Sunday, January 26, 2014

Marathon Man – Part 2

As any runner will know, the second leg of the race is a little like this:

1. You begin it with a sense of positivity – euphoria even – because you aren't feeling half as bad as you thought you would

2. Gradually, bit-by-bit, you start to become exhausted and achy in places where you didn't know it was possible to ache

3. You hit the 'wall' and begin cursing everything and everyone and wondering why the hell you decided to do this in the first place. 

4. Denial: after the race ends, you forget all of the exhausting moments of the race and commit to doing it all over again 

Needless to say, it's time to recount my second date with Marathon Man and true to roots of our dating beginnings, the second leg stayed true to running form. Moving away from the realm of exercise, for our second date Marathon Man suggested going to "Frühlingsfest"– a smaller version of Oktoberfest in springtime, with beer tents and a funfair. I thought this was a great idea (I'm not going to lie, I was conjuring up scenes of the Notebook, imagining Marathon Man hanging from a Ferris wheel like Ryan Gosling), maybe he wasn't boring and soul-less after all. There's also an important point that needs to be mentioned about what is worn to the festival – traditional dress: Dirndls for girls and Lederhosen for boys. Yes, it was only the second date and I was going to be getting my boobs out – no shame.

The date began somewhat well – he looked good in his Lederhosen and commented on how pretty I looked (was this the same arrogant/shy man as date one?) However, like the second leg of a run, this was the euphoric moment and it could only go downhill from here.

It's no secret that I look for a man who is able to take charge of the situation. It's not that I can't – in fact I'm usually a control freak – but when it comes to dating I like a guy to at least take the lead in the beginning (yes I'm old fashioned and non-feminist, but so what?) Despite being able to lead a pack in the race though, Marathon Man wouldn't be capable of leading a passive toy dog on a leash. He couldn't decide which tent to go to, couldn't find the tent he did end up deciding he wanted to go to, couldn't decide where to sit and couldn't get the attention of any waiter to order drinks – to the point where the guys sitting next to us ended up ordering drinks for us. I'm not cold and heartless and ruthless though – despite him being inept at all of these things, I decide not to write him off (particularly not when I probably dented his pride by asking directions to the tent, asking the boys if we could share their table when we couldn't find a seat, and ordering the drinks with the waitress). It must be noted that he didn't pay for the beers, but that's ok, they are expensive there so I didn't think much of that.

So here are the main 4 catastrophes of a terrible second date:

1. Insulting my job. Yes, he went there. Marathon Man –the boring consultant, not even a vaguely exciting one – insulted my job. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not being bigheaded here, but as jobs go, I like to think mine is one of the more interesting ones to talk about. As a magazine editor I get to write about and visit great places all the time! So in response to his question about what I did, I replied "I'm an editor for online luxury lifestyle magazines". His reply: " I don't like online magazines. I don't see the point and so I don't read them. If anything I read print magazines, but even those are dying out." I was shocked. Dumbfounded. I didn't know what to say. Not only did he insult my profession, but also suggested that my industry is dying. DYING?! I expected him to soften the blow of his previous statement, but he didn't. He changed the topic and didn't ask anymore about my job. He instead changed the topic to his current consultancy project: making morphine drips in hospitals drip the drug into patients at a more efficient rate. Now this is, of course, a worthy pursuit that will help the world in someway, but his arrogance, patronising and paint-drying way of explaining it to me made me want to take a quick nap. It also made me want to practice my boxing skills too, as he presented himself as saviour of the world while I was a mere journalist in his eyes – an online journalist at that. Unfortunately at this point I couldn't scream "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!"

2. Going on a ride without me. As we were wandering around the funfair I could see him eyeing up the big, crazy ride. I used to be a ride junkie, but since getting labyrinthitis at 16 I now suffer from vertigo on funfair rides that swing me here, there and everywhere. After telling him I couldn't go on it but I was happy to go on the dodgems or something, or if he really wanted to he could go on it and I'd wait, he chose the latter. I stood there like a mother holding his coat, glasses and bag that he had dumped on me before leaving to run and join the queue.

3. Being an arrogant g••. After waiting for him to act like the big man on the big ride (wonder what he's making up for there?), I suggested going on the go-karts. Now, maybe it’s just me being naive, but I thought that any man would be over the moon if a girl wanted to go on the go-karts with him. Not Marathon Man. When I suggested that it would be really fun to go on them when passing by, he smirked and said: "You mean those go-karts? Really?’ I said, "Yes, why? It will be fun!” His response? "I don't think so, I went on a real go-karting track the other week and so I would find this really basic and boring – too simple for me." And so we walked on.

4. Being too tight to buy me a sausage. After being in his company for nearly 3 hours (sadly I had to be as I was meeting a friend at the festival afterwards, so he knew I had nowhere else I needed to be but there at the festival), we were both hungry. Now, I didn't expect him to get me a beer at 8 euros, but a sausage for 2 euros? Surely he could stretch to that being that I had endured his presence for such a long time? Surely a sausage? No. In fact, he even went to a different stand to me to buy exactly the same kind of sausage, probably just to avoid having to pay.

So, by now I had definitely been through all of the stages of the second leg of a race. No. Wait. Not all of them … denial was still left. 

