Real Housewives of Cologne, Episode 3

27 11 2019

“OH, HENRY”

Like I told you in the previous episode of RHOC, Due Diligence November could have wrecked the relationship.

Instead, it brought us closer together, because it made us realize that we’re even more alike than we thought.

***

I only had and only needed one source to do my due diligence, one that I knew would both be totally honest with me and probably not snitch on me that I was asking about her behind her back. That source being her father.

One day during the first whole business week of this month, I made an arrangement to have something of a power lunch with him.  We at first planned to do it at his favorite lunch time deli, but the morning before, he called me to tell me that there was a change of plans, and we had to do it in his office.  Getting to his office requires taking an elevator almost all the way up to the top of a certain pretty tall building in town, and that should tell you a lot by itself.  You can also figure that his office has a sweet view of The Cathedral City and beyond from well on high, and that it does.  High enough that I looked south and knew what and where to look, and I could see Schloss Drachenburg in Königswinter (close to Bonn) way off on the horizon, and of course the taller structures in Bonn itself.  Looking north, likewise Düsseldorf.  And the Rhine River and its water making its way from south to north through and between those three major cities and several lesser known ones.  I could see a really important slice of Germany just standing there and turning my neck, though that’s not hard when you have to pack a lot of people into not that much space.  Anyway, I figured having it in his office was going to be a better option than being in the open public at some restaurant, because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter.

Here’s the thing about the g/f, who I will identify by the first letter of her first name only, K. She’s a solid 7 in the face, and rather but not dangerously overweight. Very nice proportions for those, and that. She’s got her own job, and ambitions, and career track, and a pretty high ceiling therein. We’d already talked about our previous difficulties with the opposite sex, and I know we’re both difficult personalities and hard people to love. Not to mention her fear of winding up with a soyboy like her brother-in-law. But even counting all that, she’s a catch, and it’s not like if every guy in this region or in western Germany who is of comparable age to her is a wuss.

You would think that there would have been at least one worthy guy around these parts who would have snapped her up by now.

“Okay, so what’s the matter with her?  What’s the catch?”

The last medium termer I had back in St. Louis, spring 2017, turned out to be using me for side dick. To make a long story short, when I first got suspicious that I was being so used, (what caused me to be suspicious is that she was too enthralled with me, in ways that none of my previous g/fs ever were), the next time we, well, did, I recorded it without her knowledge. I put out an APB on St. Louis C/L, which indirectly put me in contact with her husband, so my hunch turned out to be right on, and and then I arranged a meeting with him to show him the evidence, and give the thumb drive to him. I was prepared for the worst, but he wasn’t mad at me at all, more like happy that I was honest enough to search him out to tell him after being astute enough to get suspicious to begin with. After that, I have no idea whether they divorced or patched things up, but I do know for sure that I dodged her, made up one excuse after another to why I couldn’t see her, until she gave up, and now that I remember, it wasn’t until a bit more than a month before That Day that I got the last contact I ever got from her.

You’ll thus understand my once bitten twice shy mentality.

So here’s where my mind was running with K.:

(1) She’s already married, and cheating on her husband with me

(2) She has been married and divorced and has one or more kids that she’s hiding from me, waiting to rope me in then pop the surprise

(3) She, with her ambitious self, bats for the home team, (ambitious women tend to be lesbians), and is using me as cover

With as much time as I’ve spent at her place, I’ve seen no evidence of any one of these things.  But I’m also old enough to know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  And I also know, if K. was scamming me in this kind of way for one of these reasons or some other one, she obviously knows that I’m at her place a lot, of course at her open invitation, I even have a key, so she’d be clever enough to cover her tracks and hide the evidence.

On the other hand, you all know her sister wishes she could have me, (hence the very existence of RHOC), so she would surely have told me by now if anything was wrong with K., in order to try to peel me off.  If she didn’t do that by this time, then it was highly unlikely that any of that or anything damning could be true.

But I still wanted it from the horse’s mouth.

Once we started the power lunch, I explained to him about how serious things are getting between myself and his daughter, and then nearly all of what you just read. Then I asked him point blank about these three things, and a few others.

