Barcelona, Spain: The City of Counts, Gaudi and Catalonia

"Dude, this Goudy character has this city by the BALLS."

“Dude, this Goudy character has this city by the BALLS.”

My German wife and I recently visited Barcelona, Spain. We had an awesome time: beautiful weather, great museums and a fanastic art and culture scene. Of course, it was so painfully hot at night — and the A/C in our rented apartment didn’t work — so we had to sleep with all the doors and windows open, and our naked bodies draped in wet towels so we didn’t die of heatstroke, but still! Awesome!

Now, on an unrelated note, my computer died last week. I am curently waiting for my new computer, and the wait is absolutely killing me. See, I’m writing this post using my wife’s laptop, with its insane German keyboard. So many extra keys! And they’re all in different places, with wacky symbols on top of them! Why, oh sweet Jesus why, is the “Y” key way down here by my left pinky finger? And why must I hit shift+# to make an apostrophe? Holy Christ this sucks! So if you see a ton of typos in my next couple of posts, I want you to blame my wife. Blame her entirely. For being German.

Anyway, please click one of the photos below to start the slideshow. Welcome to Barcelona!

5 Reasons Why You Should Totally Have Sex with a German Dude


“I share this reluctantly.” — Image Credit: sunshinecity ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Here’s the deal: I am a straight, married, American expat from Portland, Oregon, now living in Hannover, Germany. My wife is a scalding hot German woman with two master’s degrees and a smile so stunning it could stop your heart. I did my time as a bachelor before I was married. I’m over it. This is why, years later, single life and the one-night stands which go along with it are about as interesting to me as white hot birdshit.

I have absolutely no motivation to give out dating advice, especially when it might help young German men get a little extra honey on their stingers. The thing is, as a foreign blogger in a strange land, I am compelled to make observations about the things I see around me. I also try to be as honest as possible with my readers, so this is why all you straight women, gay men, bisexual and bi-curious individuals are about to discover the top five reasons why you should totally, absolutely, 100%, drop whatever you are doing right now and pork a German dude:

#1: German Dudes Are Sexy


“Anybody else want to punch this guy right in the heart?” — Image Credit: Hotlanta Voyeur ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License. Lightly photoshopped.

You know how the stereotypical American tourist is a fat lard with white sneakers and a mean case of type 2 diabetes? Young German guys are the exact opposite; they’re style-conscious, thin and freakishly tall. Listen, I’m 5’10” tall when I’m wearing thick soled shoes, standing up perfectly straight and totally lying to myself. But the dudes here in Germany? They are, as my wife would put it, “lighthouse tall.”

Obviously there are exceptions — I’ve seen a few short guys here too — but most of them are like the Ents from the Lord of the Rings; elongated tree people, all lanky as hell with arms and legs akimbo. And if this is the moment when you decide to be a smart ass and google the average height between Germans and Americans only to find the difference minuscule, you can take those statistics and cram ’em: Here in northern Germany, dudes between the ages of 16 and 35 are tall as fuck. I see them every single day, and their genetic good fortune pisses me off.

One day, in a social setting, I asked a medical student here in Germany why the guys seemed so tall. He didn’t think his countrymen were any taller than mine, but suggested if there were a difference, it probably had something to do with diet. My ingenious theory, however, was that German winters typically last longer than those in the States, resulting in less sunlight and an overall deficiency of vitamin D. I went on to explain, beer in hand, how this would logically require the human body to adapt in order to increase surface area, resulting in a lanky populace better equipped to absorb sunlight. (Of course, according to my theory, Inuit people living in the Arctic should be tall enough to touch the goddamn sun, but hey, I was drunk at the time.)

Now, I have absolutely no explanation why German men tend to be so thin. Consuming the traditional German diet is like getting down on your knees and praying for a heart attack. The abundance of meat, bread and beer certainly hasn’t made me any sexier, so what the hell man? Maybe it’s just portion control. Maybe it’s greater emphasis on walking and cycling as means of daily transportation. All I know is young German dudes tend to have awesome bodies. Six pack abs are everywhere, as are broad shoulders and sculpted jawlines. This is why, on a worldwide scale of beauty from 1 to 10 — with 10 being the most beautiful — I am considered a British “7,” an American “6,” and a German “warthog.”

