American Man in Germany Offends Absolutely Everyone with the Big Black Banana in His Pocket


It all started here.

Now that my German wife and I have moved out of the city and into the suburbs around Hannover, Germany, it is no longer practical for me to get my haircut at my favorite (although terrifying) Turkish hairdresser.

So this past summer, I walked into the closest salon I could find — some chain run by twenty-something girls wearing black t-shirts at least two sizes too small, cutting hair to the tune of the loudest, most obnoxious techno music in the world. There was a long line of dudes (only dudes, mind you), but I sat down and joined the queue anyway. I pulled my trusty messenger bag from my shoulder — the one with the giant HANNOVER printed on the front — rifled through it and found a book I’d been meaning to finish.

As I read, I noticed a terrible aroma, like stale wine or some kind of fermented fruit product one might find brewing in the toilet of a prison cell. I checked under my seat and found nothing. I looked at the muscular fellow to my right but decided, no, that shitbird bathes in Axe body spray and drinks Vodka Red Bull to rehydrate after hitting the gym.

To my left side sat a bespectacled nerd reading some celebrity gossip magazine, and he looked way to clean to be the source of such potent funk. Still, I knew some filthy bastard was stinking up the place.

A few minutes later, a fruit fly passed in front of my face. I swatted him away, but another took his place, and then another — all of them buzzing about my eyes and nose like a plague of locusts. What’s with all the flying jerks in here? I thought to myself, becoming very angry. This salon sucks! God dammit!

By this point I was next in line for a haircut, so I was mercifully led away from the swarm. I explained to the stylist — very specifically and in well-practiced German — what sort of cut I wanted. She pulled out the clippers and proceeded to peel my skull like an orange. Fast, like she wanted me out of the chair as soon as possible. It was, without a doubt, the worst haircut I have ever received in this country. The sides were uneven, the edges were sloppy, and worst of all, the stylist never once used the hairdryer to blow the tiny pieces of shaven hair from my face. That shit itches, man, and I looked like a fucking werewolf. (And not the cool kind. I mean like The Wolf Man from 1941, where they pretty much just slapped some fur and a rubber dog’s nose on some dude’s face and said, “Action!”

At the cash register, my stylist rang up the bill and loudly announced the total, then waited expectantly. (In Germany, when you want to tip for a service, the person says the amount you owe, and then you say the total amount you would like to pay — generally a little bit more.) When I did not declare anything extra, she announced my change even louder, attempting to shame me for a second time into leaving a tip. I just grinned at her, letting the shaven bits of hair stream from my lips and nostrils, and said, “That’s exactly right. Have a nice day,” and strutted my self-righteous ass right out the door.

Next, I went to our local Rossman drugstore to buy new blades for my razor. Normally you can find them with great ease because there’s an entire shelf devoted to men’s shaving products, but man, I couldn’t find these things anywhere. I walked all over the place until one of the clerks finally asked if I needed any help. I made some wild shaving gestures, clawing at my face like a pissed off monkey, and was finally pointed in the right direction. (Though I did notice the clerk kept a healthy distance between our bodies the whole time.)

I walked home from Rossman and was much relieved after I’d locked the front door and breathed the sweet, fresh air of my own home… until I smelled the stink again. And the fruit flies were back too! They’d somehow followed me all the way home! Then I realized — oh sushi Christ in soy sauce — the smell was me.


My attempt at drying a book bag after scrubbing it to death.

I threw my Hannover bag on the table, opened the inside pocket and discovered the biggest, blackest, most rotten banana in all of Germany. Clearly it was a biohazard and I’d single-handedly reintroduced smallpox to the general population. This evil lump of forgotten hell had been in my bag for at least a month — the hottest month of the summer — and it had been smashed into just everything: My school books, my papers, and even the little book bag inside the main bag.

I tossed the banana into the organic garbage sack and proceeded to wash absolutely everything. (Seriously, I even scrubbed the pages of my books with soap and water. To hell with readability; this was an exorcism.)


And yes, I pulled this monstrosity back out of the garbage for YOU, dear reader.

But you know what the worst part was? I’d walked all over town, sat inside a shitty salon for over an hour and wandered endlessly around a crowded drugstore, all the while believing myself to be surrounded by the absolute foulest smelling members of the European Union.

I am truly sorry, Germany. This time it was my fault.

