München mag dich indeed / by mrm

Munich likes you is the city motto, but today, and it pains me deeply to say this, Munich - you've really let me down.

For most of the world's Catholics, today was officially Thursday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time, and they went about their Ordinary business. Not here in Munich. I was promised more. Today was Unsinniger Donnerstag - Nonsensical Thursday. This was no Ordinary Time! This was something special! And strange! The last Thursday before Fasching (Carnival), which of course is the final chance to indulge in gluttony, promiscuity, and generally wild and abandoned behaviour before things get serious with Lent.

How was such a day celebrated, I asked? How to inaugurate and usher in this long weekend of wantonness? In a simple way, I was told. The women cut off the men's ties. Beg pardon? Yes, you can take your scissors, and if you see a man wearing a tie, you can cut it off.

Snip, snip. I have to wonder how such a celebration came about. After all, it's not as though neckties as we know them have been a more or less ubiquitous bit of apparel the way say, shoes have. Although it's true that men do seem to have an inordinate fondness for tying bits of fabric around their necks; consider the cravat, the Ascot. Maybe they're trying to distract you from the fact that they don't have proper breasts (some kind of repressed and transmuted mammary envy?). But when the hearty Bavarian men used to stroll the streets of Munich with those lacy bits tied up under their chin in the 1600s, did the Mädels run about with their scissors, giggling and spilling out of their dirndls? Oddly kinky. So, the women use their scissors to cut off the men's long...ties. This has to be about castration, right? And how does all of this translate in modern Munich, city of BMWs and business people?

This was something I wanted to see. Maybe even participate in.

The first obstacle I encountered was the weather. With a high of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the men I saw wore scarves tucked in to their heavy winter coats. Who could even tell if they were wearing a tie? Nonetheless, I strolled about, hands out of pockets to help maintain my balance on the icy sidewalk. I was confident. I was excited. I had been looking forward to today all week. I wanted to witness the Great Tie Snipping!

An hour and a half later, I had more or less given up. I had seen exactly one man wearing a tie, an exceedingly dapper looking chap. I'd briefly contemplated following him to see if anything was going to happen. I reminded myself that that was creepy, and refrained.

I bought some roasted almonds to help warm my reddened, freezing hands and went to work, where none of the men were wearing ties.

This has been, by far, the most disappointing holiday of my life.