Summer is just around the corner and to fit the changing season there’s a new format to the blog. It’s also a good way to showcase some rotating pics of my latest vacations. Maybe this one will stay around for awhile.
Now we are in the season of avoiding public transport, because deodorant seems to be a hard concept to grasp here. I feel like I’ve outgrown most of my American prude-isms, except for the smell of sweat. Especially the smell of sweat on crowded public transport. Made up my mind to just walk home every afternoon, cause getting my face shoved into the wrong person’s armpit can make the half an hour stroll totally seem worthwhile, even after a long day.
The bf hates this about me. He thinks I am totally stereotyping Europeans and then demands to know if he stinks too. So petulant. Look spray on deodorant only works for a few hours. In America we have deodorant plus anti-perspirant! Sure it might be giving us cancer. The latest research seemed to be undecided. But I for one am proud of our non-stinky ways. I’ll be the first to admit: I am totally German now when it comes to my attitude and aversion to air-conditioners, it’s a way too big change in temperature and totally unnecessary, not to mention borderline unhealthy and I won’t even mention the environmental atrocities committed in their omnipresence.
But when it comes to deodorant look, in the winter I’ll spray on the European nonsense, with a roll of the eyes, but once summer hits, I’ve got my hoard of normal sized stick deodorants from every package my parents send me ever. I can buy the mini size here in Europe, I suppose, but it’s like an American travel size and too much of a joke for me to take seriously.
Why, why do I care? We all have sweat glands. It’s normal, natural the logical German voice inside me argues in vain. Don’t fight ze nature! he commands. In vain, in vain. I can deal with the fact that other people might stink around, but I’ll never integrate so much to allow my own bodily odors the freedom to harass fellow commuters. I’ve gotten pretty good at holding my breath for the seven minute tram ride and/or only breathing when the doors open.
Leaving that topic aside, that reminds me of another German obsession I simply cannot support. That is their affection for lots of public nudity. Case in point, what do you call a slug in German? A naked snail. (eine Nacktschnecke). I can’t make stuff like this up. My friend told me and I couldn’t take her seriously for half an hour. I’ve now taken the name on step further. The Germans have an abbreviation for when areas are designated as nudist friendly: it’s FKK. (Freikörperkultur: lit. free body culture) This is used as an adjective, like that’s and FKK beach. So now much to my bf’s amusement (and his is really the only one I care about, cause let’s face it, a German would just not get why FKK is so damn funny to foreigners) I call all slugs in German FKKschnecken. Cause I mean what’s the difference between a naked snail and a nudist snail?? This has become so funny to our juvenile sense of humor that now every slug for the last month has had us in stitches.
I will never forget the day I was in east Berlin reading at a lake and this nice looking family came right next to me, before I even realized they were there, they were already all naked, mom pop and the daughters and changing about a foot away from me into their swimsuits. This imagine is ingrained in my memory forever! I tried the German nudist thing, you know to be open-minded and European. I went with a gf to a nudist spa telling her, we might as well go now and be assured of having the best looking bodies there while we still are young. We are still friends, perhaps because of it. At any rate it seemed to cement our friendship in a much quicker way than anything else ever could. But 4 years ago, when I went back to Germany and my Greek co-worker convinced me to go to the gym with her, I was never so relieved to have a friend in the locker room who did not feel the need to approach me drying herself off with a towel between her legs at eye level, like I witnessed by many other friends in this space. No we modestly changed behind our locker doors and left the FKK to the experts.
So you see, despite what family and friends think, I am not actually an all-out Europhile. The American prude in me gets what she wants.