Day By Day

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hooters Comes to Germany

Germany may be experiencing political uncertainty, high unemployment, economic stagnation, a looming immigration crisis and all matter of other problems, but in one area things just keep looking up.

A few months ago the nannies at the EU proposed ban on revealing costumes for outdoor workers that would have eliminated the traditional dirndl worn by serving girls in Bavarian beerhalls as well as other attire that emphasized their feminine charms. This sparked a massive international protest that forced the meddling Eurocrats to back down just in time for Oktoberfest [here]. Now with the Miss Grundys of the EU in full retreat Der Spiegel announces:
The infamous US babes and burgers chain Hooters is coming to Germany.
The article goes on to wonder if such American decadence will be welcomed in Germany. Especially it asks whether German women will be able to function as Hooters girls.
Hooters girls are supposed to always be "camera ready" and having an optimistic attitude will ensure "more money and satisfaction". The company's official guidebook acknowledges that everyone has problems at home, "but we leave those at home." The girls in Neunkirchen [where the first Hooters will open] also have to learn the five-foot rule -- which stipulates that when they are within five feet of a guest, they have to make eye contact.
Apparently German waitresses are famous for their inability to respond to customers' desires. That wasn't my experience when I lived there, but things might have changed a lot in the past thirty years.

And then there's the problem with the customers.
The restaurant in Neunkirchen might be able to survive from the custom of US servicemen stationed at [nearby] Ramstein [AFB], but it's unclear whether Hooters can thrive elsewhere in Germany. Sandy [a waitress interviewed for the article] appeared chirpy enough, but this isn't a country known for its enthusiastic service industry. And German men -- who are bombarded by softcore porn images on television and elsewhere -- may find the Hooters girls rather tame by comparison.

The company might find German society less than welcoming as well. It appears the best way to become a Hooters girl in the United States is if you have extra-large breast implants, a lisp and utter ignorance about labor laws.
The article [read it here] goes on to imply that the women who work at Hooters are an oppressed class of proles whose charms would interest only prudish Americans. You get the idea -- the whole thing is one long put-down of the US. and capitalism in general. But forget the snippy tone of the author and look at the big picture, Germany is getting Hooters girls! And that is a reason to smile.

And, as always, there is a serious point to be made. The article in all its condescension reveals a hideously distorted view of American society and culture, one that unfortunately many Europeans gladly embrace. Whether this grotesque distortion is a result of American media, or a holdover from Cold War propaganda, or just garden variety left wing lunacy, it is a real problem that Americans have to face every day in their interactions with European elites.

By the way, the names of the girls in the photo are Desiree and Heather and they are "camera friendly."

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