Remember the times…

July 7, 2011

…when sex was fun and skydiving was dangerous? Yes, me too.

Nowadays things are a little more complicated, so Heinrich, dirty old man that he is, feels the need to set a few things straight.

A funny yet potentially embarressing misunderstanding when planning Anglo-German intercourse (“Geschlechtsverkehr”, literally translated “sex traffic” 😉 ) involves preservatives. Well, normally you would not expect that food chemistry would be a favorable topic in the bedroom – unless you’re dating a chemist maybe. But the German word for condom happens to be “Präservativ” while preservative translates to “Konservierungsstoff”.

To make things more complicated, a multitude of other names are frequently used for condoms, normally depending on the company your in:

“Kondom” – you would not have guessed, would you?
“Pariser” (Parisian) – yes, the French have a certain reputation in these matters
“Gummi” (rubber)
“Verhüterli” – contraceptorlet (this highly innovative term is (c) Heinrich IX)
“Lümmeltüte” – (bugger bag)
“Präser” – short for “Präservativ”

So, next time you’re in a very intimate mood and someone asks you “Hast Du nen Gummi dabei?” you are well prepared and will know that he or she is not referring to something made by Haribo…

By the way: maybe someone can one day enlighten me as to how “condominiums” got their strange name…


The only stereotype that makes my blood boil

March 23, 2008

There really is nothing particularly bad about stereotypes, in fact I cultivate a flock of them myself. But there is one that the English speaking world repeats over and over again until over the years (centuries?) it has been accepted as a fact and noone subjects it to critical analysis: Germans are rude and blunt. Heinrich disagrees wholeheartedly.

Ok, this is going to be a bit complicated, so lets assume that conversation between two people is always like a duel.

Duelling with someone in the tongue of my fathers (in my case, surprise, surprise, in German) means I have a vast choice of weapons for every occasion. Pistols, rifles, swords, sabers, rapiers, epees, daggers, guns of all calibers imaginable, poison, toothpicks, in short, everything you need for a civilized exchange of words, because you can be sure that your opponent knows the rules. His or her armory might or might not be better stacked than my own but we are more or less on even ground.

Now, all of a sudden there is someone else to deal with. My German language armory which has so well served me over the years will suddenly not help me in the least, because my counterpart normally will know little or nothing about my duelling culture. But, conversation necesse est, so I need to play by foreign rules. I roam my English armory, lots of cobwebs and a club. Nothing very useful for a formidable and eloquent dialog, but it will have to do.

The bitter consequence: My opponent hears me using his language like some stoneage Fred Flintstone, rough, raw and untrained, just barely enough to get the message across. He will see me as uncivilized, blunt, direct, rude…and why? Just because I was polite enough to duel him on his terms, just because he didn’t even bother to put as much as a nail file into his German word armory.

So folks, of course you still have every right to call me rude, but first let me see your skills with the verbal Schwert, Säbel, Degen, Florett oder Pistole…it’s your choice of weapons.