When we were in Italy, although we dressed to fit in, we were always instantly pegged as American. I remember once walking into a take-out cafe and the clerk barely glanced up before he said, "Americans? Coke -- that way." I asked our guide why we were so easy to peg as Americans and she gave us three reasons why Americans are easy to pick out:
1. Americans smile. Other nationalities do not smile with anything close to the amount Americans do, especially when they walk into a shop and automatically smile at a clerk.
2. When Americans smile, you see the teeth. Perfect teeth=American.
3. Americans do not have a discernable physical type, so therefore when you see someone without an obvious nationality, we assume they are American. If in doubt, smile at them, then they'll smile at you and see #1.
Ahem, back on topic. I wonder, if anyone else has found certain features that only (some) people from a certain area seem to possess? I mean, apart from the obvious features and the cliches of course (like skin and hair color)
When we first moved out to the midwest 20+ years ago, three times in the first year I had a conversation that went like this:
Them: You don't look white. Are you white?
Me: Excuse me?
Them: Your looks confuse me. You seem to be white, but you can't be.
Me: Excuuuuse me?
Them: Well, you have black hair, so you can't be white.
Me: Excuse me?
Them: Well, Indians and Asians and black people and Mexicans have black hair. But not white people.
Me: Are you kidding me?
Them: No. We all know that white people have lighter colored hair.
Me: Oh really. So what race is Elizabeth Taylor? Or Sophia Loren?
Them: Hmm. That's a really good question. And Sophia Loren is Italian, which isn't really white either, so that doesn't count.