April L Sanders, FlickrCC
Does the impending winter have you bummed out? No need to fall into a hole of despair – take comfort in the end of tourist season. The Gay Berliner explains.
Summer has officially drawn to a close and with it, the end of tourist hook-up season. In some ways, I’ll be sad. And in a lot of ways, I’m shitting rainbows of happiness at all the stuff I won’t have to put up with for at least the next six months. Like that message on Grindr from “English visitor” I got in early September: “I want you to breed me,” with an accompanying picture of his asshole. That’s often a not-so-subtle code for chemsex: fucking on drugs like crystal meth or GHB without a rubber. “I don’t do drugs,” I told him – which is a lie, but I knew where this was going. And subsequent messages proved me right. I’m not the judgmental type – if that’s your thing, that’s your thing. But the truth is, I rarely get that kind of message in Berlin unless it’s high tourist season. Seems that visitors get the wrong impression from reading too much of the “gay sex mecca” hype! So on that note, here’s an open letter to next summer’s batch of Touris.
Dear gay tourist,
Welcome to our city. You make it brighter and more diverse, and are the lifeblood of much of our economy. Many of you don’t remain tourists for very long and decide to stay, contributing to the colourful shimmery fabric that makes Berlin different. On a gayer note, you fill up my Grindr grid so it’s not just the same 12 guys at Kottbusser Tor every night. That said, you’re not a Berliner yet, and it wouldn’t kill you to keep a few things in mind...
Germans, and by extension Berliners, are a punctual folk. Assimilate a little and instead of trying to make a sex date for between 6-9pm (or am!): commit, damn it. We’re not waiting on an IKEA desk delivery.
I expect that you have a job back home, so why don’t you expect we have one here? I know it’s a common myth that we don’t work, but we do. So just because we were up until dawn Saturday night/ Sunday morning, don’t get butthurt that I can’t meet at 2am Wednesday night.
Be upfront about leaving the next day. Berliners may be hard, and its gays nonchalant about dating, but this isn’t just a petting zoo. Letting me know that you have a plane to catch in 18 hours informs how we play the game.
Our lives don’t revolve around Berghain. Do you really need to spend all your time in the world’s most famous darkroom? How about a walk down Engeldamm? Even if romance isn’t in the cards, we can always duck into a bush.
And chemsex: I’ve seen the documentary. I’m for whatever substances you indulge in, but at the same time, I’ve no desire to see Berlin turn into London. Otherwise I’d live in London, being a banker during the week and slamming tina come Friday. Berlin’s got its own kind of hedonism. Luckily, it seems our two cities have different ideas about being “open-minded” (another strangely ironic code for chemsex).
And I’ve got an open mind for you, kids. Come, play, socialise and fraternise, build new communities and enjoy our city. Just don’t be an asshole. Or send me any more snapshots of yours.