Moldovans love all things “frumos.”
The word means “beautiful,” as in a beautiful song or a person’s beautiful soul. A well-behaved child may be “frumos.” Most of all, “frumos” means beautiful as in beautiful — a bouquet of flowers, a majestic sunset, a gorgeous woman.
You hear the word constantly here, which is no surprise in a country where people are usually well-dressed in public. Many women wear makeup whenever they go outside. Men iron their clothes and clean their shoes. Few people are rich but almost everyone shows pride in their appearance.
For an American like me who never paid much attention to clothes, Frumos poses a challenge. I’ve made a point to always dress neatly here. Fortunately I generally don’t need to wear a tie.
I felt the Power of Frumos as I walked near our main traffic circle in Ialoveni on Thursday afternoon. Within one block I saw a hair salon (or Frizeria), a beauty salon, a cosmetics store, two flower shops, a shop displaying beautiful foods, even fancy lingerie.
Frumos is only skin deep and in the eye of the beholder, of course, but there really is no avoiding its importance here in Moldova. It’s a beautiful thing.