I took me about a year of living in Germany to start feeling the challenges of life among Germans as a foreigner. Berlin had always been a dream for me, long before I even had any interest in partying, alcohol or other substances. I had always heard what everyone in the world seems to be hearing, that it is: a great multicultural place of freedom for artistic minds. So my first months living here were an exciting bliss even if I was working for a (rather particular) German family who lived nowhere near the city center, not in anyway close to Kreuzberg or Neukölln, but in a small village in the woods that was technically still Berlin but felt like a whole other world. This didn’t discourage me though, I took the bus (not even the S-Bahn went as far as where they lived, ah!) every evening after work to go to punk shows in cool squatted houses.
Half a year later when I finally broke free from my nanny job and moved to Friedrichshain I was still very excited and with no more job or endless bus trips to get anywhere, I felt free, alive and learned the real party ways. But then, another six months later, I started noticing all the small things my expat friends always seemed to complain about: passive aggressive Germans in the supermarket line, passive aggressive Germans who press the speed pedal of their car if they spot you jaywalking, passive aggressive Germans doing all these annoying little things all the time.
And while I now am the first to make fun of Germans (“those cold blooded lizards” as my slightly crazy flatmate calls them) i’ve also been, coincidentally, dating a German boy for almost a year and I have to admit, it’s not half bad and here are a few reasons why you, despite avid warnings against it, should give it a go, too:
1) Germans have a thing with camping, they enjoy being out in the nature more then anyone else I know. So there is a good chance your German boyfriend will drag you to some secret lake outside of the city that requires a one hour long walk through the woods to get to but will end up being the most beautiful thing you’ve seen in a while! And bonus, he is so well prepared he will probably even have brought a hammock and lots of snacks (beer!).
photos: Marlen Mueller / Urban Tenting
2) As we all know, Germans are efficient and if you’re a relationship with one he will gladly help you sort out your, otherwise incomprehensible, paperwork. He will also let you know when you should be more assertive with your intimidating, weird landlord. And if he is the really organized type, he might even download a period tracking app on his phone to track YOUR flow! Sounds crazy ? A bit, but it’s also refreshing to be with someone involved in parts of your life that many other men would pretend don’t even exist.
3) Contrary to popular opinion, I believe Germans know how to have fun. In their own way. I found it quite amusing when all of my boyfriend’s flatmates would brush their teeth together and go to bed at 9pm on a Saturday night to then be able to wake up early on the Sunday and spend the day partying in some wild club. Well now that i’ve been in the clubbing scene for a while, I have to say it does make sense. Maybe not the most spontaneous thing but in the end it works and partying in the sunshine is now probably one of my favorite things.
4) German men look sexy on their little bikes which they take such great care of.
photo: Guney Cuceloglu
Voilà… in my experience they are self-conscious creatures but very willing to un-learn their austere ways. Don’t be afraid to humor them ! And with the return of the sunshine, every expat should maybe make a personal goal of seeing past the dullness of Germans, you might be surprised!