Just blogging

“Being drunk adds value to everything else in life.”

That is by far my most favorite quote from KUWTK! You cannot imagine how much I love Khloé for saying that. As soon as I heard it, I decided: “That’s going to be my motto.” Though tbh, it’s already been my motto, I just never put it in these words.

Funnily, I started drinking kinda late. When I was 17, it was a very good year… No, I was 18, actually. But since I didn’t do the whole take shots-drink-alcopops-and-use-funnels-thing (except for 1,2 occasions), I actually learned how to appreciate wine. Especially because I lived in France during that time.

Not that we don’t appreciate drinking in Germany, we mainly just use less sophisticated beverages. Think about it: Drinking beer at 10 AM is trashy AF. But having mimosas for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. Same goes for wine vs beer at noon.

Besides learning how to appreciate wine, I also noticed that it makes everyone’s company so much more enjoyable. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when a former boyfriend told me that his family would pretty much empty an entire cellar during one family meeting. And I could totally relate – my family does exactly the same. But it’s not only your family that gets nicer with a few more glasses. I always find myself in way more interesting conversations or situations. After all, alcohol is a social lubricant, why else would they offer it en masse on The Bachelor? Though maybe I should add that I’m very friendly when drunk, I don’t get aggressive, unless there’s a chair I can fight over. (There was one funny incident in a bar. A good friend and I were sitting at a table with 3 chairs and since the bar was still empty at that time, I just put my bag on the third chair. One bottle of wine later, some dude came over and just wanted to grab the chair without asking. So I made this huge fight out of it and ended up yelling at him. I also think my friend was terrified.)

And I rarely get sad, either. On the contrary, I’m usually a little funnier and even wittier, or maybe it just seems like it because my senses are dulled, but I think that I’m at least a little more entertaining in one way or another. I also think that wine makes me more creative. It shuts up the inner critic. That’s why I barely ever write without a glass or two. (Or three, or four, or five…) Also, even though I would never consider me a writer, I’d love to be one. And the great ones, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson weren’t known for their healthy lifestyle and their addiction to juice cleanses. Well, except grape juice.

And aren’t the crazy things you think, feel, say, do while being drunk what makes a great story?

Just blogging, Society

Triggering dots


You’ve probably seen memes like “Let’s eat grandma”, “Eat. You’re food” or “I find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog”, right?
Well, I’m OBSESSED with them, almost as much as I’m obsessed with typography and puns about kerning. Obsessed in a way that makes me wanna write the word in all caps. I’m the kind of person who, when receiving a badly spelled text, checks how close two letters are on the keyboard. I cannot go without correcting people when they mispronounce a word or when they’re just using stupid anglicisms that only exist in their imagination. I definitely judge people by the language they’re using and I don’t care how arrogant or how much of an asshole I can be when it comes to using the correct form.  In short, I’m a grammar nazi.

As you can guess, I take punctuation pretty damn seriously. A missing comma can drive me mad. That’s why, in my writing, I love using all sorts of punctuation marks in abundance. However, sometimes I wish people just would use them less. I’ll explain.

So yesterday, a friend texted me because she had a question regarding a paper. I didn’t reply right away because I had other shit to do first, but I stuck a mental post-it on my brain so that I would not forget to text her back later that day. It’s a system that works pretty well. However, she apparently couldn’t wait to hear back from me and so she sent me this:


And I was immediately fed up. By a single question mark.

There may be some deeper issues to this, but everytime someone sends me The Single Question Mark, I’m getting actually offended. Like how does this person dare to think I have nothing else going on but reply to their text? Well I got news for you honey, the world doesn’t evolve around you, calm the hell down. Also, even if our texts are sent instantly – unless you’re using Google Hangouts, which is the Internet Explorer of messaging services – that still doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an instant response. I’ll get back to you when I get back to you. And sending me annoying question marks won’t make me text you back any faster. On the contrary, they make me feel way more inclined to tell you to fuck off.