He looked me Dead Eye Dan in the eyes.

Absolutely not, to any of these things, or anything else even remotely similar.  He also honestly answered my other questions — That kind of stuff I can’t state publicly, so as not to give either one of us away.

And that’s all I needed.

Best of all, he didn’t seem angry at all at my asking, even though it was that personal. In fact, he seemed rather relieved that I was even doing this kind of due diligence.  Maybe his relief had more to do with the fact that it meant that his not-getting-any-younger older daughter and some guy worth a damn are that serious.

That said, since I was getting so personal with him about his daughter, I anticipated, and was ready for, him to do his own due diligence, and interrogate me and turn my guts inside out. Which he did, and I honestly answered all.

This by itself could have set off a chain reaction that ended up wrecking our relationship, but thankfully, it didn’t.

But I still had some work to do.

***

I told you I went to her father because I figured on a man not blabbing and snitching. Yet and still, I had to anticipate on the chessboard and be prepared for the possibility that he would tell on me. His daughter, and all that.  Men are generally good at keeping secrets, but not so good when those secrets involve their daughters.

So I made it easy for K. to do her due diligence on me.

I “accidentally” left an address phone number handwritten book in her apartment that just so happened to have the quasi-uncle’s phone number back in Waterloo, Illinois, readily and easily prominent.  (Really, who under the age of 50 has a handwritten or physical-printed personal address-phone book these days?)

A week and a half after my power lunch with her father, ring a ding goes my phone.  Guess who.

He usually e-mails me if it’s not really important, or texts me if it’s somewhat important, because he knows my international calls and texts cost me. So for him to call me must have meant it was really important or really bad news, and of course I answered the call.

Damned if she didn’t take the bait.

Turns out K. had the same suspicions about me that I had about her, almost down to the letter, all three of them. That I was cheating on an incumbent wife back in America with her, that I’ve already been married and divorced but am hiding kids from her, that I’m gay but using her for a beard. She, too, thought that by now, some chick would have let me snap her up, and of course, she was suspicious that that had already happened.

He told her the absolute God’s honest truth, that none of that was true.

While I was pleased about why she made the call, and what she asked him, which indicated that she’s just as seriously invested in this relationship as I am, such that she actively did her due diligence on me just as I did on her, the more critically important thing was that she even made the call at all.   Which meant is that from that moment, I had leverage against her if her father ever dropped the dime on me and told her about our power lunch.  If it made her mad initially, she couldn’t stay mad at me for going behind her back to find out about her, if she did the same to me.  The very word that went through my mind as I ended the call with him was:  Checkmate.

Ironically, I suck at chess.

***

Whew, that was a relief.

But, not so fast.

I still couldn’t shake the feeling that she was hiding something from me.

How could I be so sure?

Because I knew I was hiding something from her.

***

It all came to a head last night.

I finally worked up the courage and resolved myself to ask her point blank last night.

But as it turned out, just before the moment I resolved to do that, she did it to me first.

Which means she herself was still wondering about me just like I was wondering about her. It’s just that she slightly beat me to the punch in terms of working up the courage to pull the trigger.

“Good, we’re finally going to get this off our chests,” was my thought, and probably also hers, at that precise moment.  I also knew that there was about a five’ll-getchya-ten chance that the relationship was within an hour of ending.  But it couldn’t go on like this.

The reason she was still wondering about me turned out to be the same reason I was still wondering about her. Because she was hiding something from me just as much as I was hiding something from her.

First, we both came clean about all of what we did behind each others’ backs during the month, including the wherefores and whys.

That was a risky enough subtext by itself, and in fact, the whole progression of the power lunch and the planted address book, not to mention me openly admitting it to her, was predicated on the fact that I played the kind of positioning and bargaining games in dating that Americans do, but Germans don’t.  The German attitude about these kinds of games range from insouciance to disgust.  I asked her point blank about her reaction to what I had just confessed.  If it actually did bother her at all, she took it in her stride, and instead came off with an open reaction of that she understands the cross-cultural differences.  Maybe on one level she liked the new experience of some guy playing games with her;  I’m the first American and in fact first non-German she’s ever dated, and like I wrote above, Germans themselves don’t do this, so this is obviously her first time of experiencing American-style dating gamesmanship.  On top of that, she saw my Machiavellian personality shine through transparently for the first time.

After that, we agreed to let loose of our final secrets by means of writing them on paper, then trading papers, and then openly comparing the papers.

You’ll never guess:

Same damned thing.

Then we spilled our guts about said “same damned thing,” and our reasoning for hiding it from each other?  Too easy by now:  Just about the same reasons and rationale.

It’s all perfectly innocuous and understandable, as you’re about to find out.

***

Since I let her go first, I’ll do her part first.

Her father doesn’t have it like that like that, and he doesn’t have it like that. But he’s got it, a lot of it, (Remember that high-up office?), and has had it for some time, quite enough in terms of numbers and time to have set both of his daughters up with really soft fluffy pillows under their high wires of life, which they weren’t allowed to access until they started working their first real adult self-sustaining day-to-day employment. Both of those “really soft fluffy pillows” are sleeping safe and sound in Zürich.

Cut to the chase: She has been chronically scared about some man falling in love with her money instead of her. Especially since “her money” is meant as an emergency stash in case she’s ever “between jobs” or some such. It’s not meant to live off of for the rest of her life.  That’s what I mean metaphorically by “really soft fluffy pillow” — It wasn’t meant to be a permanent hammock.

Complicating matters with her is that her sister also has the same kind of “really soft fluffy pillow,” and the soyboy-in-law has no idea that his wife is sitting on top of that kind of nest egg. (And my writing it here won’t mean he ever finds out; If you’ve seen this blog’s traffic stats, you’ll know why).  In fact, I’m the first non-related person to be let in on this secret.  The soyboy-in-law is already in the go slow zone when it comes to being gainfully employed; In fact, the better word to describe his employment habits is “menial” rather than “gainful.”  If he ever found out, he would never do a lick of work for the rest of his life, opting for an existence of poaching his wife’s nest egg down to non-existence while giving his thumbs some powerful daily workouts.

You may be thinking here that I can now use this as leverage against her sister’s treachery.  I have decided against ever doing that, to the point of openly coming to an agreement with K. that this tactic is forever off the table for either one of us, because pulling that card could very well start a chain reaction that wrecks the whole family.  We’ll find other ways to mitigate her sister.

K., worried that she would end up with a husband like her soyboy-in-law, had the double worry about such a man finding out about her nest egg.  Now you see why she was so nervous?

As an aside, I don’t consider her doing that to be the same kind of gamesmanship that I engaged in and just discussed.

Now for my part.

You may remember that, after Oktoberfest and the Bavarian state elections during October of last year, I made three stops before heading back to Cologne from Munich. First was Hechingen, to see Hohenzollern Castle, my favorite German castle thus far, the second was the clock route in the southern Black Forest, to pick out a cuckoo clock for my mother and have it shipped to her, and the third was Basel.

You think I was in Basel just to add another stamp to my passport and to do sightseeing?

Yeah, there was all that.

But I also had the remainder of my insurance settlement money moved to a newly minted Swiss bank account and converted to CHF.

It, too, is my big soft fluffy pillow under my high wire of life, and then some, and then some. The difference is that the purpose of it is that if my recovery suddenly goes left and I can’t work, I’ll have something to live on.

Why did I hide it from K. for so long?

Because I wanted her to fall in love with me, not my money.

Neither one of us have to worry about that kind of thing any longer.  Turns out we both came with our own bags of money.

I already knew we were comparably yoked in terms of ambition and income. Now I know we’re also comparably yoked in terms of assets.

After we both spilled all, we laughed until we cried.

Then we realized how we are even more alike than we thought.  We’re so much alike that we both take it as a point of personal pride that I am way more Machiavellian than she.  (I’ll give you a minute to think it through.)

Like I wrote above, what could have easily ruined us instead brought us even closer together.

***

I also now know that I can confide in her father, because I know for sure that he never told K. about our power lunch.

However, I now also know that, during our power lunch, he never told me about her money.  Best to let the sleeping dog lie, so I won’t ever ask, but I think he didn’t tell me about her money then for one of two reasons:  Either it never occurred to him, or he hid it from me for the same reasons she did.

***

November for us was like an O. Henry short story.

***

During the month, we had our first amicable domestic disagreement and differences.  I’m not going to call it a fight, because it wasn’t.  And it wasn’t so much a “domestic” agreement as it was a professional disagreement manifested in a domestic setting.  But it was our first real wake-up call that, as alike as we are, we’re not total carbon copies, (“No E-Girls, Ever!” — Nick F.), and that we’ll have our share of give and take.  I can’t say publicly what it was about, because I’d be exposing both of us if I did.  However, it was the kind of thing where it was pretty easy for both of us to empathize with and understand the other’s position.  If you’re going to disagree, that’s the best kind of disagreement to have.

***

I’ve also been doing my due diligence when it comes to cars this month.  I’ll tell you more about that after I’ve made my final decision and closed the deal.  I’ll just sneak peek it now and say that I started out with seven serious candidates within the relevant range of the intersection of practicality, affordability, desirability and politics.  Plus an eighth test drive of a car way above my price range, for grins and giggles and a little bit of fun.  As of this writing, I have narrowed it down to the final two.  All of my test drives except for one have come with K. riding shotgun, because I still won’t be able to drive on my own for another 16 days, though it’s not like I’ve been counting down or anything.  The one exception?  Well, I’ll save it for then.

Sixteen days until Freiheitstag.  I’m so close I can just taste it.

***

In a personal note, I’ll have Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with other Americans at a special undisclosed place here in The Region just as I did last year, and then I’ll have a short trip over the weekend, to Braunschweig, indicated on most English language maps as Brunswick.  During the vacation, we went through Braunschweig, and among other things, I learned that that stuff in the United States called Braunschweiger really isn’t.  “Braunschweiger” sold in America is actually liverwurst or liver sausage (look at the label), while true Braunschweigerwurst is a off-color pork sausage that you can serve well either hot or in cold cuts.

However, my purpose for going to Braunschweig has nothing to do with Braunschweigerwurst, even though I will have some while I’m there.  Hinting to the previous section, VW did something one week ago relating to my impending business in Braunschweig that would have made me decide not to buy a VW, if I already had not come to that decision for other reasons.


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6 responses

27 11 2019
Alright Dan

I never figured you for being this devious.

I remember O. Henry. He wrote that story about some husband hocking his watch to buy his wife a gift for her hair, and the wife cut her hair off and sold it to buy her husband a gift that related to his watch.

28 11 2019
Bon

WoW, QD. That’s quite a complicated love life you’re living right there. Hope it all works out for you.

rather but not dangerously overweight

I believe the proper term is “softig.” Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? – and is far better than “fat” or “overweight.”

Even a shout out to Nick F. Nice.

Hope you find a nice Cuckoo clock, mine is very old and I inherited it – not sure if it works or not, I remember it as a very small child.

Anyway. Hope all else is well!

Love,

Bon

28 11 2019
countenance

Just search “Real Housewives of Cologne” for the previous two entries for the rest of the back story, at least what I’ve been able to say in public. I think I’ve already told you in private about how we met, what she does for a living.

I bought the clock October of last year and had it shipped to my mother for her 80th birthday present, even if it was rather early. I figured time was of the essence, and my hunch was right, because her condition is getting worse.

28 11 2019
Bon

So sorry to hear this QD – there were two recent deaths in our family and therefore two empty spots at the Thanksgiving table – but that’s life, right? Taking the good with the bad.

We had a wonderful time anyway.

And, sounds like there is a lot of good in your life right now! So happy for you, you deserve to be happy.

2 12 2019
Hard Right

If you’ve seen this blog’s traffic stats, you’ll know why

We’re not important enough for the Feds to watch?

2 12 2019
countenance

NOTE TO DUMMIES: In spite of that, don’t use this blog’s comment section for shitposting/Fedposting

NOTE TO SELF: Do not use my own blog for shitposting/Fedposting

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