You know what else German guys have going for them? Style. They wear cool clothing that isn’t garish or overtly macho, and their hair tends to be stick-straight, allowing them to shape it into dazzling works of art. They stay ahead of all the latest fads and trends, so overall, their appearance is hip and fresh to the eye. (Or fruity as hell, depending upon your attitude.) Good style seems to be an inherent cultural trait across most of western Europe, but right now it’s definitely working to the advantage of young German males. That, or sexy unicorns are pissing in the groundwater.

Anyway, as I’ve said before, there are exceptions to every rule; not every young guy you meet here is going to be devastatingly handsome… but most of them will. Christ, with all the moussed hair, trendy jeans, blessed height and Olympian physiques, living in Germany is like being trapped inside one huge boyband. So if you’re into pretty boys, come on over; you’ll have a mouthful of beautifully shorn scrotum before you even leave the airport.

#2: German Dudes Are Smart

 -- Image Credit: Johan Bichel Lindegaard ( -- Subject to CC 2.0 License. Adjusted for contrast.

“Oh, well you’re just the whole package, aren’t you… you NERD.” — Image Credit: Johan Bichel Lindegaard ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License. Adjusted for contrast.

Alright, look — there are stupid people in every country, even in Germany — but it is important to note my wife and I do not make a habit of associating with knuckle draggers. Instead, we gravitate toward Germans who tend to be educated, well-traveled and able to consume alcohol in social situations without winding up tasered senseless and thrown into the back of a cop car. We’re arrogant snobs, is what I’m saying, so please keep this in mind as I make another sweeping generalization about the young men of northern Germany.

First of all, most of them are bilingual. They start learning English in the 3rd grade, and I know this because I have the incredible misfortune of living right next to a primary school. Every morning I get to hear these little nerds singing English nursery rhymes while I’m trying to work:

TEACHER: “The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout…”

SCHOOL KIDS: “The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout…”


Anyway, their language studies continue right on up through high school, and even if they don’t pursue it any further, they’re exposed to English on a regular basis through TV, movies and music. Hell, most of my German friends even speak a limited amount of some additional and totally unnecessary language, like French. Does this automatically make them smarter? Hell no, but I triple-dog-dare you to try and find a stupid polylinguist. Something about forcing the brain to switch between languages makes it more flexible and dynamic. I believe this is because a language isn’t just a bunch of words; it’s a different way of thinking. Regularly alternating the way you think is going to make you a more interesting person, if not outright more intelligent. So when you’re enjoying pillow talk with your new German lover, not only will he be able to understand your every word, but he will probably have something insightful to say just as soon as you remove that ball gag from his mouth.

The German dude you choose to lay will probably have spent a great deal of time at university as well, attaining both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. See, higher education is of great importance in Germany, and college is virtually free — the key word here being virtually. My wife and I were once walking along Georgstraße in Hannover when we stumbled across a huge group of angry college students protesting against rising tuition fees in Lower Saxony. This was a few years ago, so I can’t remember the exact amount, but tuition had risen from around €500 euros per semester to like €525 euros. I laughed so hard I peed a little. And get this: Just a year or two later, Lower Saxony abolished tuition fees altogether. As an American, I just can’t wrap my head around free or even affordable tuition. Of course, I also can’t wrap my head around half my monthly paycheck going to the taxes it takes to cover said tuition, but still, it’s a pretty awesome system. It encourages high school graduates to go learn a thing or two about the world and stop being such narcissistic little shit twisters.

In general, Germans tend to be very well-traveled — especially the younger generations. They’re encouraged to embark on school exchange programs and spend a year or two at foreign universities. Then, after they’ve returned to Germany and entered the workforce, they are often sent back overseas for internships and additional job training — especially in the science, engineering and medical fields. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to meet a well-traveled individual who isn’t at least a little bit more sophisticated than an isolated one. As a result, German men of sexable age tend to be open-minded, sensitive and respectful of other cultures. So throw a condom on that gentle jet-setter, because he’s probably crushed ass from Sacramento to Singapore.

#3: German Dudes Are Humble


“You’re so money and you don’t even know it.” — Photo Credit:
Daniel Zedda ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

In my experience, German guys tend to be extremely modest. I have no doubt there are a few egotistical shitbags running around over here, but all the ones I’ve spoken with practically trip over themselves when you pay them a compliment. And even I have to admit — it’s pretty adorable. See, I come from America; our culture is fueled by unchecked egotism and blind self-confidence. Things like bragging, cockiness, and inexplicably high self-esteem are so normal they make me homesick. But over here? No way. Good luck telling a German guy he’s smart or good-looking; he’ll probably black out and walk straight into the nearest wall.

Maybe it’s inherited guilt from the two world wars. Maybe it’s the rather intense secondary school system, or maybe it’s lack of praise or basic affection during childhood, I don’t know, but it seems like German people are reluctant to show any kind of national pride whatsoever. (Unless you’re talking about soccer. Then, apparently, they’re allowed to go apeshit.)

What I’m saying is, there’s still a lot of guilt over here, and that makes for a dating pool of young men who tend to be more reserved, less aggressive and way more grateful for the sex you’re having with them.

#4: German Dudes Aren’t Prude


On an unrelated note: This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. — Photo Credit: Jens karlsson ( Subject to CC 2.0 License.

When it comes to sex, we Americans are very prude. Oh sure, we’ll watch some action star cut an entire village in half with a machine gun, but a pair of tits on a billboard? None of us would get to work safely. This stems from our Puritan ancestry and the fact that, as a country, we’re still in our adolescence. We’re like a bunch of teenagers giggling in Sex Ed class: “Tee hee hee! The teacher said, ‘labia.’ ”

The country of Germany, on the other hand, is old as balls. Sure, the German Empire was formed in 1871 by the Prussians, but Germania has existed since the time before that one goody two-shoes got his ass crucified. And because Germany is right in the middle of Europe — greatly influenced by all of the countries surrounding it — its modern-day culture is very difficult to define. What I can say, however, is that it is old, and with age comes maturity. Here are a few German cultural traits regarding sex I can confirm, having observed them with my own two eyeballs:

  • Public Displays of Affection (PDA) – From city parks to beaches, German people give exactly zero fucks about being seen making out. And I don’t just mean sexy young people; I’m also talking about old people slapping waddles together like a couple of hungry sea lions.
  • Nudity – Not only are nude saunas commonplace in Germany, but so is nudity in advertising and entertainment. I try and act cool whenever I see a breast on a poster for skin cream, but inside I’m dancing around like a schoolboy: “Titties, titties titties!”
  • Compartmentalization – That very same German dude who just got done playing tonsil hockey at the park and watching sweat drop off his nards with a bunch of other guys in the sauna will then walk back into work, adjust his tie and give a presentation to the executive team without missing a beat. This is compartmentalization is action; everything has its place, but what’s cool in one place is not necessarily cool in another. They keep that shit separate.
  • Interracial Coupling – I love seeing people of different races get together, and I see it a lot more often here in Germany than I ever did in America. Sure, racism and prejudice exist here too, but it’s not stopping these crazy kids from mixing up their crayons.
  • Prostitution – I’ve talked about prostitution in Germany before, but I’ll say it again; it’s legal here, and it’s no big deal. Personally, I think prostitution should be legal everywhere. Why does the government care if you want to choke yourself while some chick dips your nuts in coffee? I think it’s awesome.

Now imagine a young German man growing up in this environment, where sex is accepted more openly and with greater honesty; he may not necessarily be a porn star, but he won’t have as many hangups about sex as your average American. Can’t you just picture the relaxed, easy confidence of a lover so perfectly bred? The only problem is German guys fail to realize how cool they really are; they don’t understand their casual attitude toward sex is both surprising and refreshing to Americans. That’s why in Germany you’re so likely to run into a tall, smart, handsome bastard with the soul of a virgin nerd.

#5: German Dudes Are Uncut


“Get that awful wiener out of my face.” — Image Credit: barockschloss ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License

Oh, did you think this was going to be one long ass-kissing session? Like I wanted to endear myself to the young male population of Germany by listing all the ways in which they rule? No. This is the part where I cut them right back down to size. (Tee hee!)

So here’s the deal: I make a real point out of not looking at other dude’s junk while I’m showering at the gym, but it’s impossible to avoid entirely, especially if you tend to walk with your head down, like I do. If I exit the shower area right as another guy is entering, I will see, in exactly the following order: feet, knees, cock, nipples, face, and then it’s “Oh, excuse me,” as I step aside, thinking, what in the fuck is with all the uncut birds in this country?

I know circumcision is not a part of Christian religious tradition, and Germany is lousy with Catholics and Protestants, so maybe that explains why it isn’t so popular here. But then, America has a shit-ton of Christians too, and most of us had our birds cut while we were still fresh out of the womb. So I’m not sure about the reasons, but circumcision is a surprisingly divisive issue. To cut or not to cut: That is the question. For some it’s about the look. For others it’s about sensitivity, cleanliness or simply not wanting to cut off parts of their baby. And according to the half-assed google search I just did, circumcision seems to be on the decline — at least in America. There are tons of reasons for this — all of which are hotly debated — but none of them matter at all, because uncircumcised dicks are fucking disgusting.

I had my foreskin hacked off as a baby, and I’m glad as hell. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Every time I go to the bathroom I think to myself, yeah, that there is some fine lookin’ denim pork. Now, does it make logical sense that an altered body part should look better than a natural one? Of course not. But still, we pierce our ears, right? We get tattoos, shave our pubes, wear makeup and lift weights to try and achieve a physique with which we were not genetically gifted. Hell, in some cultures they scar themselves from head to toe or wear rings around their necks until they can’t support the weight of their own heads. These are all examples of cultural body modification for the sake of beauty, and when a certain type of beauty is popular for long enough, it becomes the standard. (Hey, I don’t make the rules, I’m just playing by them.)

Sure, uncircumcised dongs will likely come back into fashion, as will big hair, quaaludes and 1970s porno pubes, but I for one will be crying the day that happens. (Except for the quaaludes part. Those sound awesome.) But if you want an uncut penis and you want it right now, come to Germany, because they don’t send their soldiers to war without a helmet.


Although I have strongly recommended throughout this post that you have sex with a German dude, just remember to use protection. Your future spouse is not going to want to hear about the STD you caught in Munich when you were nearly slapped to death in a nutsack hurricane. And you definitely don’t want to explain you have herpes because of that one summer in Berlin spent drowning in penis.


It’s real simple: German dudes are awesome. When compared to the rest of the knuckle-dragging primates of the world, the great apes of Germany score a record-setting 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
Oh, I’m sure many of you will disagree with this assessment — most of all the guilt-ridden, self-loathing Germans themselves — so I cordially invite all of you to light up my comments section like a flaming dildo.



5 More Weirdly Specific, Totally Irrational Fears and Phobias of an American Expat Living in Germany


“Welcome back to my world of madness.” — Image Credit: DieselDemon ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License — Adjusted for contrast.

Remember that post I wrote a while back about my top 5 totally irrational fears and phobias? It actually started out as a list of 10, but the deadline snuck up on me so fast I had to cut that bitch in half. Here’s the second half…

As human beings, we are subject to certain basic fears. Lots of people are afraid of flying in airplanes or standing in crowded elevators. Others are afraid of things like snakes or spiders. Regardless of their source, our fears serve to keep us away from danger and remind us that no matter what we achieve as a species — no matter how tall our skyscrapers, how ingenious our inventions, or how far we explore into outer space — we’re really all just a bunch of scared, shit-slinging zoo monkeys.

Chances are, you and I share all the same phobias — only I have a few more. And by a few more, I mean supplemental fears which are not only freakish in their specificity, but also absurd and unnecessary. These are fears I have always had, but which have grown far worse since I began my life as an American expat in Germany:

Phobia #5: Eye Drops


“Is that innocent saline or battery acid? I bet it’s battery acid.” — Image Credit: National Eye Institute ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Look, I’m an artist and a writer. I’m naturally protective of my eyes and my hands because, without them, I wouldn’t be able to make a living; I’d just be a blind, handless trophy husband. That’s why I recoil in comedic fashion whenever something comes close to my eyes, like umbrella spikes, pencils, butter knives, hot dogs… basically anything shaped like a dick.

I refuse to wear contact lenses based solely upon my fear of anything touching my eyes. And you know that machine that gauges the pressure inside your eyeballs by shooting a tiny puff of air into them? That thing makes my eyes water before the air hits them, and then when it does, I flinch so hard I shake the whole table. Scares the shit out of the optometrist.

But you know what really sucks for me now that I live in Germany? Eye drops. I never had to use them before, but the pollen over here is both foreign and plentiful, resulting in spring and summer allergies so strong I am forced to use them if I want to open my eyes in the morning.

Of course, I can’t really say I “use” eye drops; it’s more like I hold the evil little bottle over my eye and stare right at the droplet, waiting in agonizing anticipation for it to fall. Then, when it does, I slam my eye closed so it splatters all over my eyelids and runs down my face like a porno. The only part of the fluid which ever enters my eye is that which has been caught in my eyelashes, so my use of eye drops is really more of a daily accident I now call routine.

Phobia #4: Crowds of People


“Raise your hand if you’re emotionally unstable! …You? I knew it.” — Image Credit: Stéphane Gallay ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Good Christ I hate being around large crowds of people. Concerts, festivals, conventions — it doesn’t matter; they’re too bright, too loud, and they present way too many social factors for me to consider all at once. And they have so much potential energy! God, it freaks me out. What if they all got mad? Like, at the same time? The way I look at things, every crowd I see is just one emotional trigger away from becoming a riot.

Let’s say there’s a fire; am I the only one who considers the sheer impossibility of so many people passing through the fire exits simultaneously? Forget the flames and the smoke — you know you’re gonna get trampled to death first. And what are the odds at least one person in any given crowd has a gun? In Germany, that number is thankfully much lower than in the States, but still, even here, I’m certain at least one dude is packing heat. And how can you possibly relax when, as a statistical certainty, some small percentage of the crowd has a serious mental illness? Clearly I have one, but all I’m gonna do is talk shit about it on this here blog. What about the violent schizophrenics? Hell, the drug addicts? It only takes one tweaker to ruin your day. That’s all I’m saying.

Okay, I feel like I’m not getting my point across. Like, I can’t possibly explain just how fragile a crowd of people can be. Imagine you’re at an Elton John concert. You’re drunk. You’re having an awesome time. Then some asshole decides to start screaming right in the middle of “Tiny Dancer.” A high-pitched wail which pierces right through the music. No reason, just some crazy dude losing his shit. Even a short yelp will put the entire crowd on edge. But a prolonged scream? At the very least people will be alarmed and start looking for the nearest exit. Hell, Sir Elton himself might even stop playing the piano until security got there. But that sort of thing almost never happens. Why? Because most of the time we all behave ourselves. But that’s just the thing: It all hangs in such delicate balance! I simply cannot relax. Large crowds of people both frighten and exhaust me.

And this fear has only worsened here in Germany, what with all the Christmas markets, fairs and festivals going on. There’s a major social gathering going down in every German city, all year ’round. There is no escape, especially when your spunky German wife insists upon attending at least one of these powder kegs per year. God dammit, just thinking about it now has me reaching for the Xanax. “Oh yes, you beautiful, wonderful little pill… take Daddy away from the bad thoughts.”

Phobia #3: Things Falling from the Sky


“It’s not beautiful, it’s menacing.” — Image Credit: Crysis Rubel ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Do you ever look up at the sky when it’s sunny, bright blue and cloudless, and think to yourself, “Wow, there is absolutely no ceiling there. A little atmosphere, sure, but really nothing between my soft, fragile skull and the chaotic universe beyond?” The Earth is being pounded by meteorites all the time. Just look at the Moon, with all its scars and pock marks. Over the years, that thing has taken a real pounding, and the universe is not a gentle lover. No, the universe is a dangerous, violent bitch, just flinging shit in all directions. When I look up at the sky, I cannot stop thinking about which chunk of cosmic space debris has my name written on it.

This fear actually extends to anything dangerous hanging over my head, like construction equipment. The economy in Germany seems to be doing pretty well, so there’s always new construction going on. I can really only speak for Hannover though, when I say I can’t walk across the Kröpcke without passing beneath a lot of scaffolding, a few ladders, a crane and a bucket full of bricks. How qualified is that dopey bastard in the hardhat to be hoisting a slab of concrete over my head? Not nearly enough, I say, and that’s why I pass beneath construction zones as quickly as possible, shuddering and reciting a silent warning: Motherfucker, if you drop that thing on my head I will haunt you so hard. I will haunt you until you die.

Phobia #2: Doorknobs


“Laugh all you want, but that thing is covered in herpes.” — Image Credit: r. nial bradshaw ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

It may surprise you to know I do not have OCD. I don’t wash my hands a thousand times a day or anything, but I do hate touching doorknobs — especially the ones in public restrooms. I will seriously pull my sleeve up over my hand and use it to open the door rather than allow that sullied metal to touch my skin. My wife just laughs and shakes her head when she catches me doing this. Oh sure, it’s cute now, but imagine seeing me do this as an 80-year-old man; you’d be forced to assume I’ve gone senile. “That poor old bastard — his brain is just riddled with dementia. He probably wipes poo on the mirror too…”

No, you assholes, I just don’t like having dirty hands. I keep them clean and my nails trimmed down to the skin, the way God intended. My problem with touching doorknobs — or really any object utilized by the general public — stems from my lack of basic knowledge in the subject of biology. How many germs are on the average doorknob? What is their half-life? Is it possible for germs to infect one another, so you’ve got the flu, filled with measles, filled with AIDS, like a Russian nested doll?

Screw it. I just avoid the problem entirely. Hell, with my sleeve-over-the-hand technique, I can urinate in a public bathroom without touching anything but my own pink wiener. And since my hands are always clean — and my wiener is easily the cleanest thing on earth — why bother washing my hands at all? My hands are probably cleaner because I touched my wiener.

How has this phobia worsened as a result of living in Germany? Well, my wife and I don’t need a car. We use our bikes in combination with Germany’s awesome public transportation system. And if you’ve ever ridden an U-Bahn train, you know it’s impossible to do so without touching a few door-open buttons, or grasping one of those straps or poles for standing passengers. This is where my sleeve technique fails me; if I try to hold onto a shiny metal pole with a layer of slippery cotton in my fist, I will lose my grip and fall down onto the even filthier train floor. Now I’m being laughed at and infected with viral hepatitis.

Also, on the S-Bahn, where you sometimes have to climb a few steps, it’s expected you help women with strollers board or exit the train. This means, in order to be a proper gentleman, you have to touch the handlebar at the front of the stroller… right below the filthy baby. You know the little demon farts all over that thing. Just all day long. Probably does it on purpose.

Phobia #1: Russians


“Raise your hand if you’re having an awesome time! …No one? …Anyone? …Bueller?” — Image Credit: Brandon ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

There are cool people in every country and there are shitty people in every country. We’re all just human beings in the end, so I try not to make generalized statements about anyone based upon nationality. However, I’m gonna go ahead and do that right now by admitting Russian people scare the shit out of me.

I’m talking about Russian nationals; the ones born and raised in the Motherland. Men and women. Young and old. I am equally afraid of them all. Why? Because of Rocky IV. Just kidding. It’s because 99.9% of my experience with Russians — in America and in Germany — has been scary.

When I was younger, my friend and I were accosted by a Russian man wielding one of those huge, round bottles of wine that cost like $2. I once dated a Russian woman who turned out to be an unapologetic gold digger (but she was hot, so fuck it, right?). Her mother was a mail order bride — clearly miserable — with visible disdain for her American husband. I knew another guy — this one closer to my age — who married a Russian mail order bride and she absolutely hated his guts. (To be fair, I didn’t like much him either, but this young woman would later go on to commit manslaughter by driving over a hobo. I am not joking.) I listened as a Russian contractor told one of my co-workers he could custom-build a 2,500 sq.ft., 2-storey, 4-bedroom house for her under $100,000 dollars — and he whispered it to her, so you just know he was full of shit. That, or the materials were stolen. Anyway, a few years later I had two Russian men knock on my front door and try and intimidate me into moving the fence behind my house, claiming it was over the property line — and they wanted me to move it within 24 hours. (It was totally over the property line, and I was legally required to move the fence, but my point is they were dicks about it.) Here in Germany, I’ve seen countless drunk Russian men on the U-Bahn hassling people and outright daring them to say something about it. I went to a party last summer and there was a Russian guy there — 6′ 7″ and built like a brick shithouse — who, upon hearing I was from America, tipped his head back to swallow a shot of vodka and declared: “I do not like America.” Holy shit, nothing makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end like a slurred Russian accent. Sounds like they’ve got a mouthful of marbles.

