September 11, 2005
Shaving Cream and Red Blazers
In our nearby smallish grocery store, Intermarché, I was looking for shaving cream for the first time (having run out of the U.S. stuff we brought with us). I was quite surprised to find that they had TWENTY-FIVE varieties for men, and (truly, truly, I kid you not) only ONE kind for women. As if shaving cream isn't unisex to begin with, but that's beside the point. Does this tell you something about how much European women shave? Or maybe just that the women don't care what kind they use? Or that mostly men shop at this store (not the case).
On this same shopping trip I was noticing how different the cashiers are here: for one, they sit down (makes sense to me, since they stay in the same spot all day). These particular ones were dressed smartly in bright red blazers, not a common occurrence in the U.S. either. No lowly aprons for any cashiers over here. Finally, they sit back and look on dispassionately while the customer hurries to load all their bags (usually brought from home, in any case all the bigger, sturdier ones). They watch you until you're done and you've moved all your items off the checkstand before they start with the next customer (who is also watching you). A fascinating cultural phenomenon. I'm getting better and faster at packing my bags and having everything back in the cart as fast as possible, while also paying at the proper moment in the middle of my labors.
September 11, 2005 | Permalink
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Who would've guessed that shaving cream would bring me out of lurking on your blog? I don't know if you remember us from the San Jose Vineyard - we were there about 9 months before reaching our final destination of Japan. (friends of Jon and Kay)
Anyway, Japan has no shaving cream for women, but lots of them do shave... More culturally interesting though, is how many young men shave their forearms and legs and pluck their eyebrows to be less hairy, because the young women here don't like hairy guys!
And I also wanted to mention that Kaz now works for a French company whose development office is in Montpelier (he was there last Dec.) so maybe we'll have a chance to meet again someday!
Posted by: Andrea Ito | Sep 12, 2005 11:02:56 AM
Andrea! Wow! I am so glad you came out of hiding! I had absolutely no idea you were reading. How fun! Of course I remember you, and you are most welcome. Thanks for following along. How long have you been here lurking in the dark corners? (anyone else out there I know who's reading but never told me? Or whom I don't know? Please introduce yourselves if you feel up to it sometime :-)
That is very interesting (horrifying?) about men shaving forearms and legs... Amazing Kaz works for a French company! David's company (you'll have to laugh) was just bought Friday by a Japanese company!!! Ha ha! Funny world we live in.
Hope you come visit. You are welcome to stay with us if you like. We have guest beds.
Posted by: Katherine | Sep 12, 2005 9:14:50 PM