Read, Write, Run, Roam

Detective RHOB and the Secret of the Slim Serbians


It all started with an innocent walk on Knez Mihailova with Muz and our guest Prvi. As we strolled, my skillful powers of observation noted that Belgrade women are tall, pretty and very lean. Prvi concurred, declaring that “their bodies are smoking.” Muz was far too smart to chime in.

The boys were content to enjoy the view, but I knew I had the beginning of a new case on my hands: how did women stay thin in Belgrade, the land of fresh bread and kajmak? (And pastries, and chocolates, and cevap…) I formulated several theories: good genes, constant smoking, and sporadic eating were my top contenders. One thing was certain—Belgrade women weren’t running off the pounds.

Would the Shadow know?

As the winter months continued, the secret of slim Serbians became more mysterious. From November to April, Serbian families may celebrate two Christmases, two New Years’ celebrations, and at least two Slavas. After April, weddings (hours of courses, drinks and desserts) begin. I knew Belgrade women had a secret weapon to enjoy life here and fit into minidresses. What was it?

The answer was as murky as the Potomac—until I was walking home on a dark, cold night. Snow had melted during the day, and the sidewalks were covered with large patches of ice. As I struggled to keep my balance, Serbian women daintily trotted by in heels. Of course! I thought. Icy streets are the Beogradjani “winter workout.” No wonder the women seem to have abs of steel and figure skater’s physiques. Staying upright on the sidewalk requires more core work than a pilates class.

The winter workout also offers a bonus session: jumping out of the way of ice sheets tumbling off of roofs.

This is strictly optional, though: conscientious property managers often hang homemade signs to warn passerby.

Better than nothing, amirite?

That’s right, women of Belgrade: Detective RHOB is on to your tricks. I can’t smoke or deny myself sarma, but I can use all my strength to make it home without falling down. Summer minidresses, watch out. RHOB is getting her fitness on. One cautious step at a time.

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