“Why don’t you just get married?”
It is the question I’ve been asked by every Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief, Doctor, Lawyer and Indian Chief in Berlin.
In this slut city where people spend more time and energy trying to outsmart the lax strictness of the laws than actually obeying them, it is no wonder then that after all the strenuous work I’ve endured making sure I have taken the straight and narrow, with all of my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed, that I am getting worn down so much that I might succumb to the adage, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” The denizens here are obsessed with the rules, and the lack thereof, and time and time again I hear stories of how apt they are to beat the system so to speak, boasting about their auspicious attempts at what could very frankly be considered fraud.
I learned a new German word: Schein.
This is a special German word to me because it is something I have avoided for all of my natural born life. Perhaps it is one of the many issues of culture clash in that I come from the un-United States where African-Americans are treated similarly to the way Turkish people are here in Germany (though the poor word choice “treated” serves as a pun in this instance, albeit as funny as it is not).
When fighting against the system of singular Germans who swear to the testament of their own doctrine always claiming, “This is the way it has always been since the war; these are the rules and you must follow them,” I lend them my jaded ears in attempt to obey. And then, in that oh so special ironic way, when I confront a different German about the same testament in question, they blitzkrieg me with another doctrine altogether, with different facets and nuances, claiming once again, in their own right (or wrong, I can never be sure), that theirs is the correct method. Oy vey.
Schein: a sham.
Black people in America have suffered since they were brought over in slave ships. I explain this to these Germans that don’t understand why I am so aggressive and constantly disagreeing with them all the time. Yes, perhaps it is partly due to the stereotypical American way – we are always fighting or crying or being emotional in some way or another, an affectation not so readily privy to most (not all) Germans from a certain generation. My troubled past (that began long before I was born) has seen the likes (another pun) of all that humanity has to offer in the ways of atrocity, from slavery to whipping to rape to lynching to cross burning to political incorrectness to bullying to chastisement to segregation to violence and so on. Though much of it continues today (hence my migration), luckily there is light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the modern day equivalent of the underground railroad that is the Mexican Border.
I make my horrible jokes about feeling Asian in this country, in that I feel revered and reveled and reckoned here rather than reviled and resented and refuted. I accept that it is true that for one to immigrate to the un-USA is by far more of a tumultuous chore than it is to come to fair Germany and I have been lucky enough to withstand the borders and enjoy the freedoms of the motto, “We are very relaxed about these things.” I have always been smart enough to take a Natural Born German with me to the Ausländerbehörde where I batted my lashes and posed not so indiscreetly in my unnecessarily tight jeans and watched the Key Master and the Gate Keeper bark at each other in that typical Teutonic way until the end where they both made amends with a simple genau and the paperwork was finished. I’ve always loved a good cockfight, and there is not one instance of this feat in which I did not quickly proceed to smoking a cigarette afterwards.
I also have a joke (less horrible) about how there are two things that make Germans cum: fisting and paperwork. Both of these entities rely solely on the wonderful world of power, something somewhat of a Life Force to my Aryan friends, which to me is something of a titillating challenge that I eroticize constantly. When we get back to arguing about the proper way to do something, I stand my ground, but in the end, I always end up doing what they say (or so they think), if not just to shut them up. I sometimes ponder the idea of being a Natural Born German myself and having the capacity to bark in their father tongue.
I use my mind over matter approach in order to get my way (read: control) and I’ve been pretty successful in this regard because I have honed the tactic of refusing to speak German as not to give them the upper hand, with such a thoughtful language, it would take eons for me to make a reasonable and articulate rebuttal to their constant need to try to prove me wrong. The lack of compassion, sympathy or empathy is not so much readily craved – so cheaply and poignantly I mention the Jews and the conversation ends. Abruptly.
It’s going on two years now (not including the three months that I stayed to see if this whole immigration was even possible, or the 5 days of my initial trip here when I was a sex tourist), and I am a little bit tired of the madness of claiming my stake here. Berlin is not so much “poor but sexy.” If I could rephrase this appreciated and repented quote from the gay Mayor, it might go something like this: “Berlin doesn’t care about money, only sex and parties, especially sex parties. And drugs. Cheap sex parties with drugs.” Coming from a Capitalism run world where church and state will never be two separate entities, it is all schein to me (please tell me you got the Greek reference here).
I came to Berlin for professional development, to escape American socioeconomic and political discomfort, to start a new life, and to “find” love.
What is wrong with me that I want some sort of traditional romance where I get to learn to love and hate everything about one person and find some sort of matrimony with them? What is wrong with me that despite coming from a broken home and having over six trialed and failed serious relationships (and many many many more notches on my bedpost) that I still have this faith that someday he will come along on his proverbial horse and his shiny armor and all that? What is wrong with me that I cannot conform to this acceptable way to feign some sort of love in order to be in the city that I love?
If I could marry Berlin, I would. It seems as though I am only one of its over a million mistresses, for Berlin is married only to itself, happily ever after the sexy asshole smooth talking despondent bad boy – that perpetual antagonist and supreme gigolo that so many of us have been seduced by.