different reasons.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2012, 09:06:15 PM »
Got a similar reaction when traveling abroad.  I'm generally happy, considerate, and smiling.  Many people said "You don't act like most Americans."  "Of course not, I'm a Texan!"

Surprisingly, everyone knew about Texas, where it was, and what we were about.  I guess it threw them because I don't have a twang.

Many of the Communist, or former Communist countries are still "anti social" towards strangers.  They just don't trust anyone they don't know.  All but this latest generation in the Czech Republic tend to be that way.  I'm told before Communism it was a very friendly place.

~TG

Offline Kayzonara

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2012, 10:13:59 AM »
Before I start, I'm in no way trying to offend anyone at all.  I don't know the correct terminology or customs, so please forgive my ignorance.

I'm a very friendly person.  I smile at everyone everywhere.  Not in a Forrest Gump kinda way, just in a low-key southern kinda way.  My boss defines herself as a "psychotic B----", and I do as my mom says and "kill her with kindness". 

A few weeks ago, I was in WalMart oogling fresh baked bread, when a woman in a headscarf commonly worn by Muslim women approached the same bread rack.  (I always try to be aware of the people around me, and start off with a smile and a "hi" or some other casual friendly comment.  It tends to make the other person a bit happier, and it also disarms them of any potential thought that I'm a threat.)  The apparently Muslim woman gave a slight scowl in my direction, avoiding eye contact, and turned back to the bread rack. 

Since that event, I have seen other Muslim-looking women, and the same has occurred, tough not necessarily at a bread rack at WalMart. 

Why is this the case?  Why does it seem that Muslim women are unfriendly to me?     

Oh yeah.  I'm a guy.
Lots of possibilities:
-Inappropriate contact with males is very discouraged.  Now, what it considered inappropriate is heavily dependent on how you interpret Q and S and how much you rely on S in the first place.  Or, which friendly neighborhood scholar you rely on.  Some people are fine with small talk at the bus stop or remarking to the guy next to you at the bread rack that you finally got your kids eating whole wheat.  Others find small talk to be a gateway drug to fornication.  If there is no absolute need to speak (Asking the guy who works at the Home Depot where the furnace filters are, or telling the leasing office you're extending for another month) than speaking is frowned upon.

-Peer pressure.  Even if you find brief small talk harmless, if your particular family and social circle doesn't, you're going to keep mum in case some one catches you.

-Some immigrant muslims from heavily muslim countries come from a culture in which a man making small talk, smiling or being friendly can be tantamount to "Hey baby bring some of that over here!"  It can even be considered rude to ask your friend how his wife is doing.  Note:  Some converts adopt the cultural practices of those from KSA or other countries.

-(Irreverent ego-boosting thought)  Perhaps they find you attractive and too much of a temptation, and so are less than friendly to save themselves. ;D



Actually that's not really lots of possibilities, just a variation on one. I'm just a rambler. *sigh*

I could ramble more but  it wouldn't really be on topic.

Offline Sanveann

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2012, 09:44:01 PM »
It might not have had anything to do with her being Muslim. (One of my friends is an observant Muslim, and she talks to EVERYONE, and would probably talk to the refrigerator door if deprived of human companionship!) Perhaps this woman was distracted, or having a bad day, or maybe she just isn't a very nice person.

I remember once, my husband was at the cafeteria at work, and he overheard someone debating about the pie there. My husband said, "The blueberry is always good," only to be met with a glare as if he had made some horrific insult toward the guy's mother. Why? No idea. My husband met the same guy later, in a different situation, and said he was a perfectly nice guy.

Another time, I was about to drive to my grandfather's funeral, which was several hours away. I stopped at a local coffeeshop for a drink on my way out, and a very sweet, very chipper girl asked me sunnily how I was doing. I didn't want to start bawling, so I just basically gave her a curt nod and ran out of there.

Offline Truik

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2012, 10:15:33 PM »
It is my understanding many Muslim women do not speak to men who are not either their husband or their kin except when required in commerce.

This ^^^

In Japan, it is considered rude to expose your teeth when you smile in a business meeting. It would be construed as being competitive or challenging.

 ::)


Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2012, 11:35:27 PM »
In Japan, it is considered rude to expose your teeth when you smile in a business meeting. It would be construed as being competitive or challenging.

Is that like that weird "wearing red" thing here in the States?

