Our town has many bakeries… but there’s one I always visit with trepidation. Not, I hasten to add, because of the quality of the bread. No… the bread is amongst the finest you will find in all Germany. The reason for my hesitation is because the lady behind the counter is a German woman of robust opinions, forcefully expressed. To the extent that you often reel out of the shop wondering quite what hit you.
The bakery lady today was being forthright on the subject of underwear.
The reason, according to baker-lady-wisdom, for the ill health of much of the German nation… including incontinence, bowel cancer, kidney disease and other illnesses I dare not mention on a family-friendly blog… is that too many people nowadays wear underwear that is too skimpy. “A sensible German….” and she fixed me here with a steely gaze while deftly picking out my Brötchen with a pair of steel tongs…”… has stout drawers which reach from just below the breast to the upper thighs, made of pure cotton and are of tangibly good quality fabric. Preferably with guaranteed thermal qualities.” Her fingers scrunched up the top of the bag with a white-knuckle motion which meant no dissent was possible.
“Some people today wear items which consist of a couple of scraps of lace held together with string…” Her fingers jabbed at the till in a way which seemed to pierce my eye-sockets. “Some women….” and she sucked in her breath here, in a way which suggested that “women” might be too kind a term… ” shave their armpits and legs… and even..” there was a pause for the full shamelessness and horror to sink in… “down there…”
I handed over my 10 Euro note and considered abandoning my change and fleeing from the shop….
“They will die an early death. And it will be entirely their own fault….” she concluded, counting the coins into my quaking palm. “And our health insurance should not have to cover it… they brought it on themselves…” was her parting shot as I grabbed my rolls and fled.