copyright 2014 Bil Lepp
“I don’t date American men.” That’s what I heard one flight attendant say to the other flight attendants. She said it in that supercilious tone reserved for statements like “I don’t watch TV,” or “I don’t eat meat,” or “I don’t follow NASCAR” that are said to convey utter contempt for the mere, moronic mortals who are too stupid to know that they behaving like, well, American men.
She said it so that others would ask, “Why don’t you date American men?” She was an American woman, as far as I could tell. The other flight attendants must have known her reasons because none of them asked why she didn’t date American men. Or they detected her pretentiousness and didn’t want to hear her reasons for not dating the sort of men they presumably dated.
I wanted to know her reasons on the off chance someone asked me to write an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or Chicago Fire. Imagine the pathos of an attractive female doctor who was attracted to an attractive male doctor whom she believed was truly her attractive soul mate, but alas, he was American!
One of her coworkers said, “My boyfriend…” followed by some harmless story. Our girl chimed in: “Is your boyfriend American?” But her tone said, “Well, my boyfriend never contracted hepatitis getting a jailhouse tattoo while serving a life sentence for killing old ladies.” Some folks have a way with tone.
Like a true fanatic, she found ways to insinuate her convictions into every conversation. She asked me, “Would you like a beverage?” I said, “Yes, cranberry juice, please.” She said, “If you break ‘cranberry’ into syllables, you get ‘cran,’ ‘ber,’ ‘ry.’ ‘Cran’ rhymes with ‘gran’ which is part of ‘grandparents.’ Most people have two sets of grandparents. If you had two sets of grandparents that were both American, I would not date you. I don’t date American men.” Her powers to bring the subject into the conversations were formidable.
This line of reasoning gave me pause. Two of my grandparents were immigrants who became American citizens after being born foreigners. Well, they weren’t born foreigners. They were born natives of their own country, became foreigners thanks to Stalin, then they were immigrants, and finally Americans. Would she date a naturalized citizen? Would she date an expatriate? Johnny Depp? What about my nephew? He was born in Mongolia, adopted by my sister, and will grow up American. I hope she’s thought this through.
She was she was so obsessed with telling everyone that she didn’t date American men so that someone would ask her why she didn’t date American men that people instantly clued into her insanity and ignored her most tenacious efforts. I mean, if she had been an innocent blond from the Arctic Circle with three crossed-out Os in her name who said, “I haff neever dated American man,” guys would have lined up to prove why neever haffing dated an American man wasn’t such a bad thing. But she wasn’t. She was some pretentious American girl who probably couldn’t get a date in the English speaking world. She had to date guys who didn’t speak English because she prattled-on so much about foreign born cranberries, or something.
And, let me just ad on behalf of the entire American Male subspecies, I bet we’re not the worst of the lot. I suspect that most males around the world, viewed as a group, are a pretty sorry lot…even if they can speak a foreign language.
I’ll say this for her, we all create ways to make our own lives more difficult and she has crafted a doozey. In my dreams Andy Kaufman rises from the grave, or admits he fooled us all in the first place, dons his Foreign Man persona and sits down on that young woman’s aircraft. She falls in love. And I get some freaking cranberry juice without the extra commentary.