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Even if you perfect the native language, dress the part, and refrain from gorging on fast food, Europeans have a knack for sniffing out tourists, particularly American tourists. That's according to Eliza Dumais, who lived in Paris and, despite her best efforts and her French last name, failed to hide her quintessential American-ness.
"Americans tend to wear their nationality unwittingly on their sleeves, so it comes as no surprise that they're easy to spot abroad—but the French have made this a sport unto itself," she writes on Thrillist. "Beyond all the standard tourist grievances, I found that the locals who were willing to converse with me … had agreed upon a certain master list of subtle tells that Americans can't help but display." In her own words, read up on the subtle habits that ultimately gave her away as an American while living in Paris's Sixth Arrondissement.
Drinking excessive amounts of water
"While at dinner with a friend in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, I pointed out that I had finished my glass of lukewarm tap water and no one had refilled it. She laughed and explained that Americans are notorious in Paris for over-hydrating. Apparently, toting a water bottle like a handbag is a dead giveaway that you hail from the US of A."
Resting your phone on the dinner table
"Once, while eating with three friends at a small bistro in the Montmartre neighborhood, my phone rang. It was lying faceup on the tabletop beside my silverware. I shut it off quickly, before noting that … the rest of the tiny restaurant's patrons were all looking at us disapprovingly. 'Don't worry,' the waiter said when I apologized. 'At least you haven't asked for the Wi-Fi password.'"
Drinking too fast
"Parisians indulge in moderation. It is standard for [them] to lunch over beers or pop out of the office for an afternoon pick-me-up (wine) without disrupting their routines. Americans, on the other hand, are known for starving themselves until they binge. 'It's like if Americans start drinking midday, you can't stop again until you go to bed,' one bartender explained to me."
"I have a particularly charming knack for knocking over glasses, and on one occasion, while apologizing profusely to the bartender who was presiding over the section of the bar on which I'd just spilled water, he stopped me: 'Americans say sorry too much—it's such a waste of energy,' he said. Americans apologize when they walk through crowds, when they bump into one another on the Metro, before they ask questions … I'm not sure when I'm sorry became the equivalent of 'excuse me' or 'I have something to say,' but it's a uniquely American habit."
Head over to Thrillist for more uniquely American habits, and shop the best travel bags for every kind of packer next.