It is no secret that I have a lot of time, respect and love for the Germans, but there are a number of things that they do which really perplex, confuse and amuse me. In a previous blog I underlined some of these, but today I would like to expand on this topic.
Before I begin, I would like to reiterate that I am an ethnic minority and therefore am above all racism and everything I say must be true. If you argue with this, you are in fact being racist. I’m just saying. Also I’m somewhat German myself, although I’m not quite sure how much. And so, without further delay, let the fun begin.
München und Bayern
Munich is the capital of Bavaria, but it’s not Bavaria, but it is, but it’s not. The people are technically Bavarians but they’re not really Bavarians despite living in Bavaria, but not really Bavaria, and they speak not in Bavarian but in proper German which isn’t quite proper German but slightly Bavarian. People from Munich think they’re Bavarians, but they’re not. Bavarians are the most German Germans but Bavarians don’t like to be Germans because they like to be Bavarians from Bavaria and not Germans from Germany. Real Germans are jealous of Bavarians because Bavarians are the best and the Bavarians quietly know this, but a real German will never admit this and will make tourists believe that Bavarians want their heads for the Munich Bayern soccer team to practice with, which is the name of the soccer team despite the fact that Munich is not really Bavaria (but it is). Some politicians want Bavaria to be independent but most Bavarians want to remain German despite not thinking that they are really Germans despite the fact they live in Germany, but not really Germany. Then you get Franconians in Franconia which is part of Bavaria but they’re separate from Bavarians in Bavaria and are not Germans from Germany. It’s simple really.
This is a word I recently learned in one of my German lessons. It means “glove”, as in that warm thing you put on your hand, but literally translates as “hand shoe”. Okay, besides being the most adorable thing in the world, isn’t “handsocke” a better alternative guys? A sock would at least provide some amount of warmth and comfort and a shoe would just be hilarious. A sock is at least made of malleable material. A sock at least vaguely resembles a glove. There’s even a small township called Handschuh around the Heidelberg area. So anyway, I’ve had shoes on my hands ever since arriving here again. It’s awesome. I might start wearing hats on my feet, or Fußenhüte.
Sandals and socks
So this is one of those German stereotypes which is a stereotype for a reason; you see it everywhere, amongst people of all generations, in private and in public. I mean, do you want your feet to be warm or cold? I understand the Germans are a very practical race (again, racist stereotyping), but I don’t see any practicality in this. Also it looks ridiculous. In England this is associated with weird older people who drink pimms. It’s just silly.
At least 70% of all Germans I know hate the stuff. You invented it, you owned it, it’s wonderful, eat your vegetables or you’ll never grow up to be big and strong.
Everything is a Zeug; Fahrzeug – travel tool/car. Flugzeug – fly tool/plane. Spielzeug – play tool/toy. Werkzeug – work tool/tool. Feuerzeug – fire tool/lighter. To me at least this just seems a little lazy for a nation that is internationally defined as hardworking. Still, it makes learning your language a little easier. Thanks guys.
Have you ever tried to drink Weißbier from the bottle in front of a German? If so, is the aforementioned German still talking to you? This is a morally sinful crime and punishable by death. They will absolutely insist it changes the flavour of the beer, and a Weizen without its head is just not a Weizen. There’s a particular art to pouring a Weizen that must absolutely be perfected if you are to work behind a German bar, or if you ever intend to serve a Weizen to a German in any country. Of course the Bavarians are even more particular and doubly offended by the display of blaspheme as it’s a beer that defines the entire section of the country. A Weißbierglas is an essential for any German Bier drinker.
Der Grün Mann
There could be no cars within a kilometre in any direction and a true German will not cross the road until that little man says it’s okay to do so. This I believe is how they separate the locals from the tourists.
I mentioned this last time but never got into specifics. Simply put; WHY?!!! Fanta and Cola are not a good mix. Neither is Bier and Cola. Why are you ruining something perfectly good? Every non-German, it’s okay to simultaneously gag and/or throw up now.
I find it very difficult to find a good white coffee in Germany – can anybody help me? You’ve got filter coffee and black coffee perfected, but everything with milk is a little bit…. what’s the fancy German word for “made from a single push of a button on a machine and a little bit soulless”?
German Drinking Songs
This is something I really don’t understand but I absolutely love you guys for it; I don’t know how or why, but Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” has become a German drinking song. That’s right, the most German drinking song to sing in Germany has English lyrics. Not only must EVERYBODY sing “SWEET CAROLINE” with overpowering enthusiasm but they must follow this with a “DUH DUH DUH” with the music before they keep singing the lyrics to the chorus. The Germans probably know this song a hundred times better than any natural English speaker.
Not only does every German have them, but usually they have a pair to offer to their guests as well, and will most likely be quietly offended when their generous offer of warmer toes is declined. Often a German will travel with their Hausschuh to make sure they have the comfort of slightly warmer feet in distant lands. Considering Kiwis spend most of their time barefoot, this weird display of German culture really leaves us confused. Why are the German’s considered such cold and emotionless people if their feet are always cosy and warm?
Germans don’t hand money directly to each other, there’s a little money plate for you to leave your hard earned euros on. What’s more, when paying at a restaurant, and this is a warning for any Kiwis or Brits who haven’t experienced this who will potentially look like the dumb foreigners that we are, the waiter or waitress will wait beside the table after handing you the bill for you to settle up, rather than leave the bill on the table while you fumble about in your wallet and throw a multitude of currencies all over the restaurant floor.
You just don’t eat Weißwurst without a sweet mustard. It just can’t be done.
In most places, drinking is legal on the streets. God bless this wonderful nation. Just make sure you have a glass for your Weizen.
If you guys have anymore quirks and oddities that belong to the Germans, please do let us know. As wonderful as they are, they do have some rather hilarious tendencies, but then again, don’t we all?
On a final note, I will be positioned in Germany for the foreseeable future, learning how to bread like a German and immersing myself in the culture here. For all you Germans, I want you to spreche mit mir in Deutsche, aber wie ich bin ein dumm kind. When I have settled down in appropriate circumstances, I want you all to come and visit me so that I can finally begin to repay all of the unrivalled generosity you guys have given me over the last few years with beer and bread and hilarious stories.
– Tom @ indieroad