So I’ve had a bunch of unfortunate encounters with Russian people. Is it fair to judge them all based upon my own personal experience? Of course not… but in general, Russians do seem pissed. Like, pee-yaa-HISSED. Maybe it’s the long winters. Maybe it’s the decades of economic struggle. Maybe it’s because they’ve got a James Bond villain for a president. I don’t know.

But now I want to talk about that 0.1% of my experience which wasn’t scary. Like the time shortly after I arrived in Germany and began my mandatory German language course. One of the other students was a woman from Russia. She was maybe 5 feet tall, in her late 60s, married with kids and grand kids, and she had — pound for pound — the biggest tits I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously. I was concerned about her lower back, hauling those sweater puppies around all day. Jesus Christ. Anyway, she was smart, nice, and she took the class seriously. She even helped me sign up for the next class after the school lost my file. She was by far my favorite person there.

Then I went to a different language school, where I met another awesome Russian. This time it was a dude, in his mid-30s. He also took his language studies seriously, but he had a very chill, very subtle demeanor about him, and I greatly enjoyed his dry sense of humor. After our teacher had introduced the theme for the day — say, wild boars posing a serious threat to motorists in Berlin (this was an actual theme, by the way) — we would be asked to discuss it together in small groups. My Russian buddy turned to me and asked, “Are you threatened by wild pigs in America?” I laughed, shaking my head. He then turned back around, saying, “In Russia, we are more threatened by bears.” I loved that guy.

Here’s my point: I am afraid of Russian nationals, but I still reserve a very narrow, very jaded place in my heart for the nice ones. So, Nostrovia! (And I know I spelled that wrong, you angry sons of bitches.)


Given the oddity of my phobias — especially where they have been exacerbated by expat life in Germany — I must award them with a solid 4 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
This is not a perfect score, however. If you can top any one of my fears in terms of overall strangeness or potential to derail you as a human being, the comment section is wide open.

I look forward to hearing from you.


P.S. If you’d like to read the first half of this post, you can find it here: The Top 5 Weirdly Specific, Totally Irrational Fears and Phobias of an American Expat Living in Germany.



How to Horrify an American with One Easy German Expression

Scary Horrified German Man

“God damn, dude. Did you really have to go THERE?” — Image Credit: Vik Nanda ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

A while back, my German wife purchased some cheap-ass insoles from Mäc-Geiz. (Mäc-Geiz is kind of like a dollar store here in Germany, or a variety store, if you want to make it sound a little less awful.) She wanted to put the insoles in her shoes so they would be more comfortable, and she bought an extra pair for me too. I thought this was nice, and I totally intended to try them out, but these insoles were huge — the kind you have to cut down to size with scissors before they’ll fit into your shoes. I could never quite muster the energy to do this, so the insoles sat in my office for the next several months. Finally, after my wife had blown through her own dollar store insoles, she asked for my pair back. I handed them to her and asked if she would be cutting them down to size. She looked at me like I was the dumbest motherfucker on the planet and said:

“Of course. How big do you think my feet are?
Like I’m wearing kids coffins?”

*From the slang German expression, “Deine Schuhe sind so groß – voll die Kindersärge,” which translates literally (and horrifyingly) to “Your shoes are so big – totally like children’s coffins.”



Autumn in Germany: A Time of Pumpkins, Spiders and Unintentionally Hilarious German Women


“So beautiful, yet so goddamn cold…” — Image Credit: Bert Kaufmann ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License

It would seem Summer has come to an end here in Hannover, Germany. There’s a chill in the air. Winds are blowing from the north and rain is falling with ever increasing frequency. Alas, I can no longer wear shorts and flip-flops and saunter around town like the cocksure American I am.

Soon will come Fall — or “Autumn,” if you want to romanticize the death of Summer and the obliteration of all things warm and good in the world. Fall in Germany does bring a few half-decent things with it though, like Oktoberfest, colorful tree leaves and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Of all the German vegetables, the only one I cannot remember is harvested in Fall. No matter how hard I try to cram the name into my brain, “Kürbis” just won’t stick. Kürbis means “pumpkin” in English, and as we all know, pumpkins are perhaps the most useless of all vegetables on earth. Oh sure, in America we eviscerate them, carve horrifying shapes into their sides and then illuminate our handiwork with candles for Halloween, but they don’t really do that here in Germany. You can bake pumpkin slices and eat them if you want, but I promise you won’t like them unless they’re drowned in butter. Now, pumpkin seeds are pretty good all by themselves, but they’re a bitch to clean and dry. And pumpkin pie absolutely rules, but so would cat shit pie if you threw enough sugar at it.

