(I’m republishing this for a particular reader.)
As a German/American woman who has dated in both America and Germany, I sometimes receive questions about the difference in each dating market. I’d have to say that the biggest difference between countries comes down to one factor: German men. Although I’m obviously happily biased, I’d have to say that any single, young woman looking to meet a quality man could do worse than head to Germany. It’s like Girl Heaven there… if you’re not a wallflower.
Why the caveat? Well let’s just say that courtship is turned on its head there. Instead of men asking women out, the women are usually required to make the first move. German women don’t mind this — after all, it keeps you from being annoyed by men you aren’t interested in — but it took me a bit of adjustment, after attending high school in America.
I suspect that this is the reason why German women seem to have a more sober and realistic view of their own market-worth, and are eager to settle-down. It’s so hard to get a man at all, that you’re more inclined to stick with the one you have. Also, when you are the one having to “make the first move”, you’ll be less inclined to try to punch above your weight and embarrass yourself by hitting on someone completely out of your league. I am sometimes amazed by the self-aggrandizing delusions of American women, whose views are clearly warped by the sheer amount of attention they receive.
Rather than waiting for a woman to send IOI (indicators of interest) to a man, the men send IOI to the women. They are incredibly subtle, to the point that American women often don’t even notice. They catch and hold your gaze for a minute, tilt their head to the side and make a quick half-grin, or place themselves in close proximity and simply wait for you to notice. As my husband put it when I complained about it, “A German man shows his interest through his presence.” Wonderful.
It took me years of frustration to finally figure out how this all worked. Apparently, I am not alone. German men are notoriously understated and reluctant about showing their romantic intentions, in a complete inverse of the later intensity and steadfastness of their romantic emotions. It is as if the entire country is slightly autistic, which is probable considering that (like Japan) Germany’s main resource is the calm intellect and visual-spatial abilities of its men. This “shyness” is the subject of many popular articles and songs, including a funny one about a French girl named Aurélie who attracts the admiration of many German men, but walks around completely oblivious to it because it is so subtle.
But it’s worth the effort. German men are… they are… well, let’s just say that you can basically throw a rock into a crowd of single men, and the chances are pretty good that you’ll hit one worth marrying. Yeah, it’s like that. They’re not just good-looking, they’re also ideal family men. German men can best be described as solid, faithful, and industrious. In a word, German men are anständig: proper, respectable, decent. They care a lot about Ordnung, and they don’t put up with any crap because that is “out of order”. They are sometimes tactless and blunt, so steel yourself in their presence. There is low tolerance for antisocial, sluttish, or caddish behavior. They won’t accept spendthriftness, disobedience, tardiness, flakiness, or poor homemaking skills.
They are very rigid and inflexible, and many tend toward anal-retentiveness (the windows must be cleaned just so, the children may not read that, the wife may not wear that, etc.) Women are rarely abandoned (in fact, it’s hard to get rid of a German man, once you’ve managed to finally snag one), but there is a higher tolerance for domestic violence because it is so rare and is therefore assumed to be partially-justified. (Women are presumed innocent if the men are foreigners because foreign men are assumed to be brutes.) They love deeply, but do not pedestalize because they are too practical for it.
For this reason, German men have the women they deserve. Those women who are willing to meet their requirements are very happily married and reluctant to displease their husbands, while those who aren’t die alone with cats. German men are both unwilling and (I suspect) unable to adjust to feminism, so they simply avoid feminists. Much is made of the sinking German birth rate, but it is actually the case that most women who have any children at all have 2-3 kids (i.e. replacement-level fertility). It is simply that so many German women are completely barren.
Before German men will marry a Karrierefrau (career woman), they’ll marry a foreigner, which explains the high intermarriage rate among German men. They are internationally known for being ideal mates, if a bit chauvinistic and stubborn, so there is certainly no lack of takers. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re generally tall, strong, and handsome.