Welcome would be Germans. If you came here randomly, you'll probably want to read steps 1-10 first at Venture Village. Ready? Let's continue.
lost its importance to the rest of the world once we were no longer at threat
from scurvy. Germans absolutely hate the stereotype that they're a nation of
obsessive sauerkraut eaters. Really hate it. Many have stopped eating
Sauerkraut entirely in an act of nationalistic principle, or maybe they just
don't like sauerkraut (who could blame them) and this offers a more profound
excuse for its avoidance. But someone must love it, or sauerkraut is playing a
large and elaborate practical joke on the German people because if you order a
German meal, in a German restaurant, there is an 87% chance it will come with
sauerkraut. It's there. It's always there. It's like a pact was made somewhere
at a secret meeting no German was invited to, a referendum of one and now
sauerkraut is the official, national side dish. If there's no smoke without
fire, and there's no German Hauptgericht without Sauerkraut, the stereotype has
to be accurate. If you don't like it my dear Krauts, change that default side
dish. May I suggest Baked Beans? It's a custom of my people and I must say, I
find them to be delicious.
Look for a job
news Ausländer, the German economy is rocking. Employment is very possible.
Even in the East, where formerly abandoned cities like Leipzig have redeveloped
themselves into logistics hubs. So armed with all those new qualifications and
letters before your name, you'll have no problems finding work. But not all
work is equally prized. There is an unspoken scale of careers, known, but not
acknowledged by all Germans. Real jobs and not real jobs. For a
profession to count in Germany, it should have existed for at least a hundred
years, be vaguely scientific or at least dense enough that it requires half a
life time of study and the opportunity to acquire 67 different academic
qualifications. It should be impenetrable to outsiders, shielded in its own
complex language. Ideally, it should also start with an e and in ngineering.
But other accepted professions are scientist, lawyer, doctor, teacher,
something that involves organising things on a large scale, like logistics, or
anything to do with cars. Otherwise when people ask you your job, the same will
happen to you as happens to me, I reply "I'm a marketer", at which
point someone says, "that's not really a job though, is it?"
Learn how to open a beer bottle with anything but a bottle opener
bottle opener has existed in various formats since about 1738. The only logical
reason why Germans can open bottles with just about anything, except bottle
openers, must be that bottle openers didn't arrive here until 2011. Since then
they've been viewed with suspicion and anyone caught using one declared a witch
and burnt at the stake. I remember there was a website that every day, listed a
new way to open a beer bottle, over 365 days. Some said they'd run out of ideas
by the end, when they suggested opening it on the edge of a Turtles shell.
Germans didn't read the blog, they knew all these ways already. Turtles shell?
Easy, come on. Try and think of something a little more imaginative. Don’t you
dare suggest a bottle opener.
So Ausländer, you need to learn at least 10 ways. Two of
which must be with a lighter and a spoon. Turtle shell method optional but not
what you mean
is not about what you say, but how you say it. German is both, but more the
former. Since what Germans say tends to be direct and prepared with minimal
ambiguity. Ruthlessly efficient, if you will. In English, for example, if you
want something to do something for you, you do not merely go up to that person
and ask them to do something for you. Oh no. That would be a large faux pas of
the social variety. Instead you must first enquire about their health, their
families health, their children’s health, the weather, the activities of the
previous weekend, the plans of the upcoming weekend, the joy or ecstasy related
to the outcome of the most recent televised football match, then, finally, you
can say "by the way", after which you begin the actual point of the
conversation, before reinforcing that you feel guilty for having to ask, and
only if it's no trouble, but would they be so kind as to possibly do this
little thing for you. You will be eternally grateful. Germans
do not dance around the point in such elaborate, transparent displays of
faux-friendship, they just say "I need this, do it, by this date. Alles
klar”? Then walk off. Once you've practiced regularly getting to the point, you
may find the way to be short but very enjoyable. As
for saying what you mean, Germans have rightly realised that sugar coating is
best reserved for cakes. If I'm having one of my momentary delusions of
grandeur I know I can rely on my German girlfriend to bring me swiftly back
down to reality by saying something like "get over yourself, we're all
born naked and shit in the toilet".
