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The evidence of a German incapacity to flirt is rife, at least on an anecdotal level.
The numerous “flirt schools” and flirting workshops across the country would barely survive the close of a business day somewhere in the Med.
Perhaps it’s time I checked out one of those flirting seminars?
Some things may not work as they should (or don't work at all).
Indeed, I did assume the fault was my own, until I realised I wasn’t the only one to have experienced such blatant indifference to my feminine charms.
For, as it turns out, every girl I know in this city has suffered the same disinterest. After all, my standards are based on the charming yet mostly hopeless British / Irish culture, where flirting mostly consists of clumsily sidling up to a girl at the bar and stuttering something incomprehensible, or later on, perhaps, drunkenly lunging at her on the dance floor.
But could it simply be a matter of men behaving in the way that society expects them to?German women, it is claimed, expect their menfolk to show restraint.The Spiegel Online, in the run-up to the German World Cup in 2006, provided some guidelines for foreign fans looking to “score a German” after the game. The Deutsche Welle, offering advice to international students on the subject of flirting, also advises caution.Would-be seducers should be cautious, it warned, since saying hello to a German lady “comes across as overly forward”. Apparently, “eye contact and good manners” will get you much further than “exaggerated macho posturing”.
It seems the definition of flirting auf Deutsch is still limited to a stony-faced stare from across the room. Partly it’s about conforming to standards: getting a wolf whistle as you walked down Unter den Linden would be a bit much.
Fiona*, who’s been living here for 2 years, wasn’t at all surprised when I suggested that it was difficult to get to know men in Berlin: “Oh absolutely, you have to be really pushy here – German men never make the first move.” And Carola told me that in all her life, she had never once been chatted up by a German man: she is a native Berliner. My flirtatious encounters to date have been mostly unmemorable and rarely romantic.