Finns have the ultimate love-hate relationship with the US: Finns love Hollywood films & TV but hate its dominance over local productions. Finns love American brands but hate American consumerism. Finns love American foods but hate the slothful culture. Finns love the English language but hate its erosion of the Finnish language. Finns love the diverse American offering but aren’t fans of diversity themselves. Whenever you hear that something in Finland is becoming more American…it’s never a positive statement.
Finns often mistake real life America with what they see on their favorite American TV shows and movies. Couple that with the Finnish press’s sensationalism of American culture, it makes for some interesting stereotypes. And American tourists do little to expel these stereotypes. When abroad…
- Americans are loud (“HELLO, WE’RE FROM AMERICA!!”)
- Americans are ignorant (“America is the best, so this must be shit”)
- Americans are arrogant (“Speak English, asshole!”)
- Americans are demanding (“I need to speak to your supervisor!!”)
- Americans ask stupid questions (“Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your country?”)
- Americans aren’t geography buffs (“Is Finland the capital of Sweden or Norway?”)
- Americans dress poorly (“How does a Hawaiian shirt, University of Michigan cap, shorts, and white tennis shoes go with my fanny pack?”)
Ever wondered what’s it like to be the first white person in an African village? Speak with an American accent in a Finnish town on a Friday night. The locals will flock to you like drunken zombies. But instead of touching your hair…they’ll ask your thoughts on Barack Obama. Or they’ll tell you of their uncle who spent a year in Canada during the 80′s. They’ll remind you that American “football”, makes no sense as a word. And Budweiser is NOT good beer.
In the workplace Americans are not to be trusted. They make promises they can’t keep. They brag about things they don’t have. They act as barnstormers wanting to change everything. They know everything. They don’t understand the word, “humility”. Their pushy tactics have the reverse affect on a Finn.
And when you befriend an American, you’ll surely be confused with questions such as “How are you?” (which translates to “Hi!”) and “I really like that!” (which translates to “I’m just being nice”) and “That’s interesting!” (translation: “I don’t understand that.”) and “Let’s get together sometime!” (translation: “Fuck off and die.”).
While Americans and Finns have their differences, the similarities are vast: Both love sports, both love Finlandia vodka, both love guns, both have problems with crazies shooting up public places, both hate the Russians, both love The Simpsons, and both think Conan O’Brien looks just like Finnish President Tarja Halonen.
(for more on this, check out “Finland is like a Mac, the U.S. is like Windows“)