Monthly Archives: October 2012

Denglish 75: My German Wife Explains Urinary Hormone Levels

You already know my wife and I are disgusting. It should come as no surprise we have precious few boundaries where the bathroom is concerned. In general, we won’t walk in on each other when the door is closed. However, last winter, my wife was in the bathroom and the door was slightly ajar. I needed to pluck a nose hair in a big hurry or something, so I busted right on in and went to work. My wife was clearly peeing, as she is wont to do, and I noticed how strongly it stank.

ME: “Your pee smells so strongly.”

THE WIFE: “That’s because the female body has so much Ostesterone.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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Culture Shock 3: American Man Experiences Blind Rage Using Shower in Germany

Shower stall in a bathroom in Hannover, Germany

“Look, Mr. Shower, you don’t like me and I don’t like you. Let’s just play nice in front of The Wife, okay?”

Let me begin by saying I love our apartment here in Hannover, Germany. I love it! My wife did a spectacular job finding us the perfect living space in the perfect neighborhood. I’ve been living here since September and I have no complaints whatsoever. No complaints, that is, except one: the shower.

German bathroom ventilation

Neither one of these holes are into ‘fresh’ air.

There is no fan in our bathroom. You see that window in the picture above? It doesn’t open. See that fan-looking hole on the right? That’s not a fan; it’s a simple duct connected to each apartment in our building from the ground floor all the way up to the top. It is the reason we catch whiffs of cigarette smoke drifting into our apartment from time to time. (I suspect it comes from those old, sour-faced cancer-donkeys living beneath us.)

Without proper ventilation, our bathroom fogs up something fierce whenever one of us takes a shower. To compensate, The Wife and I plug an oscillating fan into the wall and set it precariously on top of the medicine cabinet. It doesn’t do much for the condensation on the mirror, but it does a fantastic job of reminding me I will someday be electrocuted as I scrub my pink parts.

I suspect this design stems from the Iron Maiden.

Not only is our shower stall tiny, but it has no shower curtain; only the cold, unforgiving sliding glass walls you see in the picture above. Before arriving in Germany, I never realized how much space I really need in order to cleanse my American body. I mean, I knock my elbows into everything. The sliding walls, tiles, mirror, bottle racks, shower handle… I’m like the Tasmanian Devil in there.

And there is this one special moment — it happens during every shower — when my vision goes red and I experience a perfect, poetic sort of blind rage. It’s after I have managed to smash my extremities into every single object around me. After I have dropped my razor for the third time, bent over to retrieve it and knocked a bottle rack from the wall with my forehead, sending my wife’s girly hair products clattering to the floor. It’s right when I am standing back up, about to take a deep breath and count to ten… when I bonk the back of my head against the hot water controller.

Instantly, scalding hot water sears my flesh and sends me up to Rage Level: Bill O’Reilly (Warning, video contains awesome swearing). That’s when I slap the lever back toward cold, which hoses me down with an arctic blast so cold my plums shrivel up and let me know they won’t be making another appearance until spring.

German shower stall

German Shower: 1, American Body: 0

There is one good thing about German showers, however; the shower heads are mounted on handles. I haven’t seen too many showers with handles in the States — mostly in fancy hotel rooms — but Germans love ‘em. And I am forced to admit it is quite nice to direct the flow of water wherever I want it, even though the rest of the shower makes me so angry I could flip off a box of kittens.

But let’s not kid ourselves here; shower handles are unnecessary. The only reason Germans like shower handles is because they let you spray warm water directly on your cinnamon ring.

Click here to learn more about the term “Culture Shock.”

For another great article complaining about German showers, check out The Adventures of Heidi Hefeweizen.

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Denglish 74: My German Wife Invents Acrobatic Dried Goods

When The Wife and I go grocery shopping, we always like to shake things up by buying a few items we don’t purchase regularly. Back in February of 2012, we were on some kind of dried goods kick, eating raisins, dried apricots, cashews and other nuts. Our cupboard was pretty well-stocked, but I felt like a snack and couldn’t remember everything we had. When I asked my wife what my options were, she replied:

THE WIFE: “We have almonds and banana flips.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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Culture Shock 2: An American Attempts to Get a Haircut in Germany

On October 4th, 2012, I attempted to get a haircut here in Hannover, Germany. I was long overdue for a good shearing, and I wanted to clean up a little because we were about to see my wife’s entire family to celebrate her father’s birthday. I chose a place called ‘Fast Cuts,’ which appeared to be the German version of Supercuts. Anyway, none of the hair stylists at Fast Cuts spoke English and my wife could not translate for me because she was at work, so I did what any red-blooded American male would do; I swaggered into that chop shop like I owned the place and got my hair did.

Here’s how the conversation between me and the tattooed hair stylist girl went, if you were to translate everything directly into English:

ME: “Good day to you. I understand very little German.”

STYLIST: “Okay.”

ME: “I would gladly take a hair… a hair… a hair slice. Shit.”

STYLIST: “Yes. Would you like to hang up your coat?”

ME: “Oh. You said ‘coat.’ Yes. Perfect. Thank you very much.”

STYLIST: “How would you like your hair cut today?”

ME: “I have no idea what you are saying to me right now. Please, a half of one millimeter over, and then five millimeters to the left, to the right, and behind.”

STYLIST: “What?”

ME: “Centimeter. Dammit! I meant one half of one centimeter over.”

STYLIST: “We have attachments for 12, 8, 6 and 3 millimeters.”

ME: “Three. Three is perfect. I don’t know.”

STYLIST: “Wow. Okay.”

ME: “And please, make it very boring up high. Right here.”

STYLIST: “Faded? Near the top?”

ME: “Yes. Awesome. Perfect. Thank you very much.”

STYLIST: “Do you want me to use the electronic hair clipper?”

ME: “Yes. Everything.”

15 minutes later I was staring into the mirror, dazed and confused, getting to know my brand-new buzz cut. Let me tell you, this mother was short. I paid the girl, tipped her a Euro for some reason, then stumbled out of Fast Cuts a few inches shorter than when I arrived.

The first thing I said to my in-laws when I greeted them two days later was, “Hello. Good night, isn’t it? I am sorry for my skull. I know I am not a skinhead.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Culture Shock.”

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Denglish 73: How to Really Listen to Your Spouse, According to My German Wife

As I’ve said half a dozen times before, my wife speaks fantastic English. Better than any other German I’ve met. However, there are times when I am uncertain she truly understands everything I’m saying. I suspect my points are sometimes lost in translation, and other times she is outright ignoring me.

My latter suspicion was plainly the case back in early 2012, when I finished an impassioned monologue concerning the expected advantages of Adobe Creative Suit 6 over version 5.5:

ME: “… and that’s why in CS6 you will be able to… hey, are you even listening to me?”

THE WIFE: “I heard you. What’d you say?”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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Pictures: A Walking Tour of Hannover, Germany, on the Red Thread, Part I

Hannover New Town Hall Rathaus

On September 8th, 2012, just 6 days after my arrival in Germany, The Wife and I began the first part of our ongoing walking tours of Hannover. We followed “The Red Thread,” which totally sounds like a yarn shop for old ladies, but is actually the main tourist circuit through the city. We barely made it through half of the tour on our first day, so I would expect these posts to continue for some time because the Red Thread is one long mother.

Here are the pictures. Click one of them to open the gallery. We hope you like them!

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