photos: Franziska Müller-Degenhardt
When I first came here, I was innocent and inexperienced, clear as a blank page. But it is a truth universally acknowledged that Berlin is a city of creatives, so it’s only natural that after a while, I ended up feeling like someone has scribbled all over me. The once blank page is now covered in chaotic drafts and I am only left with distant memories of love songs, script ideas and DJ sets, all of which turned out to be way less meaningful than I could have (however naively) hoped.
Dating in the Berlin expat community with anything close to a monogamous mindset is like trying to do groceries on a Sunday – only happening five times a year in very restricted locations. Being hetero, I’m usually able to steer clear of sex tourists, but I’ve come to notice a local equivalent for that phenomenon: the guys who are permanently in their zen-like soul-searching mode, very unwilling to step down from their mystic cloud to see what’s up in the real world – unless it’s for a booty call.
I don’t blame them though. Berlin is a place where you’re often faced with an absolute apotheosis of the proverbial sex, drugs, and… well, mostly techno. You’re left with no other choice but to figure it out for yourself. While I can’t tell you how privileged I feel to live in a city that has the magical power of stimulating everyone to let their freak flag fly by night, it’s a shame when half-mast is the best they can do at daylight.
That is to say – I meet so many guys whose identity sadly doesn’t extend beyond the nightlife. I personally had to work my way the other way around. I moved to Berlin as one of the few people actually unaware of its notoriety as the one-of-a-kind retirement home for 30 somethings. Being Polish, 19 years old and straight out of high school, you can imagine I was in for a surprise.
I’ve spent my two years here adjusting my teenage ideals of romantic love to a reality where I get more invitations to a threesome than to the cinema, where my friend is consulting me as to what lingerie she should wear to an orgy, and where you can expect the dinner host that you just met to start talking about their weakness for nude photography at any time.
I know I’m not the only girl to feel thus alienated in monogamy. But I also know that there’s a lot to learn from all the unapologetic liberation around, namely – if you’re not the person responsible for your happiness, something is wrong. By the way, a scribbled page is way more interesting than a blank one. And actually, I still think some of those songs were really pretty good.