Apr 3, 2017


I've been thinking a lot about the differences between Germans and Americans lately. With the amount of time I've spent outside of the US, and the amount of time I've spent outside of Germany, it's given me a strange perspective on both countries and the bizarre contradictions each would see in the other.

Legal in Germany

  • Prostitution
  • Sports betting and mini-casinos on every street
  • Drinking at the movies, drinking on the streets, pretty much anywhere including public transportation.
Frowned upon
  • Jaywalking
  • Talking on your cellphone on public transport
  • Drinking at a casino
Germans have a very different view of privacy than Americans. In Germany, it's entirely common to see people sunbathing sans-clothing, and at the numerous saunas and swimming pools, there are areas which are mandatory swimsuit-free. In the same culture where you can sit cheek to cheek with sweaty men and women in a hot wooden room, people also petition Google to blur their building facades in street view, and whenever you buy a box of toothpicks online, you get a long declaration of precisely what the company is doing with your data.

To be honest, I think that the US probably could use a little more caution and protection of their online presence, and loosen up a bit with the horrors of nudity. Once you take off your clothes and join the masses of people, you are confronted with the reality that the problems of a mostly hairless primate with an approximately 90 year lifespan are not so great. Also the fact that you are not so different from everyone else, that there are people who look you once did, and people who you will look like when you're older. It's a moment to remember that my body is not a rental or a suit, but something integral to me. And it feels really relaxing and invigorating.

In the US, you can drive at 15 and a half, and drink at 21. Drivers training is a joke, and getting a licence is almost free.
In Germany, you can drink at 15 and a half, and drive at 21. Drivers training takes years, and the training plus licencing fees will run you roughly a grand. 

So what happens in America is people binge drink in college because suddenly, they can, and car accidents are the leading cause of death of teenagers. But it's a part of American culture to say "let no one stop you from harming yourself or others" and we collectively agree that it's ok to kill six to seven teenagers a day, and just send six to seven hundred daily to the ER. 

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