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2012, 11:48:11 AM »
Oh yeah.  I'm a guy.

So I'm picturing a girl this whole post and scratching my head... you answered your question at the end. That is a common culture sensitivity akin to the western sensitivity of a mid 20's - 40's guy walking up and trying to be friendly to a little girl that is alone. Isn't your fault, but it isn't likely to change soon either.

Offline Sanveann

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2012, 01:04:22 PM »
So I'm picturing a girl this whole post and scratching my head... you answered your question at the end. That is a common culture sensitivity akin to the western sensitivity of a mid 20's - 40's guy walking up and trying to be friendly to a little girl that is alone. Isn't your fault, but it isn't likely to change soon either.

I tend to agree -- that was probably the crux of the matter. And as someone else posted, in a lot of Muslim countries, a strange man who tries to chat you up and is probably not doing so with friendly/honorable intentions. (In fact, it was only 150 years or so ago that in Western societies, men did NOT talk to women they hadn't been formally introduced to. If you've ever read "Pride and Prejudice," for example, that's the big deal in the beginning about Mr. Bennett going to visit Mr. Darcy -- because Mr. Darcy would never be able to talk to them if the Bennett girls weren't introduced to him first.)

Offline Shaunypoo

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2012, 01:42:07 PM »
Ditto for TexDaddy


slightly off topic...
I can't quite figure out why people think Americans are egotistical a-holes...
I spent a month in Australia as well as a month in New Zealand.  I met people from all over the world.  Just about every one of them couldn't figure me out.  They all said that I don't fit the "stereo typical American"... When I asked what they meant... they said "rude"....

My experiences... Americans are among the most considerate... as long as you get outside the big cities...

I have done some travelling in Europe and I believe it is a cultural misunderstanding.  One example is restaurants.  In the US the server stops by every 5 minutes to ask if you need anything.  I personally find it annoying but it is what we expect here.  In France the server only comes to your table when you beckon.  I was constantly waving away the server after looking around a room and making eye contact only to see them start to rush over.  If you are not ready for that service then some people will misconstrue it as ignoring an American customer and they don't have service like we do at home.  Frankly I prefer the European style of service.

inbox485

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2012, 02:23:22 PM »
slightly off topic...
I can't quite figure out why people think Americans are egotistical a-holes...
I spent a month in Australia as well as a month in New Zealand.  I met people from all over the world.  Just about every one of them couldn't figure me out.  They all said that I don't fit the "stereo typical American"... When I asked what they meant... they said "rude"....

My experiences... Americans are among the most considerate... as long as you get outside the big cities...

Having lived in places where 99.9% of Americans you might run into are habitual tourists, I not only understand that sentiment, but I share it. I am incredibly leery of American tourists. Most of them are smug, arrogant, a-holes, and I couldn't keep enough distance from them. Being even in proximity to one was a real threat to both safety and sanity. I swear if you told one of them not to stick their junk in a hornets nest it would be the first thing they do. Then they'd expect everybody to fix the problem for them. I frankly wish they would grow fond of some distant hole in the ground and stay there. Unfortunately most of the world's exposure to Americans involves douche bag tourists.

Offline Entity

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2012, 11:33:37 PM »
Having lived in places where 99.9% of Americans you might run into are habitual tourists, I not only understand that sentiment, but I share it. I am incredibly leery of American tourists. Most of them are smug, arrogant, a-holes, and I couldn't keep enough distance from them. Being even in proximity to one was a real threat to both safety and sanity. I swear if you told one of them not to stick their junk in a hornets nest it would be the first thing they do. Then they'd expect everybody to fix the problem for them. I frankly wish they would grow fond of some distant hole in the ground and stay there. Unfortunately most of the world's exposure to Americans involves douche bag tourists.

This, a million times this.

well, that and the behaviour that gave the British the saying ( referencing the Americans)  "They are over paid, over sexed and over here!"

Offline Shaunypoo

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 08:09:43 AM »
Having lived in places where 99.9% of Americans you might run into are habitual tourists, I not only understand that sentiment, but I share it. I am incredibly leery of American tourists. Most of them are smug, arrogant, a-holes, and I couldn't keep enough distance from them. Being even in proximity to one was a real threat to both safety and sanity. I swear if you told one of them not to stick their junk in a hornets nest it would be the first thing they do. Then they'd expect everybody to fix the problem for them. I frankly wish they would grow fond of some distant hole in the ground and stay there. Unfortunately most of the world's exposure to Americans involves douche bag tourists.

