Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Watching Women

I've always loved watching European women. I discovered this on my first visit to the Grand Canyon back in the early 80's. Yeah, the canyon was amazing, it was REALLY big and it was awesome that a river did that over such a long time, and yeah, the colours were beautiful and the weather was ... well, my first experience of desert and it was all really wonderful. Seriously. But I can only stand and look at a big hole in the ground for so long.

I did the obligatory visit to the tourist shop and that was when I discovered
foreigners. I stood around eavesdropping on conversations in French (which I didn't speak) and listening to the whizzing and clicking sounds of the expensive cameras carried by the Japanese. When I sat outside the shop and watched people emerge, I spotted two women that I knew were not American, but I wasn't certain why I knew, as they weren't speaking. I decided it was the edgier haircuts and the more expensive, less casual, clothes. From what I remember of them, my guess would be that they were Italian. That was the germination of my interest in watching European women, though I didn't realise it at the time. I just thought it was a happy and long-lived memory. I had no clue at the time that I would ever live outside of Oklahoma, never mind outside of the US.

I recognise that I don't dress very well, mainly because most of the time
I can't be bothered to try that hard. I suspect I never will, being a tightwad, but this ideal has been further complicated by age and weight. I don't worry a great deal about it (she claims, dismissively) but when travelling -- which adds another dimension of difficulty -- I do find myself looking to see what other women my age and build wear. I'm not the only one who fails to try very hard, let me tell you. It's a real challenge to find someone whose dress style I admire, but that's what makes it fun.

Being set lose with a digital camera in Prague, I discovered I no longer had to make notes, I could just (discreetly, I hope!) snap their pictures. Let me show you the ladies I spotted. Gentlemen, I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to the younger set. They usually only wear the latest trend, even when it looks hideous on them. If they get away with wearing trash, it's only because they are young and slim. I wasn't even that interested in the skinny women my age, though there are more of them on the Continent than you see in the UK or the US; they haven't all given up yet, apparently.

When I showed Bill my pictures, I couldn't tell him why I snapped this one.

He was the one who spotted this lady, who he thought looked very Russian. I'm thinking perhaps I admired how nicely her coat matched her hair. It seemed to be a theme that caught my eye, perhaps because I am conscious of my new (ish) hair colour.

Like this

and this.

Actually, I was impressed this lady wore what looked like real fur to me. You rarely see it here in Britain as the animal rights activists are really scary -- positively rabid and mostly wearing dreadlocks.

This lady seemed almost defined by her vibrant hair colour, or it certainly it influenced the colours in her outfit. I had a really tough time taking her picture. If you click on it you'll just see the woman with the orange-y hair and brown-y clothes. I thought it was a bit over the top, but it seemed to work on her.

Good looking coats seem to catch my attention as well, but of course it being chilly, most people were wearing coats or jackets.

This lady's bag pretty much matched her hair. The coat was green leather and with her hair pinned up, she looked to me like a 'Grande Dame'.

Nothing spectacular about this woman, she just looked well put together, probably for work.

It was the lady on the right that I was photographing, but the 3 make an interesting line up. The girl on the left, typical of youngsters, apparently believes she has far better legs than she actually does. I thought the purple and burgundy colour combination of the middle girl was interesting.

Wearing a scarf over a suit is very European and I think it looks rather smart.

I liked this lady's hat. You don't see hats that much on women anymore.

Bill pointed out this 1950's Pepsi ad (which doesn't count).

And then there was this skinny-mini in black that Bill also pointed out, saying how awful she looked. She reminded me of the last time we were in Paris. The Ibis hotel near the Gare du Nord (North train station) in the centre, where we thought we had a reservation, turned out to be over-booked. Thinking they were doing us a favour, they upgraded us, put us in a taxi and sent us way out into the business district to a Sofitel, very up-market. I was really disappointed. The older part of Paris is where people watching is the best to be found anywhere. We didn't have the clothes to fit in at this posh place and a drink cost a stupid £10. Some good did come of it the next day when we found a great shopping mall (this is when I had money to blow) and a letter of complaint to Ibis got us a free night in Nice the following holiday. But I digress.

As Bill was checking out of the Sofitel, a woman walked through the lobby draped over a man in a sharp suit. She wore a black dress (short, flippy skirt, fluid fabric), black tights and the highest, skinniest stilettos I'd ever seen. She was about as skinny as her heels, but she had legs up to her neck, she moved beautifully and she looked expensive.

With her long black legs, she also reminded me more than anything of a spider. Kind of like this girl.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People watching is fun and the better part of any trip. In the US people let it all hang out and they are never built for it. Ugg!