Theoretically, I was looking forward to meeting the German’s ex wife. Until she showed up rail-thin with endless long legs. Here’s how it unfolded.
I was shopping and supposed to meet them [the German, his friend/her lover, Juergen, and the ex] at the Theatinerkirche (aka the yellow church). I walked in the direction that I thought it was, but it wasn’t there. A few more wrong turns, then I called Juergen. At that moment, the church, our meeting point, erupted in tolling bells. “Follow the bells,” he said. Fair enough, except that at that very moment, every church in Marienplatz exploded in song. Bells were everywhere! Juergen – can you give me a little more to go on?
When I reconnected with them, there she was. All of a sudden, I pictured myself as the American just off the cruise ship wearing an I Love Munich t-shirt, big hair piled on my head, big sun glasses perched on my nose, and a straw bag carrying my souvenirs. The first thing she said was ‘I’m glad you’re here and I’m sorry we missed your wedding.’ The second thing was ‘do you like to dance? Let’s go dancing tonight.’ It was a challenge, I thought. So I saw her let’s-go-dancing and raised her by enthusiastically agreeing that that would make for a fun night. Yes! The boys can sit at the bar and we’ll have a dance-off!
The awkwardness worsened over a glass of champagne, where I found myself suggesting we do a ski trip together… And oh, why wouldn’t you join us in Italy for Christmas? In slow motion, I was sinking into a psychotic world of “will you be my new best friend forever?” Finally, when Juergen suggested we stay at their house that evening, I think we’d both had it. I happily responded, “that would be great” while she and I secretly shared the same thought: No fucking way.
The next night we went to dinner together – the four of us and Wolfgang, her 80 year old father. The German and Juergen were recalling the time they visited Châteauneuf du Pape together. When asked what happened to that wine? Juergen responded sheepishly — I’m afraid she might have used it to color her hair. Instantly, the playing field leveled. Turns out, the ex uses henna to color her auburn mane. She confessed that the first time she used Henna, her hair turned bright orange until a man from India tipped her off that she needed to dilute the formula with red wine. Now, she heats the concoction, puts it on her hair, wraps her head in aluminum-foil, then goes about her business all day with a tin-head while the tannins bind to her hair. She said it turns out very shiny. “How’s it taste?” asked the German.