Giving Going Dutch A Whole New Meaning

Mr Rude: A whiff of outrage.Depending on how insulted I’ve been by a Dutch person recently, my view on the “Are the Dutch rude?” question oscillates between “I don’t understand how they keep breeding” to “What’s considered rude varies from culture to culture.”

Intellectually, I’m aware that social norms do vary from culture to culture. And I know that things Americans consider par for the course are perceived as rude to the Dutch (displays of wealth, for example.) And I understand that the Dutch, when they make some stupidly insulting remark, do not think of it as rude, because if the role was reversed, they wouldn’t find it insulting.

But when you rely stories of Dutch “bluntness” most Americans can’t help but see the Dutch as rude. The guy who informed me that I “should have been born smaller” after I jokingly said I wanted to be the coxswain. The stranger who suggested I should have chosen another color dress because the one I was having fitted “didn’t suit me.” The cashier who asked if I’d put on weight because it “looked like I had.”

When “Dutch” becomes synonymous with rude, it’s inevitable the word Dutch will be used interchangeably with rude, as has happened among some of my American friends.

As we’re leaving the bar the other night, a guy made a rude (in all cultures) remark about the two of us, she turned around and said “Well that was very Dutch.”

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