Tag Archives: German Expressions

Pruney Fingers: My German Wife Explains Why You Should Get Out of the Bathtub Right Now

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“Dear God in heaven, what does it MEAN??” — Photo Credit: SuperFantastic (https://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Generally speaking, I am an environmentally conscious individual: I ride a bike; I recycle my garbage; I try not to set rubber tires on fire. You know, the usual. My one destructive vice, however, is wasting water.

I love long showers and baths. As a kid, I used to take showers with the drain plugged so the tub would fill halfway with water. I would then lay down on my back and let the droplets rain down on me with just my eyes and nose sticking up out of the water, like a little pink alligator. I called these my, “Swamp Baths,” and they played hell with our water bill.

Even now, I’m the very last one out of the shower at my local gym here in Hannover, Germany. Not even the stupid 15-second timer on the showers can stop me from wasting enough water to revive the Mojave Wasteland. I don’t even know why I do it; something about the heat and the water soothes me to my core. Makes me docile and slow-witted, like a cow on its way to the slaughterhouse: “Jesus, Betsy just dropped dead right in front of me. Oh well, better keep shuffling toward those men with the bloodstained aprons…”

So I’ve never really understood why people think it’s time to get out of the shower, pool or bathtub just because their skin is starting to prune. Are wrinkled fingertips truly the klaxon alarm to end bathtime? Maybe parents made this shit up so their horrible little children would stop robbing future generations of potable water. Some people think pruney skin occurs because the outer layers absorb warm water, causing the cells to expand and fold over on themselves. Others explain it as a vestige of evolution, which gave our extremities better grip in wet conditions. Personally, I think it’s a random, ugly little phenomenon which cannot be explained, much like yawning, orgasm toe and piss shivers.

All I know is I’m gonna stay in the tub until I’m goddamn good and ready to get out. My German wife, however, will end bathtime long before I do, explaining:

“It is time to get out. My fingers are getting schrinkled.”*

*I suspect this may have come from the combination of the English word ‘wrinkled,’ and the German word ‘schrumpfen,’ meaning ‘to shrink.’

If you would like to read another classic quote from The Wife, check this one out: My German Wife Offers the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Childbirth

What It’s Like for an American Expat to Watch “Das Perfekte Dinner” with His German Wife

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“How do you say, ‘food snob’ in German?” — Image Credit: vmiramontes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vmiramontes/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Have you ever seen Das Perfekte Dinner? It’s a German reality TV show — stolen directly from its creators in the UK — in which 4 or 5 people take turns cooking and hosting dinners in their own homes, then rate one another on a point scale from 1 to 10. The person who scores the most total points wins €1,500 euros. My German wife loves this show and watches it almost every day. I used to watch it with her, until I realized I don’t give one dried piece of flying donkey shit about cooking.

Look, I’m from Portland, Oregon — a town full of foodies and hipsters of every flavor — so by all rights I should be all about this sort of culinary snobbery. I’m just not; to me, cooking is but a series of annoying gestures standing between me and the bacon cheeseburger which should already be crammed in my mouth. My wife, however, is a classy European lady. She has great taste in everything, from fashion to food, and absolutely zero tolerance for anything unrefined.

So as we were watching this one episode of Das Perfekte Dinner, she began mocking one of the contestant for having no idea what “seared ahi” was. (Forget the dish itself: this poor fool seemed not to know the difference between tuna fish and a can of spray paint.) My wife rolled her eyes like a stone cold aristocrat, saying:

“It is pearls for the pigs.”

*Translated directly from the German expression, “Perlen vor die Säue werfen.”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Shops for American Baby Gifts

My German Wife Kills Two Birds with One Stone

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“Wait, who’s getting stoned?” — Photo by Benny Mazur — Subject to copyright — Light contrast edits made — https://www.flickr.com/photos/benimoto/2977350640

Toward the end of 2012, my German wife and I were cleaning our former apartment in Hannover, Germany, before our dear friend Looney Tunes came for a visit from the States. We wanted the place to look really nice, you know? Not at all like it normally does. I mean, hosting a guest is not a time for honesty regarding your living space; it is a time for false representations and unmitigated lies.

So after we churched the place up real good, it was time to buy groceries. (One cannot hope to entertain cultured guests with a mere half bottle of Chablis and some old KY Jelly. We aren’t savages, for Christ’s sake.) That’s why I decided to head down to the local Netto discount supermarket and buy some eggs. On my way out the door, I called to my wife and announced I would also be purchasing bread, to which she replied:

THE WIFE: “That would be, of course, two flies with one slap.”

*Translated from the German expression, “Zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen,” — hitting two flies with one slap — which conveys the same figurative meaning as the English expression, “Killing two birds with one stone.” (One a side note, my wife argues it is, “better to kill flies than birds, you meanie.”)


