It’s easy to Germanize if you adopt the right German cultural quirks – and buy German slippers. Here’s how to get Germanized in 21 steps.
1-5 – slippers, partying and insurance
1. Get a pair of German slippers or German house shoes. When you go to sleep, place them neatly next to your bed. When you leave your apartment, place them neatly next to your door. Heaven forbid you step into your living room with your street shoes.
2. Value your Feierabend (essentially ‘party-night’ but refers to when you get off work) more than anything and don’t forget to celebrate it with your daily Feierabend-beer.
3. Get as many types of German insurance as you can find, from explosion insurance and legal expense insurance to bike insurance and tap water insurance. Don’t stop until you have spend half your income on insurance, most of which you are not even sure what exactly they cover.
4. Get up early on Sunday, so you can go to your bakery and get fresh Brötchen and Gebäckteilchen for your extended Sunday breakfast.
5. Refuse to do anything more productive on Sundays besides the former – except for having coffee and cake in the afternoon.
6-10 – lawns, cars and holidays
6. Mow your lawn every Saturday, but only between 9–11am or 2–4pm, because you would never disturb your neighbours while they are having their Mittagsruhe (afternoon nap).
7. After that, spend at least two hours washing your car.
8. Buy yourself a fancy BMW for € 30,000, without ever questioning such an investment. But if someone tries to take the last smoked salmon for €1.99 at Aldi, get furious and start a fight.
9. If Monday is a bank holiday, don’t forget to go to Lidl on Saturday and shove as much bread, cans and batteries in your cart like it’s the last shopping opportunity of your life. After all, you never know if the zombie apocalypse might start exactly during a long weekend leaving you without a possibility for panic buying.
10. Spend your holidays at least once in your life on Mallorca — or ‘Malle’, as the educated German call it affectionately. Go completely crazy at Ballermann 6. From randomly touching boobs to showing your (man)boobs, this is the only place where you leave behind your usual German stiffness.
11-15 – patriotism, recycling and rules
11. Become ridiculously patriotic every two years and dance with five German flags, one of them painted across your face, on the Berliner Fanmeile to celebrate the national soccer team. The rest of the time deny that you have anything remotely like national pride.
12. Talking about patriotism; feel guilty for the sins of your grandparents and great-grandparents.
13. Complain about your hard life and blame everything on the government, from the high German taxes to your supermarket running out of your favourite chocolate bar. During the next elections, vote for exactly the same government again.
14. Always separate your waste. Recycling paper, plastic, glass, and organic trash are the least you can do to help saving our planet.
15. Never cross at a red light. Even if it is 2:30am, the streets are empty and you slowly realise it is broken and will not switch to green before sunrise. Move on to the next streetlight and try your luck there.
16-21 – signs, fear and water
16. Never break a rule and, most importantly, always obey the signs. Wait behind the line, don’t cross the street there, and definitely don’t step on that lawn.
17. Be terribly scared of everything you can’t control and that won’t stick to your rules, especially wild animals or plants that just happen to be in the woods. Blame the government or quickly get another insurance policy in Germany.
18. No more sleepless nights with overwhelming anticipation: Open your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, but only after you have enjoyed your yearly portion of sausages with potato salad.
19. Drive your BMW 200km/h on the left lane of the highway. Flash and tailgate the little Ford in front of you until it moves to the right lane. If you are the one in the Ford, stay intentionally in the left lane going 110 km/h to annoy BMW drivers .
20. Always mix your juice with sparkling water, especially if it is apple juice. Enjoy your Apfelsaftschorle!
21. Your garden is your kingdom. Build a fence around it and defend it against all outside intruders, even if it’s just some leaves from a tree in your neighbour’s garden. If necessary, go to court. You didn’t get that legal expense insurance just for decoration.