World Record: Cork, Ireland

“What is the easiest way to identify an American student at an Irish university in January? Not by their face or their build; not by the volume of their voice or their accent; not even by the way they hold up the line in the dining hall, trying to distinguish one or two-euro coins from 20-cent ones, finally just handing over a 50-euro bill. No, it’s something so ubiquitous in Boston that you would never think twice about it: the North Face jacket. It doesn’t even have to be an actual North Face, really; if you are wearing some sort of practical fleece or a rain-resistant shell, there’s no way to hide your identity. Ironically, in a country where it seems to rain just about every day, the only students wearing rain jackets are we, the style-challenged Americans. This may not seem significant; but the jacket may inspire comments in the street (“Nice jackets, girls!”), snide remarks at pubs (“Did you all get your jackets at the same store?”), or even a simple good-natured shout-out as you walk to school (“AMERICAN!”). One bouncer checking IDs at a pub inquired what part of America we were from, based on our rain attire, and then told us matter-of-factly, ‘You all look the same’ …” (more)

[Trish Daly,, 2 February]

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