I believe that the experiences you are having are the exception and not the rule.  I have run into tourists from other countries and most of them are fine, but it the few that are jerks that I talk to others about when sharing experiences.  Most Americans go somewhere to enjoy a different culture and absorb something.  I am sure that the ones you meet that want waited on hand and foot get most of your attention, but I assure you that most of us are not like that.

Sorry if this is off topic of the OP, so I ditto what TexDaddy said.  Again.

Offline RandomSerenity

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2012, 08:50:04 PM »
The area of the burb I live in is probably 75% Muslim. My daughter was the only blond in her class. We dine, shop & live together. I'm a girl and am met with the same scowl if the Hijab wearer is wearing all black. The gals I know who are more moderate and Americanized have simply laughed it off. I dress modestly, I smile at everyone with the same Southern habit & long ago accepted that its the same thing as when one of the Evangelicals I work with figure out I'm Mormon: they think I'm going to hell.
So I keep smiling. Because I mean it. And then I pray one day that I'll be seen as a child of god by all my neighbors. If it never happens, that is ok. Because I love them anyway.

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2012, 11:14:20 PM »
Don't know if this was covered, but at first blush I'd call it cultural.
Rule 183: It is Makruh (disliked or offensive) for women to speak to men if it is not necessary.

See Code of ethics for Muslim men and women.
http://www.al-islam.org/a-code-of-ethics-for-muslim-men-and-women/6.htm

Offline SA Friday

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2012, 07:51:04 PM »
It's religious.  If they are religious enough to wear head garb, they will not talk to men.  Ignore them.  Anything else will make them very uncomfortable or mad.  This is what they find as polite, not saying hi.  Only under very specific circumstances will women interact with men.

I lived all over South West Asia for a year and a half. 

Offline eronious

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2012, 05:09:34 PM »
Having just spent a few years in the sandbox, I can give you some insight.  In Arabia, women are expected to be shy and modest.  When men approach them, they are expected to rebuke them or they aren't considered modest.  Most of the culture is very segregated.  For instance, weddings are conducted separately:  one party for the men, one for the women and the two NEVER mix.  It's considered indecent.  In traditional households, women even have a separate entrance and wing of the house.  I really don't think these ladies expect to hurt your feelings, it's just that they're displaying their modesty by acting like you repulse them for approaching them.  When I was over there, American women were considered sluts because we did horrifying things like make eye contact with strange men, we spoke to them outright, and thought nothing of smiling back when we were smiled at.  This got me in trouble a few times before I caught on that I was expected to act like a cold b*+ch because what I considered to be common courtesy was taken as flirty or even sexually agressive.  Anyway, I hope that helps.  I really doubt any of them mean any offense, I'm sure it's just that it's a bit of a culture clash for them being here (especially if they're first generation) at least as much as was for me being over there!  I bet you'd see a very different reaction to a Muslim woman that was raised here with just the religious teachings and not all the radically different cultural habits they have in Arabia.  Hope that helps!  Try not to take offense!  And here's a big ol' agressive smile back at ya, brother!   :D

Offline eronious

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Re: Kinda not survival, but have nowhere else to ask.
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2012, 05:17:42 PM »
Also, as far as Americans being considered "rude," I think (again, having been overseas a LOT) that this impression isn't because Americans are mean spirited or anything.  It's just that we do tend to be loud (especially laughing and talking which is weird in a lot of other cultures) and often expect that everyone else will speak English, even if we are in someone else's country.  We often don't take time to learn anything about a culture before we travel abroad because we tend to be very trusting and expect to be treated like customers everywhere we go because we wield the almighty dollar.  Also, the news tends to like to report on very sensational stories, so when you are overseas, you hear about how much Americans hate Mexicans or (insert minority population here) because of this horrible incident that happened this one time.  That said, I think Americans I've seen overseas bend over backward to try to be good guests other than those things mentioned above and I think the Americans that DO end up traveling a lot overseas  are among my favorite Americans in general.  We're also willing to be pushed around a little bit more by our hosts than other nationalities IMHO.  So yeah, I think we tend to be very accomodating when we're overseas and we make excellent hosts if foreigners decide they want to interact with us while they're here visiting us as well.  And I think that surprises a lot of people who are meeting Americans for the first time.