Once you get the lay of the land, things do not necessarily improve, but it all makes sense. I just came from watching at TED talk posted by one of the Rhodies (diehard colonialist/homelover) on the Rhodesia Military site. It was about why soldiers miss war. I took a deep breath because I know by now that the defining factor of American culture is their gender essentialism. Sure enough, he mentioned that men are physiologically suited to extreme adrenalised states. Since women were not also mentioned, I assumed he must have considered that women were not. People in the audience looked at him with bland, empty faces. (I have a certain horror of audiences, much more than speakers, because of the passivity they embody.) I thought his speech was good for the most part, but imparted in a very binary fashion as a knower to un-knowers, and he sounded like a protestant preacher when he resorted to stating tired old truisms about gender.
Similarly women in America (I am presuming that the one mentioned in the post might have been) are extremely infantalised. They are culturally conditioned to try to up your mood or put a smile on your dial when you are looking down and pathetic. If you are looking normal — or normatively aggressive — they have no idea what to do with you. It’s like you don’t exist.
I’ve learned to stand back and observe and respect the fact that people often are zombies. There’s also a predictable zombie nature to many people, based on culture and political land mass (modern Zimbabweans are very close to Americans in attitude and temperament, I find).