In Defense of St Andrews' Americans
St Andrews — otherwise known as the last American colony or the fifty-first state of the United States of America — a small town of three streets filled with Brits, Scots, and us lowly Americans. With only around 15% of the student body being American, you would think that nationality would be but a mere passing thought, but as any American knows — that is most certainly not the case. And being partly American, I am sick and tired of the slander, it’s time to brandish my pen and write our defence.
God forbid you first reveal yourself as an American, as you will soon be thrust into a live presidential debate on American politics, foreign policy, right-wing ideology and gun laws, forced to defend legislation that you have absolutely no say in.
The mocking of the American accent is always a classic jest that somehow sends people rolling down hills laughing: “It’s not aluminum it’s alominiuoum”. Acting as if they have never heard of such a thing as a band aid (“do you mean a plaster?”) or going absolutely berserk at the mention of soccer (in case any Americans woke up with dementia this morning, it’s football).
Perhaps there are some things that my feeble American brain simply cannot comprehend. Such as everyone losing their mind at the mention of tea. I’m not too sure why the Brits think we don’t have the tools to boil water, the electric kettle was first made by a US company and patented by a Charles Coats from Illinois. It’s not that we dislike tea or ‘can’t make it’, tea is fine, so is coffee.
In fact, the romanticism of America is central to this ‘beach town’s’ charisma. Diet coke, Thanksgiving dinners filled with Europeans, Fight Night, and even the Super Bowl are all incredible American staples that have been appropriated into St Andrews culture. We have brought liberation to Scotland in the form of American snacks and sweets, chicken tenders, late night cheesy fries (yes — I said fries not chips), and Mac and Cheese bites.
Walk down Market Street past the children loitering outside Tesco or peer into the consistently empty Superdry store, and you’ll notice a graveyard of American trends passed. North Face puffers that should have been left behind in 2015, Carhart as a trendy brand, Air Force Ones, and E-Cigarettes — all little reminders of a land ‘across the pond’.
Probably our most compelling defence is that we consume actually edible food (for an empire hell bent on colonising countries for spices, how is there so little used in its cuisine?). I refuse to believe that beans on toast or intestine filled pastries are ‘incredible’. Evidently the demand for our ‘diverse’ food options — Combini Co, Little Italy or Five Acres (health food is so incredibly California) — is fuelled by the international student population. Even the obnoxiously chichi coffee shops of Raw Pressed or Spoiled are simply New York-en Clones. The ever-popular Blackhorn Burgers — essentially a remake of an American diner without any of the efficiency or time-management of one.
The Hollywood movies and television shows watched, barring Love Island (you guys got us good with that one) — all American. The fashion, the ‘natural’ makeup looks, the haircuts of the students of this town are all directly influenced by us lowly freedom fighters.
The music played at any of the thousands of egregious DJ Collective nights haunting this town is song after song of American pop artists and rappers. The hit singers of the 2000s: Beyonce, Brittany, and Waka Flocka Flame, all produce music in the land of the only bird that should be allowed to dive bomb for your Taste panini.
Love it or hate it, Americans have changed this place for the better and we are here to stay. And yes, we may not sign every text with the x at the end (it’s so incredibly bizarre) and maybe can never let go of our Fahrenheit metrics. But our charming charisma and the insane tuition we pay, shapes the very town that we all inhabit. So, God bless the American dream of St Andrews, land of the free Saint newspapers, and home of the brave seagulls.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons