On Sunday evening, I went out for a meal with Manfredas. As part of my stirring dinner conversation repartee, somehow the conversation turned to mice. (Don’t ask me how – I normally have so many random thoughts milling around in my head, it’s hard to tell where one burbling session ends and the next begins.)
Me: So, das Maus…
Manfredas: Die Maus. Not “das” Maus.
Me: Well, that just makes no sense.
Manfredas: Why not?
Me: (sigh/eye-roll combo) Becaaaause Maus ends in “s” and so does “das.” Easier to remember. And it’s “das Haus” and “Haus” rhymes with “Maus.” Das Haus, das Maus. The house, the mouse. Simple.
Me: Wait, so all mice are feminine in German?
Me: What about Mickey?
Manfredas: Still DIE MAUS.
Me: So, what… just because some German grammarian says so, Germans have the right to give one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time a sex-change? I mean, it’s all well and good for Minnie but poor Mickey! Walt Disney must be spinning in his grave!
Me: You know, “mickey” is Irish slang for “penis.”
Manfredas: What does that have to do with anything?
Me: Absolutely nothing.
Me: It’s DER Frosch (the frog), right?
Me: Good, so Kermit is safe. But DAS Schwein (the pig)?
Me: Miss Piggy will not be best pleased with the Germans.
Manfredas: Are you going to go through the entire cast of The Muppets?
Not really sure what Gonzo is supposed to be, I decided to quit while I was behind and get on with the business of eating.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I am available for dinner parties.
If there’s a choice between being “naughty or nice”, I think we all know which one I’ll choose. So, when I heard about the Naughty Christmas Market, I just had to pop along last weekend and find out what it was all about.
Answer: a whole lot of vulva and a little bit of penis.
If you’re looking for a nice traditional Christmas market with wooden huts, handmade arts and crafts, Glühwein and sausage, this probably isn’t the right market for you. (Actually, come to think of it, there was sausage – in ceramic form for €250. Tempted though I was, I just couldn’t really see where a ceramic penis would fit into the tasteful decor in my flat.)
If, however, you’re looking for a special gift for the person who has everything, you might consider “The Post-Structuralist Vulva Colouring Book”.
And instead of boring old wrapping paper, why not present it in a delightful (surely this season’s must-have) cock bag?
After perusing my way through the PVC outfits, nipple suckers, nipple tassles, aphrodisiacs, high-brow literature, room of giant vulvas and elegant array of accessories…
…I hit pay dirt at the wankers’ table.
Me: Bah ha haha! What are they?
Hubertus: Wanking tissues.
Me: BAH HA HA HA! Oh, look at the stickers! How cool are they!?
Hubertus: Take one.
Hubertus: Yes, free.
Me: Then yes, don’t mind if I do.
I guess Hubertus thought I looked like a wanker.
With my “I love wanking” sticker, complete with sperm-adorned heart tucked into my pocket, I felt that that was probably as good as it was going to get at the Naughty Christmas Market and left, mulling over which hapless wanker I could stick it on at some point in the future.
I then promptly forgot all about it until I was rummaging around in my pockets a couple of days later. Thinking that spankrags.com sounded like it might be worth a chuckle or two, I fired up the laptop and headed on over.
This may be the best thing I have done all year.
Once I’d wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes (not with a wank tissue), I scrolled down to see what other treats the website had in store.
This was definitely the best thing I have done all year.
Under the section titled “The most memorable present ever”, it states that “Unwrapping a stupid tie, or a pack of socks makes speechless. Unwrapping this gift makes brains explode!” Can’t say I disagree. I was exploding just by being on the website.
Another section assures you that you will love wank tissues because “A thumbs up looks like grabbing a schlong. Think about it!”
I am! I am!
Spank Rags are also kind enough to offer worldwide delivery. “No matter if you live in an igloo, or a tent in the Siberian desert. We deliver to all our wankers!” This must be such a comfort to wankers everywhere.
There’s a segment where you get to meet “the girls” – Alexa from Germany, Kate from England, Narcisa from Romania, Sarah from Canada “and her other lovely girlfriends from all over the world”. I was a little sorry that each one didn’t come with her own back story but I guess you can’t have everything.
If you thought that the website couldn’t get any better, whenever you hover over a link, the cursor turns into a cock and balls. I’m not joking – go and try it.
