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Flirting for Singles [2010-10-10]

Flirting  for Singles

About 13.5 million of the 81.2 million people who live in Germany are single. Of course all of these people aren't pitiful, ugly creatures who are yearning to finally be able to throw the wedding bouquet into a cheering crowd of former fellow-sufferers. And all those male singles aren't longing for a serious relationship. There are other ways for them to get their shirts washed and ironed without throwing their anchor into the sea of matrimony. So, when you're single, it doesn't necessarily mean you're alone. Because being alone is not the goal of the Single life.

Single people flirt like mad. It happens everywhere, in the laundromat (a place with an above-average Single content), in the food section of the "Kauhof" department store (since Singles have a higher-than-average buying power) and even in traffic jams (where you can allegedly spot a single person by the "Flirt-Sticker" that has his or her mobile phone number on it). It's as uncomplicated as that, and it crackles with eroticism in Germany's discos, bars and even supermarkets, traffic jams and computer chatrooms. Especially if you believe the many so-called "flirting counselors." These characters pen help books and offer tips on the Internet, and when you read them, you might be astonished. "Don't whistle at your flirting target," they say, or "don't talk to the other person from behind," "Don't show them that you are desperately searching for a boy/girlfriend: they'll feel that intuitively and back off." Who would have thought...?

Hundres of books with titles like "The A to Z of Flirting", "Flirt Irresistibly", "Flirt...but how?" are gathering dust on the store shelves. There are even flirting schools, where you finally find out what you never would have found out on your own, For example, "If you don't want it to turn out to be just a one night stand, better wait on the sex." Or, "Don't gush about your ex-boyfriend...the male ego is fragile." Do the readers also find these tips a little uninspiring, or are they themselves really so uninspired that they need these little pearls of wisdom?

In case you have no need for such "wisdom," let's take an "advanced" course and I'll talk a little about my own personal experience. Because I came from another cultural background, with a lot of mental baggage. My first piece of advice: don't take what you've heard about the war of the sexes in Germany so seriously. German women aren't the "ugly feminists" they're made out to be and they haven't emasculated the other half of the population, turning them into a bunch of frightened weaklings. And don't be under the illusion that your super-macho behavior, or that of a "New Age Sensitive Man" is going to make you more valuable on the German flirting market. You could well be misunderstood. Here in Germany these days, there's usually payment involved for these kinds of role-playing. Even women are doing it more and more.

In the first three seconds of flirting, according to scientific studies, you usually know if the other person is interested or not. Then you attempt to turn your flirting into talking. Where did he grow up? Who are his parents? What is he studying? If instead you're the one who's talking, just remember this, at the end of it all you'll know just about as much now as you did before the whole thing started. And think: if in your own country you didn't like those boys who just had to see every football game, it probably won't be that different in Germany.

And put away those prejudices about splitting the bill in a café. If he wants to pay, insist on 50-50 only if you don't want to see him again. Because a woman's insistance on covering her part of the bill is usually interpreted as a strike out. The fact that you also earn money and aren't on the hunt for a sugar daddy can all be cleared up later, if the flirting develops into something more.

On the subject of out for the race-to-the-altar type...even if your flirting target describes himself as "separated,": Marriage in Germany is a deadly serious affair (not even all couples are separated by death). A divorce is extremely lengthy and expensive. So, if more comes of this little flirt, keep those fingers away from anything gold or silver!

Now as a person reaches 30, he or she begins to think of marriage and children. No wonder, in a country with one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. There's even a new German word for it, something equivalent to "Mr. or Ms. Right Now." As a student, you should probably wait a while before engaging in the "serious part of life" and just enjoy your youth, freedom and of course, the flirting!

Elena Beier

Elena Beier, born in Germany, living in Germany since 1991
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