Europe, an allegory for the ages of man

You are born Italian: they are relentlessly infantile and mother obsessed. In childhood you are English, chronically shy, tongue-tied, cliquey and only happy kicking balls, pulling the legs off things or sending people to Coventry. Teenagers are French: pretentiously philosophical, emabarrasingly vain, ridiculously romantic and insincere. During middle age we become either Swiss or Irish. Old age is German: pompous, pondering and pedantic. And finally we regress into being Belgian, with no idea of who we are at all.

A.A.Gill, The Spectator

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