After reluctantly clicking through to Amazon, I discovered that €9.99 will get you ten different girls on ten wank wipes – “10 full-colour tissues for a great night in!” as it says on the box. If you’re quick, you could probably get a box in time for Christmas. Just think how happy the special wanker in your life will be on Christmas morning…
Despite this feast of hilarity, I still wanted more so I headed on over to Twitter to see if Spank Rags have an account. Joy oh joy – they do!
I guess wanking is as good a way as any to pass the time while you’re waiting for Nessie to appear.
Anyway, that’s probably as much wank as I can fit into one post without getting kicked off WordPress so I’ll leave it there. I wish all of you a very merry Wankmas and a happy New Wank. (OK, a couple more “wanks” probably won’t make much difference at this stage.)
Having lived in Germany for a while, it’s rare that I’m still surprised by anything. The German bedding system, the massive signs for “Dildo King”, the early morning beer drinkers, the speed at which supermarket cashiers operate, the poo shelf, the reverse poo shelf…
Reverse poo shelf
All of these things I take in my stride. But I do still like to be surprised on occasion, and this is exactly what happened at a service station on the way back from Münster.
Manfredas: I got you a present.
Me: From the toilet?
Manfredas: Well, yes, but I think you’ll like it…
He was right. It turns out that for the bargain price of around €5, you can make me the happiest girl on earth. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you – the “TravelPussy”.
Once my initial mirth had subsided, I just had to take a look inside. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t this.
Me: What the hell?
Manfredas: What the hell?
Clearly, I would need to read the instructions which, apart from being enlightening, were also one of the funniest things I have ever read.
Open up TravelPussy. (Sure, a closed TravelPussy is no use to anyone.)
Pour a very small amount of TravelPussy-Gel into the “vagina” and spread it. (The quotation marks had me in tears before I even got to the word “spread”.)
3. Turn TravelPussy upside down and fill gently with warm water or simply blow air into it. IMPORTANT! Make sure the water is not too hot, check with your finger! (I really am not making this up.)
4. Place some TravelPussy-Gel on your penis and you are ready for a wonderful experience. (I wonder.)
5. After use, empty TravelPussy and leave it to domestic waste – not in toilet! (Yes, please guys, have some respect for your Pussy – not in toilet.)
The environmentally-aware among you will be pleased to hear that TravelPussy is made from eudermic and eco-friendly material. TravelPussy-Gel does not contain any paraffin which is good news for those who fancy a smoke while playing with their Pussy. But be careful, it also does not contain any contraceptive or spermicide so you run the risk of knocking up your sandwich bag-hot water bottle if you don’t use a condom. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Over the course of my Saturday night out, the topic of TravelPussy came up. (OK, I brought it up.) Proving that it (she?) still had the power to surprise, it emerged that my dear friend, Nigel, had actually bought a TravelPussy. “For the laugh”, you understand.
Me: How would you sum up the experience?
Nigel: Confusing. Disappointing.
Me: Sorry, I’ll stop laughing eventually.
If you want to see confusion and disappointment in picture form, I highly recommend clicking on this link:
Go on. I dare you. It’s not that I think people need an excuse to take down anybody seen with a selfie stick, but German law enforcement might look on me a bit more kindly if I were (properly) provoked.
OK, so this isn’t limited to Berlin; it could apply to any city that attracts a decent amount of tourists. But Berlin is my city and with 12 million visitors in 2014, I thought it might be about time to share my feelings with the twatty tourist who thinks that his or her idiotic face in front of some monument/building they haven’t even looked at is more important than me going about my daily business. (Clue: it isn’t.)
Back when I was earning rather a stupid amount of money for doing a not very important job, I used to travel by myself quite a lot. While I’m not a huge fan of seeing myself in photographs, after a while I began to realise that I had all of these amazing photos and I hadn’t appeared in one of them. I could have just downloaded them off the internet and pretended I’d been to all of those places – if I was that way inclined.
In the (good) old days, this was where some random helpful soul would step into your life. In halting “insert language here”, you’d attempt to communicate while pointing first at the camera and then at some attraction you wanted to ruin by standing in front of it. As a lone traveller, these little exchanges could make your day. To be fair, you probably still looked like a bit of a tool, but at least there was some kind of human interaction involved. And brightening up some auld lad’s holiday by convincing him that the blurry mess you were looking at was “really good! No, really! Perfect!” just added to the experience.
It seems that those days are gone though. Selfie sticks and pointless posing are taking over the world and it offends me enough to have caused the odd rant to those within earshot.
Me: God, I HATE selfie sticks.
Poor long-suffering Nigel: I don’t know. They have their uses.
Me: WHAT?! We can no longer be friends.
PL-SN: No, wait. Hear me out.
