You’ll probably notice the clichés right from the start. Stereotypes that feel strangely familiar, strangely truthful, strangely apt. Stereotypes, which maybe aren’t really stereotypes at all? Is it possible, then, that the Innsbruck Man, that man from the mountains, that urban alpinist is actually the prototype of male stereotypes? A loving analysis.
The most legendary man from Tyrolean film history is Joe from the “Piefkesaga”, played by Tobias Moretti, who had a good cry with Elsa, his German girlfriend’s mother. He felt humiliated by the women in his life, they didn’t understand his gentle soul. His pride was hurt so he cut himself off from love. And it’s true – men from this alpine urban region are quick to feel like you’ve stepped on their toes, ahem…skis. Woe betide anyone who treats them unfairly or criticises their actions. Because in their own eyes, they’re the most honest and straightforward people you’ll ever meet (in a very sophisticated way, of course). When they love, they love with all their heart. Unless it’s a powder day. Or there’s corn snow. Or the sun is shining. OK, admittedly…it’s not always easy in Innsbruck where there are so many alpine urban possibilities. So let’s put it this way: being a boyfriend/partner/husband in Innsbruck is sometimes a rather tedious part-time job.
Seven in the morning. My better half isn’t a morning person. Unless, of course, there’s fresh powder, corn snow or sunshine on a day when he doesn’t have to work or run other errands directly related to his unique, man schedule. However, despite this, he still makes a brilliant breakfast (he is emancipated). The Innsbruck Man loves the first meal of the day. And he shops for a “gourmet” breakfast as women shop for shoes – preferably from the market hall, the Hörtnagel delicatessen or the farmers’ market in Wilten. Coffee with fresh Tyrolean milk, farmhouse bread from the Pitztal valley served with thick slices of Speck (dry-cured ham), mountain cheese and – of course – a … farmers’ egg. Don’t fancy this exorbitant meal at seven in the morning? Prepare to be viewed suspiciously. Is she ill? Or worse, has she stopped loving me? (You always used to eat my breakfast eggs…) The Innsbruck Man needs loving recognition of his culinary skills – after all (as he often and frequently points out) he has gone from one gourmet temple in the centre of Innsbruck to another and even swiped eggs from under the hens plumage with his own two hands at the last organic farm in the city. Alleged “women’s tasks” like shopping, cooking, etc. become a job for the boss. My hero.
Working on two wheels
My better half, my Innsbruck Man, leaves the house. A day at the office is best when it starts early. That way he can jump on his mountain bike eight hours later, in the middle of the afternoon, and ride up to the Höttinger Alm mountain hut for a few beers with the boys. Or head up to Brenner on his road bike – with the boys – for a pizza and a few glasses of red wine. If that’s not possible, for some inexplicable reason, then the biceps get a workout with beer glass lifts. Maybe even craft beer lifting – now available at Tribaun in Innsbruck. The Innsbruck Man is normally in keeping with the trends, even if he initially looks at anything from as far away as Munich or past the Karwendel mountains with scepticism. And then discusses it in detail while enjoying copious amounts of it.
Even these very important social studies follow a certain dress code. Anyone who imagines the Innsbruck Man as a Berlin hipster is well off the mark. The Innsbruck Man has a very different style to “lowland Tyroleans”. For one thing, you never know when fresh snow might fall at the Seegrube, when there’ll be corn snow in Kühtai or when the sun will start to shine in Innsbruck’s holiday villages. The Innsbruck Man wears functional clothing to make sure he’s ready for any eventuality – today, quite in line with popular fashion trends. And the neon colours look particularly good in autumn against the colourful autumn foliage. Fashion bonus: since the Milan Fashion Week in winter 2015, hiking boot style leather shoes have come back in vogue.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
As my better half explains several times a week, there’s no such thing as bad weather…just bad clothing. But then again, he’s also happy to sit on the sofa – when it’s raining or Wacker Innsbruck are playing or the ski racing is on. Or ski jumping, the Tour de France, the Piefkesage or James Bond. You know, educational TV for the Innsbruck Man. But back to one of the Innsbruck Man’s favourite topics: the weather. In off-peak seasons (we’re talking sport here) the Innsbruck Man likes to go on holiday to surf, windsurf and kitesurf. Holidays are naturally off limits during the sporting peak season (unless it’s a break to northern Italy to windsurf or kitesurf on Lake Garda with the other men from Innsbruck).
Bottom line: Anyone who loves an Innsbruck Man has won the lottery. Life is never boring. It’s shaped by loving, raw charm. Because when an Innsbruck Man loves, he loves with all his heart. And we love him back.
Text: Kristina Erhard
Illustration: Niña Lerch