Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Unpublish Memoirs, Part I: The Eye of the Beholder
From November 2009:
After living in Germany for six weeks, there is one thing that stands out to me: How the definition of beauty changes depending on where you are.
In the USA, beauty is thrown at us from every angle. We see it on TV, on the covers of magazines in the checkout line in the grocery store: it is everywhere. If you wear the right clothes or have you hair styled the right way, society will accept you and everything will magically be better and your life will be perfect. In my opinion, the US needs to relax and let life happen.
As I walk around the streets of Germany, on thing strikes me in particular about everyone I see: No one looks perfect! I find that refreshing. You can walk around with your hair a little messed up and you clothes slightly dis coordinated. Not a single person is perfectly coiffed. I love it! Yes, the trendy stuff is still present, but personally shines through here.
I still find Germany to be a place where I am more judged on my inner self than on my outward appearance. However, I do feel the pressure to get dressed every day. I don't mean simply putting on clothes, but actually getting dressing in something other than yoga pants and tshirts. I love yoga pants. I live in them on the weekends, but here in Germany I feel extremely uncomfortable doing anything other than lying around the house or going for a walk with my dogs wearing them. Sometimes I even feel under dressed walking the dogs. Even going to the grocery store I throw on jeans. Otherwise I get really strange looks.
Two weeks ago David and I had to run into town on a Sunday to drop something off. We walked through the Schlossgarten which was filled with people, of course. What did I wear? My yoga pants. I felt so uncomfortable. Everyone around me was wearing jeans and many others were dressed in their "Sunday best". Okay, the 2011 version of their "Sunday best", but still. I can only think of maybe 5 times in 2 years when I have seen other people out and about in sweats. Even my husband, a self-described bum who lives in sweats in the US, wears jeans to go outside and walk the dogs. I think he has worn athletic pants once( besides for playing soccer) outside of the house and he was doing dirty yard work for his parents.
I think this discomfort stems from the fact that when I speak, be it English or German, I stand out. Thus, I don't want to stand out too much by dressing like a bum. I want to blend in. Be one of the people. Does anyone else feel this way here? I feel like this is all in my head, but who knows.