Three years ago, on a trip with my Dad, we found ourselves on a rainy day inside Madig, the only store in Gospic, Croatia. Tucked in behind Hotel Ana (the only hotel in town), the store sold pretty well everything, from hardware to groceries to toys to oil stoves:
We were shopping for umbrellas. And they had a lot of them.
When we tried to purchase something other than a standard black “man’s umbrella” — anything with colour or panache, in other words — we were rebuffed (in Croatian) by the cashiers: the message was clearly that real Croatian men don’t buy girlish umbrellas.
So we went back and picked out a couple of manbrellas:
Obviously I learned nothing from this experience at all, as here’s the umbrella I walked to work with this morning:
This umbrella is compact and keeps the rain off. But it’s not the kind of umbrella a real Croatian man should be carrying around town.