Love in the old East Germany

The East German woman had a job, was economically independent, self-confident, and divorce-happy; at a time when only 50 percent of West German women made their own money, 90 percent of women in East Germany were employed.

…the East German woman didn’t consider her male partner an enemy but rather a partner who, economically speaking, had little or nothig on her.  Indeed, the average East German man, unless he had managed to gin a foothold in the regime’s upper echelons — but what woman would want a man like that? — wasn’t in a position to boast any typically macho privileges.  He couldn’t show off with money, fast cars, or a house on Ibiza.  he had to rely on his potential talent as a lover and his qualities as a father and partner.  As a result, he tended to cultivate a rather “soft” masculine image.

…And, on top of all this: the suppression of free movement in public in East Germany had led both sexes to develop a relatively uninhibited attitude toward sex.  What other unregulatable pastime did East Germany have to offer its citizens?

That is from the newly translated book by Peter Schneider, Berlin Now: The City After the Wall.  Much of that passage makes sense, but one part confuses me:  does “rely on his potential talent as a lover” support or contradict “cultivate a “soft” masculine image”?


1. full masculine image: "money, fast cars, or a house on Ibiza" + "Potential talent as a lover" + "qualities as a father and partner"
2. "a rather 'soft' masculine image": "Potential talent as a lover" + "qualities as a father and partner"

Depends on the interpretation of 'soft'. If it means 'weak' no woman what want such a man as either partner or lover. If it means 'smart, cool, slick' that should work well.

But then when the women were divorce-happy, the men were probably actually 'weak'.

Anyway: For a healthy relationship it's far better to err on the side of too much machismo than on the side of too 'soft'.

"does “rely on his potential talent as a lover” support or contradict “cultivate a “soft” masculine image?"

well, that depends whether "potential" ever gets measured in the real world. If not, one would expect males to cultivate what other males think is "potential talent as a lover", whereas if it gets measured in reality, maybe they have to deliver what women think is "potential talent as a lover" - it might just be that these are rather different things.

Yeah, East German exchange students were famous for their whoring and shameless ways. My mother tells me they didn't even bother to screen off their dormitory beds when entertaining gallants.

It's a lot of work to iron curtains.

Also curtains tend to become snarled around your legs. So inconvenient.

(comment of the week)

Although, now that I think of it, this sort of behavior will hardly surprise, much less revolt, any educated American under fifty.

or over 50...

As to masculinity - it does seem that what men think impresses women, and what actually impresses women, bear only a weak resemblence...

um, yes. Remember the great Philip Larkin:

Sexual intercourse began. In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me) - Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban. And the Beatles' first LP.

“does “rely on his potential talent as a lover” support or contradict “cultivate a “soft” masculine image?”

I see that women (in general) now desire a difficult to achieve balance of stereotypically masculine and feminine qualities.
As women have expanded into areas that had previously been deemed masculine, men seem to be becoming more feminine, which is attractive politically and practically, but very unattractive sexually to many women I spoke to in Berlin.

Also of play with people playing with

In Berlin I saw that (in general) women seem to bemoan a shortage of men with mix and qualities

Women *everywhere* bemoan a lack of men with X qualities or complain about Y shortcomings.

'What other unregulatable pastime did East Germany have to offer its citizens?'

Hanging out at a beach naked in the summer, picnicking?

The article claims that internal travel was regulated.

Sort of - Cold War Berlin was an exception to normal standards for both East and West Germany. For example - 'The 1968 East German constitution only allowed travel within East Germany – which was at least something compared to Rumania, or, even more so, the Soviet Union, where kolkhoz farmers needed travel authorizations (propiska) to leave their home county.'

Obviously, a state which built a wall with a death zone was not interested in having people try to escape. But many East Germans (at least in the 70s and 80s) had no problems travelling around within the DDR - assuming their stories and memories are accurate, of course. One of the more interesting things one learns by actually talking to people who grew up and lived in various parts of the East Bloc is recognizing just how limited American information on the differences between countries really was. This extends to the Soviet Union itself - the Russians were running their empire, of course, but the differences between living in Latvia or Ukraine were quite noticeable - such as the fact that the local school courses were taught in Latvian or Ukrainian. With Russian offered as a foreign language - though obviously, go-getters who did not grow up in Russian families felt that learning Russian was important if they wanted to go further in a totalitarian police state.

East Germany not only had a long coastline but also many lakes.
I think the regulation of internal travel was not so much about the possibility to travel at all but the way it was organized: You mostly had to go through the (state controlled) unions or (state owned) employers.

And yet the destitions of dreams were I believe Lake Balaton in Hungary and the Black Sea...

Now we know why women are on average more supportive of socialist policies than men!

Especially when it comes to men who feel themselves to be part of that pick-up artist community -

'But Roosh’s Denmark directory diverges from his usual frat-boy Casanova fantasies liberally seasoned with rape jokes. Don’t Bang Denmark—note the dramatic title change—is a cranky volume that (spoiler alert!) probably won’t help any Roosh acolytes score. Roosh calls it the “most angry book” he’s ever written. “This book is a warning of how bad things can get for a single man looking for beautiful, feminine, sexy women.”


“A Danish person has no idea what it feels like to not have medical care or free access to university education,” an awed Roosh reports. “They have no fear of becoming homeless or permanently jobless. The government’s soothing hand will catch everyone as they fall. To an American like myself, brainwashed to believe that you need to earn things like basic health care or education by working your ass off, it was quite a shock.”

Shock turns into disbelief and then rage when Roosh is rejected by heaps of “the most unfeminine and androgynous robotic women” he’s ever met. “Not a feminine drop of blood courses through their veins,” Roosh rants. He concludes that the typical fetching Nordic lady doesn’t need a man “because the government will take care of her and her cats, whether she is successful at dating or not.”


Denmark also offers one of the best universal child care systems in the world; as a result, the maternal employment rate in Denmark exceeds 80 percent. The country’s mothers accrue 34 to 38 percent of the earnings taken home by couples with children; compare that to American mothers, who only take home 28 percent of parental earnings.

Roosh seems unaware of these services—probably because he’s not on the prowl for moms. His gripes focus on benefits that ensure single women (and men) aren’t in dire need and that coupling is decoupled from dependency; for example, he attacks government-funded higher education because the universities “destroy a woman’s femininity. The more years she spends in them, the less likely she will be able to please you, physically and emotionally.”

Unlike in America, where bestsellers goad already overworked and underpaid women to Lean In even further, the assumption in Denmark is that feminism is a collective goal, not an individual pursuit. Danish women are less likely to be financially dependent on men and therefore feel less pressure to “settle” or change their behavior by, in Roosh’s words, “adopting a pleasing figure or style that’s more likely to attract men.” Imagine that.'

My question is: Why doesn't every woman in the world cockblock vile men like this guy? If Danish women turned out to be cold to his "pick up artistry," that only adds to my respect for Denmark. It sounds like they're doing something right.

They didn't...

ie, his pick up artistry worked just fine in Denmark. But he didn't like the girls.

Oops I was confused.

But his 'problem' with Denmark wasn't the Socialism, but rather Jante Law...

"My biggest complaint about Jante Law is that there is a double standard in how it’s applied. I’ve already remarked how Denmark is a highly feminist country. It’s a place where women think they’re equal or superior to men, eager to castrate them for displays of alpha masculinity. So can you take a guess as to which gender will be hypocrites when it comes to the law’s application?"

'his pick up artistry worked just fine in Denmark'

Thanks for the Roosh link - he is really amusing, such as his dismay at how the Danes are, especially at point 4 in his list - 'Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.' It takes a certain sort of mentality to think that people having a higher standard of living - his own observation - are breaking a fictional 'law' by reminding an outsider that they really don't give a fuck - literally - for what he thinks. In other words, a more self aware, and less cockblocked, person would probably formulate rule 4 along the lines that acting like an arrogant jerk only works when you can convince others that arrogant jerks are superior.

And then, he actually comes out and in a paragraph worthy of citing at this web site (apart from the crudity, of course), writes - 'Instead of a few guys fucking all the women like in the States (while the sexual losers stay home and play World of Warcraft), you have more Danish guys getting laid, though with fewer partners. In other words, the alpha male is neutralized in Denmark. He’s not rewarded with more sex for his alphaness because alphaness breaks Jante Law.'

But this is just too funny for someone who apparently cannot abandon his alphaness in the face of reality - 'It’s a place where women think they’re equal or superior to men, eager to castrate them for displays of alpha masculinity.'

That's right, Denmark is just a giant neg for 'alpha males.' Who, apparently, can only keep their alphaness by running away from all the scary women.

Boring, not scary


It takes a certain sort of mentality to think that people having a higher standard of living – his own observation – are breaking a fictional ‘law’ by reminding an outsider that they really don’t give a fuck

They do not have a higher standard of living. Per capita income is about 25% lower there than here.

If this "Roosh" is real, that quote makes him sound like he's a living example of Poe's law. I don't think I could create a parody of a sad, sociopathic, sex-obsessed pick up artist as succinctly as those few lines.

