Monday, August 24, 2009

Frauenheld

The last part of this year's summer travel brings me to my home country, Germany. The picturesque, beer-heavy south of Bavaria and bordering Austria, to be precise. And my jet lagged mind is ever busy collecting impressions to contrast them with what I continue to learn about human nature, its biological roots and its manifestations in the diverse forms of cultures around the globe.

And one thing I came to realize might come as a surprise to many: Germany is a lot like Japan.

I am not talking about the fact that both countries lost the last world war and recovered to be the second and third (now fourth) largest economies after the US. What I am referring to is their way of life.

Compared to the US, both these cultures are far more collectivistic. The American Dream is replaced by a deeply felt “passion for mediocrity” (Umberto Eco): The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

German society's main concerns and sympathy are not with the strong, but with the weak. There is no notion of an elite (a four letter word to most Germans) achieving great things for the benefit of the masses. Instead, there is a "social-romantic" feeling that extends to everyone who visibly failed. Your achievements are all yours (to be modest about), but your failure sure is society's fault.

Germans despise a free market place. They think of it as an “Elbogengesellschaft”, i.e. a society of bloody elbows. Germans hate competition unbound by rules as much as they hate pollution. And the German obsession for environmentalism borders on the absurd. The love of anything “alternative” falls on fruitful backward-oriented “romantic” ground, where it unites with wide distrust of anything “modern” – ranging from Western medicine to biotechnology and even nuclear power plants. As a timely example of the absurd mix of socialistic thought and irrational, backwards-oriented romanticism: The German government does not just feature universal health care, but even freely sponsors 4-6 week spa vacations where people get treated with - I kid you not - water baths).

But that's not all. Germans as well as Japanese love “order” and punctuality even if it is at the expense of individuality, personal choice and living your own life. And as a direct consequence, sexuality is stifled. Unsurprisingly, German porn is kinky (a sure sign for a society in need of a pressure valve to deal with the restrictions of their instinctive drive to fuck).

But the lack of sexual indulgence is not apparent to the tourist's eye. It is deeply hidden under a layer of liberalism that leaves most (American) tourists in awe.

To understand how the country hosting huge “Erotic Meetings”, featuring butt naked people in inner city parks, soft porn on late night TV, and openly displaying bare breasts (including nipples and barely legal ones) on each and every newsstand can also be the country of a rapidly declining birth rate and guys with below (world) average “headcounts” when it comes to banging chicks, one needs to go back in history.

Germany's present needs to be understood in the context of its past. A whole country turning into a psychopathic mass murderer is still unrivaled in history. But once WWII was lost and the mass delusion became fully apparent, things rapidly turned the other way. No other country in the world has a whole generation named after the 1968 Hippie year of left wing terrorism and “sexual revolution”. Many Germans went from accepting their “collective guilt” to taking on the duty to do whatever possible to make sure that history won't repeat itself: “Never again” and “Wehret den Anfaengen” (fight the beginnings).

As one result, anything that could even remotely evoke the image of a skull-clad SS officer shouting commands became eliminated from the German behavioral repertoire. You can tell this the moment you cross the border. In no other country (except maybe Japan) will you face so much “kindness” and “politeness” even from authorities. And no other place features as many men speaking in a soft, appeasing head voice (if you haven't noticed yet, the German preference for male high pitched voices is very apparent in its musical and cinematic exports, with Rammstein being an ironic and controversial exception).

And the decades-long avoidance of harsh body language and popular disdain of anything “macho” has ultimately culminated in the “Euro-Trash” gay style that is currently popular among German men (the androgynous Japanese hosts are rugged compared to the “BrĂ¼no-esque” twens strolling down German pedestrians zones).

PUA is a fringe phenomena in this country (with some notable exceptions). It is fair to say that most German men are hopelessly lost when it comes to understanding any (biologically ingrained) gender roles.

Yet, things are changing even here.

Today I found on Germany’s best selling list an interesting book called “Macho Man”. Here is the blurb (it's my late night attempt at a translation, but the original German hardly sounds any better):

“Educated by the 68 generation, he lived thirty years as wussy. Now he falls in love with a Turkish girl. But how does a woman's "best friend" kind of guy survive in a world full machos? ... Daniel, in his early 30ies just got dumped - despite always doing everything his girl friend wanted him to do. After all, his 68-parents have always told him to respect women and to care for their feelings. Growing up, this advice helped him a lot when at parties: While the girls made out with other boys in the corner, he cared for them and respected respected them. ... What do women really want?”

Well, a deep, masculine voice might be a good start...

