Date number 3: Veronika
I was probably the most anxious before meeting Veronika, only because we had spoken exclusively German in our texts, and she’d clearly wanted to text in a more friendly and flirty way. A few evenings before we had planned to meet she unexpectedly messaged me. It was a picture of her pouring booze into a warming pot of Gluhwein. This, for me anyway, passes as flirting. She made it clear that she had enough Gluhwein for two and was going to go hiking in the dark, intentionally, without a light. I was tempted, but her invitation came too late, she was on her way to the train, and I was huddled over a bowl of soup from my favorite soup place.
We finally met a few days later at a small cafe near Fraunhoferstr. She spoke clear, slow enough German, and the cafe was quiet enough, though they did play only American music. Nirvana didn’t fit with my Tegernseer beer or her glass of wine. I had the safety net of English, as it turns out, because of course, Veronika speaks pretty good English, because she teaches dance and theatre science in English. We only dropped to English once or twice, we spoke only German for two hours. I was proud. She told me about her one impression of Texas, a quick stop in Houston. I asked what she was doing there, and she said she was on a boat trip, I asked if it was a cruise or a small boat and she said, “oh no, it was a container ship.” This girl worked on a container ship and saw a few of the ports of the Americas, she lived on board for months. She said she got a lot of reading done, but the conversation was dead boring.
My vocabulary is limited enough that I had to keep it fairly casual, and just to make conversation I asked where she lived. She said she lived next door to the cafe we were in, and I was taking a swig of my beer in the moment, but I am nearly certain she winked at me. She said she lived “ganz in der Nahe” totally near by. I’m not sure if that’s what I saw, or if I did see it if she meant anything by it, but I am not that kind of boy. Before I was home she’d already texted me inviting me over to watch a movie at her place. She said her apartment is small, but she has over a thousand books and a playstation 1 in there. And the movie sounds really good, like the German version of Spinal Tap but about a band like Kraftwerk. Perhaps I’ll go over and watch this movie and see if I can keep my chastity in tact.
Date number 4: Gloria
I got the impression from chatting with Gloria that she was extremely self-conscious about meeting someone online. Or perhaps self conscious in general. Though we met through a website that has a specifically romance-focused intent, it seemed she preferred to think of our meeting as a language exchange, like a tandem partner. It was all fine with me, surprisingly, I’ve found that my abilities to pass the time and make conversation with strangers extended beyond native english speakers.
I suggested a bar, but she countered saying the service was bad. She recommended the Cafe Kosmos, which I had never even heard of, but I was happy to try. It was far too near the Hauptbahnhof for me to have ever given it a fair chance. Fortunately the place is super cool. It feels like a barely renovated space straight out of the 1960s. Harsh concrete walls and floors, and the chairs and tables were a random mix of wood and plastic seats that looked like they’d been taken from schools that were getting rid of old furniture.
A unique trait of Cafe Kosmos is that they serve little bottles of Astra Beer, the beer famously from Hamburg. I hadn’t had a little bottle of beer in quite a while, 12 adorable little ounces for only one Euro and thirty cents. Gloria bought the first round before I had even got my coat off and we climbed the spiral staircase to see if there was a spot for us on the upper floor. With chairs at the correct height for 8 year olds, and a tiny table we sat, drank tiny beers and began our language exchange. Gloria had worked in film production in Canada for a while, and we talked mostly about films. We could agree that Drive was a spectacular movie, we argued about Birdman, and we traded opinions on Gaspar Noe. I felt a bit like I was in college again. Gloria has very expressive eyebrows, and as I began my third tiny beer I took a moment to compliment them. It seemed like it made her uneasy. Ah well. We kept chatting, a bit in German, a bit in English, about jobs, and living in Germany, and so on. I figured it was time to go, so we stepped outside into the cold. I texted her a few movie titles and songs we’d talked about, and then we hugged goodbye. I had the impression that this would be it, but the next day she texted asking me what I had expected before meeting her. Then she told me she’d get in touch once she wasn’t so busy. Who knows if she’ll get back in touch, but I’d drink another beer with her.