Berlintercourse: On falling in love

by Guest Blogger

The ins and outs of dating in Berlin.

I recently stumbled upon a beautiful essay about postwar New York, and one quote in particular caught my attention:

“Many of its settlers are probably here merely to escape, not face, really. But whatever that means, it is a rather rare gift, and I believe it has a positive effect on the creative capacities of New Yorkers – for creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.”
Here Is New York, E.B. White, 1949

I immediately thought of Berlin today – of everything it’s given me, of the way the city has changed me and how it manages to make me feel more complete every single day. That’s when it hit me: I am in love, and I have been ever since I moved here. Not with a person – because if there’s one thing I have failed at, it’s meeting someone whom I could love in their entirety – but with the city itself.

I have fallen in love more times than I can remember. I fell in love with the way this guy’s curly hair would stroke my forehead when we kissed. With that old woman, her face covered in chocolate, who insisted on offering me candy after I gave her a cigarette. Her blissful smile, her stirring insanity.

I fell for this other man’s mind, and pined after our compelling discussions about privilege and feminism. I couldn’t hide my smile as I received yet another dinner invitation from a boy who was probably just fooling himself into thinking that he really liked me.

All these brief moments have been more than enough to fill my heart with joy. These, and the realisation that I am changing, every single day. I am constantly creating new experiences and doing things I never ever imagined I would, all because of the beautiful, fascinating people who call Berlin their home.

Not just the fabulous DJs, the ice-cold bouncers, the startup founders who firmly believe they are going to change the world and their fellow creative minds, but also the rude bus drivers, the surly Späti owners, my building’s concierge…

After all these months, I finally understand why Berlin is always described as the Stadt der Singles. If you run down the list of the advantages that a relationship provides, you’ll quickly find out that Berlin – yes, a city – is able to provide you with all of them.

The city’s cultural life knows no limits, so there’s always something interesting to do. Rent is still relatively cheap, so you don’t need to find someone to share a bed with to be able to afford a nice flat. It’s entirely possible to rely on your friends for emotional closeness and support, and regular sex is, well, quite easy to get.

Berlin allows you to focus on yourself and to grow as a person. It makes you more independent, more aware of the world that surrounds you, more in touch with the alternative ways to live your life. Having a nine-to-five job, a stable monogamous relationship, going out on Saturday evenings only and spending your weeknights in front of the television, just isn’t the norm here.

The norm, however, is to be hungry for life.

To be curious, political, involved and determined to find out all about what this world has to offer.

And this, to me, is love.