So, I’m lying in bed with my boyfriend on Sunday morning.
“Oh,” I say suddenly, “there’s blood everywhere.”
“Oh, dear,” he says placidly.
“I’ll clean up in, like, five minutes’ time,” I say.
“Yeah,” he replies, “it is Sunday, after all.”
“I mean, it’s not even real blood.”
“I know,” he says, his voice slightly defensive. “I never said it was.”
“You couldn’t, like, save it up and use it for blood transfusions.”
“I never said you could!” he responds. “I wasn’t about to write to the British Medical Journal suggesting that. I’m not stupid.”
“Yeah,” I say. “It’s not really blood at all.”
“So, what it is then?” he asks, curious. “If it’s not real blood, what is it?”
“It’s the lining of my womb disintegrating,” I say.
“Urgh,” he says.
“Oh, Pete,” I say. “You’re such a misogynist sometimes.”
We lie there in silence for a few minutes. Then my boyfriend says:
“Why didn’t you join in with the Aufschrei on Twitter? When I saw all that happening, I thought to myself: Oh, soon my feminist girlfriend will be schreiing her heart auf. But you didn’t.”
“Yeah,” I say.
“Well, why didn’t you?”
“Oh,” I say. “I didn’t have any examples. Nobody ever comes onto me in Germany. Let alone sexually harasses me. I mean, in England they do, the builders scream at me and that, but in Germany they don’t. So I didn’t have any examples to give. But I retweeted some of the German girls’ ones. I didn’t want to be feministically unsolidarisch just because I’m too fat and ugly to be sexually harassed in Germany.”
“You’re not fat and ugly,” says my boyfriend. “You’re really fit and beautiful.”
“If I was really fit and beautiful I’d have something to schrei auf about.”
My boyfriend looks at me really tröstingly.
“What about that tramp who asked you out to the soup kitchen last week? On the U-Bahn.”
I look at my boyfriend angrily. “It was a fucking homeless person,” I say, spitting with anger. “That’s the only kind of person who wants to fucking sexually harass me in Germany. Someone without a fucking place to live. Anyway, he didn’t actually sexually harass me. He just asked me out. To a soup kitchen. He just said: ‘You’re such a nice girl, I could take you out to a special restaurant, if we get there at 7pm, we will only have to pay €1, I’ll invite you.’ That’s not sexual harassment. That’s just fucking tragic. I’m old and fat and ugly. It’s so depressing.”
“You’re not fat and ugly, Jacinta,” my boyfriend says. “You are getting a bit old, though.”
“I thought maybe it was because I look Muslim, you know? I was getting all depressed reading the reams and reams and reams and reams of Aufschrei tweets: ‘Oh one time a guy did this,’ ‘Oh one time a guy said that,’ ‘Oh, one time a guy did this.’ I mean, I really, really don’t wanna be unsolidarisch, but I was getting pretty jealous. I’ve only been sexually harassed two times in Germany – that time on the train, when I just let that guy touch me up, I feel really embarrassed about it to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered to say no, so I just sat there and waited till he was done – I felt like I didn’t have a right to aufschrei about that, because I’d just let him get on with it, really – and then that one time at work. But that guy at work, you know, he sexually harassed everyone, he was like Russell Brand, but fat and German and an alcoholic rather than a former junkie.
And then you know that this one girl said on Twitter that it was also sexual violence if men bought you a drink if you didn’t want them to? So this is what happened to her: a guy wanted to buy her a drink and she said no and he bought one anyway! And I got so jealous – do you know how often a stranger has bought me a drink in Germany? Ever? I mean, okay, not counting Chemnitz or Dresden? Do you know how often? Once. Fucking once. At Zoo Station. At that cafe at Zoo. I went to the counter and wanted to pay, and they go: ‘Oh, no, some gentleman just paid for your drink.’ Once. Fucking once. I can’t do an Aufschrei about something that’s only happened once.”
“He must’ve really fancied you, though. That guy. He must’ve fancied you like you were Megan Fox or Samantha Brick or someone. He just bought you a drink and sloped off, like he admired you from afar.”
“So then I thought to myself: oh, it must be because I look Muslim. Don’t be so paranoid, Jacinta, they probably don’t sexually harass you just because they think your brothers will find them and kill them. And then I was talking to a Turkish girl last night in Ä, yeah? And I said to her: I think Germany is such a racist country, that if you look a bit, you know, Muslim, people don’t sexually harass you. And then she started telling me all the sexual harassment she’d experienced. People coming up to her and saying she looked like she came from One Thousand and One Nights and could they touch her hair and she’s so exotic and glamorous. So then I got really, really, really fucking depressed. I’m just ugly, ugly and fat and grotesque. I’m never going to eat again.”
“Listen,” says my boyfriend, “this is all just because you come from England. You’re just being paranoid. Lots of things which we consider to be friendly or flirtatious, Germans consider to be forms of sexual harassment. Like, making jokes about how big your dick is. If you want to flirt with an English girl, you can make a joke about how big your penis is or something. You can say: ‘Well, I do have a very big penis!’ It’s a Carry-On film type thing. But that’s really not okay in Germany. They don’t like jokes like that. If you want to flirt with a German girl, you have to ask lots of interested questions about her Diplomarbeit. They flirt in a very subtle way over here.”
“They never fucking flirt with me at all, whatsofuckingever. Oh, I’m so depressed. I’ve spent 12 years of my life here, and never been flirted with at all… and when I go back home… I’ll be too old. I will basically never, ever in my life experience any kind of flirtation or mild sexual harassment whatsoever. I never even get called a süße Maus. They were all schreiing auf about how men are always calling them süße Mäuser. Do you know how many men have called me a süße Maus? None! None! Not fucking one! The fucking cunts. I’m so depressed.”
“You shouldn’t really be that depressed,” says my boyfriend. “I mean, I’m not a gender-thingamiig-type-expert, but I don’t think it’s very feminist to want to be sexually harassed.”
“I don’t want to be sexually harassed!” I say. “But if we live in a culture where sexual harassment is so fucking prevalent then of course I’m gonna take it a bit fucking personally if nobody ever buys me a fucking drink. Or calls me a süße Maus. I am totally fucking sweet. I’m a sweet mouse. Fucking cunts. I bet they don’t even call me a sweet mouse behind my back. Okay, so maybe it’s not racism, but it’s still body fascism. Huh.”
I kick the duvet down and look at our double bed and the blood-stained sheets and my blood-smeared body.
“Shit,” I say. “That’s a lot of fucking blood.”
“Yeah,” says my boyfriend, “it actually totally looks like real blood, too.”
“Yeah,” I say. “It looks like someone’s just filmed a Tarantino scene in here.”
“Yeah,” he says, “I mean, so alright, maybe they couldn’t save it up to use for blood transfusions but I’m sure Quentin Tarantino could definitely make some use of this lot here. We should send him the sheets for his next film.”
“Yeah,” I say. “Maybe I’ll write to him and suggest it.”
“Yeah,” says my boyfriend. “Maybe you should.”