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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The American's Guide to Lesser Known Israeli Stereotypes Part 1: Fashionista Rambo

I would venture to say many if not most Americans have a generic picture of the average Israeli in their head... someone with tan skin, dark brown hair, and a funny middle eastern accent, possibly wearing a nice button down shirt and jeans, smoking a cigarette and talking on a cell phone. If one wishes to get fancy they might conjure up an image of a soldier with a machine gun or a charedi with long curled peos and a shtreimel. Only after having spent some time here have I started to realize just how numerous and varied the different "character types" of Israelis are. In order to better inform the American Jewish public who might be unaware of the existence of these people, I would like to post a several installment mini-series of these lesser known Israeli stereotypes. In this first installment I'd like to open with the Fashionista Rambo. While many girls serve in the army when they turn 18, if you were to spot one on the street while in uniform they would appear as just that- some girl in an army uniform. Yet walk the streets enough and it won't take you long to spot a particular special breed of army girl- the Fashionista Rambo. This is a girl who, although she may be confined to a wardrobe selection of baggy amorphous dull green slacks and shirt, isn't going to let that cramp her style.

What may be lacking in originality and fun in her uniform is more than made up for in everything else. She can be identified by her professionally painted fingernails, sandal shoes with some sort of heel instead of the standard brown or black boots, humongous designer aviator-like sunglasses that cover two thirds of her face and hair and makeup that she probably spent four hours in the bathroom that morning working on. Fashionista Rambo may not lug around a big sack like many of the men soldiers but you'll never find her without her purse. Rarely is she ever carrying her gun... perhaps she feels she is adequately armed with "looks that could kill." For some reason these girls seem to always get on the bus as the same time as another army girl who seems much more meek and just wears flip flops and has her hair in a plain old ponytail. Though they often aren't together, the fact they get on the bust at the same time makes it fun to compare and contrast the two.

There seems to be a variant of Fashionista Rambo in the police force as well. About a month ago I saw one of these women supervising a construction sight, or was supposed to have been though in reality she was busy sending text messages on her phone. She looked as though she could be a model on a runway, and I say this not because she was extraordinarily beautiful (though she did happen to be a very pretty Jewish girl) but simply because she had enough makeup on as to make one think she was prepared for a photo shoot.

Stay tuned for future installments including Pajama Men and Backpack Kids!

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