Aren't all Irish teens just like Americans now?

Posted by TheYank at 11/16/2009 3:05 PM EST

I was surprised that fellow American Bridget English says that Americans in Ireland are still easily identifiable. Bridget says she was told that even if you ignore clothes are overlooked, Americans' teeth tells people where they're from before they speak.

Why was I surprised? I guess I figured that Bridget's fellow students at Maynooth would be like those whom I know through my daughter. I'll admit I'm not the most observant person when it comes to fashion, etc., but unlike 20+ years ago when I came here as a student, young Irish people seem to dress and look the basically the same as young Americans.

Irish girls have long hair, wear lots of make-up, etc. In the 1980s I often heard about American girls' "big hair." And the make-up? Maybe it was too pricey back then, I don't know, but Irish girls didn't wear much of it.

As for the teeth, all of my daughters' friends seem to have had braces. In fact, I thought the braces were pretty much the norm throughout the country now.

Other fashions that were once peculiarly American have also taken off here. Loads of people wear baseball caps - most seem to have the dreaded NY of the New York Yankees - and men wear shorts. In the 1980s men just didn't wear shorts and those who did - mostly American tourists - were objects of curiosity and, often, a bit of light-hearted fun.

Never mind the look, to my ear the accent has even become more American. Californian, really. I'm sure anyone from California would not agree, but today's teens - in this area, anyway - sound more like extras from 90210 than Dublin/Wicklow kids. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I find it annoying hearing all these Irish kids sounding like they're from Glendale or Marin County.

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