Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Join the Club


Germans love their clubs. If you want to play football, raise canaries or walk Nordically, and you live in Germany, you automatically join a club, known as a Verein. That gives you instant friends, a place to go on a Saturday night if you’re feeling lonely, and it adds meaning and purpose to your life.

As parents, we have already joined an athletics club so that our children can run around a track with other kids and attend gymnastics classes. We believe that we will be joining a football club in the next year so that our small fellow can run aimlessly after a ball with others of his ilk. If any of our kids wanted to play tennis, hockey, rugby or netball we would have to join a club. This means paying a modest yearly fee, and getting involved on some level, whether it’s tending the herbaceous borders at the tennis club, lift-clubbing small hockey players to away games or turning up at various fests and ordering alcohol (my speciality).

We are broken, though, that there are no cricket clubs in Germany, except the casual one that takes place in our garden most weekends. It’s fairly relaxed, and closely tied to our regular weekend barbeque. There is no joining fee, no pruning involved and the requirement is the ability to hold a bat, however badly, and occasionally make contact with a ball. We are a small island of cricket in the large German sea of football.

Today, after a long bike ride, we stopped at a restaurant for a bit of lunch. We were lucky enough to be sitting next to the Sunday meeting of an unusual club.

The facial hair Verein. Twirly moustaches everywhere. We giggled, tried not to stare or do this:

We have to be careful. People take their clubs – and their facial hair – very seriously here.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

14 thoughts on “Join the Club

  1. The facial hair Verein? That cracked me up! Especially since the last book I edited had all kinds of deadly serious groups like the Verein Freie Volksbühne Berlin. Nice to contrast Socialist theater productions with twirly moustachios 🙂

  2. >We are broken, though, that there are no cricket clubs in Germany,

    Germany was a founder member of the European Cricket Federation and there are a lot of clubs all over Germany. One of them is the Cosmopolitan Cricket Club Haßloch.

  3. Henitserk, we were loving those twirly ‘taches. Quite a look.

    Thanks, Michael! Will forward immediately to cricket-mad husband – do you have training for under-10s?

  4. I saw some photos once of these facial hair Veriens. I wouldn’t have been able to stop laughing.

  5. My academic publisher has the most splendid moustache I have ever seen – I’ll have to find some photos of the German competition to show him! And is that your bookcase I can see over your shoulder, Charlotte? You know we book bloggers are insatiably curious about other people’s bookshelves!

  6. Lia, funnily enough the restaurant was at the Schutzenverein, and although I was only speculating that it was a facial hair Verein, the evidence was good, since every man out of the five there was spectacularly moustachioed.

    Litlove, that is indeed one of the many bookcases. At the moment, we don’t go for order in our bookshelves – we have a happy sprawl of books – but once the two offices in the cellar are complete, we can work on a more ordered set-up.

  7. I joined a hockey Verein to play grass hockey and was rather disappointed to find that rather than play hockey, the main goal was to get together after practise and games to smoke, drink, and gossip. 🙂

  8. I’m laughing over here, Charlotte, don’t know what is funnier, all the clubs you’ve had to join, or the mustache!!! Great photo of you too, and love all the books behind you!!!

  9. I hope they were all men! How sad, if I stopped waxing for about 3 months, I could probably join the facial haor verein…or at least be an honorary member!

  10. Funny! Why don’t we start a club of some sort. Got any ideas?

  11. Brilliant photo. And how DID you keep a straight face?? Minstry of Funny Moustaches ahoy!

  12. That’s hilarious, Charlotte. I can just imagine you trying not to laugh at them. We have a woman in the transport section here who could join that verein – she has a quite astonishing (and scary) moustache. I think it helps in the army to have some intimidating facial hair.

  13. My husband is back up at the lake, and I have found a way to read my posts off-line. Charlotte, you are delightful — still, I would have had a hard time not laughing a little too loudly.

  14. Great to put a face to your name, Charlotte. And a delightful read as always.

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