Available now in the Hipstery store - Denglish!
Feel mixed about Berlin
average German has a complex relationship to its Hauptstadt. Berlin is the
black sheep of the German family. Creative, unpunctual, prone to spontaneous
displays of techno, unable to pay its taxes, over familiar with foreigners. To
many Germans, Berlin is not really their capital, it's more like a giant art
project or social experiment that only turns up when hungover, and in need of a
hand out. To them, the true capital is probably somewhere more like Frankfurt.
You know where you are with Frankfurt.
pantomime needs its villain. For Germany, the wicked witch is Bavaria. Firstly
it had the misfortune to be based right down there in the corner, far enough
away that we can all say mean things about it and it won't hear, not central
enough that it can claim real geographic importance. It then had the audacity
to become the richest state, but not quietly and with humility, but in a
gregarious, badly dressed, heavy drinking, God greeting, bumpkin sort of way.
It's also a source of wider German mirth since while only one part of this huge
country, it's responsible for 91% of all wider held German stereotypes and 100%
of the annoying, inaccurate ones.
Speak freely about Sex
is a great joy to live in a society that deals with sex so frankly and without
fuss. As if, oh I don't know, it was a completely normal part of life. An act
so common there is even compelling evidence our lame parents engaged in it.
Germans understand this. Sex, while perhaps dealt with a little clinically at
times, is not a big deal and must not be treated as such. It's like walking the
dog or taking out the trash. Nudity is extended the same perfunctory
familiarity. Particularly around lakes in the East of the country, with their
history of FKK. When I questioned one of my colleagues on the need for such
overt nakedness when an East Germans spots any body of water larger than a
puddle, this was the reply "if you've never swum naked with 5 of your best
male friends, you haven't lived!"
Love your car.
very time consuming for German men to have to keep pulling their penises out
for comparison against the other men they meet. It also tends to be rather
distracting for other people present. So they've evolved other ways to rank
themselves, the favourite being cars. When my girlfriend told her father she
had a new English boyfriend, his first question, before my name, job,
interests, age etc "what kind of car does he drive?" Germans are
serious about their cars. They're also pretty good at making them. Possibly
those two are also related, but since I can't think of any jokes in the linking
of them, I'll conveniently ignore that and just move on.
Do nothing on Sundays.
the scene - an abandoned hospital. Someone wakes up in bed, in a locked room.
They don't remember how they got there. They are groggy. It's quiet. Eerily quiet. They get up, and leave the room, stepping gingerly
out into the hall. There are no humans around. It feels like the end of the
world. They venture outside to try and find signs of humanity. There is
nothing. They start to wonder if they are the only people left on earth. Maybe
it was a killer virus. It's quiet, too quiet.Sound
familiar? Yes, this is the start of most zombie movies. It’s also a description
of the average Sunday in Germany. At least in catholic or rural areas. A day in
which washing your car is considered an act of vigilantism against the sacred
There is of course one exception though. One Sunday
activity that is compulsory:
my first WG we had a TV attached to a skateboard that lived in a cupboard. It
was only wheeled out once a week, for Tatort. Friends of my room-mates would
come by, the TV would be setup in the kitchen, elaborate meals would be cooked
and shared, then silence would descend and Tatort would begin. If you dare to
ask a German "is Tatort actually good?" the response is usually very
amusing. You would think since they watch it with such rigid vigour, privately
or as part of the public viewings in pubs, they must really love it? Yet, they
usually don't say yes. They made a shocked face, as if that's a new question
and they've not really thought about it before, like you asked them "do
you believe in gravity?" then, usually, they'll conclude that whether
Tatort is good or bad is utterly irrelevant. Every culture has its
inherited customs. For the Germans, it's Sunday Tatort.