German Men Sit Down to Pee (A book review)

Do they? Do German Men Sit Down to Pee? Frankly, I picked up this book because, after three years of living in Germany, I had the hunch that it might be true. So I was curious to see what other quirks do German men and women have. Should you read this book (which is by the way available here)?

If you are a traveler visiting Germany, if you are a foreigner living in Germany, if you fell in love with a German or are just curious about Germany, then definitely yes, you should read this book. It is a well-written book, though it might not win the Pulitzer prize this year.

So go ahead, read it and enjoy a good introduction to how German people are, what they like, and what you absolutely shouldn’t do if you don’t want to fall out of their graces. What’s all the rave about? Well, let’s see. Think a bit about the following questions before reading the answer:

  1. Considering everything you know about Germany and German people, do you think they have a sense of humor?” The fact the world thinks that Germans don’t have a sense of humour shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s a stereotype that we’ve all grown up hearing.(..) But the real reason that this stereotype has persisted is because to understand German humour, you need to speak German.” So go ahead, learn German and discover for yourself.
  2. When someone comes up with a not-so-bright idea at work, what do you do? You’d probably take the polite way. But not if you’re in Germany. “In most countries, there would be an awkward silence where everyone (including the person who had the bad idea) reflects on just how terrible it was. Eventually someone will break the silence and politely say something along the lines of “that’s very nice, but how about…” In Germany, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear more than a short and sweet “nein”. For Germans, letting someone down gently is seen as an inefficient use of time that could otherwise be spent discussing the good ideas.” On the bright side, you’ll always know exactly where you stand.
  3. On making jokes about the recent history. You might have stumbled across this hilarious video on Youtube. It cracks you up, right? Wrong. In Germany the subject isn’t seen as a humorous one, so “if you want to break the ice with a group of Germans, leave your best Hitler jokes at home.”, the book advises. The book also brings up issues such as nakedness in public spaces, what not to do on Sundays, and generously introduces the reader into the charming world of German media culture.

To find out more about proper “Germaning”, get a sample on this page or buy the book on Amazon.

German Men Sit Down to Pee - Stereotypes about Germans - What is true and what not
Illustration Provided by the Book Authors

Alexandra Florea is a passionate social scientist, technology enthusiast, professional learner, currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology of Work at Goethe University Frankfurt and learning her fourth language, German.

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