When you first arrive in Germany, you think German boys are unromantic of course. This is because they do these cold, sensible, unromantic, practical, unsentimental things that no human being with lungs and not gills in their chest should ever do ever, like ever, ever, FUCKING ever. They have two small duvets on their beds, instead of one big one, and they never call you darling or sweetie or bring you a cup of tea in bed or tell you that you look beautiful. The first six months of a relationship they have this weird habit of collecting your toothbrush and your deodorant and your hairclips and your tampons up every week and placing them in those see-through bags you need for liquids at the airport and handing this bag over to you at the beginning of your dinner date like it’s contaminated goods. Or maybe they get you to PayPal them the €57.60 you owe them from dinner during a romantic getaway or maybe the romantic getaway they took you on was a Groupon offer and to be honest they kind of acted like they didn’t really think of it as them “taking” you anywhere but instead you having failed at some kind of weird “Are you German enough?” test and then spent the entire Deutsche Bahn journey “hilariously” nagging you for not having bought a Sparticket and showing off about how much they saved by getting a Sparticket in time and you just felt, more than anything else, totally fucking bored. Maybe.
At dinner, on said Groupon-based unromantic romantic getaway they ask you if you could ever imagine getting married again, or, if you’re still unmarried, getting married ever.
You’re like: “Yeah, that’s something I can envision.”
Total blankness in their cold German eyes. TOTAL blankness. TOTAL BLANKNESS. The blankness is truly total, it’s like staring into two swirling whirling empty German black holes of nothingness.
“I suppose because of the tax advantages?” They ask cautiously.
“Er, because I want to wear a beautiful white dress and look like a fucking princess and stand up in front of all my friends and family and declare in front of them that I want to love this guy I love forever, obviously?”
If you want to see a German boy laugh, this is what you have to say.
After a while, though, you begin to understand that Germans can be romantic – but only with each other, and, I don’t want to trigger anyone, only with white people. Sorry. This is kind of a controversial thing to say, because it’s gonna offend everyone who can’t see colour and it’s also going to upset everyone who’s non-white and pretending to themselves that they can join in with German romantic experiences, but I am sorry guys, I am here to speak the truth and the truth is: German romance is WHITE. It’s not just white, it’s ashen. It’s GREY. If you want a German boy to have romantic thoughts about you, you basically have to be white and blonde and skinny. Very, very skinny. You have to be deathly pale and incredibly frail like people can’t tell if you have cancer or if you spent the past six years in an Eckkneipe living exclusively off a diet of Currywurst and tobacco. You have to want to commit suicide, you have to be suicidal, you have to go to Wannsee and kill a fish with your bare hands. You throw the fish’s corpse back into the lake. You say things like “Ich habe so viele Schmerzen in meiner Seele wie dieser Fisch, den ich gerade getötet habe.” Then you go to steal a horse together. This is what counts as romantic in Germany: you have to be white, you have to be skinny, you have to be prepared to steal horses while dying of cancer and also thinking of suicide. And you really, really have to be white.
I don’t know when I realized it, but one day I did: THE GERMANS ARE ROMANTIC! Just in a really fucked-up, depressingly bleak, so-white-it’s-grey German kind of way. THAT’S WHY they hate shopping centres, you can’t steal horses from them. That’s why they prefer empty Brandenburg lakes to exciting wonderful brilliant Spaßbads full of people having fun. That’s why they get so upset about Christmas being tacky and commercial. AND THAT’S WHY THEY HATE VALENTINE’S DAY.
German romance isn’t actually an oxymoron, and yet still: Germans not actually finding Valentine’s Day romantic is a bit of a paradox. They don’t find red roses romantic. They don’t find candles romantic. They don’t find red rose petals and champagne and candles in a bath romantic. They don’t find chocolates shaped like hearts romantic. German boys won’t find it romantic if you send them a bouquet of flowers at work, take them to a posh restaurant for a candlelit dinner or send them a heart emoji on WhatsApp. It’s like Germans are so romantic, they’ve gone through the whole romance thing and come out the other side. Pink and red and purple and gorgeous colours like that are not romantic for a German. Glittery hearts are not romantic. Chocolate and sexy red underwear and snuggling underneath a beautiful warm quilt, not romantic. German romance has to be white, like a cold white rock. It has to be grey, like the bleak grey sky on a January morning. It has to be Brandenburg, like Brandenburg.
If you want to be romantic German-style, what you need to do is act like you don’t even know that the day Valentine’s Day even exists. Act like you get it mixed up with Mother’s Day or Women’s Day or something. Screw your eyes up like you’re trying to vaguely remember something from the distant past and then murmur nonchalantly, “Is that the American Women’s Day or something?” Then, come February 15, cover yourself in talcum powder so you look like the fucking Joker or someone, kill a fucking fish and throw the corpse in your bed, steal a thousand horses, move to a farm in Brandenburg, weep in a boat, get seaweed in your hair. There’s no glitter involved. This is German romance. Please start taking it a bit more seriously.