16 comments:

  1. I don't know that this makes Germany special. 68-poisoning, wussy males and declining birthrates also describe Scandinavia. But without the fucked up porn.

    I suspect it is a protestant thing. Either causative or that the societies that reformed are more cooperative in general with more of a workerbee mentality.

    As for the kinkiness that seem to have going for quite a while in both Japan and Germany.

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  2. I've never been to Scandinavia, so I can't judge. But from what I hear about it I can see that.

    Yet, my guess is that there is even more of that general praise for conflict-avoiding and giving in for the sake of it given this countries dark recent history (a famous German saying is "Der kluegere gibt nach" - The smarter one gives in).

    Another interesting fact is that most Scandinavian countries are above average (and close to the US numbers) in the Durex survey of life time sex partners.

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  3. If you lived in Germany you'd know that most of what you've written is garbage, especially when it comes to relations between the sexes. But what should one expect from a blog with that nauseating psychopath roissy in the blogroll.

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  4. "In no other country (except maybe Japan) will you face so much “kindness” and “politeness” even from authorities."

    I don't know about the authorities, but the kindness/politeness of German people differs a lot from region to region in my experience. Service people in the Ruhr-area never give the impression that they are enjoying their jobs.

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  5. ian:

    there's something that apparently keeps drawing you back to those blogs with roissy on their blogroll.

    11:

    interesting post. those of us who aren't aware of the sexual dynamics of many other cultures would have expected germany to be more sexually open. but just the other day, on roissy, someone wrote about how difficult german women are to deal with (on par with American women). so this all makes sense now.

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  6. You should watch my show, Sprockets, more often

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  7. I was a little bit tentative about being "accepted" in Germany, considering that I'm a visible minority, and I've heard there's a lot of racial tension between the Turks and ethnic Germans over there. But, much to my surprise, everyone was exceptionally friendly, liberal, and really diverse.

    I'm not so sure about the gender neutrality even though that should come with the territory in a liberal country In my mind, there are still very strong gender associations. Eliminating "Fraulein" from the vocabulary was a bit too PC for my tastes, however.

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  8. ian, I lived in Germany for most of my life. And I dated many German women - one of them for seven years. I do know exactly what I am talking about. What's your number of life time sex partners, by the way?

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  9. Softig German women are hot!Sehr schon!

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  10. Queen of the Betas - Germans have their very own way of being PC. It is fully accepted to make fun of "Kanaksprak" (the Turkish accent) or to order a "Neger" (lit. nigger) if you want your beer mixed with Coke.

    And concerning the genders - oh boy. Even the most die hard DC lawyer "wymyn" chicks will admit that they like the "throwback" (i.e. being thrown on the bed) by a rugged guy to kick things off. All the women I talked to here (including good old friends of mine) go apeshit at the mere suggestion. I am talking about the very same women who read "Feuchtgebiete" within less than a week....

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  11. Might go apeshit at the suggestion sure, might react different when their hands are tied behind their backs with your belt and yer really givin' it to 'em.

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  12. Years ago, I read that the ancient Greeks used to carry around money (coins back then) in their mouths. They'd place the coins in that area behind their cheekbone below their eye-sockets, and basically just forget about it. Walking around, stopping at places to eat (yes, they had "fast-food-places" back then), working or whatever. They shied away from carrying money in sewn pockets or primitive purses or whatever.

    I thought this was extrodinarily weird.


    Much of the customs and mores of Germany (drinking beer as teenagers kept in subterranean cellars at "room temprature", environmental "worship", uber-cleanliness, et cetera) would strike ethnically-similar Americans as "weird".

    This just goes to show that when any group of people is seperated with different "media" influencing them for a few generations, subcultures and arise and new, different folkaways and social mores can flourish to an extent that would appear strange to the other group. People certainly are social beings, and are influenced heavily by whatever is "cool" despite how nonsensical it really is. z

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  13. Great stuff 11
    Liked how you put a historical perspective on your personal experiences. Very educational.

    Can't say you offered me anything I didn't already know about German porn though.

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  14. the inevitable pendulum response....

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  15. Dear author,

    Sex in Germany can have live devastating consequences for heterosexual men, as you should know as a born german. German CS laws are a fatherhating mess. Any woman with childbearing intentions can be your doom. (Means most women older than say 23) For an Update about the hell waiting for any potential father in Germany visit www.trennungsfaq.de. Since woman can't be trusted, Condoms can't be trusted as well. She will get pregnant if she wants. A "kindstolle Frau" will find a way. Thus for most unmarried heterosexual german men past their mid twentys Sex becomes less attractive.

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  16. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you have to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Have your ex CRAWLING back to you...?

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