Sunday, October 21, 2012

WWPD, honorary Belgian

Back from a whirlwind trip to Belgium for my brother-in-law's lovely wedding. I traded roadside deer for roadside (but penned-in) cows and sheep. I think I've filled up enough of my Belgium punch-card that I now count as an honorary Belgian.

My students asked where I'd be (I'd warned them that attendance would still be taken in my absence) and their reaction was... exactly what mine would have been, pre-having Belgian family. Belgium, wow! For me, it's still the country of amazing food and incredibly tall people, but it's no longer exotic. Not Long Island, but more Long Island than Mars at this point, for sure. 

On the flight back I read a French women's mag, a hastily-selected "Marie France," which had a long article by a "philosophe" about love (with quotes from classics like Descartes on the subject); a profile of various French women of foreign ancestry (including one who was the product of not one but two mariages mixtes between Jews and Catholics); and a makeover featuring a woman of I'd assume North African extraction, which involved the magazine instructing readers on the importance, if you wish to look sophistiquée, of straightening your hair already. A woman with unusually gorgeous curly hair (think natural ringlets), subjected to a middle-schooler-style inept flatironing job. This article also claimed that straightened hair gets greasy more quickly, which is just bizarre - it's naturally straight/fine hair that does this. If you have thick/coarse poufy hair, style it however you please, the apocalypse will come before greasy hair is something you need to worry about. This is the immense upside of hair that is not, by Western standards, wash-and-go. 

And, in case anyone is curious, Belgians are following the US elections perhaps more closely than most Americans. It's apparently - understandably - amusing, in a country with an active Socialist party, that Obama's referred to as such.

In other, no less blue-state-ish news, expect posts on an anti-YPIS (not by me, alas, and not using that acronym) article in the Guardian, and one about racial and socioeconomic tensions at NYC private schools in the Times. 

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