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.)
photos: Jeisson Martin
I still remember the streets of Istanbul. More so, the scent of them. When I think of the city, I think of the dust, flying around, mixing with the different smells of food from the streets. Carrying the life of the people through the alleys, being baked in the sun and cooled down at night. I remember the flavor of apple tea floating through the city, I remember the sea. When I think of Berlin I smell an evening, a sundown, some concrete. I think of the possibilities that dance through the streets, the lights and the music. A smell can predict danger, a scent can mean home, a fragrance can make a promise.
The scent of a city is sort of its emotional fingerprint. The identity and announcement of events. How warm the smells surround you, how cold the night could be. How harsh a certain district smells and how soft the sea. Kreuzberg smells different than Zehlendorf, Mitte has a different perfume than Neukölln. Not to get all Grenouille, but scents to me are the texture that memories are made of.
illustrations: Sophia Halamoda
After how many years can you say that you are a real Berliner? Five? Maybe ten? Or maybe 20? Some people even say that only the people who were born here have the right to be called “real“ Berliners. But what about if you were born in Berlin but left at the age of 10 and never came back? Would you be a real Berliner then?
I would like this nonsense about real Berliners and not real Berliners to stop once and for all. Most of the people now living in Berlin came from elsewhere and might even leave and go somewhere else after a couple of years. The Berliner-DNA is not defined by your birth certificate, your current Geo-Tag or the length of time you have spent in this city. As kitschy as its sounds, being a Berliner is a matter of your heart.
But sometimes listening to your heart is not as easy as it sounds on paper. To give you some help in discovering the (not so) secret essence of this lovable city, we joined forces with our favorite cartoon artist Sophia Halamoda. As a creative contribution of the #LiveThere exhibition by Airbnb opening tomorrow until Sunday, we created a semi-serious guide to how to become a real Berliner. Go and discover after the jump.
photo: Sascha Kohlmann / CC
Berlin is full of kisses these days. A kiss on the cheek to the friends you are meeting. A kiss on the head to your kid when you bring it to school. A kiss on the lips of your partner that just made you so happy on this sunny day. Many kisses over the hot body of your new lover that you just met at the clubs on the weekend. There are so many reasons to kiss, so many people to be kissed and so much happy hormones flowing through our bodies while doing so.
To spread a bit of happiness today I collected a couple of “kiss moments” that street photographer Sascha Kohlmann captured here in Berlin. Enjoy and try to give a kiss to someone today
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: Neil H / CC
When I travel to foreign continents and get asked where I am from, my answer is often: “I am from Europe”. I never really thought about what this means until last week. It’s not that I don’t want to say that I am from Germany (because whoever asks is probably going to demand a more precise answer anyway and I will give it). It’s not a lack of national pride; it’s more a sense of international unity within my own continent. I am happy to be German, but I am proud to be from Europe. Being born and raised in an isolated country like the GDR, the sense of freedom after the reunification was amazing.
I grew into an adult benefiting from the bond that the European countries had formed with one another after being in conflict for centuries. For me this became the status quo. I could travel, study, live and work in all of the other countries without problems, which many of my class mates actually did, going to France or the UK after school. When many of the countries even started to share one currency it became even more united. Going to Madrid or to Rome over the weekend to visit friends or just have a good time, this no longer felt like taking a vacation in a foreign country. It felt like something else…
photo: Natalia Kepesz
At a certain point, you know the difference between sitting at a Späti, at a Kneipe next door and at a nice bar. All three of these places demand a certain willingness to let go of your everyday routine but in a slightly different way. The Späti-night will first seduce you with being totally unpretentious and only a short term affair, a temporary solution. But after spending all night there, you know how your head will hurt like it was hit by a „Bierbank“ the morning after. The adventure to a Kneipe is a more serious challenge. The funny Kneipenlady you’ve heard rumors about will get all of your attention with all her dirty secrets, but while you are there, sitting at the counter, you realize that you are trapped like in the rabbit hole of Alice in Wonderland. You can’t escape as long as her shift or your finances end.