So my friend arrived to meet us and Marathon Man chatted with us a little before finally leaving. Then, the fatal moment happened. My friend really liked him. She thought he was great! Instead of sticking to my guns I let her positivity infiltrate the last 3 hours I had endured and that, combined with the knowledge I acquired on that day about him only coming out of a 7 year relationship a year ago, made my anger turn to pity. Maybe he was just struggling to date? Maybe...maybe...maybe. Note to self: however lovely your friends are, they may not always know what is best.

Needless to say I ended up going on a third – and thankfully final – date with MM. It was in a beer garden, where he again didn't buy me as much as a sausage while recounting his 'holiday' to me and boring me with the 114 photos taken on his phone. His 'holiday' was a TransAlp mountain biking trip from Salzburg to Lake Garda. This guy was sport crazy with the personality of a stone. 

I left as quickly as I could, to never see him again and thanking the German Lord that I was single. Things I have learnt? Avoid adrenaline junkie, consultant Austrians from Salzburg – unless you are happy to fork out 2 euros for a Bratwurst and enjoy the pleasure of bad company.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Marathon Man

There's a huge gaping hole in my account of life in Germany and that is: dating. As a young and spritely single girl in Munich, I have thrown myself into the deep end of dating Deutsch-style – and what an 'interesting' pool it is. Although my first forays into dating in Germany involved a Dane and not a Deutsch wonder, that Nordic adventure was somewhat brief and I could no longer ignore the daunting task of tackling the blonde hair and blue eyes of zee Germans (note: nobody I have dated so far has had either of these attributes).

So, let me begin with: Marathon man. Before female readers everywhere start applauding me for my beginners luck, it's important that I clarify that I unfortunately mean 'marathon' in the running sense. You'd think that I'd take a slow and subtle approach back into dating right? Wrong. I, being the genius that I am, decided to accept a blind date. A blind date involving running. A running blind date! Somehow I didn't think through the fact that when I run I look like a dying mongoose that has been dipped in deep red paint. I think my naive-self figured that if he could like me in my running gear sweating up a storm, then effort and fabulous outfit on date 2 would be like a gift from the Gods (yes, this is how my mind works).

So I turn up at the agreed spot on a sweltering summer day to complete a 40-minute blind-date/run around the English Gardens. Non-Munich readers should know that this involves walking down a normal shopping street in your shorts, so you are already feeling self-conscious before you arrive.

There he was standing on the other side of the road. An Adonis. I couldn't believe my luck – how wrong I was. Marathon man was socially inept. After greeting me (thank god no awkward one or two kiss moment!) and telling me his name, there was no small talk. "Shall we go?” he said.

Now, I decided to leave my running gadgets at home to avoid looking like a bit of a pretentious pr•••. Marathon man? Oh no, he had every gadget that Nike ever made, and then some. Within a few minutes of setting off he asked me "Is this pace good for you?" as I was frantically panting beside him and reluctantly replied "Sure!" (nobody wants to appear like a pansy and particularly not on a date). As soon as I learnt that a) he was a consultant and b) he was Austrian and from Salzburg, I should have known better and run in the opposite direction, but instead I stayed and endured the worst date ever.

This guy did not know how to make conversation (which was, by the way totally in German and he never once offered to switch to English despite being fluent in English himself). There was never a reciprocated question or show of interest in anything I had to say. It went a little like this:

Me: Do you have any siblings?
Marathon Man: Yes, a sister

*silence* *awkward pause* *run 10 minutes more*

Me: What do you do, do you enjoy your job or travel a lot?
Marathon Man: I'm a consultant. I really enjoy it. I travel quite a bit but luckily not as much as other firms so it's not too stressful.

*silence* *awkward pause* *run 10 minutes more*

He. Never. Asked. Me. Anything. About. Myself. NOTHING. Oh wait sorry, he did ask me something:

What's your quickest half-marathon time?

Which means he didn't listen to me five minutes before when I was telling him that I was training for my first two half marathons ever in a few weeks. *sigh* He then proceeded to tell me all about his quickest times, where the races were and his tactic to get quicker. All the while I was thinking "you're attractive, but somebody pass me a spoon so I can gouge my eyes out because that would be more enjoyable than another minute of this date". Why are German guys so obsessed with sport? And I mean really obsessed. I'm a sporty person and it's even too much for me. They don't just do a run, they do a marathon. When they've done a marathon they do mountain marathons. Then they do a triathlon just for kicks. Then they take their hiking to the next level and climb Everest – like you do. I don't think you have to be a genius to work out the one thing that a lot of the guys aren't managing to achieve despite all of their sporting endeavours...Give me a man that will happily munch on a Maccy D any day over a German fitness freak.

After running 50 minutes instead of 40 minutes (so already running further and faster than planned) we arrived back at our starting point. At this moment, instead of accompanying me back to the U-Bahn, he declares, "Actually, I think that I'm going to carry on running and go a bit further. Not sure I got my full workout". Translation: asshole. I took it as a rejection but then was shocked as he asked for my number. My number? Strange, I thought the date had gone poorly for both of us, as he seemed so uninterested. However, for some reason I was still hovering between whether he was an arrogant git or merely socially challenged and decided to give him the pleasure of obtaining my digits – and with it, a second-chance. 

Mistake. Date 2 debrief to follow soon...