 

My German Wife Politely Asks If I Have a Hearing Problem

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“Can you hear me MEOW?” — Photo by Travis Isaacs — Image subject to copyright — https://www.flickr.com/photos/tbisaacs/

So the other day, The Wife and I were watching my favorite movie, Memento. Have you seen it? It’s a psychological thriller starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano, and directed by Christopher Nolan. It has been my favorite movie ever since my good buddy, Shortround McSugarblood, called me up and said, “Check out Memento, dude. It’s totally you.” That was in the year 2000, and ever since then I have been proclaiming it (annoyingly) as my absolute favorite movie of all time.

Anyway, I recently got around to showing it to my wife, and she loved it too. She had a lot of questions about the plotline though, as one might imagine, but I proved myself fairly useless in explaining it. It’s not that I don’t understand Memento — I can talk about it for hours — it’s that I can’t watch my favorite movie and talk at the same time. I sit there with rapt attention, like a fat man in front of the microwave, and let its glowing brilliance seep into every empty chamber of my brain. I have no cognitive capacity for anything else, so when my wife got up in the middle of the movie to go to the bathroom, I did not hear her at all.

THE WIFE: “Pause the show, please.”

ME: “Hmmmmmm?”

THE WIFE: “PAUSE IT. Are you sitting on your ears?”*

*Translated from the German expression, “Sitzt du auf deinen Ohren?”

 


 

 

My German Wife Somehow Equates Past Grieviances with the Making of a Sandwich

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“German mayonnaise… you’ll never forget it.” — Photo by Renzelle Mae Abasolo – Subject to copyright — (https://www.flickr.com/photos/maehabasolo/)

My wife has an old friend named Killjoy McBittertits. That’s not really her name, but I think it does a great job of summarizing my overall impression of her. You see, Killjoy is the kind of person who keeps track of every little good or service exchanged over the course of a friendship: the number of gifts given, the gallons of gas used, and even the number of cups of coffee shared. All of this information goes into the great empty pit where her heart should be, and fuses together into a lump of bitterness which can be thrown like a projectile weapon whenever someone pisses her off.

My wife somehow managed to anger this woman many years ago, and she has recounted the tale to me several times since. They were in Killjoy’s apartment, Killjoy was in her normal emotional state (simmering fury), and my wife decided to have a second cup of coffee. Since helping yourself to a friend’s coffee pot is obviously reason enough to eviscerate them emotionally, Killjoy decided to list off every single thing she had purchased over the course of their friendship — like she’d been keeping track of each perceived offense on a list hidden beneath her pillowcase, written in pig blood.

If there’s one thing my wife is not, it’s a freeloader. The insinuation makes her very mad. So when she told me this story — describing each insult and retort in detail — she spoke as if she were snapping back at Killjoy herself:

THE WIFE: “Sorry you feel that way, but don’t smear this on my bread!”*

*Translated from the German expression, “Schmier mir das nicht aufs Brot,” which figuratively means, “Quit bringing up the past.”

 


 

 

Denglish 85: My Wife Reveals A Uniquely German Expression for Beverages of Extremely High Alcohol Content

The night I asked The Wife to marry me — after getting down on one knee, offering her a diamond ring and giving her a picture I drew of a squirrel (seriously) — I took her to the Rose and Thistle Pub in northeast Portland. There, we sent text messages to all of our friends and family members announcing our engagement.

Cute squirrel holding diamond engagement ring

How a ring-carrying squirrel goes from idea to reality.

We also ordered beer, and if you know much about Portland, you know it is the Microbrew Beer Capitol of the United States. (And with this in mind, I once suggested to my German class teacher here in Hannover that the US actually produces good beer. He rolled his eyes, because Germans think we only drink Budweiser and Coors Light. I laughed and played along, but inside I was seeing red, thinking, ‘Oh you poor, naive little man. You don’t even know. You don’t even KNOW,’ and then I used my telepathic powers to make his giant German head explode.)

Anyway, Portland beer is awesome, and it is often quite strong. There are all sorts of ways to discuss drinks with high alcohol content, but translating these idioms directly from German into English is easily the most entertaining. So, as we looked over the menu, my German wife announced:

THE WIFE: “I want a beer, but I don’t want something that pulls my sock off.”

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

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Denglish 42: The German Sizes Up Daniel Radcliffe

As my wife and I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II, I made a comment about Daniel Radcliffe’s remarkably slight, 5’6″ build:

ME: “My God that Harry Potter is small.”

THE WIFE: “In German we say, ‘Er ist eine halbe Portion,’ which means, “He is a half portion.’ ”

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

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