Me: (picking up handbag and preparing to vacate in dramatic fashion) Go on…
PL-SN: Well, when I see someone with a selfie stick, I instantly know that they’re a total penis and I don’t have to waste any time on them.
Me: Huh. You might actually have a point there.
PL-SN: What are you doing?
Me: Writing down “selfie stick = total penis” – I might use it in a blog post some day.
PL-SN: You’re weird.
Yes, I have been known to take the odd silly photo but at least I wasn’t in anyone’s way at the time. And I’d rather photograph a penis any day than look like one. Who’s with me?
I’m happy to say that I’m finally feeling a bit more settled in Berlin, thanks to my new home and my two lovely German ladies. (And no, we don’t braid each other’s hair and have pillow fights, in case you were wondering.)
I’ve got my head around my work schedule and feel that I’m now in a position to talk a little about what it’s like to be an English teacher in Berlin.
I guess I should start by saying that if you’re looking for a safe bet, Berlin probably isn’t the place for you. Most schools hire on a freelance basis, and won’t interview people who don’t already live in Berlin. The only thing you can do, which is what I did, is find a list of English schools here and send your CV to ALL of them. Then cross your fingers and hope one or two reply, move to Berlin, cross your fingers again and hope that you get an interview.
I got two interviews (and two jobs) within around a week and a half. I now realise how insanely lucky I was after talking to another teacher who said that it took her four months to find any work at all. In short, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
In addition, if you’re looking for a job where you go to a school, work five or six hours a day in the same building and go home again, you might want to rethink Berlin as your first choice. If you’re freelancing, you’ll likely be travelling to different companies to teach there. And as most companies want lessons either before or after normal working hours, you’ll probably have to get up at stupid o’clock to get to 8am lessons.
Of course, it can be a bit tiring, but seriously, who wouldn’t want to spend their days wandering around Berlin? I’ve got to see so much of the city this way and, every day, something new surprises or tickles me.
In short, Berlin is fantastic. And there are also some pretty impressive, double-take-inducing German moustaches roaming the streets. (Attached to men, of course. Berlin is crazy, but not that crazy.)
The school that I get the bulk of my hours from is fantastically well-run. The teachers are financially taken care of and support is always available. We even get paid for training, induction, and travel expenses. And, every now and then, the Director of Studies bakes…
And finally, ze German students… In my (admittedly still limited) experience, they’re great – warm, friendly, chuckly, open, smart, hard-working, and pleasingly self-aware. I recently had two students act out a telephone role play.
Me: Um, it was good, but maybe a little… direct?
Fritz: You mean too German?
Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.
So overall, it’s hard work, it’s stressful in the beginning, but if you’re really determined to move to Berlin, you’ll find a way to make it work eventually – and it will be worth it.
Still, all work and no play makes Linda a dull girl, so last night I had the honour of being invited to an English stand-up comedy night by Victoria over at The British Berliner. We met up for Happy Hour cocktails at the rather fabulous Bellini Lounge, and then to the main event at the Quatsch Comedy Club.
The star of the show, Daniel Sloss, is a young, up-and-coming Scottish comedian, and if you like no-holds-barred comedy, which made half an audience in Indianapolis stand up and leave the show, then he’s the guy for you. If you’re not easily offended and like penis jokes – as I do – then you’ll laugh your ass off.
The warm-up act, the very funny Jack Woodhead, joked, sang and played the piano in an outfit and make-up that would have had a Latvian woman squealing in envy (and a Latvian man squealing in fear and pushing himself up against a wall – not that he’d be in any danger, I’m sure. Jack looked like a discerning individual…)
We got chatting to both comedians over a couple of drinks after the show, but I had to pretend to be a sensible person and leave early(ish). 5.45am starts bring out the sensible in most people. At around midnight, as I was walking from the train to my flat, the strains of people singing roaring along to ‘Suspicious Minds’ drifted my way.
Naturally, I should have kept walking but curiosity got the better of me, and I found myself outside a cute little French bar called ‘Place Clichy’. The bar was heaving when I managed to push open the door.
“HOORAY!!!”, roared everyone.
“HOORAY!!!”, I roared back, with no real idea why. I went to the bar and got talking to a very merry German.
Heinz: Where are you from?
Heinz: (roaring) SHE’S FROM IRELAND!!!
And so, my new buddies and I shouted along to Elvis tunes, and drank €2 glasses of wine, until around 2am, when I really had to be sensible and go to bed.
Ah Berlin, there’s never a dull moment with you, is there?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain