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German Men Sit Down to Pee

And Other Insights Into German Culture

by Niklas Frank & James Cave

Book Review

GERMAN MEN SIT DOWN TO PEE book cover

German Men Sit Down to Pee and Other Insights into German Culture
Niklas Frank & James Cave
Paperback and Kindle, 150 pp.
HJ Publishing
ISBN 978-0-9954813-0-5

Books about national cultures and characteristics tend to range from the serious (Culture Shock: Widgetonia) to the tongue-in-cheek (They Eat Horses, Don't They?). A new book, German Men Sit Down to Pee, occupies a middle ground: It has its whimsical moments, such as "Dig a hole when you go to the beach" or "Don't mention David Hasselhof," but it's also packed with practical and occasionally surprising advice like "Bring your own cake into the office on your birthday" and "Complain about the trains." The book is especially useful if you're planning to live in Germany, but it also offers fascinating insights into contemporary German life for tourists and armchair expats.

The book is extremely digestible (unlike, say, a self-assigned homework assignment based on the "Know your sausages" chapter, which describes some of the 1,200 sausage varieties in Germany). It's divided into 60 chapters that average one to three pages each, so you can pick it up and learn about a topic or two whenever you have a spare moment. Here are a few examples of chapter headings:

  • Go Dutch when it's time to pay

  • Don't make noise on a Sunday

  • Flirt as inconspicuously as you can

  • Have a hot lunch and a cold dinner

  • Get drunk Father's Day

  • Get naked when it gets warm

  • Treat prostitution like any other job

  • Don't make Nazi jokes

  • Don't expect your water to be anything but sparkling

  • And, of course, the title chapter, Sit down when you pee, which includes this warning for Stehpinkler:

"Some homes have an S.P.U.K. or WC-Geist, a gadget that issues you with a verbal reprimand if it catches you breaking the rules and standing up. These gadgets are available in many different authoritative yet hilarious (to the Germans, at least) voices such as former German chancellors Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder."

Our take: If you have any interest at all in visiting, living in, or simply reading about life in modern Germany, German Men Sit Down to Pee should be on your "must read" list.

About the authors:

  • Niklas Frank (" Real life German - the man behind the concept") is from Deutschland, but he's also lived in other countries such as Sweden and China.

  • James Cave ("Irishman in Berlin--the guy behind the keyboard") is a freelance writer who brings an outsider's perspective to showing how life in Germany is "different, confusing, and often unintelligibly amusing to newcomers." He currently publishes a travel-advice blog about Portugal at Portugalist.com.

Where to buy the book:

Amazon offers German Men Sit Down to Pee in affordable paperback and Kindle editions, so look for it online if you can't get it at your local bookstore.