Most of my griping about dating is that the men I’ve encountered aren’t serious about being serious. For most of my adult life, the guys I have been interested in either wanted a purely physical relationship, didn’t make enough of an effort, or they simply weren’t ready for commitment. Some men even have a hard time claiming the woman they’re dating in public. They avoid posting pictures together or showing PDA until after several dates. Most of the couple’s pictures I do see are only on the female’s social media.
As I planned my recent trip to Berlin I decided that I was going to make an effort to meet people. One way was to see what kind of responses I would get on the Tinder app. I know a lot of people would rather be stoned in a town square than admit that they use it but almost everyone I know has used it at some point. Several people I know have found a significant other on there. You may never know because anyone can create a cute meet story but dating/networking apps are the way the tech savvy generation meets people these days.
When I arrived I redownloaded the app to my phone (using it locally has proved to be a waste of time so I removed it) and started swiping. 98% of the time I received a match. The first difference I noticed in using the app overseas is that guys will message first. When I did use it locally I rarely heard from any of the guys I matched with.
Over there they also play no games about meeting and what they’re looking for. Some people are on there for hookups only (I’m sure with me being an out of towner it was assumed that’s what I wanted) but the good thing about the app is that you can quickly unmatch with someone that’s being inappropriate. That wasn’t really an issue for me. Guys were generally upfront and respectful about wanting just a physical relationship.
When I did find a guy that was interested in more than hooking up, which wasn’t challenging, they wanted to meet as soon as they could. They asked me where I had already been then came up with a place to meet. In the past I have struggled to get a guy to plan a date in the states. It’s like you’re asking them to do your taxes. If they do pick a place there’s no real thought put into it. Either you meet at a chain restaurant, the movies, or some common place that you’ve already been to several times.
To my surprise these weren’t meet ups like let’s grab coffee and a croissant. These were fabulous dates where you could have a conversation and experience the city. One guy took me the Templehof airport. It’s a now defunct airport where anyone can walk the run way or in the large fields surrounding it. There was a basketball court, kids running around, families grilling, and bars that offered beach chairs and libations where you could relax. To me, that was an impressive first date.
After spending a couple of hours there I thought, this is cool and that the date was winding down. Instead the guy asked me to lunch. He gave me the option to choose from the places he recommended and we decided on a Vietnamese restaurant. After eating the date definitely had to be over because he had a seminar to attend. As he walked me to the train he kissed me. Then asked me to meet him later for his friends birthday celebration. Kissing and meeting his friends on the first day seemed fast but I agreed. After having a couple drinks that night we went to the historic Admiral’s bridge where people sit, have drinks, and look out over the river. I wasn’t used to so much kissing, and romance on a first date. It had to have been a fluke.
A few days later I went out with another guy who invited me to meet him for a walk along the river. We walked by musuem island and he pointed out some beautiful architecture. Another super romantic walk through a different part the city. We sat on a bench and as I was talking he leaned over and kissed me. It took me off guard because I had just met him. A pattern emerged: they both wanted to kiss like we were in a scene of a romance movie. He also asked me to lunch after our walk before he went off to work out. While we were talking I mentioned that I wanted to go to the Zoological Garden and Aquarium during my trip. Initially he told me that the rest of his weekend was busy, but after I said that he offered to move some things around in order to take me. I was impressed.
Guys not only wanted to spend a lot of time with you, they wanted you to hold their hands, kiss them, stay close to them in public. All without pressuring you anything else. I didn’t know if that was normal so I asked someone else and they said pretty much. Afterwards as I walked around on my own PDA was everywhere. Holding hands, kissing everywhere I turned, couples playful slapping each other’s butts or running their hands through the others hair.
I’m fine with public affection but usually after a few dates and you usually start off slow. Not here. It went from a nice afternoon stroll to behaving like a couple. It made me uncomfortable at first because it wasn’t something I was used to. If I tried to hold a guys hand back home he would assume I was just trying to catch my balance. I’ve been so programmed that if you actually want to date someone that you woke up to those kinds of things. One guy actually told me I wasn’t being passionate enough because I didn’t want to kiss him in a crowded stairwell. To me we were in the way but to him the inconvenience of others didn’t matter.
I can’t say this is how all dating is city wide. But after going on two different dates with two different guys with similar behavior I can’t believe it’s uncommon. After being treated so well on a first date, I know it’s possible to be swept off your feet. The bar for first dates has been set pretty high.