Photo (above): Lake Chiemsee.
A few weeks after I arrived in Germany, I downloaded the Tinder app with the goal to reach out, make new connections, and hopefully find this amazing guy I can date and connect with. Everything started out well. After using my best German (which still isn’t very good) to communicate with a few men, this one guy — I’ll call him Tony — super liked me on Tinder. So, I started a conversation with him. On his profile, he wrote that he was forty years old. I’m thirty-one, so I figured he’s not too much older than me.
The conversation started out with me asking how he’s doing. He responded, saying he’s an engineer who works for an engineering company in Munich and runs a small business as well. He is also a fellow Canadian, though I still can’t quite understand how he was able to live here in Germany for four years and not be able to speak the language.
Anyway, that’s beside the point. Tony really made me believe I had finally found the ‘one’, the man who would end my single days and make my — our — life complete. Tony was that man. He wrote that he’s a family man, very traditional. He wants a woman who he can really connect with and raise a few children. He also told me he has a one-year-old son, but is no longer with that baby boy’s mother for the reason she has psychological issues.
After a brief conversation, one Sunday, Tony took the train from Munich and met me in Prien. He greeted me with a bright smile and a kiss on each cheek. I discovered that Tony came from a very devout Christian family; his mother, a French-Canadian, was Catholic and his father, Greek Orthodox. Apparently, Tony’s father wanted to become a Monk, but then married and had six children. I also found out that Tony was actually forty-six, but I was willing to overlook that one piece of misinformation.
We walked for about twenty minutes to the Lake Chiemsee where we spent at least ten minutes figuring out which restaurant to eat at. There are several restaurants and an ice-cream shop near the shores of Lake Chiemsee in Prien. All of them are reasonably priced and serve delicious food, which makes the choice sometimes a little complicated. We both wanted to eat somewhere that was right on the lake, so we chose the Konditorei Restaurant, a restaurant situated beside the dock where a ferry-boat takes tourists for tours of Herraninsel, an Island on the Chiemsee.
Since it was quite warm outside, we chose to sit and eat dinner on the deck. After talking over a beer, getting to know each other better, we decided on a seafood meal for two. I must admit, Tony was quite the gentleman: he paid for the dinner and the beer.
Tony entranced me with his charm; in terms of morals, we were completely on the same page. He expressed interest in going to church, any church, something that I have been seriously considering getting back into. But then, we started on the conversation of marriage and sex. When I expressed interest in having a relationship that leads to marriage, Tony wrinkled his nose slightly and said something like this; “Marriage is way too far off. People here don’t get married, they just live together. Also, people in France don’t marry at all. I’ve been single for twelve years, I’ve waited long enough for sex. When I find a woman, I don’t want that long to have sex. The longest I can wait is two weeks.”
All my hopes were dashed. Okay, the truth is; many people, even in Canada, do live together common law. It’s the norm, but even if I did decide to have sex with a man outside of marriage, there is no way in heaven or in hell I would do it two weeks after meeting him.
“Two weeks,” I explained as gently as I could without putting him off, “is way too quick. I want to take the time to get to know you better.”
He flashed me a reassuring look that still held that charm. “But, it’s not just about having sex, it’s a way for us to connect on a deeper level.”
My heart rate started to speed up. I gave him a grave look. “So, let’s say we have sex and I become pregnant. Would you stay with me and help raise the child?”
He took my hands in his and gave me a heartfelt look. “Absolutely! I am a traditional, one woman guy. Of course I would stay with you.” He then went on and explained how he has helped his ex-girlfriend with their son and how he diligently gives her money every month.
His words renewed my hope, but I was still cautiously optimistic.
As we walked back to the place where I am staying, a quiet neighborhood close to the train station, hand in hand, Tony told me that he would not pressure me into having sex, that he would leave that decision up to me; whenever I feel ready, we would go at it. Truth be told, I was completely fine with that.
As the sun began to set, we went to a small grocery store, a couple of blocks down the road from where I live and Tony bought us two bottles of wine. We then went back to my temporary home-away-from-home, sat inside my room and chatted some more about a variety of topics.
The light in my room is quite bright which is fine with me, but Tony wanted it to be darker. So, I turned on the lamp beside my bed and shut off the main light. Tony still thought it was a little too bright, so he took my purple t-shirt from the chair and attempted to put it over the lamp. We both discovered it wasn’t a good idea since the t-shirt over the lamp made the room almost black.
For at least two hours, we sat on my bed, drinking wine and making out until Tony had to catch the next train back to Munich. At the doorstep, we kissed some more and Tony asked me if I was his girlfriend to which I responded “yes.” He even told me I could stay at his flat and he would pay for my train (which is expensive here in Germany), round trip.
Honestly, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was just a little too eager to cultivate a friendship with the other sex, one that can help me navigate the sometimes murky waters of getting settled in a land that’s completely different from home.
I didn’t feel good about this decision afterwards and was extremely hesitant to take it further. So, when he called me the next day, I told him I wanted to start out as friends and let the relationship develop naturally. In response, he explained to me that, in Munich, everything goes fast. He has no time for friends as he sees them only every second week or so. He works hard at a job that’s very stressful and so wants only to spend time with someone who he can connect on a deep level.
That was the end of that, but I was rather relieved.