‘How old are you?’

‘Thirty two.’

Married? How many kids?’

‘Not married. No kids.’

‘Hum!’

‘You are single?’

‘Yes.’

‘Why do you need such a large apartment?’

‘I don’t know. I just like the feeling of space.’

‘And you said you work for Playboy magazine?’

‘Yes. Is that a problem?’

‘No. I don’t know. I need to check with my husband/wife. I will call you back later.’

Enter Tim Nater – our American editorial assistant, with whom I shared the office and who would go on to become a foreign correspondent for Newsweek.  Seeing me sitting there looking frazzled, I see him raising his eyebrows, his look pointed and zoomed through his thick tortoise-shell framed glasses.

‘What’s the matter?’

‘These fucking Germans!’

‘Why? What happened?’

‘Why is it their business that I’m married with children or not? Shouldn’t it to be whether or not I have good credit and that I will pay my rent on time?’

‘It’s. You’ll find out soon enough!’

‘Well, then why they ask me those stupid questions about why a single man would want to rent a hundred square meter two bedroom apartment? As if I were planning to run a bordello or run a betting ring from there.’

‘Worst yet, heaven forbid! You may throw all those wild parties – the orgies. Horror! And disturb the peace of the law-abiding German citizens.’  Said Tim and laughed. ‘Tell me exactly what happened?’

So I tell him.

‘Okay, I got it. Look, this is Germany and its unusual for a single man even wanting or having a one bedroom apartment.  Majority of them live in studios — einzimmer wohnung. Plus it doesn’t help that you’re  a foreigner and speak German with a funny accent. It probably doesn’t  bode  well that you work for the “porno” magazine Playboy! But don’t worry, we’ll find something good for you.’

‘Thanks Tim. Fuck it! I’m going to go out and get something to eat and have a stein of Paulaner.’

‘Go ahead. I’ll answer your calls.’

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