Friday night was Kay’s monthly Skat night. I’d compare Skat to Poker night where the ritual of playing cards, drinking beer, and gambling money occurs, but the game is nowhere near anything like Poker.
A few men from our neighborhood partake in the game.
I tried reading about the Skat rules online some months ago, but I only got as far as reading and understanding how the cards are dealt and how it is decided who “owns” the hand. Then I pretty much got bored (yawn)… And completely lost interest in understanding the rules.
Much like the complexity of learning the German language, learning the rules of Skat is equally as complicated. (There is a reason the computer game is on discount at the grocery store.)
What I do remember is that it is a three-person game; if four people show up, they rotate that person into the mix. If they have six men, they can have two games going at once.
Many times the men play at our house and it has become the default location; when none of the other wives can tolerate everyone at their house, the men play at ours.
One of the wives once asked me, “Don’t you mind that the men play Skat so much at your place?”
“Not really. It means my husband helps to clean the house, and they are all speaking German, so it’s really easy to just tune them out.”
Each Skat night, eventually, someone in the group will always suggest a round of drinking Grappa.
Grappa is described as an Italian grape-based alcoholic beverage, but I would describe it as dumping rubbing alcohol onto my taste buds not just once, but with several tiny sips.
Grappa is actually made with the left-over ingredients from making wine; I guess it’s the equivalent too making hot dogs with the left-overs from pork and beef. Ok, maybe that is taking it a step too far.
I have to admit that sometimes I enjoy watching the men play Skat, but even after doing so many times, I still have no clue how to play the game.
It probably would be easier if I just tried playing, but I won’t take the chance.
You see, the money that is earned from the game isn’t taken home by the winner of the night, as Poker is played. The men pool the money, save it, and make an annual men’s weekend with the money.
If I learned to play and started contributing to the pot, my fear is that I would be on this trip and have to spend an entire weekend listening not only to my husband snore, but five other men snoring as well. I’d prefer being home alone with no snoring for a few nights.
Pissing on the Baby Night
On Saturday night, my husband partook in my brother-in-law’s “pissing on the baby” night. This is German tradition after a baby is born.
I couldn’t tell you if the woman has a baby shower; I think so, but only after the baby is born, which differs from the US where the shower is before birth.
Unlike the US where typically baby showers are for women (although now-a-days it is becoming popular to have a party with women and men), the German men somehow finagled a “men’s baby shower” called Baby Pinkeln… Pissing on the baby.
Never mind that the women carry the baby for nine months and then many of which are nursing afterwards, but the men somehow feel the need to party and drink more beer while the mother can’t.
No hard feelings here.
When Kay returned the morning after the party, I asked him what they did for this “pissing on the baby” night.
It sounds like all the men met starting in the afternoon, watched two Fußball games, hit the pub, and then hit the sack. The only difference to any other men’s party night was that everyone contributed money to the baby’s piggy bank and the father paid for the beers all night.
Not a problem for me. Another night with no snoring husband. (But I still love you, honey!)
When I was pregnant and coming home to visit my family, my mom asked Kay if they should have a baby shower for me while I was home. (My mom is big on surprises. Me? Not so much.)
My husband told me afterward that he said yes, but was thinking, “Um, okay. Baby shower? The baby isn’t born yet so how do we wash the baby?…Hm? Weird tradition. And how are we going to get a shower home with us on the plane?”
In the US we have baby showers… In Germany, the men just “piss on the baby.” And who has the weird tradition?
This got me thinking. What if we mix the two traditions…? Is this how the term “golden shower” was coined? OH, I hope not! Why did I have to go there? I’m guessing that some of you are giggling, some are disgusted, and the remaining readers are quickly Googling “golden shower.” Perfect timing for me to stealthily sneak away.