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George Sand, the first Flâneuse.

George Sand,novelist and the first Flâneuse, had to disguise herself as a man to walk freely the streets of Paris.

Walking in Winter….

For women, winter is when to walk.  That alliterative phrasing plays out in my mind as I stroll and saunter down the crowded street, looking — really looking — at all the passing people as I’ve never done before.

Usually, like most women, I adopt what is called here in Zurich the “Geradeaus Gait.”  That is, eyes straight ahead (geradeaus, auf Deutsch), fixed on some imaginary point in the far distance, head erect, with the practiced, nuanced strut of my swaying hips and quick-moving, short-striding legs punctuated by the click-click-click of my platform heels.

People look at me.  I’m oggled and judged.  I don’t dare look at them.  They might get the wrong message.   Now, however….

But for the belted overcoat, accentuating the delineation between my waist and hips, I could be a man.  A knit cap hides my tucked hair.  My Stuart Weitzman 5050’s could be Everyman’s boots; plus, they hide my leggings.  Sans makeup and jewelry, I’m wearing nothing that captures the attention of others.  My giant handbag could be a banker’s briefcase.

Almost invisible, I can play Flâneur  for the day: a curious, and therefore wise, observer of the passing scene.  Actually and more accurately, make that the French feminine version Flâneuse. What will I learn? What will I see that I’ve never seen before?  Any guesses?

…to be continued….

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