It’s day 3 after my return to the Old World, and I still haven’t found satisfactory answers to questions that arose during my umpteenth trip to NYC (lost count after my fifteenth trip there several years ago). I’m aware those questions may well portray stereotypes rather than whatnot, but either I was überstereotype-sensitive or I simply faced more cliché-characters than usually.

1. Why do American women wear jersey hotpants during travel, regardless of the state of their celulitis, varicosities and the fact that it’s usually comparatively cool on planes?
2. Where do all those short, fake beach-blonde 18+ year-olds with padded bras and otherwise boyish features come from? Where do they go? They are on the planes, but apart from two ones, I’ve never seen them in NYC. Are they those legendary sky marshalls, travelling incognito? Do they turn into 6’2″, buff, uniformed chaps after landing?
3. Why do Chasidim always seem to put on an upset face when they appear in public places? (I know enough Chasidim well-enough to know that in private they hardly ever look upset.) Are they trying to reach the tzniusdik hemlines with their jaws?
4. Why do people wear toe-post slippers if they can’t walk in them and just resort to shuffling? It’s not good for the feet afterall.
5. Why do Americans chew gum with their mouth open?
6. Did Chasidishe business travellers gladly eat treyf on the plane (and obviously enjoying it at that; kosher options were available afterall), because their wives / mothers weren’t around?
7. Do hipsters get discounts on their spectacle frame purchase if they can convince twenty more hipsters to get the same kind of spectacle frame? Or have opticians been sworn in by the government to only sell one kind of spectacle frame to hipsters so that in case of a nation-wide emergency the National Guards will know who they should save [first and who not]?
8. Why do people that want donations / spare change from me expect any luck if they’re yelling? (As far as I’m concerned, I consider yelling a pretty irrational way of arguing one’s point, so I don’t respond to people that yell as a rule as their yelling makes it clear they aren’t interested in hearing, thus exchanging, different ideas but are only attempting to silence those that don’t agree with them.)
9. Why is it so easy to tell American visitors to museums apart from European ones?
10. Why do Americans smile so little at service staff? I smile a lot, and this time it even earned me getting away with 24 lbs of exccess luggage for free while others were made to re-pack their stuff.
And finally: 11. Why would some guy with tattoo sleeves (yuck!) ask me to go out with him? I try to look as average over there as I can, no visible body jewellery etc.

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