Dear Friends,

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am filled with the spirit of the holiday, as well as roughly 2 pounds of those chalky little conversations hearts. Consequently, I feel the need to share with you a secret: maybe I don’t hate Rick Steves all that much. In fact, maybe I love him just a little bit, and my feigned hatred just masks my true feelings. Because Rick Steves and I have so darn much in common. Behold, the top ten reasons why Rick Steves and I are soulmates:

  1. We think the same. Like Rick, I too, looked at the untouched splendor of the Amalfi coast and thought, “What this place needs is more fat Americans! More people whose knowledge of Italy comes from Who’s the Boss reruns!”
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  2. We dress alike. And don’t all good couples do this? Rick takes only a backpack with him, stuffed with a few spare denim shirts that pair fantastically well with his pleat-front chinos. That’s the sartorial equivalent of pure sex, folks. And just think of what a stylish pair we’d make on the Barcelona club scene, in our matching chinos! I, for one, can’t wait.
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  3. We both struggle with foreign languages. Why Rick wanders around Italy with index cards featuring broken Italian on them, I have a lot of trouble with my indirect-object pronouns. We’re both linguistic scholars, I’d say.
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  4. Old people LOVE us. Rick is on PBS, which automatically makes his demographic old people. And old people love me! Well, most of them do. There are some exceptions, like that check-out lady that always gives me dirty looks, and that one distantly-related in-law who hates me for not being Jewish. But mostly, they like me (I tone down the exclamations of “MOTHER-F*CKER!” when I’m around them. And I talk about Matlock. That helps.)
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  5. We both get held up by TSA. As a white, American male, Rick often gets held up by TSA agents who want his autograph, or just to thank him for making the rest of the world a little more like America. And I often get held up by TSA-holes who are frightened by any name with more than two syllables in it, and consequently believe I am a threat to this great nation.
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  6. Both our last names are first names. Okay, fine, “Steves” isn’t a first name, but “Steve” is. And don’t tell me you haven’t thought about naming (or renaming) your first born child “DeRuiter.” Because you totally have. (Of course, this means he or she will have a hell of time getting through airport security, but it’s worth it, right?)
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    Come here, little DeRuiter. Let Auntie Everywhereist give you a kiss.

    "Come here, little DeRuiter. Let Auntie Everywhereist give you a kiss."

  7. We’re equally famous. Rick has his own show PBS, numerous books, and a hoard of khaki-wearing minions. And my blog is read by upwards of 18 people a day (That’s right, EIGHTEEN – my readership is growing!)
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  8. We both have catch-phrases. Rick’s are so numerous, his fans have created a drinking game! Isn’t that great?! “Send the kids to the neighbors, honey, ’cause I’m grabbing a bottle of peppermint schnapps and watching Rick Steves! “I invented an Everywhereist drinking game, too. It’s called, “Drink every time the Everywhereist says the eff-word or talks about bestiality.” I spend most days drunk.
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  9. We’re both considered sex symbols. This is a good thing, because it means neither of us would be jealous of the other. I wouldn’t get angry when women threw their support hose to him on stage, and he wouldn’t be upset if I told him about the time I was mistaken for a Eastern European whore (yes, that sort of happened – remind me to tell you that story sometime).
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  10. My mother has yelled at both of us. She once chewed him out (in person) for his ridiculous bias towards northern Italy versus the southern Italy (which I argue is a good thing, because it keeps the tourists out of the south). And she yelled at me just recently for ridiculing my cousin’s friend for getting crazy high at my brother’s wedding. Personally, I think Rick deserved the tongue-lashing more than I, because doing a bunch of Ecstasy and then trying to freak dance with a septuagenarian is totally grounds for ridicule.

But the point is? Rick and I are perfect for eachother. So perfect, that I continue to drive him away with my viscious jabs and teasings. Perhaps one day, things will be different. But until Rick wears a shirt that isn’t denim, don’t count on it.

Full list of categories:  Random Musings » Top Ten
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Comments (9)

  1. 1
    Kelsey says:

    The thing about your mother is hilarious. We once met him in a tiny Swiss village that, due to being featured in one of his books, is now overrun by loud, obnoxious, tourists. My parents both fussed at him and told him to think about the consequences of featuring a location in his books may have on said location.

  2. 2
    Philip says:

    So does this make you Maude Flanders to Rick Steves’ Homer Simpson? “And the wife has a thing for me, but she hides it behind a mask of low-key hostility.” Sorry, 90% of everything I think is based on Simpsons re-runs.

    In re: baby DeRuiter; Had a college professor named DeWitt Henry. I imagine he spent every day of his life explaining that, no, Henry is his last name.

    And I believe using “Eastern European whore” in this post is going to do wonders for your Google search results.

  3. 3
    Everywhereist says:

    I fully intend to write about that experience. When I stood up and stared at the guy and said, “CHE COSA?!” he sort of freaked out and back-away, apologizing.

    It was tre, tre funny.

  4. 4

    I may be in the minority here but Rick Steves has always had a special place in my heart. Now, hear me out. I watched him from a young age on PBS before there was a Travel Channel and he really inspired me to travel and see Euopre. I loved his folksy guided tours of far away places and I dreamed of going there one day myself. He is quite lame, but it’s a comforting lameness.

    You can bet his book about London was in my pocket on my first visit 9 years ago. Sure, a mention in his books brings hordes of confused Americans to many a quant European villages. But look at the bright side – they’re Americans who’ve actually left the USA and traveled somewhere. If that’s not a good thing, I don’t know what is.

    I also greatly admire that he managed to turn something he had a passion about – traveling in Europe – into a VERY successful business that allows him to spend a large part of his year doing what he loves, traveling throughout Europe and writing about it. It’s something I’m trying to do with Anglotopia and we’ll get there one day.

  5. 5
    Deanna says:

    It’s entirely possible that there’s a child named DeRuiter in my playgroup. But seriously, I’m glad you mentioned the khakis and denim shirts. Those be oogly.

  6. 6
    Everywhereist says:

    Damn it, Jonathan – your earnestness and warm heart make me feel like a heel. :)

    Deanna – that kid must be awesome.

  7. 7

    I cannot WAIT to hear the story about the Eastern European Whore mixup….I will be watching for that one in my feed reader!

    And I don’t know about you, but I suspect that Jonathon is a thinly disguised pseudo-identity of Rick’s.

  8. 8
    Laura says:

    I followed a link from Candice Does The World to get here, and I’m glad I did. Thanks for the laughs. I’ll be following you from now on

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