|Moo works on his German stare...WITH LASER BEAM eyes! File this picture also under Places in Which Moo Really Doesn't Belong but He Goes Anyway.|
Across the expat in Germany universe, there are continued reports of the German Stare. It really throws some expats off-kilter. What happens is that Germans, probably quite curious, are very direct in staring at those who have reported it. One might instantly think: is the person receiving the Stare behaving in an odd manner to warrant the stare? Is the person out of line? Those reporting the Stare say that they were just going about their business, such as walking or driving down the street, and locals stop dead in their tracks to give a good look.
Some expats find it very disconcerting. One gentleman, fed up with the Stare, took matters into his own hands. He was driving down the street when a local was staring at him quite adamantly. The expat, not able to contain himself, stopped his car, backed up, and stared back. It might not have been the most mature thing to do, but he did feel a bit better. I have to admit, I giggled furiously over this story.
I spoke to another expat, and she made note of the staring, too, and found it a bit disconcerting. She is from the UK, so we had a little bit of US-UK bonding over how this is new to us. I suggested that she wear some of those googly-eyed glasses to better return the Stare and report on how that went.
I actually took part in some staring myself on Saturday. I was going to meet her at the store, and I wanted to do some "anthropological research." In other words, I needed to do something to occupy my time before meeting because I was early. Also, I wanted to observe the locals to get a feel for how people dress and act here. I'd like to fit in a little bit better so I thought it might be helpful. Of course, I'm not a totally rare bird in this area because there are 50,000 or so Americans already living here.
Anyway, as I waited, I observed the locals as they ran their errands. To be honest, I felt like a major creeper! No one seemed to give me much of a second glance (haha, no German staring at me!) as I took covert peeks at what people were doing. Maybe people thought it wasn't weird to have someone staring or maybe I didn't look that threatening. Who knows.
From this experience, this is what I gathered about this area, or, at least, what people shopping at this ALDI were doing:
-I saw a lot of people wearing jeans. Phew! In many European countries, people tend to dress up a bit more, even while running errands. I was glad that I could run errands in something more casual.
-It was so casual, in fact, that one gentleman was wearing plaid pants. They weren't even suit style pants; they might have even been the more pajama-y type kind or the ones like Skidz from the early 90s. Remember those? File those under the Oh, My! category.
-I saw more women with brightly hued hair. Locals seem to really enjoy maroon, for some reason. This is one area that I will not modify to fit in. However, the younger ladies don't seem to do this; it's more of the pensioner age damen.
-I tried to watch people inside the store return their Pfand bottles; that is, the ones that have a deposit. I was curious about what was returnable. I have heard rumors that even some yogurt containers are returnable. This warrants further research because I felt that I couldn't watch people inside the store too closely because that felt really creepy.
My question is: do Germans stare at each other, too, or is it only reserved for the foreigners?