German men: Handsome but painfully shy

I stumbled upon this Spiegel article and couldn’t help but laugh my heart out after reading. This article is called  German Men: Hunky, Handsome, Wimpy and Weak–a bit outdated but nonetheless entertaining. From the first few lines, it makes one big generalization that German men are beautiful but with beauty, comes pain. Of course, every individual is different, but there are certain elements of this generalization I’d like to point out.

At first glance, the blond six-foot hunks populating Germany make the place seem like a heaven for women. Until you start dating. German men are much more difficult than you might think.

The articles make the assumption that German men are:

  1. Impressively tall
  2. Many are blond
  3. Extremely handsome with the body of Adonis
  4. Dress well and smell of expensive eau de Cologne
  5. Intelligent

I only agree with #1 (maybe because I am a short Vietnamese girl). To be completely honest, I see more brunettes in Germany than blonde but maybe it’s around 50/50 in reality. “Handsome” is in the eye of the beholder but after living in Berlin and Munich, it seems at first look that Berlin has less good looking men than Munich. (I’m excluding other German cities since I’ve only truly ever known Berlin and Munich.) For me, what qualifies as “good looking” is to be well dressed and to smell nice, and obviously, a masculine face and with an athletic physique helps too. From my experience, Munich men care more about their appearance and personal hygiene than Berlin men. Berlin wins my award for the most smelly people I’ve ever encountered. I never know if Berlin men are actually homeless or it’s just their hipster lifestyle. But hey, who actually knows if these are actually “real Berliners” since Berlin is such a transient city.

Now, intelligence is difficult to define since one could be book smart but also incredibly stupid in the art of common sense. I don’t think German men have the potential to be any more or less smarter than any other men in the world, but I do think there is a tendency in the Germans to be more “critical” about everything (self, country, and America). If you combine that with the famous German rationale, then you will realize while having dinner or socializing at a party that German men tend to enjoy expanding their knowledge in politics, history, arts, or other intellectual subjects, in order to “seek the truth/moral way.”

Besides his looks and intelligence, what about his ability to woo you? Is he a capable lover as a French or Spanish man? Well, if you’re looking for an alpha male that takes the initiative to win you then I think it will be quite a challenge to find that in German men. The article uses the term “painfully shy.” I chuckle at this term because I come from a country where I think men are sometimes too arrogant, dominating, and aggressive. Women are hit on and cat-called so often in America that I think is quite a huge problem. Now I am in a country where the full extent of expressing attraction is through a staring contest. In Germany, standing by oneself in any social surrounding without being approached by any men is quite the opposite to places like the U.S. or Italy, but it is very much the reality.

You could entertain yourself with the argument that maybe German men are typically shy but I think not. I suggest that there actually exists a very subtle “German way of flirting.” The German band, Wir Sind Helden, would agree with me. Their song “Aurėlie” describes a pretty French girl in Germany who wonders why she never falls in love. The lesson goes that she expects too much from German men.

“Aurélie die Männer mögen dich hier sehr
Schau auf der Straße schaut dir jeder hinterher
Doch du merkst nichts weil sie nicht pfeiffen
Und pfeiffst du selbst die Flucht ergreifen
Du musst wissen hier ist weniger oft mehr”

These lyrics translates to:

Aurélie the men here like you very much
Look in the streets everybody gazes after you
But you don’t notice it because they don’t whistle
And if you whistle at them they run away
You’ve got to know here is less often more

Less is often more here in Germany. Just because a German man does not shower you with compliments and kisses immediately, doesn’t mean he’s cold or not attracted to you. Actually, I think it’s an honorable sign of respect to women because he wishes to get to know you better on a genuine and equal level.

Ach Aurelie in Deutschland braucht die Liebe Zeit
Hier ist man nach Tagen erst zum ersten Schritt bereit
Die nächsten Wochen wird gesprochen
Sich auf’s Gründlichste berochen
Und erst dann trifft man sich irgendwo zu zweit

These lyrics translates to:

Oh Aurélie love takes time in Germany
We aren’t ready for the first step before some days are bygone
The next weeks we talk
And get to know each other thoroughly
And only then can you meet somewhere for two

If you’re looking for a hookup or a short fling, then maybe Germany won’t live up to your expectations. I think the most attractive quality seen in many German men is their honesty and commitment once they find love, no matter how long that takes. As the song goes, love is taken seriously here in Germany. Stereotypes about Germans being cold and heartless arise because perhaps we women let our lust for attention and physical affection dominate our sensibility in evaluating a person’s character and value first and foremost. On the contrary, I think Germans are very warm and loving once they are in love and they will continue to work hard to maintain that love.

I guess as women, we are socially and culturally programmed to depend on the men do all the work when it comes to the art of courting so it’s understandable to be frustrated at first in Germany if most guys do not initiate the conversation. You will have to do a bit more work than what you’re used to. But all is fair in love and war 🙂

Are you living in Germany as an expat? Perhaps you’d resonate with my frustrations with befriending Germans in Munich.


7 thoughts on “German men: Handsome but painfully shy

  1. Your article is insightful, honest & fair. Having been married to a German and living in Frankfurt for a year, I’d like to add that the majority of German men I got to know as friends admitted that fear of rejection being the reason why they don’t approaching women. Most actually prefer dating American women because they find our approach to dating more playful & relaxed.


  2. Having lived in Germany for almost 7 years now, I can understand what the author says. However, there is no excuse for having to “translate” what German men mean when they are attracted to a woman. In most cultures, there are rules of engagement in which the opposite sex “reads” signs of flirting, etc. which are fairly universal. If German men are shy and timid, then they cannot expect most women to decode their behavior and compassionately have to take the initiative. It is biologically-based that there is a certain element of the hunter in men–evolutionarily speaking. German men will almost always come in last in this sense, because the very shyness and hesitation they call “respect” for women cannot be implemented in a successful way to all women, regardless of culture. There is a need for women to feel attention and care from the start—across cultures. Although the writer says that “love is taken very seriously here in Germany”, it doesn’t mean it isn’t so in other cultures–and German men need to step up their game if they are not to be considered wimpy and weak by international standards.


  3. I think this is basically garbage. German men don’t approach so much because they are used to the german women and flirting with german women is basically impossible. German women don’t even consider making obvious eye contact with you so that you could at least know that there might be possible interest and it’s worth to try an approach. Because of this situation german men are kind of annoyed and bored about flirting because it’s really damn frustrating to get some signals of german women. And if a women really shows that then it is kind of weird as you experience that so little that you start to ignore it. So because of that we stopped the really active flirting mostly and wait for opportunity without the need to talk to a strange women.


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