compulsory reading, oddly enough, USA

American Girls Are Easy. German Guys Are boo-ZAH.

For the better or worse, in my experience it’s the same with American girls as with girls from anywhere – some are easy, most aren’t.

However, two self-proclaimed easy ones, Erin and Meghan, who are “young enough to pay an added fee on rental cars, but old enough to feel uncomfortable in college bars“, have written an internet travel diary during their not-exactly-back-pack trip to Europe last summer. And after that they sat down and compiled their experiences with “semi-disposable [male] EUrail-friends” (Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet) into a handy guide for easy American girls touring Europe – old and new – whose title slightly reminds of Kate Hudson’s latest movie effort (in which she played a certainly non-easy American girl) – “How to Find a Man in Europe and Leave Him There“.

Obviously, I was interested how the two Las Vegans on the run verbalised the impression my people (meaning German guys) made on them. Writing this kind of extrapolatory generalisation, especially tongue-in-cheek-writing this kind of extrapolatory generalisation is clearly difficult because you have to find the right balance. The balance between stereotypes and “grain of truth” as well as the balance between witty writing and inclusion of facts.

And Erin and Meghan do it quite well, although I have to say their verdict is overly strict sometimes as the travel dictionary indicates how much fun they had over here. Their essay is certainly much more about witty writing and stereotyped fun than about inclusion of data points and scientific generalisation. But that doesn’t hurt, and moreover, doesn’t come too unexpectedly – how many data points could one actually expect after a few weeks’ journey, even for easy American girls?

So after having read my (actually quite unnecessary) disclaimer, you can now go on to read their assessment of my breed in the entirety. Or just stick with some goodies…

“… A German man thinks arguing is fun. Just argue back for a while and before you know it you’ll have him laughing (maybe) and buying you a beer for being such a good sport. …

All the hype about German efficiency comes to a halt at four-way stop signs. Europeans do not understand the concept of line formation or one-at-a-time and Germans are no exception. Instead of smashing into one another, as is customary in many countries, Germans yield to car on their right. As you know, a four-way stop is a square, so there’s always someone on the right. As they can’t break “the rules,” there is often a long, confused delay….

Germans also save time when speaking. Every language cuts corners when it’s spoken, but German takes corner-cutting to another level. When ordering from a restaurant, a German would not say: “I’d like to have the schnitzel and fries, please.” He’d simply demand, “Schnitzel and fries.” Germans have weeded most niceties out of their language; being polite takes too much time….

If you’re lucky enough to find a good-looking guy in Germany, we recommend approaching him first because Germans aren’t the most brazen men. If you lack guts, you can easily manipulate the situation and give him a reason to approach you. For instance, crossing the street without the proper pedestrian green light will make him yell. And yelling can ignite a great conversation. … You’ll find it surprisingly effortless to get your German man target riled and screaming at you. Just keep smiling and keep cool and before long you’ll have a date Saturday night.

We advise against asking any questions about your appearance because you may get harsh answers. In fact, you may get harsh answers without asking any questions. If he dislikes the clothes you’re wearing, he’ll tell you. If he thinks you look fat, he’ll tell you. The same brutal honesty goes for questions directed at him. If you ask how he’s doing, be prepared for an extensive discussion about his gastrointestinal problems the night before.

A German man will know many gory details about your country. In fact, he can probably name more American state capitals than the majority of Americans. He’ll assume you know basic history (Everyone in his country does.), so to stop from coming across as a moron, try to fake your way around things you’re unfamiliar with…

If you want to give a German guy the cold shoulder, good luck. If you think his sense of humor sucks, wait until you see his people reading skills. He’s used to dealing with practical, direct Germans so he’s not going to pick up on your desperate subtleties. If you pull the, “I’ll be right back, I’m going to the bathroom” stunt, you’ll find him waiting outside the ladies room. If you try the bathroom trick eight times in one night he’ll think you have a small bladder. You’ve got to be direct.”

Oh, and of course – they have this pocket phonetic dictionary that will help you survive over here, certainly in these rough times of the transatlantic rift… and it proves the Erin and Meghan do really seem to understand German culture a little…

“A beer from the tap, please – Eye-n beer here.
Can I drive your car, please? – Gib meer dee shh-LOO-sell YET-zst.
Does your dog bite? – Bice-t dine who-nd?
Does your wife bite? – Bice-t dine-uh fr-OW?
Just because I’m blond doesn’t mean I’m perfect. – Halt dine moon-d.
Please don’t invade my country. – Hill-f mish.
Where can I recycle this? – Ish ha-BUH mule.
Why are you yelling? – Vuh-ROOM bist doo so boo-ZAH?
You should laugh, the joke was funny. – K-eye-n on-gst, eye-n fitz ist goot.”