Nov 3, 2011

German Idiosyncrasies: First Edition

I love Germany. I really do. But there are a few things about this country, and sometimes Europe in general, that I could do without. I'm completely aware that my aversion to these things is purely because I was born and raised in another part of the world, but it still stands to reason that I can't quite come to grips with how they've affected my everyday life. Allow me to share a few examples with you.

Number 1: I can't stand to go to the bathroom...ahem, number 2 to be my own home.
(This is where those of you reluctant to think or read about poop related topics should stop reading and skip to Number 2...the point Number 2, that is. Actually, come to think of it, just visit this blog another day.)

Why the repulsion to your own bathroom do you ask? Ok, so the German toilet isn't exactly engineered to be discreet with Yeah, you read that correctly. Your "business". It literally lays it allllll out for you. The infamous lay and display. Let me explain...and to do so, I've found some lovely diagrams to enhance your viewing experience.

"Normal" Toilet
This, my friends, is a diagram of a "normal" toilet. You sit, do your thing, and it falls into the watery abyss, never to be seen again. This kind of toilet is what I (and most of you) am accustomed to in the good 'ol USA. Clean and effective, right?

German Toilet
This is a diagram of a German toilet. Notice the unfamiliar ledge jutting out from the back of the bowl? Yeah, D and I refer to that as the "poop ledge." The name basically speaks for itself. directly on that ledge, which is bone dry, mind you, and sits mere centimeters beneath your bum. To add insult to injury, this "ledge" often requires you to incur multiple flushing's to completely mobilize to the water hole below.

Oh how I wish I was kidding.

I had no freaking clue why German's have engineered their toilets this way. It's in no way hygienic, it's unbelievably uncomfortable (especially when you think about how close you are sitting to your, and it wastes water! As many times as you have to flush to be able to even look at your toilet again, there's no way it would ever be considered 'green'. I just don't get it. The only justification I've been able to compose is that German's must like to monitor inconsistencies. Who would have ever thought the German's would be that health conscious?! Sure, blood tests, temperature taking, and body weighing to keep up with one's health...but poop monitoring? Please, DON'T sign me up.

I did a little research this morning about the lovely German toilet. Come to find out, my theory was spot on.  Poop monitoring was, in fact, a practice considered by the German engineers when designing their toilets. While considered crude and unwarranted by Americans, Germans think monitoring one's best defense against intestinal disease and food-borne illness. With all the pork sausages they eat, intestinal parasites or dare I say, worms (ew, I gagged a little), could pop up after any given undercooked meal. I guess the German's idea of "better safe than sorry" isn't completely unfounded in this respect. As for D and I, we don't care for that practice. We also don't care for our German toilet. In the beginning, we were completely repulsed and disgusted by it. Now, it occasionally gives us a good laugh. Especially when D cracks jokes (and who doesn't love a good poop joke?) about your own misfortune if someone forgets to flush!  But believe me, we NEVER forget to flush.

Number 2: (Well actually, it's more about going Number 1...but you'll see what I mean. Keep reading.) 
In addition to the shitty ledge situation (pun completely intended), the ledge also proves to be problematic for the male species, in particular. Ever see this sign in a German bathroom?

Let me paint a mental picture for you. You're a dude. You've been out all night, in Germany, drinking Hefeweizen's till your knockered into oblivion. Oh no! You've got to pee. So, you stumble your way to the bathroom, enter a stall, and unzip. Now, taking into account what you've just learned about the German toilet, what do you suppose happens when a man tries to relieve himself standing up? Yep, you guessed it! Splish, splash, you're taking a bath in your own pee. The German solution to that pissy problem...sit! German men sit down to pee. Problem solved! Imagine D's surprise (a non-sitter, for all intents and purposes) when he entered a German friends bathroom and found a sign with large words that read, "Sitzpinkler!"(which loosely translates to "seat piddler"). Now, as emasculating as that can be for a man...hardy har har...would you boys rather get splashed or sit, pee, and walk away unscathed? Let that idea marinate for a second. Either way, my clever hubby has mastered his own way of getting around the sitting...but there's no need to get into all that. I've already shared more than enough crudeness with you for today. Oh, and fellow displaced Americans to this great country, if you've got anything to add to this edition, please, feel free! I'd love to hear your own thoughts and blunders on this seriously hilarious topic.

