Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that a good percentage of Europeans who make their way across the pond to live and work are in a strange and delusional mode. So many of them profess to hate America and what she stands for and yet they benefit from what this country has to offer. Europeans have it easy in some ways because unless they are fleeing the nightmare conditions of a post-Soviet country like Romania, Lithuania or the Ukraine, their lives back at home are pretty good. Still, they can make better money over here for a few years and then go back home having taken full advantage of their time here and still get away with telling their fellow countrymen or American backpackers just how shitty the States are.

A lot of Americans worship Europe and Europeans and act as if life is much better there and if only we applied a European way of thinking. we’d be a lot better. They inadvertently treat the whole continent as one homogeneous society in which everyone gets along, is tolerant, appreciates good film, wine and eats delicious baguettes. Therefore, they are more than happy to have a visitor from France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Spain, etc. living in their apartment, if even for only a few months. It’s as if their visitor will bring peace and stability and rational thought to their living situation.

I strongly advise against a European roommate unless they are thoroughly vetted first. I say this because I’ve had a few and once you invite one in the door, you’re opening yourself up to constant criticisms of your culture, language, family and anything else only loosely associated to your life.

My first European roommate certainly wasn’t my last, but I will always remember her as the most enduring image of what it is like to live with someone from the old continent.

Her name was Louiselle Moreau, and she was a French-speaking young lady from Switzerland. I mean no insult when I say that she looked a bit like Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends). By that I don’t mean she looked like a dude, but instead that she looked like she could have been Matthew Perry’s sister. She even had a similar hairdo as in this photograph.

For the most part Lou was a tolerable and even nice roommate. The problem with her was that she exuded from every pore an intensely snide sense of European self-importance and righteousness. My lasting memory of Lou is that in the four months she lived in Bushwick my apartment she always seemed to be reading Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. Normally, when one reads a book they progress through it from the first to the final page, but Lou seemed to be entirely fixated on the middle of the book because that’s where she always seemed to be in it. Not only did it appear that she had ceased making progress in the book and only read it sporadically, Lou was very self-righteous about the book.

“He is a bwootiful man,” she said of the jailed South African human rights activist. “Zis is a wonderful book.”

If Lou wasn’t reading, she was often chiming in on conversations and steering them towards her main thesis which was that America was filled with a bunch of fat, lazy, pompous bastards. Although it’s alright to criticize America, it made me scratch my head at how she could tolerate being here. Our food sucked, our language sucked and our culture in general was a giant turd.

One night she had over a friend visiting from France, Sebastian, who blamed 9/11 solely on Americans and sorta sided with Al Qaeda. It was like having a bad stereotype in your midst. He was what hick politicians point to when why want to call French fries freedom fries.

One of my roommates end up messing around with her one night. He reported that true to one European stereotype, she had a massive bush.

Lou worked in hospitality and reminded everyone of how well-traveled she was and how much nicer other places were than New York City, particularly Egypt, from where she had just come. This is the Egypt that has been ruled by the same corrupt, sham-elected president for two decades, the one in which local local sharia laws against Christians and secular Muslims are tolerated and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are in some places taught in schools.

When her condescending anti-American schtick got too much to handle and we were tired of hearing how much better off Switzerland was than our country and how shitty our president was (and nobody could really argue with that), my roommates and I told her she was simply jealous of our incredible luxury and American blue jeans. She would fly off into a rage after that and sulk for a while.

For several weeks she talked up the Swiss chocolate she was going to bring us from back home and how good it was and how much we would hate our American Hershey’s chocolate. When she brought in a bag of Toblerone, I kept kept quiet and expressed gratitude, but one of my roommates pointed out to her that you could purchase the same stuff at any gas station or grocery store. She wasn’t happy and snatched back the chocolate for a few days.

To Lou, many things were exotic and wonderful, especially Islam. Mind you, Lou was not a Muslim, but still, she made sure everyone knew “Islam is a bwootiful weeligion.”

Lou had a patronizing if not subtly racist outlook on blacks. She also had to constantly remind people that black children were beautiful and that my girlfriend at the time and I would make beautiful children because of our racial mixing. She was beyond corny. She was condescending and had no idea.

One of the most interesting things about living with Lou was her frequent reminder that she was a friend of a friend of Piper Perabo, “You know, zay girl from Cuyotee Oogly?”

I actually didn’t know who Piper Perabo was before Lou told me and still have not seen Coyote Ugly to this day, but I’m glad she had a good friend here in the states.

The last I heard she was living in Morocco, working at a hotel chain. She wasn’t a bad roommate, just entirely too annoying about how we should live our lives. That’s not even mentioning corny.