Dr DADDY: Daddy Nathan Will See You Now – People Are Staring At Me & My Friend's A Mess On Nights Out

Dr DADDY: On The Couch With Daddy Nathan – Why Are People Staring At Me? & My Friend's A Mess On Nights Out

Dr Daddy

Written by Daddy Nathan

Written by Daddy Nathan

Written by Daddy Nathan

Art by Coco

Nathan is Dr DADDY, and the doctor is in: Email your questions, complaints, and conundrums to dr@daddy.land to get your fix.

Hello Dr Daddy,

On the outside I’m a successful, confident Black woman who has got her shit together. I’m an entrepreneur, own a gorgeous flat, and I’m dating a very lovely white man. He’s woke, charming, and really funny – but ever since we started dating, people are really staring at us. I’ve been warned about this before moving to Berlin, but it really got out of hand recently. I’m a very affectionate person but I avoid PDA on public transport or in the streets so that we don’t attract more attention than we do anyway. It’s very tiring and it’s also starting to make me feel insecure. What should I do?

Ginika, 31

Hello Dr Daddy,

On the outside I’m a successful, confident Black woman who has got her shit together. I’m an entrepreneur, own a gorgeous flat, and I’m dating a very lovely white man. He’s woke, charming, and really funny – but ever since we started dating, people are really staring at us. I’ve been warned about this before moving to Berlin, but it really got out of hand recently. I’m a very affectionate person but I avoid PDA on public transport or in the streets so that we don’t attract more attention than we do anyway. It’s very tiring and it’s also starting to make me feel insecure. What should I do?

Ginika, 31

Dear Ginika,

A flatmate I had in a former life once told me that he’d read on Reddit that one of the most effective ways to shame a German who is acting out is to offer a simple question: “Und wer sind Sie?”. I later realised I should have stopped listening to him as soon as I found out he was mining Reddit for clapbacks, but I, a kind and generous conversational partner, decided to take his advice. And it went horribly. It wasn’t that people reacted poorly; it wasn’t that it didn’t work. No, it was simply that many people took this as an invitation for a conversation–a dialogue, perhaps–when in fact all I wanted was to be left alone.

It sounds like you have a lot going for you, Dear Ginika, which is something I say to most people who own property simply because I cannot imagine what that must be like. However, you’ve also got confidence! You’ve got a relationship with which you’re happy! You’ve got a business! You’ve got the self-possession and awareness of someone who has a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of chipping away at a bag of clementines one by one until they realise it’s 5 P.M. and they haven’t had anything else, which is definitely not something I regularly do!

With that in mind, I wouldn’t let the staring make you feel like anything less or less deserving than you are: You’re already being conscientious and gracious by not pulling out your phone and tweeting a video of any offenders with a quick “Whose man is this” caption. You and your babe deserve to enjoy yourselves and each other; that’s more important than fitting into the norms of a culture that’s generally white, generally fine with staring at strangers in public, and generally loses its shit once a year over asparagus.

That said, as someone who is also the recipient of many stares in public for my breathtaking*, boyband-ready** looks, my personal advice for lookieloos is simple: If someone’s made you feel uncomfortable, it’s only polite to return the favour. Look them dead in their eyes, tilt your head to one side or the other, and–with lips as expressive as a musical theatre kid coming out to their parents–mouth “I LOVE YOU”.


*6/10, to be honest

**Backstreet Boys, but the reboot in 2018


Hi Dr Daddy,

I’ve got a dilemma: a close friend of mine is a wreckhead and I don’t know how to talk to her about it. She’s lovely when sober, but as soon as she had a few drinks, lines (you name it), she turns into a gremlin, becomes argumentative, insulting, and even aggressive. She hardly ever remembers any of it and is always very apologetic afterwards but her actions have become so embarrassing that I started to lie about my weekend plans, as I don’t want her to ruin my nights out. Her behaviour is a frequent conversation topic in our friendship group, as it has become a lot worse over the years – but since all of us are far from being saints, it’s a difficult subject to bring up. How do tell her to get a grip without sounding like a total hypocrite?

Mikey, 27

Hi Dr Daddy,

I’ve got a dilemma: a close friend of mine is a wreckhead and I don’t know how to talk to her about it. She’s lovely when sober, but as soon as she had a few drinks, lines (you name it), she turns into a gremlin, becomes argumentative, insulting, and even aggressive. She hardly ever remembers any of it and is always very apologetic afterwards but her behaviour has become so embarrassing that I started to lie about my weekend plans, as I don’t want her to ruin my nights out. Her behaviour has become a frequent conversation topic in our friendship group, as it has become a lot worse over the years – but since all of us are far from being saints, it’s a difficult subject to bring up. How do tell her to get a grip without sounding like a total hypocrite?

Mikey, 27

Dear Mikey,

To quote cleaning and organisation guru/cardigan-wearing queen Marie Kondo, “This is exciting because I love mess!”

There are some people who would make perfectly good acquaintances who we mistake for good friends in the same way that there are some perfectly fine friends who we mistake for lovers; when we realise in horror that we’ve made a mistake, turning back around can be absolutely mortifying for all parties involved. But maybe this isn’t the case! Maybe she is a close friend! Maybe she’s just really bad at apologising and handling her rum and coke and coke!

If you’re worried about her ruining your night out, I think there’s secretly nothing wrong with saying that you don’t want to hang out with someone who makes you feel bad when they’re faded. I’ve honestly stopped inviting some people who I love dearly to eat with me simply because I find the noises that their mouths make when they eat irritating and, like, gross. Really gross. Like, I’d rather lick the ground in a U8 station than let them have a piece of gum in my presence.

But I digress! You’re well within your right to tell someone that you don’t like going out with them if they can’t take responsibility of themselves because 1. You’re not their babysitter and 2. You’re not getting paid to babysit them. If you’re concerned about her, shall we say, indulgences as something more than a party foul, that’s a different conversation. If someone’s particular flavour of nighttime indulgences doesn’t fit your taste, they don’t spark joy and there’s no use in pretending that they do. Maybe invite them to a brunch instead.

To quote cleaning and organisation guru/cardigan-wearing queen Marie Kondo, “This is exciting because I love mess!”

There are some people who would make perfectly good acquaintances who we mistake for good friends in the same way that there are some perfectly fine friends who we mistake for lovers; when we realise in horror that we’ve made a mistake, turning back around can be absolutely mortifying for all parties involved. But maybe this isn’t the case! Maybe she is a close friend! Maybe she’s just really bad at apologising and handling her rum and coke and coke!

If you’re worried about her ruining your night out, I think there’s secretly nothing wrong with saying that you don’t want to hang out with someone who makes you feel bad when they’re faded. I’ve honestly stopped inviting some people who I love dearly to eat with me simply because I find the noises that their mouths make when they eat irritating and, like, gross. Really gross. Like, I’d rather lick the ground in a U8 station than let them have a piece of gum in my presence.

But I digress! You’re well within your right to tell someone that you don’t like going out with them if they can’t take responsibility of themselves because 1. You’re not their babysitter and 2. You’re not getting paid to babysit them. If you’re concerned about her, shall we say, indulgences as something more than a party foul, that’s a different conversation. If someone’s particular flavour of nighttime indulgences doesn’t fit your taste, they don’t spark joy and there’s no use in pretending that they do. Maybe invite them to a brunch instead.

Nathan Ma is a freelance writer in and around Berlin. Nathan’s an aggressive oversharer at @nathaninberlin.

Looking for #shade-free answers to real life issues?
Email Dr DADDY — because life sucks without love, sex and attention: dr@daddy.land

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