"So, Jacinta," says my friend Hayley, excitedly. "Guess what? I've met a new fella."
"Oh, excellent," I say. "Brilliant. What's he like? Is he German?"
"Yeah," she says. "It's a German."
"East or West?" I ask.
"Well," she says. "He's only 28. He's not really East or West."
"No," I agree. "Everyone under 30 is just kind of, like, gesamtdeutsch."
"Yeah," she says. "He's a Gesamtdeutscher. He's really nice, though. He's attractive and he's not on Hartz-IV and he's really funny and intelligent – and he's also quite kind, I think he's a kind person – and he's, he's, he's just kind of great."
"Brilliant," I say. "He sounds wonderful."
"And he's not a hipster."
"Fantastic," I say.
"There's just one teeny-tiny, mini-problem with him," she says. "Well, actually, if I'm honest, it's a fairly big problem, actually. It's... it's a bit worrying, really."
"Small penis?" I ask.
"No," she says. "Well, I don't know yet. But I think it's all fine, based on snogging situations. That's not it."
"Oh," I say. "Well, is he slightly racist then? Does he think all the “Neger”s have to stay in all the Kinderbücher until the end of, like, time, or else the terrorists have won?"
"No," she says. "Well, I don't think so. I haven't asked him. But that's not it."
"He's a bit stinky," I say. "He stinks a bit ‘out the mouth’, as Germans would say."
"No, no, he's not stinky at all."
"Is he an alcoholic?"
"Does he live in Steglitz or Charlottenburg or somewhere?"
"No, you're never gonna guess," she says. "But it's awful."
"Go on," I say, totally curious.
"Well," she says, "actually, it's that he insists on speaking to me in English."
"Oh, fuck," I say.
"Yeah," she says. "I mean, you know what it's like with German boys. They're attractive, they're witty, they're intelligent, they're nice – but as soon as they speak English they just sound so... so… so... so..."
"Pussyish," I say.
"Yeah," she says. "He sounds so pussyish when he speaks English. It's hugely unattractive. He sounds kind of American, and kind of like a robot, and kind of, just, like, hideously awful. It's very unsexy, Jacinta. I've tried being all, like, 'Oh, I've been living here for 10 years and you don't need to speak to me in English' about it, but fuck, I think I might have to just actually inform him that German men sound awful when they speak English. Fucking awful. I would rather have sex with that Brüderle person in German than a good-looking German in English. German men in English just don't sound... remotely manly at all."
"No," I say. "They don't sound remotely manly at all."
She sighs forlornly. "He sounds really normal and sexy whenever he does speak German. But... that's just not often enough for us to... you know... you know."
"I wonder if our German sounds as hideous and abtörnend in their ears as their English does in ours," I say.
"It can't do," she says.
"No," I say. "It can't do. It just, like, physically can't do."
"They just sound so unmanly and effeminate and fucking awful."
"Yeah," I say. "I know. August Diehl, though. If he wanted to have sex with me, and insisted on speaking English, I think I'd still get horny enough to, you know... allow access. But the rest of them. Hearing a German guy speak English is like a really cheap form of contraception."
"Yeah," says Hayley. "It's hugely unattractive."
"Yeah," I say. "It really is."
I bite my lip and wonder why. But I can't think of any explanations. And in the meantime, speak to us in German... unless you really, really, really, REALLY, really don't want sex with us ever, that is.