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I had spent a full weekend going to bars and clubs, and was not chatted up even once. “It doesn’t seem like people here really flirt with each other,” I tell them. That’s not going to happen.” Pauline agrees, “Yeah, no, it’s never going to happen.” Gus and Adela both recount experiences of having men ask them for their business card at work and asking them out via text, email, or Facebook later. Pauline explains, “It’s like Scandinavia – people make the move very quickly from dating to moving in together but the way to even getting together is like…

it doesn’t happen.” They explain that from their perspective, becoming a couple in Berlin is a mysterious transition in which you’re friends for a while and then somehow you’re just together.

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For, as it turns out, every girl I know in this city has suffered the same disinterest. After all, my standards are based on the charming yet mostly hopeless British / Irish culture, where flirting mostly consists of clumsily sidling up to a girl at the bar and stuttering something incomprehensible, or later on, perhaps, drunkenly lunging at her on the dance floor.

Fiona*, who’s been living here for 2 years, wasn’t at all surprised when I suggested that it was difficult to get to know men in Berlin: “Oh absolutely, you have to be really pushy here – German men never make the first move.” And Carola told me that in all her life, she had never once been chatted up by a German man: she is a native Berliner. My flirtatious encounters to date have been mostly unmemorable and rarely romantic.

Normally, Wenzel’s students are shy, wealthy German men. He decided to volunteer his skills to help Germany as it struggles to integrate more than 1 million refugees who have arrived over the past two years, most of them from war-torn Muslim countries with vastly different relations between the sexes.“Finding a relationship is the best way to integrate, and that’s why I’m giving these classes,” Wenzel said.

But after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in Germany, most of them young single men, he decided to also offer his advice to migrants.

The numerous “flirt schools” and flirting workshops across the country would barely survive the close of a business day somewhere in the Med.

And recently, an article that appeared in several publications compared flirting habits across cultures.

Forget genetic predisposition, or even cultural conditioning. Although, come to think of it, I’ve never been one for the adrenalin rush either.

Perhaps it’s time I checked out one of those flirting seminars?

So far, the closest I have come to being chatted up was when, out of the blue, I found myself at the receiving end of a stream of lager-fuelled verbal abuse.

I only hope that this wasn’t supposed to be a chat-up line.

Whereas in New York, everyone wants to still play the field even if they’re dating somebody,” Gus notes.

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