HOW YOU CAN TELL AN AMERICAN–-
--BUT YOU CAN’T TELL HIM MUCH!
Several of us from all over the world gathered in a hotel in Hong Kong waiting to begin a trip around the city. After a few minutes of conversation I asked the person I was visiting with what country she was from.
When she told me I reciprocated by telling her that we were from the United States. “Oh, “ she said, disarmingly, “I knew that.”
Later I wondered aloud about how she could have known that we were Americans. After all there were many tourists, all dressed in walking shoes, all dressed for travel, and most speaking English . Someone else said, “It’s easy. Just by looking at the way people are dressed you can tell where they are from.”
Maybe so, but we had been living in South Korea for three months, and thanks to the open markets every item I was wearing had been purchased in Seoul.
Someone else said, “It’s your accent.” Another suggested it was the “openness they saw in Americans.”
“Americans,” he explained, “have a friendliness and an easy manner that makes it easy to speak to them even without an introduction.”
All of those characteristics are true, I think.. But the one that delighted me most was when a short, stumpy Honk Kong native explained, “Only American women laugh with mouth wide open!”