German Gents

Despite the fact that I’ve lived in Euro-land for four years now, I’m a newcomer to the world of ‘Inter-Cultural Dating.’ This is mostly due to the fact that Prague is not a place where people “date” so much as a place where people are “on study abroad/backpacking/Spring Break/stag party” and so “relationships” are not so much on their minds. IfyaknowwhatImsayin. Granted, I did date a Canadian but I’m not counting that because he doesn’t deserve to be counted. Ahem.

But now that I’ve been in a fully-functional and lovely relationship for the last six months, I’m enjoying all of the amusements and challenges posed by our different cultures. He‘s not a fan of the Facebox, and I get that. He wants to eat carp while it’s in season, and I say sure, just please turn it while you eat it because the eyeball is looking at me. Danke. But so far, it’s worked out.

Since I had been here for more than a year before we got together, I’d heard a fair amount of stories both from friends and indirect sources (hi, Internet!) about German gents. And of course, you can’t generalize an entire group of people, but of course, there are always stereotypes. French guys are romantic, Italian guys are suave*, German guys are.… I don’t know… punctual?

But the main thing I heard was that they aren’t very demonstrative, or comfortable talking about feelings/emotions, etc. etc. So when I ran across this a few weeks ago, I got a good giggle…



Side note: do all you expat folks know about Itchy Feet? If not, go read it. Hilarity will ensue. 

To this point, BV has been the total opposite of 1) this comic and 2) most of what I had heard about German guys. I thought this comic was pretty funny, so I sent him the link and this is the email conversation that followed…

~BV: I thought we’re really modern and I should turn like this … but Okaaaaay, just for you!!!

~Heather: If you ever draw up paperwork to affirm your feelings for me, I’m going to force you to watch American reality singing and dancing shows. Just a warning. 
~BV: Hey, I was just kidding. But you took out the hard punishments!!! That’s not fair, that’s horrendous! 😉
This is how you can tell we’ve been dating for a while… he’s learned very valuable words like “horrendous.”** I’m sure though that there are plenty of guys like the one in the comic (both in Germany and elsewhere), but I just happened to end up the opposite, and have a guy that will carry a giant windowbox of flowers up four flights of stairs to surprise me. Because he is sehr süss.
So ladies, what do you think? Did I just get the warm and fuzzy German, or are the stereotypes off on this one?     

*Based on my time in Italy I would replace ‘suave’ with ‘short.’  
** See: “Oh my God, those Crocs are horrendous.”


23 thoughts on “German Gents

  1. Somewhere in between, I would say. My German partner is not a big fan of using the L-word as often as Americans like to, but he has no problem showing affection in a million other, more important, ways. My favorite, of course, being carrying my handbag when my shoulder gets too tired. 😉

  2. Well, I haven't met a guy like the one in the comic. 🙂 But I have to say that the cultural differences can be a bit tricky sometimes. David (American) and I (German) had to figure some things out first. 🙂

  3. My take on the German in relationship is that people looking from the outside tend to forget about the stormy German artistic soul side of things. Think of all the amazing German composers from the 19th century and before, and all the beautiful architecture and paintings. Nobody could say Beethoven's music is lacking in soul and emotion.

    I think sometimes the apparent lack of “soul” stems more from the fact that conversations about emotions are generally hard, generally harder for men, and even harder in a foreign language. However, based on my experience dating a German vs dating Americans, and what I see on the streets, I think German relationships are generally more physical. I mean that not in an ew-get-a-room kind of way, but more in a “hey this is my person and I'm not ashamed to let people see how I feel about them”. I definitely get about 75% more hugs/arm-around-the-shoulder walking/kisses/tickles with my German than I ever got with any of the Americans I dated, and after 5 years it doesn't show signs of abating.

  4. I do get it in a way… not that extreme, but I do think then guys I know here rather “show” than “say”, which is cool if you can accept how they're showing you 😀

    In terms of the not holdings hands though, I think Germans seem to be very publicly affectionate in these ways.

