I hate to blow my own trumpet and everything, but I am basically a really brilliant TEFL teacher. I really am. I totally, absolutely, completely am. I have these moments of genius, and not only when I go in still pissed from the night before.
Real moments of genius.
Plus, I teach tag questions where “Sexy Bexy” and “Randy Andy” meet at a party in West London and Randy Andy asks Sexy Bexy all these personal questions but he doesn’t get anywhere. Then a week later he sees her at a bus-stop in East London and he’s all, like: “You’re Sexy Bexy, aren’t you? You can dance, can’t you? You’re not married, are you? You live in London, don’t you?” It is basically slightly genius of me. The only trouble is, I’m not that good at drawing. I always try to make Sexy Bexy look like Pamela Anderson or Belle from Beauty and the Beast but sometimes she ends up coming out looking a bit like that prostitute Hugh Grant got a BJ off of in L.A.
I had a moment of genius last week, too. We were doing short answers, and my students at the moment, they’re all beginners. They were finding it a bit tricky. It was like: “They’re not married.” “Yes, they are!” “They’re French.” “No, they’re not.” And they just couldn’t get it, right? They just couldn’t. And they were getting more and more frustrated and it was all awful.
And then it happened.
A MOMENT OF GENIUS.
I wrote on the board in big letters: “Angela Merkel is a sexy lady” and they all called out, in unison: “No, she isn’t!” It was like panto, only better. It was brilliant.
I knew it would work, because I know what German people are like. I know how they think, I know how they tick. I know how they ALL think. They all think Angela Merkel is hideously disgusting. They think of her as some kind of hideous prehistoric sea-monster. Actually, she’s a totally normal-looking 50-odd-year-old woman.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say she’s fairly attractive. FOR SOMEONE OVER 50. It’s not like I’m desperate to shag her. She’s not, like, a KILF or something (Kanzler I’d Like to FUCK). But then, we can’t all be Gerhard Schröder, you know.
I’ve never been able to understand it, to be honest. Normally, most of the time, in most of my conversations with German people, I’m the one being all sexist and sex-mad and sex-craved and superficial and stuff, judging everyone by their looks and pretending I’m in a submarine and there’s been a nuclear war (a really big one) and I have to decide in which order I would fuck all the different members of the Lesedüne or literally gushing with excitement about how sexy the plumber is and it’s the Germans looking at me all puzzled and perturbed, going: “Hey, calm down, Jacinta. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, he only has to fix the washing-machine, try to stop thinking about sex for longer than seven seconds at a time for once in your life.”
But with Angie. It’s totally the other way around. The things they say about her. What the fuck? It’s like they wish Taylor Bow was running the country or something. I mean, what the fuck does it even matter what she looks like anyway? And the truth is, she’s just not THAT ugly:
“She’s just not that ugly,” I told a German friend the other day. “She’s just not hideous. She is a normal 50-odd-year-old woman. Of course, you don’t want to fuck her. Men don’t want to fuck women over the age of 50. That is normal. But she’s not especially hideous.”
“She’s ugly. She’s an ugly woman. She’s incredibly unattractive.”
“Is she less attractive than your mum? She’s no less attractive than my mum. She’s totally normal.”
“It’s every German man’s nightmare, to have sex with her. We have nightmares about it.”
“She looks normal for a woman of her age.”
“She’s not even a woman. She’s not even remotely feminine. There’s nothing feminine or womanly about her whatsoever. I’d rather die than have sex with her.”
I’ve never been able to understand it. But I do now, after reading this brilliant article by Sarah Churchwell. It’s just because people can’t accept women with power. They did it to Maggie T. and they’re doing it to Angie. The only way people can accept a woman with power is by taking away her femininity. It’s nothing to do with what she looks like. They’re just being dicks. Literally.
Jacinta Nandi’s very own Lesebühne, Rakete 2000, has been shortlisted for for the Best Berlin Lesebühne Prize. Vote for it in the audience prize section here.