Hayley Alexis has been blogging about Germany ever since she landed in Munich from the US about two years ago. Her YouTube videos about life in Munich have garnered a sizeable following, particularly those about romance in Deutschland.
Like many newcomers, she was enchanted by the type of man who may have justified Hitler’s racist categorization of Germans as the superior race (yes, that was a Holocaust joke). Tall, beautiful, muscular. But unlike Hitler’s Germans, these men are nice, polite, liberal, open-minded and seem to treat women with utmost respect, as equals (although perhaps too equal).
She soon realized that dating German men may be easy on the eyes, but not always on the heart. Through speaking to Hayley and others who have dated German men (not to mention my own experience), I’ve learned that once you scratch the surface of these real-life Ken dolls (oh, come on, let us objectify them for a moment!), the non-German woman may come up against strange behaviors that will leave her scratching her head…and heart.
While these are extreme generalizations (especially since Germans have regional idiosyncrasies), better be prepared before accepting that beer (and not wine, that you will probably pay for anyway).
Yes, the German man can often be like the country’s greatest commodity: machines. This means they run very well, but emotion, sensitivity, and sensuality can sometimes get stuck in the levers.
Hayley, 25, came to Germany after college in Florida for a new experience. Eventually, after “hanging out” with her boyfriend, Mike, for over two years (“hanging out” is often the equivalent of German courtship), they officially became an item.
“We fight constantly because he’s so practisch, ordentlich,” Hayley said over Skype from Munich. “He’s the complete opposite of me. If I put my glasses on the wrong way of the table, he turns it.”
You may notice a small bald spot on the right side of her head. That occurred with one of her German dates. Basically, her hair caught on fire.
“I was staying the night and I said, ‘I hate waking up early in the morning with the lights on.’ So he was trying to be really sweet to me and put candles in the bathroom, and I didn’t want to make any noise, so I bent down and…sizzle….When I told him my hair burnt, he said, ‘It really smells – how are we going to clean this up?’ And I said, ‘What do you mean? I have this bald spot!’”
Yes, getting your hair accidently burnt is not practical.
On the upside, they will always be punctual.
You are NOT fat
You know how when a woman asks her beau if she’s gained weight, he’s supposed to say: “You’re perfect.” Well, don’t expect that from a Deutscher, and that’s not because they’re Deutschbags. It’s just not their style. They could be very direct.
For example, one of Haley’s dates told her he didn’t like a certain color on her.
“’What do you mean it’s not the best color on me? Every color is the best color on me,’” she said. “I think German people are very, very nice, I don’t think anything they do is intended to be hurtful or mean…They don’t have a filter to hold back.”
While they can dish it, they often can’t take it (so apologies if you are a German man reading this), maybe because the modern German cannot be “bad” like their ancestors.
“They hate criticism.” And if you make a Nazi joke, they might take it hard. Or for that matter, any joke. They’re not known for their sense of humor and flirtation skills, so don’t expect banter to flow too easily.
One time, Alexis was in line at the supermarket and a man cut in front of her. “And I said, ‘you did that because I’m black,’ and I was kidding. And he paid for my stuff and said: ‘I’m sorry.’”
Patience is a Virtue
Don’t expect a whirlwind romance. German men tend to be quite calculated and patient upon entering a relationship. After all, it took Hayley and her boyfriend two years to be “defined.”
“It takes forever to say, and he finally said, ‘I think I’m finally ready,” she said.
You might also need to be patient because Germans have tons of vacation days, and courtships might be interrupted with their wanderings in India, Thailand or wherever. They might pop in and out based on vacation periods, or when they have a work deadline, or if they are hanging up curtains.
“I’m going to south Africa for two weeks, I’ll text you then,” Hayley recalls one date telling her.
Maybe it’s because they’re like machines, German men could easily switch off their sex drive. Or maybe it’s because German spas are co-ed nudist spas, so they become immune to the bare breast (then again, what comes first, chicken or egg…).
“I feel like they can, of course, have sex and they like sex but it’s not a necessity for them,” she said. “My ex [German] boyfriend liked it but didn’t need it.”
Sex, like many of life’s activities, should ideally be scheduled. “Organization doesn’t have good sex. Practical isn’t good sex. Structure isn’t good sex, and to be in a good relationship you have to have sex. They’re just not a sexual type of people.”
You could look like a knockout at a club, and German men may not turn their heads, but it’s not because you’re not beautiful.
“When I go out with American guys I feel amazing. Not a date or anything, but when I hang out with Americans, it’s amazing.”
On the upside, you don’t have to deal with catcalls. On the other, they could make you feel like a nympho.
“I met a guy and we met at six at night and were out until six in the morning together, and we were out partying and dancing, and he said he’ll get a cab home, and I’m like, ‘So we go together?’ And he’s like, “No, so you could go to sleep…” And then I felt bad. Am I that much of a ‘ho?’”
Also, go easy on the touch. With their robotic flair, they could sometimes be shy of affection. Pet gently at first, like a lamb.
“I brought this up with my current boyfriend a long time I go, and I said, ‘I don’t think you like me,’ and he said, ‘I like you a lot.’ And I said, ‘You don’t kiss me in public. You don’t touch me in public.” From then on, he improved.
‘Til Death Do Us Pay Rent
Financial stability and safety are supreme values for Germans, sometimes even above relationships.
“I met so many guys that will ask, ‘Why did you break up with her?” And he’ll say, ‘But I got a new job.’ ‘But did you love her?’ ‘Yes, but I got a new job.’”
These means marriage is a contract they will think carefully about entering into. They won’t be dreaming of that fairy-tale walk down the aisle. They’ll be dreaming of DINK—‘double income no kids.’
Wir lieben dich, egal (We love you, anyway)
To sum it up, as I’ve heard from many women and men who field complaints about German men: they’re weird, awkward, but…
“They’re so damn sexy,” Hayley said. “They really are. They’re so mysterious, and I like that. It’s refreshing to have a guy to make you work, and I guess I like the pain.”
But if you meet them on one of their many vacations, they could also be charming, funny, and even horny. Because sometimes they need to be out of Germany to not be so….German.
And when they’re with you, they’re with you. So you know it’s real.
“At first they’re not interested and they’re not sure they want to be in a relationship, but the minute they change their mind, they’re attached and locked in.”
Case in point: Alexis and Mike’s love keeps growing.
Orit is an American-Israeli journalist and author based in Berlin since 2016. To learn more about dating German men, read Orit’s hot new novel, Underskin, an Israeli-German romance spanning Berlin and Tel Aviv. www.oritarfa.com.