Going Stag on Valentinstag

We had a “Fun and Dating in Berlin” information session at the Academic Center, where we learned the general differences between American and German dating. Compliments to German women tend to make them wary of your intentions rather than flattered, small talk is not sexy, a German man typically meets a woman by making glances towards them until she gets the hint and walks over to him. It all sounded like hogwash to me which was why I had to try it as as soon as possible.

Like was blossoming about in NYU Berlin yesterday. People were finding each other schön all over the place. No matter how single you might be, seeing your friends wearing smiles that only one person could give them is nothing short of wonderful. Made me think, hey, who says I can’t get a date tonight? I play the ukulele, can cook pancakes, read. The things I’d imagine are important in a date. With my hopes higher than Cupid could fly, I went to a party titled “Balkan Swing Burlesque”.

I tried asking a girl if she’d like to dance in German, most likely with the fluency of a four year old. When I retreated to English, she obliged but kept herself reserved. I tried bridging the gap by saying I liked the way she was dancing, which was met with a sashay-away.

Then a middle-aged Balkan woman made her way over and we did some old fashioned Balkan jitterbug. I have no idea what Balkan jitterbug looks like and my footwork showed, but she didn’t seem to mind. Balkan woman and I both just wanted a dance, who did it matter who it was with? I started making small talk about how Indian music is a lot like Balkan music and she promptly waved goodbye. How unsexy.

At the bar, I saw a girl in the corner of my eye and decided I would keep my feet planted until she came over. I waited with a free tap water in my hand, chatting with a few ex-pats and a strangely forward coke dealer (he told an ex-pat he liked his shirt and then listed his prices), and the girl introduced herself to me. I got frank about who I am, telling her things about writing I never feel confident enough to tell people when I first meet them and she told me about how she was going to save the world by building schools where there hadn’t been before because she grew up poor. At around this time, my left hearing aid gave out and I lost her to the ambiance. I kept shoving my ear to her face to catch what she was saying, which was decidedly unsexy. To try and reel her back in, I tried the “dropping-my-hand-on-yours-mid-conversation” thing but the time for that had passed or it was never to come at all. She told me she thought her friends were leaving and we both left the bar.

On our last drinks out, the Balkan music gave way to electro-swing and hell if my friends and I could have resisted that.  We looked stark raving mad and we didn’t give a shit. As long as there are more Tage of Berlin left, there’s more Tage to be gute.


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