I’ve lived in Germany for eight years now. Some of the German mysteries have unfurled in front of me. I know why “Schmetterling” is the cutest word in the world. I know why vampires should turn me on. And I even kind of know why Hitler jokes aren’t really funny.

But here’s something I don’t get: When and how is it okay for one dude to hug another dude?

Seriously, guys, if you’re gonna make dudes hugging into a regular thing, you’ve got to lay down some ground rules so things don’t get messy. The system you’ve got in place is chaotischunüberschaubar and inkonsistent – in general: very undeutsch!

For instance: Do we use the ritual shaking-of-hands before we pull each other in? Or do we not use said shake and create momentum out of nowhere? Do we pat each other on the back or not? And if do we, are we talking about a pat as in what we do to babies to make them burp or are we talking more about a pat as in what the doctor does when you’ve got a cold?

Do doctors actually do that in Germany?

Fuck. I can never get a cold.


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