He's real - 'Daryush Valizadeh,[1] (born June 14, 1979)[2] also known as Roosh V and Roosh Vorek, is an American[3] writer, pick-up artist[4][5] and self-styled "love tourist"[6] of Iranian and Armenian descent,[7] known for his writings on seduction and antifeminism. He writes on his personal blog[8] and also owns the Return of Kings website[9] where he publishes articles by others on related subjects. Additionally, Roosh has self-published 14 books, most of which offer advice to men on how to sleep with women in specific countries.'

….and he's actually fairly amusing, in an "Onion" sort of way. What surprised me is his popping up here, on a serious web site.

PUA developed as a technique to deal with women who are batshit irrational.

Human beings are irrational. Women use makeup and cleavage to exploit that fact, men use PUA techniques.

Anyway: Roosh is a brilliant entrepreneur with a huge following. His methods and communicated worldviews might not be distinguished enough for MR-readers, but they sure enable him to travel and earn a living.

No, it is rational to attract a man using makeup and cleavage. It is irrational to be attracted to men who treat you badly and reject men who treat you well.

This stems from the biological trait of selecting the strongest, most confident male. PUA can alternatively be viewed as developing confidence in men or mimicking such confidence, but it is all playing on the self-effacing attitudes of modern women. They think they are liberated and powerful when, in fact, they are creating their own 'rape culture.' Ironic.

Anyway: Roosh is a brilliant entrepreneur with a huge following

So he makes his living off sad, broken women *and* sad, broken men?

I guess wherever there's an economic opportunity to exploit, there'll be someone busy exploiting it...

You're saying they are gullible idiots who believe the Soviets provided women with considerable wealth as well as legions of men who are fantastic lovers, partners, and fathers -- all while being "non-macho"?

It's really quite sexist of you to suggest that.

This is another Stieg Larsson-ish attempt by an effete man to convince himself that women find effete men sexually attractive. That's why the heroes in romance novels are all scholarly ectomorphs.

Societies that treat women like men end up treating dogs and cats like children. They are eventually replaced by societies that treat women like women and have actual children.

"They are eventually replaced by societies that treat women like women and have actual children."


But I was reliably informed by no less a noted personage than Mark Steyn himself back in 2006 that '"Every Continental under the age of 40—make that 60, if not 75—is all but guaranteed to end his days living in an Islamified Europe."'

And yet you post a chart showing that by 2030, Muslims will make up something like 10% of the population in various European countries?

Obviously, there is no way that the linked chart is accurate in terms of the Eurabian future that Steyn and company were so diligently warning about a decade ago.

Sounds legit. Under the age of 40 in 2006 makes 64 in 2030.
Now add in 'weighted average' and 'exponential growth' and you are there.

But that's only true for western Europe of course. So everything is peachy.

'Now add in ‘weighted average’ and ‘exponential growth’ and you are there.'

'Exponential growth' explains whatever fantasy the author is pushing, and what makes such authorities as Daniel Pipes seem less than accurate - 'Some 5% of the E.U., or nearly 20 million persons, presently identify themselves as Muslims; should current trends continue, that number will reach 10% by 2020. If non-Muslims flee the new Islamic order, as seems likely, the continent could be majority-Muslim within decades.'

As the linked chart shows, Pipes's prediction in 2004 was off only by a decade. As for the fleeing of the new Islamic order, one can safely assume that it has also been pushed back.

You're demonstrating a "democratic" bias. It doesn't take 51% to change the society.

On the other hand, it takes more than 10%, if any of Europe's various religious wars are to be considered applicable.

I love Mark Steyn's writing but there is a bit of hyperbole to it. He's paid to worry about worst-case scenarios. I think the Muslimization of Europe will be pushed back quite a bit.

You just described San Francisco.

"Societies that treat women like men end up treating dogs and cats like children. They are eventually replaced by societies that treat women like women and have actual children."

Gotta like that.

+1 except that Islam doesn't treat women like women, it treats them like cats. If you hate cats. Nonetheless, they do have real children.

Do I hate cats? Tough call. . . .

In the 1950s one of the biggest criticisms of the Soviet Union in the US was that most Russian women had jobs and their children were raised in day care centers.

That's funny. And I believe it.

"does 'rely on his potential talent as a lover' support or contradict 'cultivate a soft masculine image'?"

