I probably shouldn’t be joking about this, because it’s not actually true. But I am realizing that my life would be more comfortable here in Berlin if I were gay.
First off. I’ve gone on and on about how beautiful the women in Ukraine are. I know it, human traffickers know it, and even the Beatles know it. Back in Lviv, I’d roll my eyes when female ex-pats would complain about the lack of attention they’d receive from Ukrainian men due to the enmormous amount of time and attention Ukrainian women invest in their appearance.
Sadly (for me) the same is true here in Germany. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but Berlin women just aren’t that feminine. Practical, engaging, intelligent, funny…. sure. They’re all of those things. But actual women? Not totally. Good luck getting a smile, a wink, a nod, or even a fleeting acknowledgment that both parties share opposing genitalia that may indeed function in harmony during sexual congress. Nothing.
Now the men on the other hand. It’s not easy for me to say, but the dudes here are really attractive. They’re all tall, stubley with floppy hair and blue eyes radiating a calm and ease you just don’t find in North America. In many ways they act a lot more feminine than the women here. So ladies, if you want to experience an equivalent to the buffet of sexual excitement men find in Ukraine, I suggest coming to Berlin. Honestly, I find myself kinda attracted the to guys here. Not in a “I want to french kiss you,” kind of way, but in a, “if we hung out, you might catch me staring at you,” kind of way.
The only really unfortunate thing about the dudes here is that as slaves to fashion, many have adopted the 80s style swept bang haircut that I assume is popular world-wide amongst hipsters. I’m sure the ‘doo works elsewhere, but here in Germany that hairdoo has an unsettling precedent.
I’m not totally sure where this man/woman role reversal comes from. I do have some theories.
A friend (who I should qualify, is a beautiful women) explained the concept of “the ruined German woman.” These were the women who had to reconstruct German society after the WWII. They were widows, orphans and they had few men in their lives. To put a once male dominated society back together surely took some negotiating of gender roles. These concessions seem to have stuck around. Plus — as someone who will remain nameless rather crassly put it: After the war the only men who survived were cowards and losers. Ouch.
Another less maudlin theory. There is also the massive gay and lesbian population here in Berlin. This is the city that gave us the love-parade. While gays and lesbians work and live in pretty much all sectors of society here, their influence (by sheer numbers) can’t be ignored. As a result, men’s and women’s fashion and attitudes tend to conflate in an androgynous middle-ground. For females, this masculine aesthetic just doesn’t translate into sexy. It works better for men though. Feminine qualities just seem to be more appealing across gender lines.
But it is disconcerting when a flash of long chestnut hair, smooth skin, or cool outfit catches my attention, leading me to throw-up in my mouth a bit upon realizing I’ve just been attracted by a bearded graphic designer named Lothar!
My man, The D, has similar complaints, and he’s been here for three years. In fact, he’s had to manipulate his own sexuality on numerous occasions. Not for romantic reasons, but rather to escape German bureaucracy. After nearly a week of wrestling with documents, papers, stamps and permissions to have a simple STD test, he all but gave up. Eventually he discovered a gay and lesbian-only clinic offering hassle-free tests without the paperwork. All he had to do was declare that he was gay.
Well, that’s all he thought he had to do. In order to get the test he was subjected to a one-on-one interview with a counselor who had his suspicions as to the direction of D’s sexual orientation. Amazingly, D did not waver, stumble, or break under the interrogation. In perfect German, he crafted the elaborately detailed yarn of one straight man’s 12-hour odyssey of intrigue, coercion and eventually acquiescence to man-on-man oral sex. It seemed to satisfy the interrogator and D got his STD test. But seriously, it’s shocking to think that an organization discriminates against straight people who want nothing more than to stop the spread of AIDS in an environment where orientation, persuasion and predilection is already blurred to an extreme.
I’m not actually going to go gay, nor am I asking for your pity. All I’m saying, is that a smile, a bit of make-up and a high heel or two never hurt anyone.