There are several reasons for this week’s revelation. One, it’s an act of reprisal: my husband hijacked my Facebook page the other day, so I’m hijacking his idea. Two, I’m on a rescue mission. This fascinating observation on the German culture is otherwise likely to pass into oblivion as it’s safe to assume that the blog my magnificent other was going to launch won’t be launched for another 150 years or so. (In case it does I herewith officially recognise his intellectual property rights.) So let’s learn about the mysterious plait scale …
‘The Plait Scale’ indicates the number of people in a country using some form of braiding in their hairdos, or, to put it in statistical terms, the ‘braid penetration’ of the population. The very concept of a braid was alien to my husband, who claimed that no girl or woman in England ever braided their hair. This may be changing as we speak (or read, as the case may be), as the plait, together with its masculine equivalent, the beard, has been making a strong case for itself on the international fashion stage lately.
So Mr K was intrigued to find plaited hair in various shapes and forms in a part of Germany outside of the world-acclaimed Plait Zone of Bavaria. Even more intriguingly, he observed that the number of people (mostly women) plaiting their hair dwindles gradually as you travel northwards, starting from, say, Oberstdorf. Women as far north as Hamburg, he noticed, were extremely unlikely to braid their hair at all. So the plait scale ranges from Algriet (north, no plaits) to Zenzi (south, corded maize of plaits), with Cologne approximately in midfield (plaits can be seen but are not ubiquitous).
If only I knew how this gem of insight could be of any relevant use … Well, I thought I’d share it with you anyway. You never know when this bit of trivia may come in handy. (As an interpreter I know that there is no such thing as useless information!)
More tasty tidbits are to come (see, I can’t do without food references). But first, let’s look at some practical issues of British-German life next week.
The Pommes Buddha says: Happy braiding!