From Iceland — Readers Write: Tourist Stereotypes At The Pool

Readers Write: Tourist Stereotypes At The Pool

Published August 14, 2017

Readers Write: Tourist Stereotypes At The Pool
Photo by
Julia Staples

Dear Grapevine,

Today while eating lunch and leafing through your publication, which I’m told is nothing but leftist propaganda and fancy roadmaps to the wonderful world of crippling alcoholism, I ran across a letter you printed from an American woman credited as “Susy.” Suffice it to say that you managed your reply to her letter with greater grace than I am capable of.

Her letter offended me deeply. Leaving aside that the generally accepted etiquette when traveling to different cultures is to abide by their insane rules while being a guest in their country, it wasn’t the fact of her refusal to bathe properly before cannonballing into a communal urine repository that offended me. No, what offended me was her terrible conformity to the Entitled American Tourist stereotype, replete with an odd invocation of her American citizenship (“This would never happen in America,” as if that carries any kind of relevance across the pond), and a vague warning that our fortunes as a nation would surely diminish lest accepted hygienic standards be relaxed to accommodate the worst of a culture renowned for squeamishness when it comes to the human body.

I don’t like stereotyping. I like it even less when I am forced to do it. Maybe we need to put up posters at the airport reminding visitors that we really don’t give a shit where they’re from; that we will not discriminate based on ethnicity, culture or religion. And that means everyone has to wash their junk.

A bored pedant angry about the rental market

Dear bored pedant angry about the rental market,

Yeah, we feel u. If only tourists were more mindful about their adherence to the cultural tropes you speak of. Imagine walking through downtown without hearing someone shriek “HONEY WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT CUTE SWEATER?” or “OH MY GAHHHHD THERE’S A CHUCK NORRIS GRILL! WE JUST HAVE TO EAT THERE!” every few steps.

As for the reluctant junk washers, maybe we should just get lifeguards to start hosing people down when they arrive at the pool—or in Keflavík Airport—like they’re entering prison? Could make for for some interesting TripAdvisor reviews at least.

Thanks for the letter, have a t-shirt on us!

Yours hygienically,
A bored writer angry about the rental market

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