The Power of Walking – This is not a post about working out.

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The Scotsman and I spent our Easter Holidays in Nancy, France. As soon as we got out of the car, I realized something: The women looked entirely different from the women at home. Not in the sense of figure or facial structure, but in the sense of fashion. Walking towards our hotel, I felt like a tramp, although I was dressed perfectly normal in black trousers and a longsleeve shirt with a polo neck. I pinched the Scotsman and whispered: ‘Look at the women, they all look phenomenal.’ He gave a quite surprised look and replied that in his opinion the women here in France didn’t look all that different from the women he saw everyday in Germany. I couldn’t concur, I felt the eyes of various people all over me, well dressed people, sitting in the cafè outside of our hotel, asking themselves if we had still 1998 in Germany.

But I was prepared. In my suitcase I had brought several pieces of clothing that would help me blending in. So, as soon as we had entered our room I changed from my comfy “long trip in the car”-shirt and trousers-combination into a burgundy skirt and a knitted shirt with a matching colour gradient. The Scotsman came out of the bathroom when I was putting on my heels. ‘Look at you, you fit right in’, he said with a huge grin. Mission accomplished! As soon as we went outside, though, it became pretty clear that I still stood out, because I am apparently about 6 inches taller than the average French woman (and man). Plus, I felt something was missing and every French person could tell that I came from another country, a country where we just don’t care that much about fashion. The whole time I kept wondering – in the back of my head – what it was that made such a difference in the appearance of German and French women.

The answer hit me when we came back to Darmstadt. ‘It’s the walk’, I said to the Scotsman. He, not having followed my thoughts troughout our holiday (how could he, I was pondering all by myself while we were sitting in street cafès and visiting churches), was slightly confused. ‘What’s the walk, honey?’ – ‘The reason why French women look so much better’, I replied. ‘It’s not necessarily the way they dress. The younger girls walking about in Nancy didn’t look that much different from those student girls right over there’, I said, pointing at a group of girls that wore the same stuff like some of the young ladies we had seen in Nancy, clothes that you could by at H&M stores all over Europe. ‘And then again, they looked completely different’, I continued, ‘but not because of the clothes, they are the same rubbish everyhwere these days apparently, it was the walk. They seem to have a different attitude.’ – ‘A different attitude towards what?’ the Scotsman asked. ‘Life, I guess’, I said.

And I stick to this observation: French girls walk differently. The back is straighter, the head higher, the steps softer and a bit bouncy. Germans walk more like they are still carrying a lot of guilt and are ready to say Sorry anytime. French girls and women walk like they are proud of themselves, they’ve got nothing to hide. French women walk around like cats, not afraid of showing that they are sexy and successful. German women walk more like they want to say ‘Please don’t hate me because I look good AND get paid well.’ I mean, if I had grown up with such a sexy language, maybe I would walk differently as well. Ladies, let’s learn French!

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