Even though Australia is one of the most culturally similar countries to the U.S., we sometimes just can't understand why they do the things they do. Chalk it up to the excessive heat if you want, but some Aussie things are just a bit too odd for Americans to wrap their heads around. Here are our favorites.
"Don't freak out when the waiter in the restaurant attempts to 'lap' your serviette (napkin) by laying it over your crotch. It's considered to be the height of service. If you don't want them doing this, place your serviette on your lap before they get the chance." - Lonely Planet Guide: Australia (12th Edition) Page 77.
Is every Aussie a lumbering meathead? Probably not. But according to at least one native, the issue is pretty widespread: "I'm Australian and I don't understand the pretend macho thing that goes on here. Aren't we man enough to talk normally and not put on the wannabe tough guy ocker bit? We seem pretty insecure about something, as a country." (source)
Although it seems like England, Scotland and New Zealand get away with this as well...
Here are a few differences between the NFL and Australian Rules Football: The field is much, much bigger. You score by kicking the handball through one of three sets of goal posts (per side). You can kick the ball at any time. If you catch the ball on the fly, you get a free kick. You can tackle, and players don't wear pads.
An Aussie clears things up: "Test cricket is like the Bathurst 1000 - you pop in and watch little sessions as 'catch ups.' You don't try to watch the whole damn thing. The same is kinda true for one-day matches. Unless you're a diehard fan, you're probably not going to spend 6-8hrs non-stop watching it." (source)
"Shopping centers, supermarkets, even in the busy areas of Sydney's city center. I don't get it at all. I mean, half of the time the ground is like f*ckin' lava and the other half of it's littered with those little spikey bastards that make walking on LEGOs seem like a viable hobby to take up. Apart from that, superb place. Tasmania was an all-round better place to be though." (source)
From an Australian living in the U.K.: "Apparently no other country believes in having crossings that beep. I have actually waited 2-3 times longer than I've had too before waiting for the 'duggaduggadugga' noise to start. Catch up, rest of the world. Blind people and Australians need to know when it's safe to cross the road too." (source)
"It's usually "you right?" Or "you're right" (statement) and even then it's often "u'ight!?" Which could be taken either way." (source)
An Aussie explains why: "Gotta minimize the amount of time our mouths are open to avoid swallowing flies." (source)
Australians might like to be overly casual with their spatial references, but their cities are sprawled out and their country is huge — about 3 million square miles. Rarely is anything actually "just down the road."