Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My Love Don't Cost a Thing

Further adventures with my imaginary German boyfriend.

As I may have alluded to in past postings, during my recent trip to Germany I was able to meet up again with one of my colleagues from our home office. I first met him when he was visiting New York in February; he showed up in our office when both of my bosses were out and we spent an hour chatting waiting for New Guy to return. Then I think we were both a little disappointed when he did. So this German gentleman, oh, let's call him Der Man said that when I came to Mainz in April he could show me around and we could have dinner together. Now here's the deal, when two people are flirting in their non-native tongues (ooh, sexy pun): there's always a question of "hmm, did he mean to say that?" Is "maybe I could show you around town" an international pick-up line or is he really concerned that I not miss the Chagall Windows at the Cathedral? And then there's the cultural perspective: when a German says, give me a call when you get into town and we'll have dinner, are they sincerely extending an invitation, or is it just a social niceity that no one actually expects you to impinge upon? So, I let the whole thing slide.

A couple of months go by, I arrive in Germany without ringing up Der Man figuring I must have gotten something wrong in the translation. I see him for the first time when we are at a large dinner with all of our colleagues, and we are, of course, seated at opposite ends of the table. Leaving the restaurant I say hello to him and he wants to know why I didn't call him when I arrived. At this point, I've had a couple of glasses of wine, and some schnitzel plus some quality bonding time with my boss, and so I'm feeling pretty good. Der Man invites me out to lunch the next day.

And so I arrive at the conclusion, "Gott im Himel, this guy likes me". Coworkers tease us at the big party the next night. I am flattered; Der Man is incredibly sweet and totally adorable. But he lives in Germany, and he is older than me. Like, north of 30. I mean, he wears a suit to work everyday. And since I'm due to fly back to New York, I come up with the following plan of action: total inaction. Works for me.

One month later and we've exchanged a few notes and phone calls on work-related pretenses. Then I get to the office today after being out sick yesterday and there is a sealed letter on my desk, addressed to me in blue ink and, turning it over, I see that it is from Der Man. Well, well. What do we have here? A love letter perhaps? How exciting! So, unsure of what my response will be, I open the envelope and find ... a check. Huh? A check for about $10 USD. Okay. The note says that he got this check because of some American stock he owns and for him to cash it in Germany, the bank fees would exceed the amount of the check. So, he sent it to me, inviting me to cash it and keep the money for "your own use".

Hmm. Bit of a sticky situation here. Here's ten bucks just for being you and because International Banking laws can be such a bitch. Sweet gesture? Sure, but I'd just feel weird cashing his check (even though the first thing I did was turn it over to make sure it was properly endorsed; it is). Then I came upon a brilliant solution: thanks to the wonders of HR, I see that his birthday (32) is in a couple days. So I'll cash the check, and send him a 10 EUR gift-certificate to Amazon.com Germany with a little e-card! Am I a genius? Or am I delusional?

Before you answer, please keep in mind that most genii labor under grand delusions.


Rob D said...

First of all, what's wrong with him being north of 30 and wearing a suit to work every day? Or do you still like going out with inexperienced, flaky twentysomethings? (yes, I'm north of 30 and wear a suit to work every day)

Second, you do have a good idea by ending him a EUR gift certificate. Good thinking.

But third, you should have called him when you got to Germany. The Germans don't say anything they don't mean, which is why they start wars whenever they say they're mad about something. They really mean it!

Anonymous said...

So, you don't know me, but I wanted to tell you that your idea of sending the $10 back as a birthday gift is brilliant.

Beware though. I'm older than you (not quite north of 40 but close) and have been to Germany a couple of times - or maybe we should say Germany has been to me a couple of times - and the things Germans like to do in bed, the things they think are "sexy", tend to be things we American chicks think of as "weird" or "perverted" or "try not to laugh."

Cupcake said...

Um, do I enjoy going out with flaky 20-something guys? Not really. That's why I thought I had hit upon such a brillant plan dating teachers ... um, didn't work out. And despite the conventional trappings of responsibility heaped upon me, I basically still feel like I'm 14 years old and clueless. Date a guy who wears a suit to work everyday? When the hell did I get that old?

And anonymous, thanks for the tip. I'll commence having nightmares about kinky German sex right away. Looks like it's Target Brand Sleep-Aid tonight, cupcakes.

maia said...

Nanc, You are brilliant. Maybe you could both move to Vienna and live in our old apartment!

Anonymous said...

Please ask him if they just call it "chocolate cake". I've been wanting to know.

Simone said...

This is an AWESOME story. I love it. I say send him the gift certificate, then go to Germany for crazy kinky german sex!!