  5. Lol we were just talking about this- but my German is definitely the I'll show you that I love you rather than the I'll tell you that I love you type. I mean before we were seriously dating, he had no qualms about holding my hand in public, carrying my bag, all of these little things. But it took nearly a year for him to say I love you, although now he says it all the time. He's not the most expressive, but he's demonstrative so I'm happy about that.

  6. If the setereotype rings true, I would have to say I found one of the “different” Germans. 🙂 My husband and I met over 3 years ago and he has always been very romantic and thoughtful. He also told me he loved me within the first couple of weeks of dating! It actually shocked me and I was surprised since in my expereince, that just doesn't happen. We've talked about that and he always says he is surprised about how American men are and why it is such a big deal to just say how you feel. He notices that in movies too that men don't say the “l-word” and what a “game” dating is. He wasn't always the best communicator, but he has actually grown to enjoy being more open and talking about things more. I have never heard this steretype before in regards to dating and relationships. I actually thought maybe all German men were romantics at heart! 🙂

  7. I love this Heather! We read so much about dating the French and the Italians, but not so much about the Germans. Have any of your friends had experiences as extreme as the comic? I'm glad you found someone a bit more warm and fuzzy than this guy!

    It must be nice though to live in a city known for being efficient and practical. Living in France for so long, I have to say I sure miss it!

  8. The comic is HILARIOUS 😀 I can actually imagine some Germans being like that! Not my significant other though, thankfully. But he is sooo not your typical Germany anyway – he'd be late for his own funeral. No German puntuality here 😉

    We did have some communication issues for a while – I complained that he never told me anything, while he was annoyed that I didn't ask enough questions. That may be more of a male/female issue than German/English though. And now he actually volunteers information once in a while so I at least have a starting point for drawing stuff out of him 😉

  9. Well put. But I wouldn't expect anything less from you. And I miss hearing the enthusiasm that accompanied discussions about ancient Roman concrete use! 😉 Never thought I'd say that…

    I do recall you saying something similar in Italia, and if that wasn't just the “Italy Effect,” I think that was okay with both of us. Hope you guys are both well and I need an update about the move!!

  10. Very true. Happily though it's usually pretty tame… nothing too far over the extreme PDA line. Buuuuut, I'm not out in the nightlife very often and it might be a different story there.

  11. Based on the replies to this post (which I'm loving), I think we can chuck that stereotype out. And I am in full support of anyone who says that the dating “games” are ridiculous! Tell him to spread the word on that one. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  12. Thanks Ella! Maybe you'll start to hear more about the Germans since everyone seems to think this comic is totally off and they're all softies. Maybe secret softies, but softies nonetheless. I'm going to have to ask a few of my German friends, since it's been all expats weighing in so far… so I'll have to report back on if they agree with us.

    It's not so bad… and judging from the wedding bureaucracy posts you've had lately, I don't blame you! Hop on over here and ride an on-time train and see if that helps! 🙂

  13. Agreed! I love that site… it's always something good. I can definitely imagine some guys being like that (a student or two pops to mind), but since I have no confirmation from their wives, I won't speculate. Too much. 😉 BV is pretty punctual at work, but at home that's not the case at all. So he's selectively punctual… or something.

    That's good though that you've worked out some of the issues… that's always the tricky part. A starting point is a good point. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  14. My favorite all-German couple here in Regensburg holds hands ALL THE TIME. Like damn near constantly, while the three of us are walking down the street.

    I'm glad though, because there are often cute women in the Altstadt, and it's much easier for me to appear single when I'm obviously the third wheel.

  15. I'd say it's pretty constant here too. We'll see how it goes as it warms up… nothing worse than sweaty hands, haha.

    Well that does work out well for you then! Can I task you with cluing us ladies in on the other side of the coin with dating the German gals? Project!

  16. I'd love to educate, but I haven't really dated since I got to Germany. Everyone that I've met here who was interesting to me was already coupled up. Or was hugely too young because Regensburg is a college town and I'm ancient and decrepit.

    This brings me to the terrible realization that I have now been single for two and a half years. ::sigh::

  17. Schade on all points. But, been there and done that as well. No pressure, we'll just consider it a happy bonus if you meet a lovely German gal and can provide a little insight. 🙂

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