Category Archives: Denglish

Quotes from my wife featuring the accidental combination of German and English words.

Sexy Plato: My German Wife on Teaching Philosophy to 10th Graders


Meet Plato: Socrates’ little sex kitten. — Photo Credit: aaron wolpert ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License

My wife is German, and she is a great big nerd. Good-looking, but a nerd nonetheless. Specifically, she is a philosophy nerd; you know, the ones who are super smart but somehow fail to notice the gaping void where their post-college job opportunities should be? Luckily, my wife saw that disaster coming and rolled her love of philosophy into a second master’s degree, which allowed her to land an awesome job teaching philosophy to Gymnasium students here in Hannover, Germany. (To be fair, I’m a nerd too, but I’m more the Computer/Sci-Fi/Fantasy type. Also, I wear hoodies 24/7 because they’re the next best thing to a cloak of invisibility.)

As it turns out, my wife is not only freakishly passionate about philosophy, but she’s passionate about teaching it too. She spends countless hours after work preparing lessons and materials for her students, even though I keep telling her teenagers are nothing but a bunch of filthy, stinking ingrates who don’t deserve her extra efforts and we should totally be re-watching episodes of Firefly instead goddammit.

So one evening, after she’d spent over 2 hours making extra materials for her 10th graders, my wife said she would be teaching them about the subjects of death and dying. Personally, I would have loved to sit in on that class, but she wasn’t terribly excited about it. You see, her favorite topics come from the Classical Greek philosophers — Plato, in particular. She could talk about that fruity Grecian forever. (And she does — which is why I no longer ask anything about him unless I want to wipe my schedule clean for the rest of the day.)

Anyway, she went on to explain how the curriculum required her to discuss the larger, more general themes with her students first — like mortality — rather than diving straight into the specific works of the ancient philosophers. And she clarified this point in surprisingly graphic fashion:

“I would rather teach them about Plato, but you know how when you want to have sexy time, you don’t just stick it in — you need to have some foreplay first.”



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

Seeking a Change of Scenery: My German Wife Orders Tickets for the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Hamburg, Germany

Phantom of the Opera - Hamburg - Neue Flora Theater

“Get ready to watch a twisted circus freak smash some dudes with a chandelier.”

I am a huge nerd. I sit in front of my computer every day designing logos, making websites and creating original illustrations for my clients all around the world. My hobbies include reading, writing and avoiding social interaction at all costs. Given the chance, I will remain hidden in the shadowy corner of my home office and never allow the sun to touch my tender, vampire-white skin. The noisy hustle and bustle of the outside world makes me cringe in fear, and the laughter of children is like shards of glass exploding in my eardrums.

My wife, however, is a beautiful, outgoing, social supernova. She’s a Gymnasium teacher, you see, so she has no problem whatsoever spending every day among the noisy, smelly, repellant savages running amok outside the safety of these four walls. She even enjoys venturing out into the chaotic unknown — especially for cultural events occurring in other cities. In fact, she has the excess energy to drag me along with her, even as I hiss and claw in impotent rage: “Oh please take us home, Mistress Extrovert! Take us back into the sweet embrace of darkness and silence from whence we came! Oh God, the light — it burns my eyes! The heat — it sears my flesh! Look there! I see humans! Horrible, ugly humans with smiles on their faces and happiness oozing from every gaping orifice! Sweet Christ, into what sort of nightmarish hell have you thrust me, woman!?

Phantom of the Opera - Hamburg - Neue Flora Theater

“I appreciate the effort, honey, but these cultural excursions are starting to feel a lot like something out of a Hellraiser movie.”

So anyway, knowing her misanthropic husband needs to get out of the house from time to time, my wife ordered tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Stage Theater Neue Flora in Hamburg — 2 hours north of our home in Hannover, Germany. A week later, the tickets arrived in our mailbox and my wife held them proudly aloft, announcing the fact that we would be spending the following weekend watching Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical spectacular in a strange and unfamiliar city:

“We will go to Hamburg and then we will see
some different wallpapers!”

*From the German expression, “Dann haben wir einen Tapetenwechsel,” which is a hilarious way of announcing the fact that you’re about to experience a dramatic change of scenery.


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

Rehydrating After the Gym: Why Popular Sports Drinks Fail to Impress My German Wife

Gatorade Sports Drinks v.s. Evian Water

“Wait, so sugar and salt work BETTER than water? That totally makes sense.” — Image Credit: Anna Hirsch ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As you probably know, I’m an American expat and freelance graphic designer working from my home office in the city of Hannover, Germany. Like a lot of self-employed creative types, I am a spiteful little shut-in with introverted tendencies and a general sense of loathing for the bright, colorful world outside my nest of shadows. (Imagine a black-cloaked Nosferatu-type cringing in pain from the merciless gaze of the sun: “Hissssssss…”)

When I do manage to gather the willpower necessary to leave the house, it is only so I can go exercise at our local German gym. And since I make my own hours, I can do this whenever the hell I want. My poor wife, however, is a Gymnasium teacher; she’s gone all day long, and then when she’s home, she has to plan lessons the rest of the evening. It’s a tough job, so when she finally has time to go to the gym, she considers it a luxury.

My wife considers clean, abundant drinking water a luxury as well, and cannot fathom the attraction people — especially Americans — have for popular sports drinks. Sports drinks are supposed to help athletes replace the water, energy and electrolytes they’ve lost during training or after competitions, but I think we all maintain a little skepticism regarding their effectiveness. Even German people are skeptical about them, which I find rather contradictory, since they also believe herbal tea with honey is a panacea capable of curing all diseases and prolonging life indefinitely.

Anyway, the other day, when my wife came home from the gym, she set her bag down and took a long pull from her water bottle. She looked at it closely, then turned to me and asked in her adorable accent:

THE WIFE: “What do all the sport people drink again? Jen-er-ate?
ME: “…Gatorade.”

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