Anyway, my German wife and I were walking along a street in the Linden-Nord district of Hannover when we happened by a Turkish produce stand. They had these massive pumpkins on display, and I pointed them out to my wife, amazed by their size and unusual shape. My wife, however, kept right on walking and said:

Pumpkins look creepy to me. That one looks like a spider butt.



“Dropping Trow” – My German Wife Destroys yet Another Classic Phrase from American Slang


“Oh, you need to ‘use the restroom’? I’m sorry, but we only speak AMERICAN in this house.” — Image Credit: Joseph Choi ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License. Edited for contrast.

Not only am I an American graphic designer, but I am also a professional writer, blogger and editor. Reading is my absolute favorite hobby, and when it comes to the English language, my tastes are both widespread and discerning. Therefore, you might reasonably assume I would refrain from all things linguistically crude or lowbrow, but you would be very wrong: I swear like a motherfucker.

Not only do I swear, but I use a remarkable amount of slang too: vulgar phrases, nonsensical jargon and stylistic idioms are all frequent aspects of my everyday speech. This might make me an amusing conversationalist for some, but it plays hell with my German wife’s ongoing education in the English language.

Let’s say I need to use the restroom for the specific purpose of evacuating my bowels. I won’t just saunter away quietly and do my business like a normal person. No, I will loudly announce my intentions to my wife in a manner which maximizes their vulgarity. For example, I might run down the staircase screaming, “Oh sweet Jesus, I gotta take a shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit…” or “Outta the way, sweetheart; I’m about to blast hot lava all up in this bitch,” or “Mother of God, my puckering anus can no longer contain the vile spirits within!”

And then there are the old classic sayings, like “drop a deuce,” “lose some weight,” or “lay some pipe.” I like to use these every once in a while just to keep things classy. So the other week, I kept saying to my wife, “I gotta drop trow” — also spelled “trou” — which refers to the act of preparing to defecate by dropping one’s pants around the ankles. (Note: In America, we call them “pants,” but those dandies in the UK call them “trousers.”) Anyway, after hearing me use this expression enough times, it finally crept into my wife’s vocabulary, resulting in her emerging from the bathroom one day and proudly announcing:

I dropped my trout!


“Nailed it.” — Image Credit: Bugeater ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License. Cropped from original.


The Bletchley Circle: My German Wife Identifies the Murderer, Then Promptly Insults Him


“What do you want to watch tonight, Honey? Something involving gratuitous amounts of rape and murder? Of course you do.” — Image Credit: David Russo ( — Subject to CC Generic 2.0 License.

My wife loves a good murder mystery, especially gritty crime dramas involving serial killers. (Morbid fascination seems to be an inherent trait of all human beings, though I’ve found it to be far more developed in the German psyche.)

Together, my wife and I have watched quite a few murder mystery shows on Netflix: Twin Peaks, The Killing, Damages, Top of the Lake, Bloodline, Broadchurch, and, most recently, The Bletchley Circle. (Note: Most of these shows are worth watching, but Damages is by far the best, and we proudly award it with 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

Anyway, The Bletchley Circle is also pretty fun to watch. It is a British TV crime, drama and mystery series set in the early 1950s in London, England. It begins seven years after the end of WWII and follows four women who worked together during the war as cryptographers at Bletchley Park. When a series of similar murders occur in London, the four women reunite and use their unique codebreaking skills to identify the murder patterns and track down the killer. (Unarmed and without the assistance of the police, mind you, like four women with the combined testicular mass of Jupiter.)

So as we were finishing up the last episode of The Bletchley Circle one Saturday afternoon, we finally discovered the identity of the serial killer. The moment he was revealed, my wife recoiled in disgust and pointed at the TV screen, exclaiming:

Who? That milk face?*

*From the German word, “Milchgesicht,” which figuratively translates to “baby face,” but literally (and hilariously) translates to “milk face.”**

**My wife has used this term often over the years, but until now, I’d mistakenly assumed “milk face” referred to an individual of revoltingly pale complexion.

Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter