As a presenter, Viva became known as the bestselling author (Wetlands): now Charlotte Roche is increasingly being referred to as a love expert. In the Spotify podcast "Paardiologie", the 41-year-old talks very openly with her husband Martin Keß, co-operator of Van Dyck's Cologne Coffee, about problems in relationships, relationships and therapy for the couple. And for the six-part Arte series "Love Ritual" (beginning: August 28), she traveled to five continents in search of love. It's time to talk about the world's most important topic at the Dein & Mein cafe in Agneskirche – and of course Cologne.
Mrs. Roche, let's fall in love. I will tell you a few songs and you will give your opinion. All you need is love (Beatles)!
Not. Especially women should not be so naive and believe such romantic sentences, because they are much more threatened by old age poverty than men. Also in 2019 it will be women who give up their careers because of children in their lifetime, are not paid for it and therefore cannot save in old age. And then a man gets a mid-life crisis and takes a younger woman, with whom an older woman gets kicked in the ass. I think that all women who stay home because of children have the right to steal as much money as possible from their husbands. The hamsters for retirement. Because: You too need a pension!
Your power is just a stupid cry for love. (Physicians)
That's right. And it's not just about the Nazis singing in the song. I don't want to release people who are violent in relationships. But every perpetrator has ever been a victim. And no one likes to be an asshole. The first fights my husband and I went on were at least verbally abusive. I even threw items and luckily no one landed in the hospital. That was my stupid cry for love then.
Love is not what you feel. Love is what you do. ("Rescue", Kettcar)
It depends. My husband, after cheating on him, could say: I don't care if you say you love me because your actions do not show it. But he always gave me new opportunities and believed in me. I always feel sorry for people who are inappropriate or indulged in the mistakes they make. Bad, jealous, anxiety behaviors require therapy and last for years. Of course I do not mean to say that a woman has to beat her husband for years, with the motto: He will change. No, that's dangerous.
"I don't know what to say if I think of Kölle" (Cat Ballou)
I really have great feelings for Cologne. But of course only for people, not what the city looks like. The people are wonderful. City: It goes like this. But when a burger is made fun of how ugly Cologne is, I get really aggressive on the inside. Then I realize the local patriot in me. As an Englishwoman I feel this way: We in Cologne cannot help the fact that the English have broken everything with us and refurbished everything with tiles.
They built us a monument. Every idiot knows that it confuses love. (We are heroes)
I can fully confirm that. This is exactly what my husband had in mind when I cheated on cheating: that we are now a normal couple with normal problems. We talk about this a lot in the podcast. It is destructive to me when others think of you: this is the biggest couple in the world. Or if you think it yourself. Something similar breaks down very easily – like in the Truman show.
The most beautiful love song of all time?
"Your love is my love" Whitney Houston.
And the worst love?
"Lemon Tree," Fools Garden.
Which mistake should the songwriter love more?
A good love song must be as far from the cliché as possible.
Have love songs in German often failed?
Rio Reiser, who could. Revolverheld can't. I also find English love songs that often grow hair. As an Englishman, I would like to read English love songs on stage that are considered good, to translate into German, to show how bad they are.
For some of the new Arte series, you have been following some rather strange love rituals in some countries. What was your incredible experience?
Krass I found a traditional penis parade in Japan. Priests carry across the street more than their age to celebrate fertility. They all cheer, play the streets, sing and dance.
And in a country whose inhabitants seem to have a strange attitude towards sexuality.
Exactly. They die if they continue to reproduce. Sorry, that sounds like I'm talking about a panda bear. But the Japanese have a very anti-body attitude when it comes to sexuality, like pubic hair. On top of that, men are always considered sexually unusual, apparently from exaggerated demands. There is a tendency for a lot of work and free time with a boss to live a butcher in a secure digital area where you do not have to worry about foreign body fluids.
The romantic Western conception of love has completely shivered in your travels. Did you expect this before?
Not. It was a big brain teaser for me. When I asked women in Kenya what was their love for them, there was no answer at all. The concept does not exist. I interviewed a hairstylist who is a pretty poor and single parent. It doesn't matter to the man in life. It’s about making money, caring for children, and then nothing for long. I felt really stupid. Love suddenly seemed a luxury that only people who couldn't afford problems could afford.
A Kenyan who has no money will not get a wife.
That's how I experienced it, yes. It was hard for me to see Kenyan students throwing old men to get their bags, shoes or money. They were not with their peers because they cannot afford it financially. Only then do you notice that it is not obvious that German students can love men of the same age, instead of selling their bodies.
They consider you an advocate for prostitution.
Basically, I have nothing against prostitution. But of course, I am not for human trafficking, abductions that are drugged and stolen. To women who make it self-confident and free, I say: this is an honorable act. These women should not be accused of being raped as a child or mentally disturbed.
They also traveled to India for the series, where even the girls are married. There the woman belongs to her husband and his family after the wedding.
And we immediately say sorry, but it's not love. On the contrary, they say so about us. In many countries, the theme of the wedding is very important. The concept of many children and large families to be as close to God as possible. He runs the family as a company, with clearly distributed roles. That is why spouses there are often chosen by their parents or mediators. When love develops in such a marriage: beautiful. The situation is not. If you look at our divorce rates, you may wonder if we are wrong with our romantic concept. But by no means do I want to glorify or justify forced marriages.
Can true love be found only in countries where men and women are equal?
Serious question. Even in Germany we are not that. Who leaves work and takes a sick child out of kindergarten? Which is not to say that only men have to work hard for themselves. A German doctor would never be with a caregiver. I think the problem is for women to look up and only respect men who have more than them. The great danger is that the man will eventually say: I will not stay home because of the children.
In the series you also go to the question of how to keep love alive in the long run.
One has to accept that love sometimes disappears and becomes boring. But then you have to stay together to ask yourself: Do I feel anything else? Mostly love is extinguished due to stress or many problems.
First is sex and then love?
If one does not want to literally let go of a partner, something else is wrong. Often this is because the person feels humiliated or no longer understands the partner. And then you often split too fast. Because if you worked on problems, sex would come again.
The couple you spoke with in Israel had their own way of keeping love. There, the man was not allowed to touch his wife for two weeks a month. Did that convince you?
The joy of missing out: That's what we call it at home. It's like when a toilet flush doesn't work for a long time. When she works again, you are really happy. I would totally sign it.
The Vodoo priest from New Orleans recommends various plants as a means of love. Did it work?
The information and medications given to me by the priestess are now set in the corner of my closet. Not because I believe it, but because I dare not throw it away. Out of fear and respect. After that everything is fine and then something bad happens.
Voodoo learns that one must love oneself in order to attract love. How did you learn to love yourself?
It's only happened to me since I was with my husband. I didn't like this before and that's why our first few years as a couple were often a horror. There are several reasons why I can love myself today: My husband's extreme affirmation, which has resulted in complete trust. Being a mother is also good for that. Because you want to change for the child so that you can love yourself later. And therapy, alone and as a couple: It helped me a lot.
Self-love also means that you do not dye gray hair, and beauty measures like Botox are out of the question for you. Don't you think sometimes: 50 plus might be difficult for me as a woman standing in public and constantly evaluating her?
Not. And that also has to do with self-love. I really feel like a man. When everyone says, "George Clooney is getting better with age," I raise my finger and say, "It's the same with me."
Also as a feminist statement?
Full. I am a role model to other women. It is my duty to naturally age. But that's not hard for me either. I never lied about my age. I love celebrating my birthday and raging every year. I would be really happy if I could be over 100 years old – and look like that. Seriously: I think about death every day. For example, what diseases can I get? And then I talk to my family about it. My parents, on the other hand, have no willpower because they don't feel old and think they don't have to do anything. After her death, the family will quarrel over the legacy for twenty years.
You have become known as a TV presenter, author and still very active on Instagram today: Isn't this all a cry for love?
Total. As a show-pony running after a round of applause, it compensates for something that was once horribly wrong – with parents, for example. Of course, that makes you creative, but there is something sad about it.
Let's talk about rural love. They moved to the outskirts of the city after 20 years from the Agnes neighborhood three years ago.
Yes, to a great country. A village on one street with only a kiosk. And nothing else.
What was so bad about Cologne?
It wasn't bad. But we have children and a dog. And when I went for a dog walk, I had to cross the inner canal road into the park. Several times a day I thought I had to die for all the couples. When I was running with my dog in the winter, I could see the exhaust even more clearly. So I ran with my breathing mask but was mobbed by the prospect. People probably thought I had a bad illness. I just didn't want to inhale their exhaust fumes. Then there is only a small place in Cologne. Everyone is arguing: on the bike path, on the sidewalk. Dog owners, barbecues that leave the garbage in the park, cyclists who have to ride on the sidewalk because they have children. And then I sit in the car, I want to turn around, look at my shoulder and still the cyclist yells, "You cunt." Simply because the driver has learned to fear death. That was too much trouble for me, too much war.
Has Cologne changed – or have you?
Probably both. But more road stress is statistically proven. And cars are strangely more and more, parking less and less. If you see people in Agnes neighborhood after work driving around for an hour to find a parking spot: Bad! It is a wonder to me that someone does not walk alone to Agnesviertel Amok every day.
What should Cologne boast about?
Carnival I think is good. My husband and I celebrate 11.11. and every day from Weiberfastnacht through. I am also a true carnival missionary and always try to force Berliners or burgers to party. Everyone must love dressing and singing. Children's birthday for all.
Cologne's love for her city is notorious. Super or shameful?
To think that Cologne is the center of Europe is ridiculous. Berliners can claim more justification than Cologne, just in numbers. That's a little embarrassing, yes. But it's not too bad.
Ever since you moved away, Ebertplatz has changed a lot. For good?
I do not know. It definitely smells like urine when you get down. I wonder if it ever went away again or the smell ate in the stone. When I moved out, the police only took boxes of flowers from the shopkeepers. I was on the side of the dealers because I thought: Where will they hide the drugs now? I also missed something when you could suddenly look at Ebertplatz from all sides. This reminds me of pubic shaving. Getting rid of everything now is completely modern. Does that make anything better? Not.
Not even running well?
Unfortunately, I have a problem with the combination of the smell of urine and running water. It's fatal.