Monday, 15 August 2011

A needle in a haystack

Belgian women have many qualities, but I have to admit that I have seldom seen them shine for their fashion sense. This trip is no exception, and I was paying a lot of attention! But I am a scientist by profession, and I hate to generalize without hard-core evidence. So, today I decided to try to move beyond occasional observations and do a little research in a larger crowd. August 15 is a national holiday in Belgium (like Ferragosto in Italy), and there are lots of family-oriented events that one can attend.

We went to a medieval fair organized at the Castle of Horst. The fair was in its second and last day today. The two-days program included several fun activities for the whole family, from sword tournaments (with all participants rigorously in costumes) to fencing demonstrations and a short adventure course. I thought this was the perfect occasion to find the fashionable Belgian moms.  In fact, the place was so crowded that we had to wait almost an hour for our lunch, which gave me plenty of time for my project.

I was disappointed that I came empty-handed. The needle in the haystack was the mom of two whose pictured I sneaked from my table, and that you can see here. One may question her choice of footwear for this event (the fair was held in a muddy forest), but she gave me hope!

Obviously Belgian women have an essential disadvantage: the weather, which may change only four times on a good day (from cloud to rain to sun to more rain). This is the sam challenge I face when I come. According to my Belgian father-in-law, however, my observation still suffers of selection bias, because this area tends to be primarily rural. On my to-do list for the next trip is thus to scout more evidence in Antwerp, Brussels and Gent!

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