I don’t really know who coined this phrase, but somehow I like to think that I had something to do with it.

It was right after WWII  in 1946, in Frankfurt, Germany, when an American soldier told me that he and his friends were going every weekend dancing. Apparently, it was a dance cafe which catered mostly to the American occupation forces.

“I like to know,” he said. “How it comes that all the German girls are so pretty?” 

“Hu?” I had never heard such a nonsense.

“Yes,” he maintained. “Ask any of my buddies,and they will tell you the same.”

I was almost tempted to ask his friends what it exactly was that triggered their observation, because I had no clue what an American girl looked like, when it dawned on me.

All of the American soldiers were absolutely impressive in their starched, meticulously pressed uniforms. A long cry away from the dilapidated clothing of German boys in the same age group. It was only natural that the German girls flocked to the places where they could meet a good looking guy. But, that wasn’t all there was to it. The girls also had to look their part.

“You know it’s simple”. I told the soldier. “The ugly ones know who they are. They are staying home.”

Now, I have to admit that times were simple then. Nobody ripped you apart for saying the obvious.

However, the phrase still holds true: “The ugly ones know who they are.”