Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down

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In Rhineland the celebration of Weiberfastnacht starts at 11:11am. It’s kind of a women’s empowerment day. People dress up in costumes and, for the day, women get to cut off men’s ties, which are seen as the symbol of  the power (yes, a phallic symbol). The men get a Bützchen (little kiss) as compensation, but they do have to wear the stumps of their ties for the day.

As you can see, I celebrate each year by hanging a wreath made of  all the ties I whacked off the previous year — fair warning, and all that. But I have to admit, the actual whacking off is a bit less harsh than the verbal whack off, at least it is in my grandmother’s house.

I took Fling to dinner at my German granny’s for Weiberfastnacht, really it was more of a party.  He arrived with a cut tie. Yes, I cut it off. My grandmother took one look at him and said “Another scruffy, pseudo intellectual?” Which was quite unfair as Fling had been on a plane for the previous 22 hours and holds two PHds (Cultural Anthropology and 17th Century British Civil War Politics).

Fling, undaunted, replied politely, “Now I see from whence your granddaughter acquired her stunning figure . . . as well as her stunning frankness.” Then he turned and walked away to mingle and find a drink.

My grandmother’s eyes twinkled. I even saw her smile slightly. In my family, if you can’t hold your own, you’re just won’t make the cut.

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