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Want to read another one of my emotionally scarring adventures with culture shock in Germany? Check out this post: American Man Speaks with Prostitute in Hamburg, Germany.



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My German Wife Offers the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Childbirth


Kuato says, “Open your mind.” — Photo Credit: eyeliam (Jason Lander – — Subject to Copyright, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Back in March of 2013, my German wife and I were watching the entire collection of Firefly — you know, the greatest sci-fi TV series of all time? — and yet still, I had to make her watch it, because although she is a huge nerd, she just isn’t a futuristic, spaceship kind of nerd.)

There’s this one episode of Firefly called Heart of Gold, in which a brothel comes under attack by an evil tyrant hellbent on claiming his biological infant son from one of the young prostitutes he’d impregnated. The heroes of the show come to the brothel’s aid and a massive gunfight ensues. It’s a spectacle of bullets, laser beams and garter belts — pretty much the sexiest shootout ever — but during the mayhem, the pregnant girl goes into labor.

She starts screaming, hollering and pouring fluids from her nether regions. (It was a rather effective deterrent for anyone inclined to bring a new soul into the world.) My wife was watching this woman thrashing around and hollering in pain when she turned to me and said:

“It’s so weird that humans reproduce this way. I would rather lay an egg.”

*Would you like to read another post about my German wife’s attitude toward having babies? Check out this other gem: My German Wife Shops for American Baby Gifts



InterNations: An American Expat Answers Questions About Living in Germany

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Life as an American Expat in Germany, an Interview
with Oh God, My Wife Is German.

Conducted by InterNations
October, 2014

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Germany, etc.

I am an American expat from Portland, Oregon, now living in Hannover, Germany. I moved here in September of 2012 in order to be with my wife, who is just German as all hell.

New Town Hall, Hannover, Germany

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I’ve attempted to maintain one blog or another since 2001. None of them lasted because I just didn’t have the motivation, but this all changed when I met my wife. I thought she was hilarious – whether she meant to be or not – and I made a habit of writing down her more memorable “denglish” quotes. I had no idea I would ever share these things with the world. When it all started, I just thought I was collecting little inside jokes for she and I to laugh about in bed while we farted under the covers. Her quotes soon became the inspiration for the blog and — much to my surprise — readers seemed to enjoy them as much as we did. (The quotes, I mean. Not the farts.)

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

You know, I’ve never understood what makes one post more popular than another. Some of my absolute favorite posts have tanked, while weaker ones have gone on to be reblogged and republished in numerous places. But there is one fairly recent post which amused me more than the rest: How to Convince Your Neighbors You Are A Thief and An Alcoholic (In One Simple Gesture)

vodka bottle in germany

Tell us about the ways your new life in Germany differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

For me, the single biggest difference between life back in the States and life as an expat in Germany is boredom. That is to say, boredom no longer exists. Every day is different, especially as I attempt to live using a second language. And as for culture shock, oh my yes, I have a whole blog category relating my experiences in this arena. Here is just one post of many: Culture Shock 15: The Batshit Insane Ways in Which Germans Tell Time (And Why I Hate Them For It)

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Germany? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

There is no way anyone can fully prepare for a life change like this. You do the best you can – learning as much of the language, culture and history as possible – then dive in headfirst. Where do you find a job? An apartment? Friends? Forget it; these things will take care of themselves. And no matter if the transition goes smoothly or not, I guarantee you it will be hilarious.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

This is precisely what my blog is all about, from my wife’s time in America, to my time here in Germany. One anecdote does come to mind, however, but it has long since been lost in the archives of my blog. I think like 12 people read it at the time. It was called, New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple

New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Voliting in New York City

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Germany?

1: Learn the language.

2: Bring certified, notarized copies of everything.

3: Watch out for bikes.

How is the expat community in Germany? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community here is great. There are groups meeting up all the time – English-speaking ones, especially. My biggest problem is bothering to go at all. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s that I’m lazy and awkward. Socializing makes me tired. What I really want to do is watch the latest season of Game of Thrones with my wife, drink a couple of brew doggies and pass out on the couch.

 How would you summarize your expat life in Germany in a single, catchy sentence?

“Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.”

– Christian Nevell Bovee

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Check out InterNations for great expat networking and social opportunities at

And if you’d like to find out more about life as an American expat in Germany, check out some of our other posts, like this one: Culture Shock 5: Five Things That Suck About Living in Germany