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Heterosexualitätsbewältigung November 28, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

I reminded myself with talk of tree-hugging, vegan, save-the-gay-whale conference type things of a German friend I had in London at the time whom I met through this organisation. I had a hundred German friends in London, because Germans seemed to pop up everywhere. My university specialised in things eastern European so it perhaps wasn’t surprising that Germans turned up in fairly large numbers there. (I remember an Ossi insisting on talking to a Wessi in English as he claimed she wouldn’t possibly understand his soul/language/bollocks.) My boyfriend of the time worked for a German firm and had a gaggle of German pals. And then there just simply are lots of Germans in London, so one would meet them here and there.

But back to the friend from Save the Gay Whale. She was young and charming and fearsomely intelligent. She spoke fantastically good English – we’d often have lentil-fuelled group hugs in combined admiration – with a deliciously strong, ‘Allo-‘Allo, German accent. She was a tormented soul, and nicely eccentric, which I like to think of as something of a German tradition. Her haircut was quite the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen. The colour – a deep purple – was, I suppose, not THAT unusual. But the style was, à la base, a crop with, at irregular intervals, long braids which hung around her like the corks on a swagman’s hat. The work we did for the organisation involved our meeting every now and again in lentil-inundated groups and having a good old chinwag about ishooz we had. Fortunately, my group was peopled exclusively by nice folk and we’d combine our ishooz talk with a lovely old chat about how the bugger we all were and a good old gossip (and moan, if need be) about life in general.

My nice German girl was, ostensibly, a lesbian. No, she was, she said, bisexual, but was currently in a relationship with another German lady with EXACTLY the same haircut, only in Lucozade, say, rather than wine, whom we also all knew and who was equally nice and charming and intelligent. But fate had thrown us together with wine lesbian, not Lucozade lesbian, so it was her inner workings we lentilly got to know best. On one such occasion, my friend was troubled. By the time the talking stick had got round to her, she was in a frenzy of panic, both wanting to speak but being unable to say what it was she had on her mind. She had a rolled-up cigarette in one hand and lighter in the other but the flame from one never met the end of the other. What is it, wine-haired lesbian, we all thought, lentilly. Spit it out. We’re your friends. We’ll have a group hug afterwards. “Vell, ze sing is, I sink I might not actually be a lesspian at all. I actually sink I might be heterosexual.” This appeared to be a stunning revelation for her. She was having to struggle with coming to terms with being straight. She had invented Heterosexualitätsbewältigung. Now we were a nice group of Save the Gay Whale volunteers. We understood this was a deep crisis. We explained to (former) wine lesbian that heterosexuality was now perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, (indeed, so right on were we that there was even one among us) and that there were probably some very good support groups where she’d be able to externalise her fears about having to belong to the (admittedly immoral) majority… Well, except we didn’t – lentils or no lentils – react QUITE like that, obviously. What we did do was howl with laughter. No-one had trouble being straight. That was against the rules. We explained to the girl formerly known as wine lesbian our views. She managed to release a tormented smile. She was on safe territory. People would cope with the change after all…

And so hurrah for eccentric Germans popping up in London. She might never have come in if she’d stayed in Bavaria. German eccentricity and a drop of immigration clearly go very well together indeed.



1. neil - November 28, 2005

BiB: Germans are the third largest immigrant group in the UK.
Terrific story by the way, and I could have assured wine former lesbian, that I hardly receive any problems despite my prediliction for deviant minority heterosexual acts. Okay there was the incident in Italy, but thankfully the Neapolitan Police were able to overlook it for (conicidence heaped upon coincidence) exactly the amount of money my girlfriend and I had with us.

2. Broke in Berlin - November 28, 2005

Neil, thank heavens for these days of tolerance.

You remind me of the time I was arrested in a train station in St. Petersburg by two OMON (the seriously nasty riot police). (No, this is not going to turn into a story about sex.) Infuriatingly, I didn’t have my papers on me – my visa was being extended – and the photocopy I had was out-of-date, so they could half-claim, I suppose, that they were arresting me rightfully. I was frogmarched to the police station on the premises, which was down the dankest stairwell known to mankind and actually had real dungeons. They talked of what a serious crime I had committed. I nodded ruefully and pretended I believed them that they were going to have me deported. Thankfully, as luck would have it, I would be released if I could pay a fine to the tune of… – quick count of how much money there was in my wallet – 600 roubles. An almost amusing point was that the two OMON who wanted to pocket my money were almost thwarted as some superior walked in just as I was being fleeced and I actually had to HELP them, by quickly hiding my wallet and the cash under the table, steal my money and keep all the 600 roubles for themselves.

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