Another punctuation monstrosity I often see in text messages is the ellipsis. In books or any other kind of prose, even in dramas and poems, the ellipsis can be a great stilistic device. But in text messages the three dots are actually super creepy. Take these two phrases:

I like children.
I like children…

The first one: just a normal statement.
But the second… creepy as hell! If someone sent me a text like that, I’d probably call Child Rescue Service. The three dots make everything sound like a sleazy ad on Craigslist. So can please someone explain to me why people carelessly garnish their DMs with a countless amount of ellipses?

And yes, I agree that you don’t write text messages the same way you’d write a letter. Does anyone still write letters btw? Or postcards? If you don’t, you should. Analog is the new cool. Anyway, if you’re overwhelmed with punctuation in text messages, just use emojis… and you might have a 50% chance of not coming across as creepy.


PS: My latest website discovery while searching for a featured image was Digital Synopsis. If you love creative stuff like digital design and typography, this will be your new drug.

Just blogging

The big book question

Maybe you know the situation. You’re filling out an application or participate in a contest and then there it suddenly is: The big book question. Right in the middle of all the questions which are rather easy to answer or to navigate around, there’s this one question that’s even more troublesome than “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.

And here it is, the trickiest of all tricky questions (drum roll):

“What’s the title of the last book you read?”

Is it just me who’s totally stressing out about this one? At first, it seems pretty standard and easy to answer, I’d even say innocent. However, it’s basically what my worst interview nightmares are about. And I wish I was exaggerating here. – Well, I’m not.

See, this supposedly easy question says way more about a person than one might imagine. That’s why I’m never sure how to answer it. Of course, I could be honest and say that for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading EVERYTHING Sophie Kinsella has ever written. But what would that say about me? Honestly, I love Sophie Kinsella, so I really don’t want to discredit her work or judge anyone for reading her books. Regardless of that, I (meaning: that’s my problem, don’t care about what I’m saying) have the feeling that if I admit to that, I’ll be considered pretty basic. I mean, I am, but I don’t want it to be that obvious. So which book can I mention?

Something written by Oscar Wilde? Nah. I mean, he’s brilliant and I will probably never stop fangirling over his amazing work that is just unparalleled. Nevertheless, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a part of the crowd that’s not even able to correctly match his quotes to the texts they’re originating from. Also, when I went to Père Lachaise and saw what “fans” had done to his resting place, I immediately knew that I would never want to be considered one of them. That’s why I usually never talk about how much I love Oscar Wilde in public.

Ok, how about some classical literature then? Pfffff. The worst. Classical literature is the one that makes you sound the most pretentious. Even if you genuinely enjoy reading it, my personal impression is that – if I don’t want people to roll their eyes at me – it’s somehow better not to mention it. I mean let’s imagine someone asks you about your favorite book and you say “I’m just in love with Goethe’s Faust, part II”. (Or just Faust for that matter.)  I’m sorry, but it’s quite unlikely that demography will be on your side here – unless you’re at a party for German philologists, maybe. What’s more probable is that this statement will be considered as pretentious, and that no one cares that the plot is actually still relevant, even today. Same goes for anything existentialist. In an era where we’re watching future brides making a big deal of having to face the huuuuuuge decision whether to go with a sleeveless or a halterneck dress on TV, it’s quite challenging to make sure that the person who’s asking the book question will relate to Meursaults angst in Albert Camus’ L’Etranger, for example.

So what’s left to quote? I actually don’t know. Of course, this teeny tiny overview is far away from being even remotely representative of all the great literature out there. But since we’re here, why not quote comics/ graphic novels like Persepolis or Maus? Would it be smart to mention these? I’m pretty sure that quite a few people have read and also enjoyed them I feel like basically everyone has read them, which might be cool for getting a conversation going.

But since I’m super self-conscious when it comes to mentioning books I like, I also want to be extremely sure that I’m not quoting something super mainstream. That’s why I usually name Cakes and Ale; or: The Skeleton in the Cupboard by William Somerset Maugham. (Btw, I can recommend ANYTHING written by him, his work is just amazing.) And then, an awesome book I just recently discovered and will definitely quote next time the book question comes up: When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I haven’t even read that much of it, yet, but I’m already hooked.

