25 January 2011

No Matter Where You Go, Some People Dress Like Fools...

Schematic Diagram of a
Although America may be the place for misguided and foolish youth cultures, a bizarre minority specimen of Austrian teenager is worthy of comment.

They are called die Krocha* and their preferred habitat is the disco.  They are reminiscent in attitude of American "bros," especially because of their lust for clubbing and their taste for Ed Hardy wear (Keine Party ohne Ed Hardy, as they say). 

Three Krocha in their
natural environment
This resemblence to more familiar youth cultures does not extend to other aspects of their attire, many of which are distinctly European or, more accurately, "Eurotrash."  They favor white Adidas sneakers, extremely tight pants, and large key loops for wrapping around their right leg.  They sport finely manicured eyebrows, spray-on tans, and stiffly gelled hair, perhaps as protection from concussions received while dancing.  They also have an insatiable appetite for Palestinian checkered scarves (called Palästinensertuch in German), which they wear as mere accessories, with extreme indifference to potential political meaning.  

They have a language of their own and particularly enjoy the word Oida, which is rougly equivalent to "dude" or "man."  It is sometimes also used without context just to add some flavor to their almost certainly vacuous sentences.  Like popular American TV Chef Emeril Lagasse, they also like to use the word Bam frequently in order to demonstrate their extreme enthusiasm for another's enviable neon-colored baseball cap or impressive dance skills**.  The rest of their vocabulary is a mixture of Viennese (Wienerisch) and various migrant languages.

An urban Austrian phenomenon - I have encountered very few Krocha out here in the countryside and I don't have any as students.  According to German Wikipedia, only 1.7% of 11-29 year olds in Austria identify as Krocha, although I'm not sure how Wikipedia could have gotten this information and I doubt that Krocha is a checkable box in many surveys or censuses.  I've read reports that this style is fading into obscurity (thankfully, according to most accounts), but in my experience they remain common U-Bahn fixtures.  I have rarely seen them in daylight, which they seem to detest despite their remarkable tans.

*I think this word stems originally from the Wienerisch word for the Hochdeutsch hineinkrachen, which means "to encroach."  The word was Austria's second-place Word of the Year 2008, behind Lebensmensch.
**The "krochn" dance style goes best with music from the album krocha traxx vol. 1, available from Universal Music.

1 comment:

  1. i don't know why i searched for this, but it's worse than thinking i saw snookie grocery shopping: