My Wife Suggests Long John Underwear to Help Fight Winter Chills in Germany

“Keeps my junk so warm I gotta smile.” — Photo by Anthony Easton (

We’ve all heard winters in northern Germany can be pretty harsh, right? They’re long, dark, scary and depressing, like a prolonged nightmare or just about any movie starring Jeremy Irons. Winters pass so slowly here, the Germans have constructed a series of traditions and paid holidays systematically designed to keep you from playing chicken with the next subway train you see and screwing up the U-Bahn schedule for everybody.

I don’t mind winter, but even I have to admit the winter of 2012 was a real penis shrinker. In Hannover, winter lasted from October until May. Seriously, it was May when my wife and I were finally able to turn off the heat in our apartment and not freeze to death like a couple of white chocolate popsicles. Luckily, my wife is German and she knows how to deal with these long winters. She’s always telling me to wrap myself in a blanket, drink hot chamomile tea (because Germans think chamomile is a panacea), place a hot water bottle on my lap and wear thermal underwear beneath my pants (known more creepily as “long johns”).

I generally follow her advice, but the truth is I am a profoundly lazy man. Sometimes I cannot be bothered with all 4 aspects of her winter defensive strategy, which is why, back in November of 2012, I wore thin pajama pants while working at my computer and then complained about the fact that my legs were cold. My wife came into the office, put her teacher’s bag on the floor and announced:

THE WIFE: “It is getting very cold. Your pee-jammy pants are not warm enough. Tomorrow we buy you Johnny Long Bottoms.”

14 thoughts

  1. All Denglish aside: This Midwesterner and Wisconsin resident can attest to your wife being correct. Our winters are Oct-May-ish as well. I still had the heat on in my house last week. A good trick is to wear your Johnny Long Bottoms under your pee-jammys.


  2. We here in Canada had a really cold winter also. We all wore long underwear is nice to feel and see the sunshine today.


  3. Here in the wild, wild east of the Netherlands we know about longjohns (called thermo undies at our house). Not sexy,but they do keep you warm! Is that you in the photo? You could be a new super-hero, “The Thermonator”!


  4. Well, and this week it will be up to and even over 31 ° – and we are talking CELSIUS here … Time for the age-old debate what to wear to office without violating the dress-code.


  5. Grim dark winters, eh? That’s why the Romans lost those Three Legions in 9AD. You learn something new every day.


  6. I grew up in the northern parts of Sweden, so dealing with cold climate is part of my genes. I have more trouble with heat and really warm weather :-)


  7. Johnny Long Bottoms is a much better name for them in my opinion. By the way, I have found that Germans (especially German medical professionals) tell you to drink for most ailments as well. While I appreciate a more gentle and natural approach to medicine, I think some damn antibiotics are warranted by the time you suffer your third sinus infection in four months.


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