So that’s it, that’s my answer. Let me know if you have any great titles to recommend or tell me what kind of question you fear the most in an interview (or in general).




Culture, Just blogging, Lifestyle

Watching Hot Girls Wanted

Thanks to binge-watching clips on youtube, I discovered the trailer for the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. Lucky for me, there was a free Netflix trial coming my way, later and so I got to watch it quite soon after the release date. I have to add that it took my a little while before I actually dared to watch it – I was expecting something like Requiem of A Dream, which – as I vividly remember –  was everything but easy to watch. And so, before finally watching the documentary on the very last day of the trial , I kept asking myself if I was ready to see some maybe disturbing content, potentially making me wanna puke. To my great relief, it’s a very well done documentary and co far, I’ve recommended it to everybody I talked to about it.

I was positively surprised about how it was made visually. I guess that, because of the subject, I expected the content to be more explicit and right in your face than it actually is. I’m glad I was wrong and that the documentary is easily accessible, even for a sissy like me.

The French journal Le Figaro describes the documentary as shocking. I wouldn’t use such a strong word. As a guy in the documentray says, porn has become mainstream and boundaries seem to be much lower than they probably used to be 30 years ago. It seems that the common acceptance of it has grown. And therefore, it’s not surprising to me at all that people want to profit from that, producers as well as young girls who think that tehy’re just going to make quick money. Besides, Hot Girls Wanted doesn’t denounce the existence of porn, it rather analyses it, showing different point of views. Instead of relying on the possible shock effect the subject entails, I think the documentary is more about encouraging people to get a wider understanding of the topic and to be critical.

So far, I didn’t have an opinion on porn. I thought if people wanted to make tapes of them or others banging, why not, it doesn’t really affect me. But I start to realize that the impact of porn on society is much bigger than I would have guessed. Before watching Hot Girls Wanted, I had no idea that stuff like torture porn existed. I also wasn’t aware that abuse is very present, to the extent that it’s practically become mainstream. The thought of it makes me feel nauseated and it’s impossible for me to understand how the idea of torture/ abuse / rape can be sexy to somebody supposedly normal. And yet, abuse porn gets around 16 million hits per month and some of the most popular sites even include the mention in their domains.

One could argue that that’s just how porn is, and that hard core niche stuff exists, and that people are acting. But honest question here, has anyone ever considered porn stars as serious actors/actresses? I also doubt that it’s easy to constantly remind oneself that nothing in porn is real and that everybody who’s watching can make that difference.

What worries me are the very weird misconceptions which keep popping up. Just think of how E.L. James glorifies an abusive relationship, and people love it, despite the fact that it’s incredibly poorly written. The wonderfully backward, gender streotype promoting magazine Cosmopolitan France also surprised me: published in the July issue, one article about how to be as sexy as can be in summer actually crept me out. In one paragraph it suggested that when having a picnic, a woman who accidentally cut herself is sexier if the cut bleeds, even sexier if some blood dripped on some carrots, and sexy as hell if she licked the blood from the carrots while staring in the eyes of a man of her choosing. Yeeahhhh…. everybody knows that mutilation always is a big turn-on, as well as blood sucking is. Get some Bella and Edward vibes in your bedroom, ahem, dungeon. Weird that Ozzy Osbourne hasn’t been elected Sexiest Man Alive after he bit off that poor bat’s head.

But even without those rather drastic examples, it’s become evident to me more than once that porn clearly influences our society and the way people interact. All it needs is one click on Instagram in order to see a photo collection of women’s arses (or, to use the correct term which has been invented for that purpose: belfies), under- and sideboobs, and lots and lots of suggestive images.

