Tracking down the Bad Boys

It is Thursday evening, and I am planning to visit Munich’s new hip Greek eatery, the “Cavos Restaurant”. Supposedly, EVERBODY has already been there since it opened a couple months ago, satisfying their need to be seen and to drink champagne-cocktails. Naturally, I take a “debut”-appearance in such a restaurant serious and delve deep into the matter of what to wear. There is only one way to make it clear to the restaurant staff that you have no intention to wait or even beg for a table – by the way you dress and act.

I decide to go with a blue and white, strapless, short dress. Thereby, I am wearing the colors of the Greek flag. As you can see, there is some deep strategy involved. I am wearing the motto - or better: flavor - of the night on my skin.

Speeding down the posh Leopoldstrasse at 9 pm, I notice dozens of motorcycles that are parked near the “Holiday In”. What’s going on? If there is a large group of bikers in town, a single woman should be informed about that! It justifies me braking hard, weaving onto the left lane and parking on the curb with my warning lights on. Just to take in the view. One of the formidable Bad Boys is wearing a leather jacket embossed with the letters “Bandidos” on his back. Suddenly, I remember all the reports I saw and read about these guys. They are tough, a fearless brotherhood of outlaws and members of an organized crime gang on wheels.

Naturally, I find these kind of people very interesting. I take my camera out of the glove compartment and get out. I leave my car just like that and strut in high heels across the street. I got to find out how bad these boys really are. The closer I get, the more I begin to doubt my sanity. But my legs outpace my sense of reason. I am only 15 feet away from these impressive bikes and theirs owner when suddenly I get this gangster-vibe myself. I like it! That is until I am faced with a naked male chest. I have to look up far to find the attached head. How tall can a person be? And how wide? The giant looks down at me and asks in a unfriendly tone of voice: “What are you doing here?” I am feeling sick. I realize, I am not a gangster, but rather small and weak. I try to mask that fact – something I have mastered after five years in the public’s eye.

I force a smile and tell him that I like to take some pictures. He grunts “pictures for whom?” I decide to stay truthful and inform him matter-of-factly that it would be for my “Bild” newspaper column. The very big man looks mad: “Press? I get the boss. Wait here.” Is he talking about the actual boss of the Bandidos? I am holding on to my small pink camera and feel a sudden urge to pee. “Get your act together” I silently chastise myself. How horrible can these guys be? I stand erect and breathe in deeply. There he is. The boss. He is a bit smaller that the incredible Hulk I dealt with before. Like all others, he is wearing a leather vest embossed with the club letters and is covered with tattoos all over. He shakes my hand and asks me with a slightly uninterested tone of voice to state my business.

Once again, I give him my spiel about the column and how I am glad to have finally found some real men in Munich. Judging by his icy stare, my cute girl-tactic is an epic fail. Damn.

Time to do something extraordinarily dumb. I turn around and show him my own tattoos on my back. Then I get in his face and proclaim: “I got tats and a police record for hit and run. And when I was 16, I got my own Enduro off road motorbike. I am one of you!” He looks dumb-struck. I should have stuffed my fist in my mouth instead of…Suddenly he begins to laugh. Loud. Turning to his men, he bellows “look guys, she is one of us”. There is a roar of laughter all around. Even I laugh. Apparently, insanity is a great ice breaker.

The big boss takes me over to the circle of men and introduces me. I inform everybody that I am in reality an actress who has been writing a column about life in Munich for the last 2 weeks. After five minutes, I am having a great conversation. I feel good among these “tough dudes” who turn out to be courteous and very funny. They tell me about their bikes, their club, their lives and the meaning of their tattoos. They even tip me off about their favorite bars. I am beginning to think that they like me. And I like them. At some point I openly ask them if I am allowed to write about our impromptu get-together. A discussion ensues. Then, I get a nod from the boss. I feel that it has not been an unanimous decision.

I ask for some picture. One of the men explains again that they usually never talk to the press and that they are making a huge exception for me. All because I seem to be an ok girl. This is followed by a number of snap shots. After every picture, the “hardened outlaw-bikers” insist of checking the display of my little pink camera – to ensure that they look good. Suddenly, I am being bear-hugged by the large guy I ran into first. I feel like I have known him and the others for a long time. I like it here and I would love to stay. But as usual, I leave when everybody is having the most fun. One of the “Bandidos” hands me his business card. It says “Don’t Complain, Fight” on the back. And suddenly, I have to think about a report I saw about the biker gang wars. I still write down my email-address and they ask me, if I will come back to hang with them. Surely, I will. I am really fascinated by the characters behind the Bandidos. Today, I met a bunch of really interesting human beings. Let’s see how the puzzle pieces will fit together once they show me more of their world.