James posted that Spiegel is looking for interesting blog posts about life in Germany. Oh, dear. I am not sure where this could lead. I looked at the post a bit more and noticed that they mention "greeting people in an elevator." I mentioned hand shaking yesterday, so you can tell that salutations are important here. Although I have not had an elevator experience, I am torn about greeting people . . . in the gym locker room.
I am pretty "stumpf" about working out. I don't like it, but I like to eat. So I go to the gym in order to maintain my weight (notice I did not say loose weight). I like to go, do my thing, and leave. I walk into the locker room, change my clothes, workout, get my bag from the locker room, and then leave. I only shower at the gym when I have an appointment after. For me showering involves too many lotions, shampoos, shaving and soap, and I don't want to lug it all to the gym.
So I walk in the locker room. Say hello to the naked people. "Moin." I leave the locker room. Say goodbye to the naked people. "Tschuss!" I actually do not do this. I don't know you. You are naked. We must not speak. Monday, after a workout I went into the gym to get my things. As I walked out, without saying anything, naked lady was in the middle of lotioning up and she called after me, "Bye!" Imagine you are at the gym in America. Would you say hello to someone you did not know and was in the middle of putting lotion on their breasts?
Maybe it is my puritanical American upbrining, but I don't feel compelled to greet people when they are naked. My upbringing was actually not puritanical. Maybe I am just not comfortable with nakedness (like Charlotte in Sex and the City, "I did not grow up in a naked house!"). Wow, this post is becoming a little too self-reflective.
Back to the greetings . . . Germans feel the need to greet everyone. Another example, when you enter and leave a doctor's office. You have to say hello . . . but you don't shake hands. It is so complicated, no wonder I screw it up. I once smiled at a cashier at the store and told her to have a nice day. She looked at me like I was nuts.
On another naked note, on the first date the German and I ever had, he took me to an art exhibit of . . . Nudes. I smiled at him, "Wow. This is the fastest any guy has every gotten me into a room with naked women."