One year in Berlin, an anniversary of sorts. This is my story of this utterly relenting city. A tale comprised of four distinct seasons, three apartments, numerous jobs, countless fleeting friendships and one difficult language. It is about a city of immense density caught between the heavy weight of its past and the inexplicable light and freedom that shines from the darkest of places.
This city that I now call home is something extraordinary, an anomaly. It has progressed into its next chapter, following the contours of history, flourishing into a liberal and cultural hub. It has changed from all recognition and proliferated into a city of tolerance and acceptance, a place where people are free from judgement, and even freer to express themselves. Yet I have felt Berlin’s depth.
This is my time in Berlin.
So you finally made it into the club! Now what?
After spending hours reading blog after blog about how to get into <insert your favorite Berlin nightclub>, you are finally ready to put on your dancing shoes and experience Berlin nightlife firsthand. Your outfit is on point (aka black). You managed to queue for over an hour without cracking a smile, much less breathe. You researched who was DJing and successfully memorized enough German to confidently tell the door guy how many people were in your party (Ich bin allein, danke). Congrats! You’re in. Now it’s time to have some fun.
Wait, not so fast. Just because you managed to fool the staff into thinking you’re a regular doesn’t mean that you’re ready to hit the dance floor quite yet. Before you pat yourself on the back, I encourage you to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the following Berlin nightlife etiquette tips.
photo: Eylül Aslan
Men are simple beings. All of them – even the smart ones. We might be a highly evolved kind of hairless monkey but there is one thing we love: organizing things in categories. Giving us a rough idea how to classify our fellow humans seems to be all the rage. Heterosexual men get special categories they only ever apply to women: The Madonna and the whore.
photo: Eylül Aslan
Berlin might be a disaster when it comes to airports but at least we have an overabundance of low-cost-airlines to choose from. And while hundreds of people come to Berlin to get their rocks off every weekend, I prefer to travel and, as some of you might remember my column on the terrible truth about the German man, I have reason enough.
AURA, photo: Dress Me Guide Me
The vintage and 2nd hand scene in Berlin is a very diverse world covering some rare vintage from golden times, contemporary high end brands as well as thrift stores where you can buy per kilo. The criteria which makes the difference between all those types is the selection of garments itself. While vintage is the label for clothes that were distinctive to a specific era that’s at least 10-15 years in the past, 2nd hand generally just describes clothes that have been worn by someone before. This could be anything ranging from 2000er high street pieces or last season’s designer stuff. Especially vintage stores pride themselves with the originality of their selection of pieces, that are mostly stand-outs, clean and in good condition. Just like well-curated 2nd hand shops they are usually done with a lot of love and passion, therefore vintage is usually more expensive than your average 2nd hand or thrift store.
Regardless of your personal preference, whether you buy 2nd hand or vintage as a political statement, to get trendy or luxurious brands for cheap or because you are searching for the pearl in a pile of random stuff to get that triumphant feeling of a precious discovery – Berlin’s got you covered!
Our guest contributor Emilie from Dress Me Guide Me selected some of the most awesome shops for you!
photo: Eylül Aslan
I don’t believe in airing my dirty laundry in public. I know how unconvincing that sounds coming from someone who writes a dating column that heavily features her private life, (shut up! You know you love it) but after having the issue resurface several times over several months, I do have to give the issue of social media hygiene a personal treatment.
Sometimes I wish Facebook had a “your ex is not going to this event” feature. Or better yet, there should be a feature that lets you confirm events and then the designated persona non grata would be unable to confirm, or even see, the event.
artwork: Eugenia Loli / CC*
“Men are all the same, just pick the richest one” seems like a solid framework for the jaded urbanite interested in dating men. I’m not classist, I went out with starving artists left and right, but sometimes a girl needs more than hard dick/clit and Späti beer.
I have toyed with the idea of dating someone with a thick bank account and a thin thread of life after an ex-partner suggested that “the lifestyle would suit” me. And of course I’d love to be the “personal assistant” and bed warmer for Gloria Swanson’s Norma Desmond, but my chances of ending up with some Berlin (read: far less wealthy) version of J. Howard Marshall are much better.
“So, how did you two meet?” I hear myself ask.
15 years ago the Berlin duo Stereo Total sang about threesomes and here I was, the summer of 2015, meeting another couple for what feels like a therapy session but is really a vetting meeting for a possible threesome. How did I end up with yet another “straight” couple that is queering up their existence with a shared Tinder profile, my dear reader? The answer is simple: Because I’m an excellent middle ground for any couple. I’m cute enough to not be intimidating yet hot enough to provoke desire. I’m running an unregistered non-profit. Headquarters? My pants.
artwork: Eugenia Loli / CC
Since I started dating I’ve always gone international. There are only a few European countries I haven’t planted my metaphorical flag (yes, this is a dick joke about my metaphorically huge dick). There is only one country whose men (and only men) I try to avoid: Germany. “Why? What have German men ever done to deserve this?” I hear you say, my dear reader. Well, I’m glad you asked…
photo: Rowena Waack / CC
My name is Alix Berber. I’m a girl. I’m in my twenties. I’m bisexual. And my plan is to find Mr. or Mrs. Right(-ish). I’m here to take you on a journey, my dear reader. It will probably be a disastrous (and hopefully entertaining) ride, fueled by bad decisions, online-dating and all the madness that Berlin has to offer.
We all know that one couple that has been a solid, loving fixture on the canvas that is your social circle in Berlin. They’re not crazy in love (well, not anymore) but they stand on a solid platform of mutual affection and comfort. Look at them, marvel in their happy-ish-ness.
They’ll break up – that I promise you.