Online dating - and offline - can be quite tricky, especially in a new country. But our columnist is not about to lose hope.
Online dating, public domain photo

The dubious delights of online dating in Leipzig


I have lost count of the number of times I have deleted Tinder from my phone. And OKCupid and Zoosk and whatever other online dating platforms. I was so sure last time that this was IT that despite the gentle suggestion of just putting my account on ice, “you know, just in case,” I outright deleted it. It’s a bit like losing a whole lot of weight and wanting to throw out all your fat clothes, only to be advised to keep it. Just in case. Pah! Who do you think you’re talking to? Bluster bluster, etc.

So I had to totally redo my account this time. Annoying. I was gambling on online dating in Germany being very different to what I experienced in Korea. Read: fewer married men. I very strongly suspect that someone is teaching Korean men the phrase “open relationship” without revealing its true meaning. In other words, that your partner should know that she is in an open relationship. But that is a story for another day.

Turns out I was right, at least to some degree. It definitely is different here.

No Korean ever introduced himself to me online with a long paragraph detailing his fantasy of our first meeting.

Photo by Michael Prewett, public domain

I think this local man meant it to be quite shocking and, ahem, titillating. It wasn’t. For one thing, despite my entire profile being in English, his message was all in German. And when I eventually succumbed to my curiosity and plowed through it, sadly very vanilla and mundane. Not even a whip anywhere. No sex toys whatsoever. His fantasy scene took part in my apartment, and from what he described, somewhere in our narrow hallway between the front door and the kitchen. Can’t imagine my poor innocent flatmate’s face. What he thought would shock and (I imagine) excite me, instead made me feel a bit sorry for him. Shame, as we say down in South Africa.

The first Tinder guy I met in Leipzig is a musician. We met in a wonderfully scruffy little bar in Plagwitz, where he had me buy my own beer. Not the best way of convincing a grad student to stay for another. He was nice enough, but disappeared never to be heard from again.

Same thing with number two. We met in a delightful coffee shop in Sudvorstad, had a TWO HOUR long walk after coffee, through Clara Zetkin Park and Palmengarten (this was back in November and bloody freezing). He was nice, warmed up to speaking mostly in English, we laughed, gossiped about people nearby, the works. Said our goodbyes, he sent a message afterwards to say thank you and we should meet again, and whoosh! Gone.

I’m about to run an online poll to ask my friends why they think men don’t stick around.

After studying psychology for the last ten years, I am none the wiser as to what it is that makes men disappear. It’s none of the obvious stuff. Or maybe none of it is obvious. Anyway, it’s not for lack of the things we usually list as attractive in partners. I think I’m a pretty good catch, actually! Laid back, not needy, independent but not to feline levels. Smart, but not annoyingly so. Attractive, but not obsessive about it. Low maintenance, but not slovenly. Can cook and ride a motorbike and change a car tire and bake some beautiful bread. I like beer and live music and being out in nature, and also wine and chocolate and lounging around in my PJs. So what’s the secret?

For most of my adult life, I would look at the total shits my friends dated and think, nope. I’d see how unhappy people in relationships often were, and be glad I was single. I chose to be single.  I had things to do and places to go and no time to waste. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I was ready to meet someone to build a future and a family with. Someone to plan stuff with that wouldn’t happen for years to come. Someone who would go the distance and make me their priority. However, self-help gurus be damned, it turned out to not be a matter of simply deciding. The manifestation of my manifesting hasn’t quite, you know, manifested.

Photo by Justin Groep, public domain

And still I live in hope.

I still scroll and swipe and message online, and go out for coffee or beer. Sometimes even when I am quite sure it won’t amount to anything more than a few hours of pleasant conversation. I mean, seriously, I only need one, right? One of my absolute favorite Korean groups, Epik High, just released an album with the following lyric: I may not be the one, can you settle for half? I find it so bittersweet.  Ain’t that the truth of dating past your twenties? I may have had my heart broken a time or two, I may have lost my naive belief that there is “good in everybody,” but I know how to love. More so, infinitely more so, than I did before all that life experience came and slapped me upside the head.

A luta continua. Send over all your best eligible males, Leipzigers! I have a good feeling that in this lovely city I might just find my half.

Loudine Heunis is a Masters student at Uni Leipzig who hails from sunny South Africa. She spent the last six years in South Korea, teaching English, and makes a mean kimchi. She worked in various capacities in the South African music industry and smack-bang in front of the stage (but never on it!) is her happy place. She loves traveling, meeting new people, cooking for friends, going to shows of all kinds, photography and art, and is an avid appreciator of the gorgeous canals of Leipzig. She has a baffling number of followers on Instagram who apparently share her love of aforementioned canals, as well as her sometimes dodgy food pics and the many, many pics hashtagged #studylife. She honestly has no clue why they are remotely interested in any of this.

Leipzig city center. Photo: maeshelle west-davies
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