“We’re in Germany, we do things 50/50 here,” my good friend, or perhaps acquaintance is a better word here, Sven says, when the cocktail bill arrives.
I look at him in total disgust.
“I’m not one of those feminists who thinks men shouldn’t buy women drinks,” I say.
“Yes, but we German men are so traumatized by the fierce reaction we get from German women, that we never offer to invite a girl for a drink or for dinner or even a kebab or something.”
“I have absolutely no problem with men paying for me,” I clarify.
“Yes, but I would not want you to think I am sexist.”
“I actually don’t think it’s sexist,” I say. “I actually think it is fair. I am a single fucking mother, the tax system is set up to help men, my German ain’t great, I have to do all this unpaid physical labour you know? Get my kid to kita – I don’t get paid for that. Scrub the fucking floors, stay home when he’s sick. Why do German women complain so much about the sexism of a man buying you a fucking drink for once in his shitty life, but not about the fact that it is always – and let me repeat ALWAYS – the woman who stays home when a kid gets sick? That like, is literally stealing away my ability to earn money and become more successful in life? But oh, no it’s fine, we’re all Emanzipert now, because we split the bill 50/50?”
“I just, you know,” says Sven feebly. “I can’t explain it to you. It’s how I’ve been socialized. Sozialisiert? Socialized.”
“Raised!” I say angrily.
“Not raised?” He says. “There must be a better word. I just couldn’t live with myself if I treated you in this disrespectful manner and paid for your drink. I would feel like such a sexist kind of guy, and I’m not you know. I am not sexist. I really respect women as my equals.”
“But we’re not fucking equal!” I shout at him. “We fucking should be, but we literally are not. German women earn 23% less than German men huh? How much less does a mother earn? The pay gap between mothers and fathers must be even bigger than between men and women? It must be about 50%? There’s maternity leave, then you get them into kita but you have to go and pick the kids up at 4pm! What can anyone achieve before 3.30pm in the fucking afternoon? Seriously? Do you know how often….” I glare at Sven angrily, “my ex-husband who was UNEMPLOYED made me call in sick to work to look after our Gemeinsames Kind even though he had no fucking job and I fucking did because oh, oh, oh, OH, kids need their mums when they’re ill. The kid is so fucking Gemeinsam until it gets sick, then all of a sudden kids needs their mums desperately like you’re some kind of fucking Käthe Kollwitz person mixed with Florence Nightingale mixed with Mother Theresa mixed with the mum out of the fucking Conni books. Women have to pay, they have to pay, they have to pay for contraception and abortions and childcare, they have to pay with their bodies, with their actual bodies, when they give birth and then afterwards, they have to pay with their careers, like you literally have to sacrifice your actual career, your actual success, your actual life, to keep this tiny human being alive and instead of anyone being actually GRATEFUL about it they sneer at you for not being successful enough and….”
“You don’t know how angry German women get when you try to pay their drinks,” Sven says sadly.
It is true, you guys? I am never there when German boys try to pay for women’s drinks. I don’t know HOW angry they get. All I will say, though, is that it is funny that the one piece of feminism that German boys have taken on 150%, no questions asked, is one that erm, saves them fucking money. The same people who shared that Birgit Kelle piece after #aufschrei, who think Alice Schwarzer is ugly and dumb and Anne Wizorek too pretty to be so angry, who don’t believe in a women’s quota, who think girls are doing too well in school now, who think, in fact, that feminism has gone TOO far in Germany – these same boys would rather die than buy you a fucking drink.
“Anyways, I left my EC-karte at home so you’ll just have to pay for me,” I tell Sven. Look, I’ve been living here for 19 years now. I know BESCHEID. The only way to get a German boy to “invite” you is to pretend you left your EC-Karte at home and/or say last time you fucked you needed the morning-after pill so they owe you 18 euros. Be careful though, a lot of them will try to haggle you down to nine. We’re in Germany, you know. We do things 50/50 here.