Last but not least, entering a fine bar is a nightlife pleasure of a special kind. A bar and its bartenders are a place of illusions and fantasies. And where fantasies and nightlife meet for a drink, I want to be there too (just to write down my experiences for this blog of course… )
Therefore I was more than happy to represent the digital media world as a judge at the World Class Competition 2016 in Berlin. Hosted by the Diageo Group the event took place in several locations in Berlin. 17 Bartenders from all over Germany competed with each other for one spot to go to Miami to the World Class Global Final competition. I had the pleasure to not only observe their skills from up close but also to taste some of the most fantastic drinks in my entire life. Being the judge of the hospitality challenge, I had to pretend to be a guest at a bar for a whole day and try out drinks from all 17 different bartenders. What sounds like a funny theater play was quite the intense job where a lot of accuracy of observation was required. But as each of the bartenders made their appearances in front of my judging seat, I had to wonder:
What are the special ingredients that make a bar a place of such magic and enchantment? My deep insights from this dive into the bartender world in a not-so-serious listical after the jump.
photo: Andi Weiland:
It was one of the quietest Saturday nights of my past 12 years in Berlin. Without any particular expectations a friend and I drove with the bikes from Kreuzberg to Brandenburger Tor while the sun light slowly started to decrease as the evening went on. As soon as we were there I felt my heart change in speed. The whole place was packed with men, women and kids. Some faces seemed familiar from late nights, parties and bars spend in the queer scene. Others I recognized from my everyday life in offices, cafes, bakeries or pharmacies. Does it matter who the people are who mourn for the victims in Orlando? Does is matter if they are young, old, gay, straight, black, white, trans or cis? For me it didn’t. I saw a place filled with heartfelt sorrow. With tears and cries and shattered minds, not able to understand and not able to forget the latest attack.
Nightclubs are a special place in the LGBTI world. On the first look they just seem to be a place for easy flirts, pumped bodies and shallow excitement. An arena of hedonism and a vanity fair. Where broken hearts and sucked dicks exchange numbers just to never actually call each other. But beyond the surface you might find out that nightclubs are a unique place for self exploration. Where first kisses are exchanged and drag stars are born. They offer safety and comfort under the shine of the disco lights to the ones who get discriminated and mistreated in their daily life just for not fitting in.
The shooting in Orlando hit the LGBT communities all around the world by attacking this safe haven. As Berliners we know the power and magic of nightclubs and could feel the horror on our skins, while reading the news about the deaths of the Orlando victims who just wanted to spend a night out with their friends or lovers.
On Saturday night the Brandenburger Tor for the first time in history was illuminated in the colors of the rainbow. But what matters where the radiant hearts of the Berliners that came. Under the collective mourn I felt a community that was not necessarily connected by the same experiences of discrimination or shared sex preferences. Berlin showed the world that its inhabitants are out and proud. Not afraid of hate and not afraid to love.
As the gathering slowly dissolved I felt so happy to be part of this community and at the same time so sad that it took such horrible event to bring us all together. Our impressions of the memorial after the jump.
Berlin is generally known as an easy going, relaxed happy place to have fun and take things slow. As much as we enjoy this reputation, it’s not all roses and unicorns here after all. We have our moments of struggles as well, some are Berlin specific and some are the same as in many other big cities in the world. It’s a part of life I guess. Sometimes you just have to stay strong.
The new campaign of the yogurt drink Actimel is all about these moments when people have to bite their teeth, make the best of it and stay strong. It’s quite a relatable sentiment, but as diverse as our world is, everyone gets to these moments quite differently. So the guys from Actimel asked us: when do you have to stay strong in Berlin? The question made us immediately think of the hilarious illustrated comics of Sophia Halamoda who showed us how to get into two of the most impenetrable institutions of Berlin: the notorious Berghain night club and the feared Bürgeramt. So we extended the question to her and together we came up with a list of some typical struggles that we face here in Berlin. We’ve all been there at some point! After the jump you’ll find 7 moments when you have to stay strong in Berlin.