Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Today I am a Wussy

Over the years I have gladly sacrified my ties to the young ladies of Germany. Yes, today was the day the young ladies come around to cut the neck ties of the boys, and for the first time in ... too many years, actually ... I said "No, thanks, I'm not playing this year." Actually, I wasn't quite that dignified. I pleaded for the safety of my tie.

It's not that it is special, or even that expensive. It is, however, fairly new, having just been bought at Brooks Brothers the first week in January. I just couldn't part with a new tie.

Yes, the Partnerin warned me, but running late for the train, I didn't think about it and grabbed the first tie that went with my shirt instead of the ratty old tie I was going to sacrifice.

I didn't think about it until I heard a bunch of giggling in the hallway, followed by six young ladies showing up at my door and deciding that their young chinese colleague would be the one to take the tie of the Auslander. I realized then and there I was about to lose a good tie, and I lost my nerve. "Please, don't," I begged.

"But it is tradition," she replied.

Now was the moment that 8 months of Chinese lessons were brought to bear for something more than lunch ... "We are both strangers here. These are not our ways." The Germans weren't sure what I said, but they were frowning.

Nice Chinese Girl was not amused, and replied a bit coldly in English, "Are you going to cry if I cut it?"

To finish my humiliation, I muttered, "Yes, most likely." Tie saved, dignity gone.

I did redeem myself somewhat later in the day. We had a company event with a champagne reception afterward. I noticed that the head of the Board of Directors still had his tie, so I looked at my soon-to-be former secretary (she's leaving because she is tired of my boss, not because of me) and, figuring she had nothing to lose, told her "I'll give you 50 euros if you take Dr. X's tie. You're leaving, you've got nothing to lose. Fifty Euros for the tie."

She looked at me, and at a couple of colleagues around us, and said with a little smile, "You are ... what do they say in English? A Bi%^h!"

"Maybe that say that in German," I countered. "In English you would call me a devil."

"Yes, you are a devil. I won't do it for EUR 50. That is too little given the consequences. I will do it for six months of salary."

Without batting an eye, I shot back, "Liebling, for six months of your salary I'll take his tie, and kiss him full on the lips."

Looks of shock all around, a couple of nervous laughs... my dignity still in shreds, but my reputation as a smart-ass still intact.

Sorry, but I have to go now ... I'm exfoliating and the mask needs to come off.


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