I’m in Iasi, Romania this week to deliver a keynote address at an economic conference hosted by Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. Blogging from Romania might be a little light and sporadic for the next few days, but I’d like to offer some initial reactions about the Romanian people after spending part of the day on the university campus and then doing several hours of people-watching at a popular mall today:
1. There are very few overweight Romanians, especially when compared to Americans.
2. There are almost no public displays of cleavage here, compared to the increasing number of American women who seem to insist on sharing and displaying increasing areas of their cleavage on an increasingly frequent basis with the public at large.
3. Romanians appear to be very sensible about their footwear, and I haven’t seen a single Romanian wearing what has become ubiquitous “footwear” in America – flip-flops – and it was a very warm day. I still haven’t figured out why so many Americans insist on wearing such flimsy “footwear.” General rule: If it’s sold at a CVS pharmacy, it’s probably not the kind of footwear that you should be wearing every day, and to work, and on the Metro, and to the mall, and to restaurants, and to the White House, etc. And even if you buy expensive flip-flops that weren’t purchased at a CVS pharmacy, they’re still probably just as flimsy and still only appropriate as footwear for the beach or in the locker room – not at work or at the mall or at a nice restaurant or at the White House.
4. Even though it was a very warm fall day (sunny and around 70 degrees) as mentioned above, I didn’t see a single Romanian guy wearing shorts; rather they all had the common sense and fashion decency to wear pants. Unlike in America, where shorts for many guys have become year-round attire, even in the middle of winter when it’s really cold – and they’re wearing warm jackets, scarves, hats and gloves – but shorts? Make up your mind, are you hot or cold? If it’s cold outside, don’t dress from the waist up like it’s cold and from the waist down like it’s the middle of summer.
5. The few Romanian guys who were wearing baseball caps were wearing them as they were designed to be worn – with the bill/visor in the front, and weren’t being fashion retards like so many guys in America.
So, all in all, Romania seems like a very civilized country, at least from a fashion standpoint, compared to America, where we have been defining “fashion deviancy” down for several decades.