As for my personal experience, I feel like there’s not much romance going on any more. In a time where everyone can easily find a fuck buddy on Tinder, there’s no need to wait politely and patiently for a third date until getting it on. There were times when I thought of a guy as a real gentleman if he didn’t ask me if I was into anal play on the first date. Or that guy who, not long after I just met him, kept telling me how much he dreamt of face fucking me. When I told him that we didn’t have exactly the same fantasies, he just said “Fine.” and it was the last time I ever heard from him again. I admit that some of my dating choices were obviously very poor. But the actual point I intend to make with those examples is that seemingly, being able to openly talk about sex isn’t that easy sometimes. Instead, in some cases, it’s nothing but a consumed image which is spit out again, sometimes very noisily.

At school, they took sex education very seriously. From a biological point of view, everything had been explained in detail. What we never talked about in class was intimacy and how relationships (are supposed to) work. Another topic that never came up: consent. Although it’s essential. – I also never really talked to my parents about that. And I think, but that’s just a guess, that it’s the same for quite a few of my peers as well as for teens and twens today.

One girl in the documentary stated that she never had sex in real life, but only when she did porn. I find this statement particularily strange. And of course, although this very particular example surely isn’t a common case, I still conjecture that watching what’s a sheer performance for the camera has an impact on the viewers private life, and that comparisons are made in a place where they don’t belong. That being said, I think it’s reassuring, there are initiatives which try to fight that, as for example the website makelovenotporn.com, created by Cindy Gallop. The “Know It” section is quite funny.

For a quick summary of Hot Girls Wanted, the Vice interview with Rashida Jones is pretty good. And for some statistics, you can check out the Forbes article about porn and the internet, or this website, or why not the documentary.

For more posts, go to www.jlouisewinter.com.

Culture, Lifestyle


And it’s Sunday again. It came so suddenly. The last couple of days just flew by. Maybe the last week seemed to pass by so fast because I mostly stuck to my daily routine, consisting of working out, my job and my blog. And seeing friends, of course. Recently, one of my friends came back from a few months travel and so we have been hanging out to catch up. She told me about all the amazing countries she visited, the awesome people she’d met and that she actually didn’t want to come back to Paris. (As a matter of fact, she’s only staying two weeks before flying back to Australia.) She said that people here would probably still have the same jobs, still live in the same place, still have the same troubles in their relationships. Well, although things might not be as boring as that, I do see her point.

After having had a drunk night out yesterday, I went for a walk this afternoon. Looking at the remaining Christmas decoration in the streets, seeing people getting rid of their Christmas tree which finally started to shed it’s needles, I suddenly became oddly aware of how transient everything is and that at the same time, nothing changes. One year just went by and I hardly noticed it. Sure, there have been quite some changes, I realized it as soon I was writing a long letter to someone I haven’t seen since 2013. It might be the fact that I’m turning 25 this year and that I’m about to have a quarter century crisis, but today made me questioning how much I have achieved in life so far.

On Sundays, people take their kids to the park or go see the grandparents, twenty-somethings go home to have lunch with their families, students who came to Paris for their studies are spending the last day of the weekend at home in the suburbs before taking the train back to the city. On Sundays, people take a break from the usual, everyday’s rush. They take the time to go for a stroll or for visiting a museum. On Sundays, everything seems to pause.

Sundays used to make me feel restless and I’m just slowly learning to appreciate them as a day which I can absolutely dedicate to myself. But sometimes, looking at the other park visitors makes me having second thoughts about my life. I awkwardly notice that my mum had already had me when she had the same age. After finishing her studies with successfully, she had found a stable job which gave her enough security and already founded a family. By that time, she was totally independent from her parents.

As for me, I dropped out of university, I don’t have any degree. I worked in the food service industry for a couple of years before getting a better paid job in an e-commerce enterprise. But I surely couldn’t provide for an imaginary kid, I couldn’t even get a cat. The last time I asked my mum to help me out financially is not that long ago and I also still live with my flatmate, which is great, but nevertheless, I think sharing a flat is something that you should only do for a certain period of time. As always, there are also exceptions, of course. But thinking of the people in their mid-thirties I’ve met and who still shared a flat, I know that I definitely do not want to make this my lifestyle.

In the 19th century men were considered as men as soon as they were able to grow a beard or go to war. Women got married at the age of 20 to 22 and often became mothers shortly afterwards.

