The Norman Transcript

Features

October 5, 2012

Wie gehts?

NORMAN — Foreign languages can be confusing for folks who only speak English. And yet, it can be quite a bit of fun tinkering with the unknown.

For example, the column title “Wie gehts” [vee geyts] is German for “How’s it going?” But it sounds a bit like “gait” in English, meaning “walk, pace or step.” So, let’s play with this a little and ask “How’s your gait?”

One of the joys of people watching is focusing on how people move, in this case the act of walking. However, if you are living under the misconception that locomotion via the transportation of the apostles is a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, then you have not been paying attention.

My fascination with what can be termed the Pedi Project began when I realized that each person has a unique gait. In fact, a person’s walk reveals information about a person on a visual, emotional and aural level. Consequently, the walker’s personality, mood and body type are reflected in his or her gait.

Let’s consider a few examples.

A female college teacher was blessed with a Tweedle dee, Tweedle dum body, but her legs were skinny little sticks with size five feet attached. In her case, the disproportion between her body and tiny feet resulted in a mincing gait. Quite similar to how ancient Chinese women walked when the practice of binding women’s feet was in vogue. Back then, the dainty teetering gait was considered sexy by the men even though it was bloody painful for the women.

A similar walking style is prevalent among women today who choose to wear those divinely fanciful shoe styles with the five to seven inch heels. Yes, the high heels make their legs look fabulous. Nevertheless, each careful/dainty step they take is a potential ankle-breaking or leg-breaking event. In fact, they bring to mind those old silent, serial movies “The Perils of Pauline.” Except in their case, it is more about the perils of walking.

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