Our journey is nearing its end, and as we all know, good things tend to come to those. The second-to-last stop on our two and a half week trek is Munich, Germany, home of the bicycling Euro-hottie and the '72 Olympics, both of absolute equal relevance. And I'm sure there are some more historic buildings and the like.
Ich spreche bit auf Deutsche, a skill that I thought would prove useful when dealing with my ancestral brethren of the German variety. My middle name, Claus, was given to me in honor of my great-great-grandfather Claus Harder of Hamburg, Germany. I take pride in the name Claus (rhymes with house, not Santa), it's unusual and unique, and I've even gone so far as to use it as the name of my design studio (the more shameless the plug, the better).
But my kleine knowledge of the German language would prove slightly useless, as the junger locals want to spreche English with us, which is refreshing, because hey hey lookit that, we know that one.
The first stop on our tour of Munich was the World famous Hofbrau House, built in 1560 and located in the heart of the City Center. As soon as we stepped in, we could tell it was commercialism at its finest. Big beers. Big gift shop. Big bill.
Brad just noted that he hasn't seen any Hershey chocolate bars so far on our journey, a comment that taken at face value, was a meaningless sidenote on a trivial topic, simply filling the silence, but after a glance to Brad's countenance, the pain behind his eyes is unmistakable.
I've known Brad awhile now, going on 20 years, and I can read him. He won't say what's troubling him, if anything, he'll dance around it or take it out on someone something fierce later on. He didn't care about the Hershey's, his mind has strayed to the wilds of Budapest and the potential love he left behind. The girl who took my Orioles Flattie. Son of a bitch.
He hasn't mentioned her for awhile now, so it's nigh time. I ask if we should get an espresso, he says we should. Moving on.
Take this! In Munich, we shopped like women, I tell you. There, it's out there in the interweb ether. I got it off my tank-topped chest. I am not ashamed of my international shopping habits. Jeans. Shoes. Shirts. Clothes. When's the last time you felt great in your 9 year old pair of acid watch Jordache's? Ah-ha! Never.
So here we were, surrounded by ridiculously attractive women dressed for the runway, dressed for the pages of Vogue, dressed for getting undressed, walking the City Center in Munich, and we got carried away. Have you ever been carried away? My guess is YES.
Getting carried away makes life. You folks out there with 5 or so kids, you definitely know what I'm talking about. You women out there with the outlandish purse collection, those gawdy pink pumps you'll wear someday with that one dress someday maybe, you're with me. The guy with the sports college football package on his home TV, ordering the 3rd pitcher of beer at happy hour, we're here for you.
People get carried away and it's all-right.
So, I walked the street in Munich for a bit, looked at the local dudes' shoes and pants, shirts, and gear. Looked at a lot of dudes, you got me. And I stored it in my brain space, went into the nearest store whose name I couldn't pronounce, and I got carried away.
Because of that, my credit card company halted further funding and now I need another bag to carry my carried-awaynesses back to America, the home of excess.
But scheisse, I'm not alone! Brad purchased two pairs of the same shoe. Yes, you read that correctly. Two pairs of the same shoe. One to wear out, one to keep clean until the 'wear out' ones wear out completely. Inspector Gadget's trench coat surplus come to mind.
And I'll have you know that Shelton has come leaps and bounds from where he was, fashion-wise, in Texas (except for his circa 1998 white Aggies Game hat, which remains his goto headwear, for what reason I do not know. Oh! He had two of his hats stolen, too! He's only got the one Aggies one now).
I'm proud to say, Shelton has evolved into a Manties man. You see, Manties are my coined term for the man nut-hugger, the gentleman's trunk, the skimpy euro brief probably made famous by the homosexual man. You've seen the Manty, they have the big waist band sometimes, the genitalia pouch, the stripes or bright colors. I prefer mine dark grays to blacks, small waistband, streamlined, shifty, slick, tight, titillating, exasperating. I make David Beckham look like Just Another Poorly Tattooed White Athlete.
And as I've spent time with Shelton over the years, I couldn't help but notice that he wears the largest boxers I've ever seen. Material wise, they're obnoxious and billowey. When he walks, they bunch up around his waist, wad up near his wad. He fidgets and jostles.
Literally, he has a table cloth worth of material stuffed into his jeans on any given night out. It's not right and I've told him so. You have to be streamlined, I tell him. Like a jet plane of man-bulge. He never took my advice until I brought him to H&M and literally bought him some manties. That was a few months ago, when he visited me in LA. (I'm working on a pilot called 'Straight Eye for the Straight Guy', more about that another time).
Fast forward to this trip, and he still has the nerve to wear his old table cloth boxers in our hotel room.
He has these big white ones that float about him like he's in the damned hot tub. White ones. What men wear white underwear? Come on, men, get it together.
This is why old men wear the coolest stuff. Because they get it. There are no repercussions for their stylistic actions, for any of our style choices. People, we only live once, I swear to you, get carried away already.
So, it took literally taking the boy out of Dallas, but we've got Shelton into some damned Manties. And boy is he happy. The man no longer walks, the man glides. We've unleashed the Beast, the confidence that comes with shedding the bed sheet in your pants and embracing your inner Euro is invaluable. He just slid up to a group of women and their clothes literally were blown off of their bodies by the sexual gamma waves invisibly blasting from his pelvic regions clad in skin tight Armani.
Your sack needs a pouch...Manties, by CLAUS.
Why am I not in marketing.
Enough fashion talk, it's getting weird in here (has been for a few paragraphs, I know).
It was time to leave Munich and head back to the city of our USA-bound departure flight, Frankfurt, Germany.
One last note: As I type this on the train to Frankfurt, listening to a song called 'Anna Sun' on repeat, I survey my travel-worn comrades. Shelton is across from me, playing SimCity on my iPad, and Brad is across the aisle, listening to his iPhone and flipping through pictures from the trip. Actually, he's only flipping back and forth between a few, all of them of the Oriole Flattie thief/jackal from Budapest. Oh boy.
He looks up from his phone for a second and glances out to the countryside flying by. I then spot a familiar emotion crawl its way onto his face.
We leave for home tomorrow morning. My hope is to write one more travel post, summarizing our journey, reflecting back on knowledge gained, experiences shared.
Until then, make mine Manties (and yours, too, men).