~ i wrote ~
I’m finding Berlin all right. Like New York, but softer, easier, with wider streets and narrower personalities, more consonants and less genetic diversity. It’s cheaper too, by half at least, sometimes more. Last night I took myself to Berghain, which as you know is not really my scene, but it seemed — seems — germane to be going to a place and doing the things everyone else goes there to do, the things everyone else is excited about, if only periodically, if only just to see, because what reasons are there to do anything ever? Outside — I got there at the uncool hour of half-past midnight, as instructed by savvy locals — I joined the growing queue and tried to be cool about getting in, as instructed by same, until someone let me know that I was in the line for men, and I was escorted right through a side door to be body searched by a very tall non-binary German who did not think I was cute or interesting. For all my careful planning I’d forgotten ear plugs and had no you with me, carrying spare, so the first thing I did inside was find an existing rip in the upholstery on some upper-level lounging furniture and help myself to some stuffing to upcycle for my ears. The bathroom stall door bottoms stop a good six or nine inches above the toilet seat, such that I imagine anyone with the inclination could get a good look at the user’s netherparts — the face is what’s kept private — which is not so excellent an arrangement for an uneasy American who has come alone and dressed all wrong (yoga clothes?? Backpacking I may be, but in hindsight it was the worst possible solution I could’ve settled on with the tools at my disposal) and is sweating at the ever-growing prospect that she will have to spend the night dancing sober with the cello-wrapped cardboard cartridge she fashioned to smuggle in a joint and some scraps of psychedelica lodged in her vagina because she cannot get it out and, without the aid of its contents, won’t have the disposition to solicit a stranger in this sort-of sex club for help. It’s a fine length for taking drugs in a group in a standing position, though, and after I got the thing out and made some friends I partook of a few different substances in a few different stalls with a hardbodied oncologist wearing perfect Aryan features whom I later enjoyed watching in some kind of heated and highly homoerotic exchange with the Persian radiologist who’d initially drafted me into their circle, and later still after that, when Omar came to me and said, Dieter say maybe you like to go for threesome with us, I said, Why, yes, maybe I would. Because I mean, wow, that’s the dream. Hot boys who want to make out with each other and let me watch AND do stuff with me? Ja, bitte schön, und danke. But it turned out that Dieter doesn’t actually like Omar that much, and that Omar is more like some sort of blowhard, a talker of big game, and in the cab ride — they ridiculed my wanting to walk — This isn’t New York — they arrived, beyond my linguistic ken, at some agreement that, actually, Omar had to work in a few hours and would be bailing, and Dieter and I would be on our own. Regarding which I thought, Thank the gods, for the titillating closeness of their bodies and faces as they smiled and argued in a hazy, throbbing toilet was a far cognitive cry from the 6 am silence and brilliance of Northern Europe in June, and how on earth could I find my way from the other back to the one? Going home with a man met on a night out has almost never gone well for me — they don’t understand! How rarely they understand — and this promised, actually, to be just that times two. Dieter and I wandered Mitte for a long time, making our slow way back to his apartment, buying an okay orange and some shitty grapes and eating them on a bridge while he told me about how he and his twin, who were triplets in utero, like to blame everything that goes wrong on the resorbed triplet-that-wasn’t, a joke which — surprise! — their mother hates. We also spent a long time standing in front of an old synagogue that’s now a gallery of Judaica, and I made him read to me over and over the historical signage in German with all its bone-chilling verbs as punchline, and then he started trying to coach me through it — Diese synagogue ist 100 Jahre alt und wurde am 9. November 1938 (and yes saying the year was too difficult) IN DER KRISTALLNACHT von den Nazis in Brand gesteckt — and then to teach me to count in German, but I kept getting to nine and forgetting the word for ten, and he suggested some associative conditioning and began hitting and shoving me, shouting zehn! zehn! and it was very, very sexy, an excellent fulfillment of whatever has been incubating since I was made to watch all those movies of square-jawed domineering Prussians at a developmentally tender age, but I couldn’t figure out how to have the whole thing be sustained organically, and eventually we got to his apartment — enormous — something like 130 sq meters overlooking the river in central Berlin, €2,000 a month — and gorgeous, just gorgeous, like something out of a design catalogue, thanks to the space itself and also I guess to his roommate the polymathematic hematologist, and he played me some classical piano and fed me a cucumber from the terrace garden and we each showered and got into bed for what I, twitching, hoped would be sleep. His whole body was shaved — more recently than his face, but perhaps that was by design, for its shadow was the perfect chic length, except for the unseeable-by-him rim where deep chin becomes upper neck, where the hair was embarrassingly long — and the effect was one of all-over coarse, sandpapery stubble that I very much would have been up for having slowly slid over my amphetamine-alert skin, but he was determined to crash his mouth repeatedly into my general pubic area if we were to touch at all, which was just stupid and terrible; perhaps the concept of taking mutual tactile pleasure without specific orgasm-orientation per se doesn’t translate, or perhaps this particular guy was just too dumb. I mean, read the room, Man. After a while, I tired of fighting him off and got up and put my stinking yoga outfit back on and took the U5 three stops in the wrong direction, into the suburbs, and then I figured it out and got off that train and took another, inbound one back in to Alexanderplatz and walked to my digs, the hochparterre in Prenzlauer Berg where my grad school friend’s ex lives with his wife and baby when they are not in New Haven for her twentieth reunion and more. Now I am having a luxurious frühstück so absurdly late that it should have air quotes, or would if that kind of irony weren’t too many strata above German sensibilities to parse, and I’m thinking Sieben is an excellent name for a child.