With the hubbub surrounding the Germany/US soccer match last week, I’ve been reminded of what it is I appreciate most about the German people – they are a determined bunch that doesn’t give a fig about what people think.
I took German in high school for the following reasons:
- When it came to meeting my foreign language requirement, my school offered two choices: German or Spanish. I’m pretty good at hocking loogs but I can’t roll an r to save my soul.
- I wanted to understand what the Amish were saying about me in front of my back and German was as close to Pennsylvania Dutch as I could get.
- I enjoy the Chicken Dance.
- Herr Miller was the bomb.
Typically, I can spot a German from a mile away. Call it a sixth sense (or stereotyping or whatever). Germans wear whatever the hell they want. They do whatever the hell they want. And they say, pretty bluntly, whatever the hell they want. I admire that.
For instance, while I might struggle with wearing socks and sandals – Germans rock the look.
Rock on. (land-der-ideen.de)
Though I might second guess a haircut like this:
German heartthrob Bill Kaulitz. (coolmenshair.com)
A German wears it like a badge of honor.
They are bold.
Not my favorite Olympic look, but kudos for putting it out there. I mean, c’mon, our sweaters weren’t much better. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
They can drink.
Prost, meine freunde! (dmarge.com)
And they must have a sense of humor.
I’ve got nothing. Maybe peed my pants a little… (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
One of my favorite experiences with the German culture happened on a small lake beach in Italy. It was just full enough with locals that we could almost reach our neighbors. However, we had a little space where I was. I think it was just me and my friend, and maybe another couple copping a squat down the way. Three Germans walked up with their beach bags and backpacks. I knew they were German instantly. Though they may not have been donning their lederhosen and dirndls, they had the look. The look I’d come to denote as purely German that summer.
I’d been in Italy for a month by this point so I’d come across many Europeans of all shapes, sizes, styles, and ornamentation. I got pretty good at guessing from which country someone hailed. The clothes, bags, shoes, and strut were their dead giveaways.
They set up camp, threw off their clothes and headed to the water. They threw off all of their clothes. I knew it was Europe and I’m no prude, but the thing is – we weren’t on a nude beach. In fact, my friend said it was actually illegal to be nude where we were.
So we watched in awe as the Germans represented their people to a T. Bold non-conformists that wouldn’t give two cents for anyone’s thoughts. Their skinny pasty naked bodies splashed around in the lake for a bit, then they hopped back out and took a seat on the sand. That’s when each of them cracked open their edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
It takes courage to get naked and read Harry Potter on an intimate beach with total strangers. So here is my attaboy to the folks who beat to their own drum with a special nod to a culture that bangs their drums all day.
What country would you give a shout out to for going against the grain?