Germans are so intelligent. Just look at the great thinkers: Goethe... Hegel... Nietzsche. Thereís just something about that Black Forest. Itís so deep!

Germans are really in touch with the environment. They know all about ecology and recycling. The Germans invented the Green Party.

They really respect the old, organic traditions. For five hundred years, theyíve been brewing beer the old-fashioned way: with no additives, no preservatives.

If I had a German boyfriend, weíd wrestle with existentialism. And weíd drink only pure organic beer.

***

But Germans are artistic too. Berlin has always attracted bohemians, from Christopher Isherwood to David Bowie, from Nina Hagen to JFK. All the big names have squatted here.

The counterculture is so exciting, with drag queens and cabarets, salons and happenings, and Turkish donairs all night long.

Germans are so tolerant, so open-minded. They have nude sunbathing in the park, beerdrinking at the movies, and mayonnaise on french fries. Theyíre so progressive. The autobahn has no speed limit, just fun fun fun. The Germans call it FahrvergnŁgen, real driving pleasure.

Germans are just so cultured, with all those museums and concert halls, free universities and beer gardens.

If I had a German boyfriend, everyday would be performance art. We could go to a gallery and talk about Dada for fifteen minutes. We could get a synthesizer and start a new wave band, and we would stay forever young.

***

Germans are sexy. Theyíre open and sophisticated. Theyíre willing to try anything, even a gay mayor.

Germans are real. They donít need gyms, they donít need fashion, they donít even need deodorant. They have this natural confidence, ever since they won the Eurovision contest.

Berlin has always been revolutionary. Every year, they have riots on May Day: burning down barricades... resisting globalisation! Anarchists are so cool. Weíd look great together!

If I had a German boyfriend, he would be political: anti-racist, environmentalist, pro-choice and vegetarian. And weíd have lots of lesbian friends.

***

After all these fantasies, I decide to follow my dreams. So I buy a ticket for Germany. But before leaving Canada, I go online to meet German guys, and make three dates. Then I fly to Berlin and meet my first date.

***

Oh, my dateís here. Yes, peace to you too. Ciao. Just a moment. My friend was just telling me about a slide lecture about Canada. It must be wonderful there. Iíve always dreamed of living among the Indians. We can learn so much from them.

In Asian culture, I feel completely at home. Theyíre so much nicer than the Germans. So sweet and devoted, almost like children.

If you follow the energy lines of the Earth, you can climb the highest mountain, without any effort at all, just like an animal. And this monk, he went one day, all alone, and followed the energy lines of the Earth, climbing the tallest mountain, and from there, straight into the sky. But Iím sure that happens all the time in Thailand.

You have to retain your semen, and breath the energy directly into your heart. Then your orgasms can last 45 minutes and longer. Itís wonderful! You Asians are something completely special. I can feel your aura. Can you feel it too?

Date #2

Asian hair is simply fabulous! You know, long, smooth, black hair goes so well with Versace, itís a dream! And then parted hair, wow! You should let your hair grow, then we can do some fabulous things with it.

Last year I went to this Black & Blue Party, it was so great! But the best was this little Vietnamese guy. He had this super smooth, soft skin, and the sweetest accent! I loved watching him in the kitchen. When he sliced the onions, he was like this: Much better than the guys on Iron Chef, much better.

At Berlin sex parties, the few Asians always seem to be flight attendants. But thereís never enough there, I guess their stopovers are just too short. One time I was blowing this sweet young man from Singapore. Suddenly his cellphone rang. And I kept blowing and he was talking to his friend in Chinese or something, Iím sure he was talking about me, but I didnít care, I kept blowing, he kept talking. Asians are totally popular here. There arenít so many, and itís not at all easy to get one. All the Asians I know have tons of lovers.

Date #3

What? Yeah, Iíll call. Shit! Weíd be better off in Hong Kong. Thereís no strikes there. They donít even have welfare. Asians are so industrious! Give an Asian two yen and ten bags of rice, and suddenly, heís got a corporation!

I have this business colleague in Toronto, who had an Indonesian boyfriend. He had to pay for everything: food, tuition, rent. For him, it was true love. After three years the guy got his Canadian citizenship, and no more boyfriend! No more BOY! And the sex change operation was paid for by Canadian medicare.

I have a second bedroom, that I usually rent out to a student. Of course only a Japanese, theyíre clean and pay on time. The best one was last year. No cooking smells, always quiet, and a perfect toilet cleaner! Itís too bad, actually. He found an IT job in Munich. 60,000 per year, net!

***

After three disappointments, a friend gives me some advice. He says: Youíve been looking at all the wrong guys. I know someone whoíd be perfect for you. Trust me, Iíll set you up.

I try to be open-minded. Maybe we can go for a beer and bratwurst. Or maybe catch one of those anarchist drag shows. He does have a cute accent...

Okay, heís short heís dark heís not German. Heís Kurdish. But itís not as bad as I thought. Heís not in the closet, and he doesnít do donairs.

Heís intelligent, political, and proud to be gay. Maybe heís not my fantasy German. But maybe heís something better.

Kurdish from Germany; Chinese from Canada. Maybe weíre like mirror images: opposite and the same.

***

My German Boyfriend

Two years later...

HAMBURG WINTER

I still miss Berlin, even now. I made so many friends during the film shoot. The cityís full of people like me, young artists from all over the world. I made new friends all the time, without even trying.

I moved to Hamburg, to be with my real boyfriend. But itís been much harder to find regular friends here. My biggest problem is still the language. I can express myself, but I canít keep up with the small talk. When I go to parties, the jokes go right over my head. Sometimes I just smile and say nothing.

Lesson Twenty.

ďI am pleased to have made your acquaintance.Ē

ďI hope to see you again soon.Ē

ďDo you have my address and telephone number?Ē

ďItís a pity you donít speak your own language.Ē

I go out, and Iím the only Asian in the room. Sometimes I feel special, like a guest from far away. Other times I feel strange, like Iíve invaded someoneís house.

(Youíll always be a stranger here.)

(Youíll always remain a foreigner.)

There is no Chinatown in Germany. No noodles after midnight; no steamed buns in the morning. No streets full of children with faces like mine. I miss feeling like I belong... like Iím just another local.

ďBut where do you really come from?Ē

Itís been a long time since weíve spoken. I guess Iíve been avoiding you, the way Iíve been avoiding the entire film project. People keep asking me when itíll be finished. Itís taken a lot longer than I thought.

BERLIN SPRING

According to the script, I was supposed to fall for a person of colour. But thatís not what really happened.

You said you never knew if we were acting or not. I didnít even know myself. I thought I could just act, just pretend. But Iím not good at pretending... and maybe itís better that way.

I look at these images, and I canít remember what they felt like anymore. It all seems so far away now. How much was real? How much was fantasy?

I do know one thing: I wanted to spend more time with you. I wanted to see how far we could go. But the shoot was over, and my time was up. I was leaving Berlin, and going back to my real boyfriend.

HAMBURG SUMMER

He married me, so I wouldnít have to leave Germany. But it was more than that.

Iíve had enough of leaving boyfriends behind. I wanted to stick it out this time. I wanted to see what happens, if you give it time to grow.

He trusted me to go away...

and he trusted me to come back.

Was it you, or was it Berlin that I loved? There was never enough time to find out.

My real boyfriend is nothing like the script. But sometimes real life is better than a fantasy.