This post was contributed by Rohan Rex.
As a kid, we are all taught that you find your one soulmate and live happily ever after. I firmly believed in this concept until I flew to Berlin and came face-to-face with my conflicting and closed-minded (or traditional) views on relationships. I learned that relationships come in all sorts of shapes and most importantly, sizes. I went into Berlin with high hopes, a robust itinerary of things to do, and a laundry list of places to visit. That was all extinguished the moment I landed. That’s the kind of energy that Berlin brings to the table. The fire and energy of the people that inhabit the city are intoxicating. My eyes were opened when I went out into the never-ending Berlin nightlife.
Before my bout with the city of Berlin, I knew I had to conduct some prime research into where to find the party atmosphere I heard so much about. Luckily, I had three reliable sources in the underground nightlife.
My friend who studies and lives in Berlin
This guy I hooked up with the year prior at a Papi Juice Party in Brooklyn
This cute local I met at a gay bar called Bar Zum Schmutzigen Hobby
My very pleasant night with the French tourist the summer prior ended up being the source that I needed. He said if I’m ever in Berlin (or Paris) to message him and he would gladly take me around. Unfortunately, he was not around, so his list of exciting clubs would have to suffice for my three nights in Berlin. When looking for places to go out in the night I had two non-negotiables:
Had to be LGBTQIA+ friendly
Could not be a mainstream tourist club
The first night out (from the suggestion from the cute local), I found myself at Chantal’s House of Shame which is hosted every Thursday at Suicide Circus Club. On my way there, after making out with the local far too long, I bumped into a woman and her friends. Interestingly enough, she was from Brooklyn, close to where I live. Once we all paid our 10 euro cover, we entered the masses and partied all night.
At one point in the night, I stumbled into what was my first darkroom experience.
To be brief, it was amazing. Apart from the visceral sexual experience in what most people might cringe and frown upon the sight of, sorry mom, I made a ton of friends and had a great time. The openness and sex-positive of everyone in the club relinquished my initial mindset and opened me up – quite literally – to new experiences. I had a few conversations with men and women who were out with their significant others. What they had to say about the parameters of their relationship was simple and not revolutionary, but to see it in action was mind-blowing. After dancing and making out with this guy for all of 10-or-so minutes, I ended up having a very meaningful conversation with his wife about openness and the importance of communication. She said, “In the beginning, I was afraid to share my thoughts on being attracted to other people, both men, and women. But when I started to vocally admit that I can be in love with him and still see the beauty in other people, we became more connected.” After partying all night, I finally emerged from the club to a radiant sun and the sight of locals commuting to their jobs.
But when I started to vocally admit that I can be in love with him and still see the beauty in other people, we became more connected.
The second night out was an entire situation. I decided to pregame by myself at the bar in my hostel. I was reeling off the excitement of the first night, so I set high expectations for night two and Berlin DELIVERED!
The French guy I hooked up with (that one time in Brooklyn) told me about this party called Buttons hosted by ://about blank. It was exactly what I needed. Buttons had Several rooms, all with different DJs and vibes. I spent the entire night dancing and hooking up with this guy I met in the club that was originally from Brooklyn, his German “husband,” and their friends. It was another situation where I met so many people in relationships that did not conform to what we were taught as kids. I learned a lot from these men in this club. I used to think that monogamy was the only way to define a relationship and that anything outside of those parameters was taboo. But after two blissful nights in Berlin, my entire outlook on relationships changed for the better. They invited me to go out with them again. Unfortunately, I had to fly out the next day so I wasn’t able to go out for another night. I mean, technically I could have but I didn’t want to wake up on a random street in Berlin and miss my flight like I did that one time in Madrid!
I used to think that monogamy was the only way to define a relationship and that anything outside of those parameters was taboo. But after two blissful nights in Berlin, my entire outlook on relationships changed for the better.
Meet Rohan: My name is Rohan and I am a solo traveler from New York. I started traveling when I read a stat highlighting that most Americans do not travel out of the country which baffled me. As I started looking for inspiration to travel I was constantly served ads and read articles of people that did not look like me. So I decided to take it upon myself to change that. I also wanted a place where I can document my travels and the content I create for POC, so I created a blog called Tourist, Not Tourist in order to inspire others to use their passport and go places where they are not normally seen. My stories tend to lean more on the “wait, what!?” side. Keep up with me on IG and on my website.