photo: Rowena Waack / CC
I’ve written about the digital debris broken relationships leave behind. In this day and age, it seems that something always lingers, even when you do the leaving. Of course, in most cases, ditching people for good ultimately turns out to be the better choice. A recently published study suggests that only narcissists and/or psychopaths (and Berlin has enough of both) like to stay friends with their former partners. That may or may not be true. In my experience one of the dominant reasons we still pine for people that we got rid of is nostalgia, rather than the fact that your ex was such a good friend or even partner.
Rejecting the idea of “the one” seems like the best place to start. Even if you’ve left everyone you’ve ever been with, you’ll have realized that it doesn’t mean the whole thing will be painless. The aim is of course to get through the suffering.
illustrations: Johanna Dumet
It all started one fateful Tuesday morning as I stood in my bathroom. The previous night I’d submitted the manuscript of How to be German 2 to my publisher and I considered my German Integration project finished. I was integrated. Standing in the bathroom, I looked below the mirror to a shelf where I saw the toothpaste tubes Elmex and Aronal. They knew, that I knew, that it is wrong to use the same toothpaste for both morning and night. This is not the German way, for it is obvious that your teeth have different cleaning needs depending on the time of day. Logisch. Right? You wouldn’t use the same shampoo when showering at night, as when showering in the morning, would you? Exactly.
TH!NK? Festival, photo: Arvid Wünsch
For Free: One brown vintage v-neck sweater and one oversized striped H&M tank top!
Why am I giving them away? Well, let me explain…
It all began a few weeks ago when I made the two hour bus ride to Leipzig to attend the TH!NK? festival, an annual one-day techno festival located next to a beautiful lake. When I boarded my bus in my blue marbled stretchy spandex shorts and striped crop top tank, I knew I was going to have an amazing day. I had no idea, however, that life as I know it would be forever changed. Furthermore, I had no idea that as a result, I would return to Berlin a much happier, more romantic version of myself.
Every year, slowly but steadily, summer finds its way to Berlin. And with it the festivals pop up, seemingly endless. Your Facebook feed is basically exploding and they all appear like your wildest summer dream come to life. But where to start, which to choose, and who should join the perfect festival squad? …Struggles, so in the end you surrender and end up at Volkspark-Friedrichshain, having a barbecue. At least that’s how it feels like to me.
So, when Somersby – the fruity Scandinavian Cider – invited us to the Helene Beach Festival, of course, we went – Far to the east, actually, as east as it gets if you weren’t planning a spontaneous trip to Poland. The thought of half naked bodies, sun screen and apple cider, convinced us to pack our things and leave Berlin for the weekend. A summer beach festival located directly at a beautiful lake, with a wide variety of artists was waiting for us. Summer – music – chill – Let’s do this!
photos: Chris Phillips for Pornceptual
Pornceptual – “That’s a party? With that kinda name? In Berlin? – Oh Gosh!” – I know plenty of people who would already pass just knowing these banal facts; driven by an opinion, formed by nothing more but hearsay. Fetish, leather, sex, queers, techno, darkness; the associations are clear. I, on the other hand, seem to be constantly driven by an insatiable fascination for everything that’s outrageous. So, I went, more spontaneous, than elaborately planned. Well, I got everything mentioned above – yet still, my first Pornceptual was far from what I expected. One night in between naked skin, electronic beats and sexual liberation made me philosophize about what’s queer, what’s compliant and that weird thing called “normal”.
“And what piece of clothing are you gonna take off today?”, the skinny bouncer asked, a crooked smile on his face. His outfit consisted of an old Soviet uniform – without anything down below, of course, just tight leather hot pants. I looked around; the line behind me appeared like a collection of bizarre characters. I already felt very entertained by this; Berlin, just like you’d imagine it. Admittedly, at first I had to realize that I was not truly a newbie to this world. I am queer, I have been to many queer parties – but a party that is this kinky and sex oriented was still on the to-do-list. The facial expression of one of my friends reminded me of how deeply this Berlin party scene has already influenced me. While I was showing a broad smile, her face said something like: “What the fuck am I getting myself into?”
photos: Eylül Aslan
Oral sex is a sticky topic across all genders. Putting your mouth on/around/into someone else’s genitals is somehow a battleground of opinions.
What I find curious is that’s (almost) a non-issue between homosexual pairings. In the meantime, douchey guys running around proudly proclaiming how they “don’t eat pussy” are combated by another species of men: the guy that loves to munch on fur burgers. And even the latter is usually only mediocre to tolerable at it. (Although I’ve met one or two exceptions in my time. Sadly they’re both dead. To me anyway.)
When I first arrived in Berlin a little over a year ago I knew I would encounter plenty of cultural shock. I had no idea, however, that dating in Berlin would be a 9 on the damn Richter scale. My current self wishes she could have warned her past self to brace herself. I was in for a shake up.
The first time I went out in Berlin, I came home feeling convinced that something was seriously wrong with me. No one tried to hit on me the whole night (or so I thought.) Could they smell the American on me? Was I not wearing enough black? Were my dance moves not robotic enough?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some positive sides to being a female at a Berlin nightclub. Chances are your butt won’t be groped, your drink won’t be spiked (because having a drink bought for you is highly unlikely), and you won’t have to listen to cheesy pickup lines such as, “would you like some fries with that shake?”— (yes, someone has actually muttered these words to me.) I can’t speak for other nightlife around the world, but going out as a female in the US means you’ll likely spend the majority of the night deflecting unwanted attention. I had normalized this behavior so much that when I didn’t have it, I started to wonder if something was wrong with me.
photo: Eylül Aslan
People tend to think that open relationships are easier to have than monogamous ones. Speaking from experience, this is simply not true. If you have trouble with commitment, are lukewarm about your partner or have some other unresolved issue like communicating what you want (or even just knowing what you want), then an open relationship will just make everything worse, for everyone. Sometimes it seems people in Berlin are so unable to nurture even one stable, healthy relationship built on respect, communication, love and support that I really have no patience for the wave of “easy fix” open relationships. It’s an issue friends, even friends of friends, bring up with me. I surround myself with wonderful, intelligent people but when it comes to this, everyone is just a fucking idiot…
photo: Danilo Sierra
The music industry has long been (and in many ways still is) a boys club, but things seem to finally become more open to women, thanks to the pioneering work of people such as The Black Madonna who’ve been especially vocal about the issues affecting women trying to become part of the music world. In Berlin, Salt + Sass is an interesting event series to check out if you want to learn more about these topics.
While our city is well-known for its electronic music scene, clubs and DJs, people tend to forget that Berlin is also home to a lively hip-hop scene, with collectives such as Broke Boys, Blunt’n'Roses, WEBOOGIE, Berries and more throwing legendary events that don’t rely on 4/4 beats. And guess what – women are representing too!
Here are 10 among our favorite Berlin-based female hip-hop DJs:
photos: Linus Ma
Seven months in the US tore me away from the beloved city at the Spree, and showed me my very own version of the “American Dream”, although I still don’t really know what that truly means. I got dropped into the shiny swirl of the City of Angels and just thrown out again, unprepared and unarmed. Suddenly, I am back in Berlin, and what was once familiar, now seems weirdly odd. So I have to find out all over again: What makes this city desirable? Here is a story about waking up from pink dreams and falling in love with Berlin again.