This may be a bit America-centric, but my experience is that the flashy, meatheaded vision of masculinity doesn't allow for directly selling oneself as a talented lover, in the sense that it is inconsistent with presenting oneself as someone who is concerned with partner satisfaction and willing to engage in the types of activities that will achieve it. I think there are a variety of attributes to that vision of masculinity that contribute to this--emotional detachment (as opposed to a degree of empathetic tenderness) being chief among them--so I don't think there's a contradiction there.

Shorter version: the "hard" masculine image convinces a woman to go to bed because of how awesome it is; the "soft" masculine image convinces a woman to go to bed because of how awesome it will make her feel.

This really is a boy blog, isn't it?
Less Cosmo and GQ, guys, more being able to actually change a flat tire.
Only hint I'm giving you!

Highly recommend to read the novel "Der fremde Freund" (The Distant Lover) by Christoph Hein. Acting masculine or tough was just not an option to appeal to women who did not depend in their self-worth on the group status of their spouse.

My own family background is entirely east German.

A Socialist woman needs a man like a Socialist woman needs a bicycle... urgently, because she can't afford a car.

he had to rely on his potential talent as a lover and his qualities as a father and partner. As a result, he tended to cultivate a rather “soft” masculine image.

In other words, Mr. Schneider thinks it agreeable he had to cater to her whims, behave like her employee, and put up with her getting her ass in the way every time he tried to lower the boom on his misbehaving children. What fun.

"rely on his potential talent as a lover"

How could an East German man accurately evaluate his potential? Was there a secret program to develop Communist Casanovas using periodized training and performance-enhancing drugs?

'Was there a secret program to develop Communist Casanovas '

Actually, yes - 'Yet Mr. Wolf said he was likely to be remembered for his prolific use of sex to gain secrets, whether in the form of brothels to trap Westerners or by procuring wives and mistresses for loyal soldiers or by cultivating "Romeo spies" to target the lonely office secretaries and bureaucrats who had access to important, restricted documents. The intention was to steal hearts and then secrets.'

Who knew the old woman handing me a paper towel in the public pay WC made enough to be economically independent. OTOH, when you don't have a lot of goods & foodstuffs to spend your Hard-earned money on, it's easy to save. Of course they had very little unemployment.

But I also remember when American jeans were considered currency because the ruble was worthless outside of the USSR.

And the anti-American propaganda was also something to see.

What other unregulatable pastime did East Germany have to offer its citizens?

The jokes...
here is one from Zizek :

a German worker gets a job in Siberia; aware of how all mail will be read by censors, he tells his friends: “Let’s establish a code: if a letter you will get from me is written in ordinary blue ink, it is true; if it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter, written in blue ink: “Everything is wonderful here: stores are full, food is abundant, apartments are large and properly heated, movie theaters show films from the West, there are many beautiful girls ready for an affair—the only thing unavailable is red ink.”

Hmm. Ain't buying it.

While I don't dispute the fact that E.Germans may have been more frisky than others, the causation seems odd. All of Eastern Europe operated in that way, yet E.European men of the time were anything but "effeminate", and sexual promiscuity was anything but widespread in E.Europe.

Also, would you like to date a woman who works as a mill operator at a tram factory? 8 hours with aluminum dust in your face, does wonders for the skin ;)

No, I'd say it's just Germans being Germans.

Sexual promiscuity certainly was widespread in the non-Muslim areas of the Soviet Union, despite a very puritanical government. Anecdotally, Czechoslovakia and Hungary seem to have been fairly "liberated" as well in the old days.

PS: Also, having a job didn't mean the woman was independent. Housing, for example, was rationed in most communist countries (all?), and only given out to married couples. Often, only to married couples with kids. So a woman could not live independently unless married. The same went for being able to afford most of the basics in life. If a refrigerator cost 6 months worth of wages, the only way anyone would be able to afford it would be to combine 2 wages.

I'm sorry, are we overlooking the obvious here? So what if the women had income equality, causation and correlation, no?

Not to be harsh on the East Germans, I'm sure the Czechs and the students in China can attest that a tank is a tank.
But they were living in an oppressive totalitarian regime. Pretty oppressive in the little dailies, right? It's not like they were living under the Khan, where they might count on being swooped down on and burned out periodically but could pretty much milk the goat and make the babies in between. This was minute to minute who is listening to me, how do I fill out my toilet paper requisition properly sort of oppression, right?

They were a beaten people, perpetually reminded of how beaten they were. Good people find love and find passion in that world, too, but it's a lot harder. And, frankly, defeat is not an aphrodisiac.

Reminds me of a very fun and fascinating documentary that contrasts the difference in sexual mores and identity between East and West Germany. (It's safe for work btw)

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