Chimney Sweeps in Germany

My friend Kristin posted about her experiences hiring a chimney sweep in America. I thought it proper to discuss chimney sweeps in Germany. The German word for chimney sweep is Schornsteinfeger or some places say Kaminkehrer. Their work is not limited to chimneys, as Kristin’s post explains. They are the guys you might call when you need help cleaning out any kind of shaft, duct or vent. It can be a dangerous job. Risks include respiratory problems, attacks from birds and various rodentia and, holy shit, scrotal cancer (crosses chimney sweep from list of possible careers). It has been listed as one of the worst jobs in Victorian England. I learned after being in Germany for a while, the job does have its perks. One is that they have no problem meeting women. Let me explain.

In Germany and in many other places in Europe, the Schornsteinfeger is considered a bringer of luck. On New Year’s you see little caricatures and figurines of Schornsteinfeger with their black suit and hat and brushes. This has historical reasons. His services would help insure that your chimney was clear of debris that could catch fire causing your house to burn down. Makes sense right? Here is some more information about lucky chimney sweeps.

Now the perk is that if you see one, it is considered good luck to touch him. Thats means everywhere he goes he gets asked, “Darf ich Sie anfassen?” or, “May I touch you?” I have noticed that it is mostly women that ask. Most guys I know aren’t too anxious too ask other dudes if they can touch them. We might circumvent a Brokeback moment by using a manly handshake or something.

So that is not a bad deal. Everywhere you go women ask to touch you because you bring them good luck. If you figure out how to work that angle, there is a lot of potential. Well, as long as you stay clear of that whole scrotal cancer thing.