Don’t worry too much about the title, I’m not about to get political on you! This brief-ish post has been a long time coming, though. As with many of my other blog entries, the topics I discuss/force upon you arise from weeks of little things happening, which after a while get to the point that I just can’t comprehend what’s going on anymore, and so try to work it out in word-processed form. So, please bear with me as I try to figure out Hamburg’s conservative tendencies.
Last week I mentioned The PDA Problem we have here, and since then I’ve been reliably informed by friends around Europe on their own years abroad that this problem is not exclusive to Hamburg, or indeed Germany, but that there seems to be something grim, inappropriate and disturbing in the water on the continent as a whole.
Well, I wonder if the issue I’m about to bring up is indeed exclusive to Hamburg on this occasion. This beautiful city, it would appear, has a problem. A problem, my dear Reader, with the way I dress.
Ok, I know it isn’t just me who has noticed this (others have also told tales about the looks they get as they walk the streets of the city), but I can only go from what I’ve experienced myself, and what I have experienced manifests itself in the disapproving looks of, predominantly, older ladies.
Dear Reader, I like to wear skirts and dresses. This is no secret. I tried the jeans scene for years, but after many unflattering photos, much sadness at the increasing effort of squeezing into them, and the tragic revelation that skinny jeans make me look like a bowling pin, I decided it was time to let go. These days, you will only ever see me out and about in a skirt or dress of some description.
But the older lady community does not like this. Oh no, dear Reader. Oh no.
Despite the fact that most of the things I wear would be deemed more appropriate for a convent back in England, it would appear that for many here, the way I dress makes me corruption incarnate. The Hamburgers have clearly never watched TOWIE or heard of vajazzles. I can’t even imagine what they’d make of Geordie Shore.
If I had 1 Euro for every time I’ve sat down on the train and looked up to the dirtiest look an older lady can muster, well, I’d probably have enough money to buy a longer skirt or six.
What I find astonishing, though, is that it doesn’t seem to matter whether the hem of what I wear falls to the knee, or indeed a few inches above. It feels like, regardless of length, if you’re not wearing a pair of trousers then you should prepare to endure the looks of the community all day. It seems that even if the trousers you don are so tight that the wearer has no secrets anymore, no one bats an eyelid.
Yesterday, for example, I was wearing a long-sleeved, knitted black dress, which falls to the knee, with a pair of boots and thick, black, thermal (it was necessary) tights. I was hardly going for a job at Hooters (if Hamburg had one, but you get my drift). And yet I still got disapproving looks from a good few ladies.
More astonishing still, is that Hamburg is of course home to the Reeperbahn, the most legendary area of debauchery which Germany has to offer. It is famous for its depravity, its prostitutes, its street which only men are allowed to venture down (this street is called Herbertstrasse, and is blocked off at both ends. Honestly, only men can go down it, I’m not joking). Indeed, in a walk down one street in particular it’s always a little tricky to avoid seeing rather scantily-clad ladies dancing in the windows for hours on end.
And so I wonder how a city which has such a sordid undercurrent can have an issue with my tweed skirt. It doesn’t really add up. But perhaps it is precisely this sordid undercurrent which propels the older ladies to want to uphold some sort of decency during the daylight hours.
My issue is, however, that I don’t go out to dress indecently, not by any stretch of the imagination. Never before has a skirt with tights and boots been so heavily scrutinised, as far as I’ve noticed, anyway.
Dear Reader, I’m not sure how much longer I can put up with being stared at like some sort of Harlot. I’ve even created a loose sort of sentence to throw at someone the next time they look at me so disapprovingly. Well, I actually formulated this sentence about two months ago, and still haven’t had the courage to say it.
My point is, I suppose, that the older ladies of Hamburg must be incredibly bored if all they can do all day is fill their hours with throwing poisonous looks at younger ladies.
I’ve come up with a way to fix this though. Next time it happens, and should I have the courage to speak up, I may well invite a lady to come with me to Funky Pussy on the Reeperbahn. That should give some perspective.