I remember how weird I found it when the boys I went to school with suddenly started talking about doing their military service. And the girl who was the first one of our year to get married surely surprised me. So what makes us become adults, nowadays? When is the moment that we’re able to say “Now, my life is settled”?

Taking into account how fast our society changes and that there are so many more possibilities and career choices than 200 or even 20 years ago, it’s normal that finding oneself and being able to build one’s independent future has become a much longer process.

The good thing is that I won’t be able to do crazy things like buying a sports car until I figure out my next professional and personal steps. I can save that for my midlife-crisis. Maybe I will have my driver’s licence by then.


About fanfiction

Last week, one of my friends asked me to write a short text for her website. She wanted it to be some kind of fanfiction about the impressionist writer Rainer Maria Rilke. Well, she didn’t actually employ the word “fanfiction”, but she wanted me to invent a story about why the writer had spent a part of his life in Paris, mentioning, that it hadn’t necessarily need to be true – so basically fanfiction.

It’s very funny how things happen in life. Only a couple of days before, I had read an article about students being much more into literature than their teachers would have expected. They invent alternative story-endings, or add some funny details to their beloved book or movie characters lives, letting them experience great adventures and unexpected relationships. Although the author of the original book might not be too happy about the fan’s rich and wild imagination, I think that fanfiction is a very interesting and delightful way of interpreting a story. And in some cases, it even gives space to new productions, like Snow White as a horror movie. Well, this is more of a reinterpretation than fanfiction, but I think that it’s pretty close, though.

While reading the article, I was already thinking about what I would do to the characters of Harry Potter. And since the book is so incredibly detailed, I found it quite hard to imagine anything which still would make sense to the book, but be totally new to the story. Also, I’m respecting my childhood heroes way too much to imagine them in a threesome or anything of this kind. (According to the article, people’s imagination is endless and touches all areas.) And so I came to the conclusion, that I would probably never write anything which can be categorized as fanfiction. Despite of all that, I surprisingly did, just a few days later, on the request of my friend. And it was fun! And since I had to do some research as well, like finding out more about Rilke’s biography, learning more about historic and cultural events which were important at that time, I actually upgraded my general knowledge.

And le voilà the text I finally wrote:

The Story of a Youth to Discover Paris

“Why Paris of all cities? That’s a good question.

It mostly was thanks to my friend Auguste Rodin, who had had a big influence on me taking this decision, after all, it was him who had offered me the position as his secretary. I could never have rejected such an offer, particularly as I have always been a great admirer of his artwork. And of course, Paris is a very scenic city, considerably more charming than London, which seems to be a little too gloomy for my taste. And considering that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle probably found the inspiration for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in current events, then I’m feeling a little uneasy about England. Besides, the weather there seems to dampen one’s mood and to make one miserable. I  do not want to deny at all that the English culture has its appeal and that it produced quite a few great and brilliant authors and artists, let’s just name Charles Dickens or William Turner. But it seems as if Paris was more pleasant after all.

I find it especially interesting that the Russian culture, which has always aroused my enthusiasm, has been following the French example. Who knows, if my friend hadn’t made this offer, I maybe would have traveled to Russia first. I think it’s a fascinating country.

Paris isn’t any less splendid, of course. Art and beauty are always celebrated there, even in everyday’s life. Just think of Parisian fashion! This makes me think of how impassioned my mother used to talk about French couture. From my very early age, she tried to share her love for French fashion with me. I suppose, and Sigmund Freud would certainly agree, that the enchantment my mother felt for the French style has left its mark on me in a manner that it explains my curiosity for Paris. Besides, I’m convinced that there’s almost no other city which could be more suitable for an artist. Magnificent beauty always surrounds you, everything is incredibly picturesque. Not to mention the remarkable architecture. And the gardens! They’re just a true paradise. If you have ever been to the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardin des Plantes, you know what I’m talking about. It’s almost impossible not to find any inspiration in those places and not to be impressed by Paris.”