An American social experience

After a first month in the city, I have now a good team of very cool French friends. We would like to make American friends, but it is not as easy as it seemed.

We decided to go out more often to different kinds of places to try to meet new people. We went to some regular bars, jazz clubs, comedy clubs, and dance bars…

We weren’t expecting jazz clubs to be so expensive and classy. This is definitely not a place to meet young people as the average age is quite high and, especially, it is not allowed to chat. Nevertheless, I loved the music and the jazzy atmosphere that takes you out of yourself.

The comedy shows were a real American social experience from our very French point of view. First, the humor is very different, more vulgar, and scathing. Moreover, the interaction with the audience is a big part of the show and can also be on a biting tone, which was quite shocking for us sometimes! But the most surprising is how much people in the audience are comfortable talking with the comedians. They don’t mind speaking in front of the crowd and even the kids are full of confidence, while we were scared at the idea that the comedians were going to talk to us!

When Friday is coming, we like to go to dance bars to party and have fun. Even though everything is crazy expensive, the city has very nice places to dance! It was funny to realize that American parties start way earlier than we are used to and that we don’t listen to the exact same music. We thought all American music was very famous all around the world, but we were surprised to hear certain songs we had never heard before, and yet all the crowd knew the lyrics by heart. This was almost always the case at a 1990’s-2000’s party we went to, we really felt like foreigners during this party!

In a different style, gospel mess in Harlem was also an exciting social experience. Even though there were many tourists (and almost all of them were French), it was very interesting to listen to the American mess and to observe the people attending to the mess and their quite extraordinary outfits: mostly old ladies with very chic dresses and hats that looked like we were either in high society either in the last century. Of course, the music was amazing, it was full of joy!

To finish our sociological immersion, we went to visit Washington DC last weekend and we ended up in a frat party while we were walking in Georgetown! The house was so luxurious that we could barely imagine that a group of 20-year-old boys bought it and were living in it. It was funny to see how everyone was all dressed-up for the party and that their outfits corresponded exactly to our American cliché! In the end, who would have thought we would make American friends in Washington DC because the security guard of a rich young people party invited us to walk in!

Sarah Ropert


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