That being said, I'm going to bid you all adieu. Keep your eyes peeled for another rousing edition of 'German Idiosyncrasies' where I will explain why you should probably have a PhD if you want to learn how to recycle here. Seriously, I'm going to have to phone up Al Gore for this one. 

Auf Wiedersehen!


  1. This is the most hilarious thing I've read all day. week. Holy crap (hahahaha), still laughing.

    Dude, that sucks about the toilets abut I'm glad you shared! When I go to Germany I'm totally going to be on the lookout for this.

    P.S. We may have similar posts going up soon about the recycling. I just took a photo of our bins (big plural there) this morning to blog about it!

  2. Oh my that was so lol. Thanks for sharing the laughs.

  3. LOL!!! Our toilet isn't like that. Yeah, the water is low but there isn't really a 'ledge.' That's just gross!

    In Korea, there was literally a hole in the ground where I worked (at a school). So at least we don't have to squat here :)

  4. Ok I'm sitting here in a class filled with 8th graders giving me a headache from Hades and now can't stop laughing. This was JUST what I needed today.

  5. Loved this post!! Seriously made me laugh out loud.

  6. wow this is definitely interesting and hilarious! Can David "aim" into the front part when peeing? That's what I'd try to do and think I could make it work but that's just silliness. How can a country that gives us the ultimate driving machine design something so ridiculous?

  7. Wow...literally that is all I can come up with! And to think we have Germany on our list for next tour...I think I might show my husband this...he may have second thoughts lol

  8. you crack me up, but this is so true and i have to echo your sentiments. i had no idea that they do this to monitor their poop! all i know is that it is annoying that we basically have to scrub the toilet bowl every time we poop. and i haven't seen one of those signs yet, but i did see one with a diagram showing not to pee while squatting over the toilet bowl (feet on the seat).

  9. hahaha I just had to ask hubby if he's had to use a toilet like this yet!

  10. This is so weird, even though I have lived in Germany my whole life I only encountered a "German" toilet like twice? lol At my parents, my place, my friends, restaurants, etc. its always the normal one...thats funny (maybe its just my city?), but you gave me something to look out for! haha

  11. I'm doing as much research as I can before I go on my 3 month trip to Germany. I came across this and laughed my ass off while I was completely horrified. I've been to Amsterdam and assumed the toilets would be the same in Germany, but I didn't realize how wrong I was! Thanks for sharing!

  12. I'm doing as much research as I can before I go on my 3 month trip to Germany. I came across this and laughed my ass off while I was completely horrified. I've been to Amsterdam and assumed the toilets would be the same in Germany, but I didn't realize how wrong I was! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Found your blog recently and just saw this post - dying laughing!!! This is hilarious!! I can't believe they haven't switched over to normal toilets!

  14. I've read about this before, yes. It speaks to something in the German character. Now you might better understand why Freud wrote about anal personalities!

  15. This is hysterical and messed up - something I knew nothing about!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  16. I'm not alone!! Arrived in Germany and month ago and was astounded by this invention, as was my husband... thank goodness our apartment has a normal one!! :D

  17. I thought I was the only one that found those bathrooms odd!!!!!! They are horrible, never managed to make my business there. Thank you for spreading the word.

  18. Omg. I love poo humor. This is hysterical. Disturbing for sure but very hysterical. I plan on sharing this lovely tidbit to many a people. Thank you!

  19. This site best flushing toilets having a lot of info which surely help the consumer in buying toilet accessories.


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