And of course, this isn't a pet peeve of mine
I would like to direct your attention to the curious phenomenon that is... the pretentious American student abroad.
In Paris, Florence, Rome or Barcelona, specifically.
Liza is having a conflict over a listserv over a snitty girl on her year off in-- say it dreamily, now-- Paaaaaaaris. Gay Paree. In response, I wrote her the following:
Pretentious Americans in Europe are the scourge of humanity. The men all think they're Hemingway and the women all go around having "adventures" with "dreamy europeans" who are are actually scumbags who are too sleazy to go out with the nice girls from their own countries, because they know the Americans a.) will put out more easily b.) will construe their AWFUL behaviour as romantic exoticism and c.) come with an expiry date. Paris in particular is infected with this breed, as are Florence, Rome and Barcelona. They tend to come back with a.) an alcohol problem, b.) a venereal disease and c.) a new haircut, thus leading them to believe that they have Experienced Life. They are prone to having picnics in odd, inconvenient places that make the actual inhabitants of the city look at them with scorn, and declaiming awful bits of literature (if it's poetry, it tends to be their own) at random points. They will occasionally make one, or perhaps two friends from the country where they are staying, but usually rove in small gangs of equally pretentious Americans. They are fond of public singing and whimsical actions, and like to do things they've seen in movies (if one more bloody couple jumps into a fountain and has a "moment", I will commence killing action.) They are easily distinguishable by the emotions they express-- they will either look like they are on the verge of slitting their wrists, or, for the perky, there is the option of gazing off into the distance and giggling mysteriously.
They must all be killed on sight.
Just thought I would share. I've been there myself-- in China, at least, but there is something about Paaaaaaris that lends itself to the wearing of bizarre hats. And public reading of poetry. Writing poetry is another thing that is kind of like masturbation-- most people do it at some point or other, some more frequently than others, but it's not polite to discuss it in mixed company. And you certainly don't do it in public!