This post is for all out there who: Aspire to come to Greece and live their summer love. It is for those who me a girl/guy from Greece abroad. It is also for those who are curious on how to handle their Greek significant other.
Ladies and gentlemen, sit comfortable and read this guide. It will save you time and from lots of frustration.
Let’s understand Greeks. We assume you date someone from Greece or are getting into that situation. Some of our ways of acting seem closer to those of Italians but Italians are not Greeks (or… maybe they are).
Wherever we travel we stand out! People in other countries see that there is something “different” with us.
By the way, when in Greece, make sure to check this list too.
1. We are beautiful!
Greek men and women want to look good. “Good looks” is radically rising in Greece (to the borders of exaggeration in some cases). Greeks want to look fit and sharp. In the old days being “big” usually came along with lots of fat. Nowadays Greeks love to look good. Well most of them.
2. We love to dance
Not only syrtaki and such. We love to dance as dancing is a form of expressing our feelings. Well, yes some times, some Greeks dance Zeimpekiko just because it “looks good” but that is an exception. A trend is rising among Greeks around their 40’s where they start learning Greek traditional dances, again!
3. We slap our hands and legs but rarely faces
This is a kind of expression. We do that both when we are happy, sad, angry or as a gesture of intimacy. Do you want to make a safe assumption? Just watch our tone of voice and face expression.
4. Give us a competition where Greece is in and we get passionate about it
From Eurovision to a game of backgammon or to multi-sports, you will see Greek men and women get passionate. Heck…, women can get such when cooking too. Just throw them a competition on who can make the best “ntolmadakia”. In our traditional coffee shops (called “kafeneio”) you will see 2 people playing backgammon and another 10 around them shouting and giving instructions.
5. We use face expressions to answer things
Remember the slap thing? Well our face -even a slight nose twist- will give you a good hint on how we feel for what you are saying or showing. Watch closely as expressions may shift rapidly!
6. Superstitions are part of our culture
You may see us knocking wood or spitting. Superstitions come a long way with Greeks (as with other nations). They are carried over from generation to generation, getting less each time. They are what they are but they also carry a bit of culture inside them, as they are connected to our evolution through times and eras where they meant something for daily life.
7. Every name day and birthday is cash-in day
Greek men and women get “rich” on those days. The bigger the extended family, the better. They give presents and money. During those 2 days, Greeks tend to take you out and treat you on their expense. It is called “kerasma”.
8. We know everything about… everything
Well, we don’t. Yet, we think we do. For some special reason there is a rumor that Greek taxi drivers really know everything. But they don’t (maybe).
9. Prepare to get ” nicely round around the edges”
Married to a Greek woman? If she is slightly traditional prepare to consume lots and greatly cooked food. When we order food, we tend to order more than consumed. When Greeks cook for a name day, birthday, Christmas, New Year Eve, Easter Sunday and many other holidays they cook a lot of different foods.
If you are invited to a Greek house for dinner then -usually- the mother will cook a lot of things. This has to do with our belief that nobody must leave the table feeling not fulfilled. That is another superstition of course but it is part of our idea for hospitality.
10. Our mothers read minds
Don’t. Lie. Seriously.
11. Maria, Giorgos, Nikos, Yiannis exist by thousands all over the world
These are the most common names you will find in many Greek families. Some families have 10 named Nikos. It comes from the tradition to name the newborn with the name of the father’s/mother’s father/mother so to “keep the name in the family”. Makes no sense right? The name is not unique. Yet, this is a kind of showing gratitude and respect for the elders and their contribution to your upraising. Well, it also means that you can shout out Maria in a square and 50 women will turn their heads. Try it.
12. We (may) have invented everything in the world
In fact we haven’t invented all things. We have provided terminology and knowledge for many though and this is used worldwide. Greeks have contributed (at least ancient Greeks did) with the philosophical background on Reason. However, history shows we were not the only ones. Chinese did too, along with more ancient civilizations like Egyptians, Persians and more.
So, did we invent all? Seems not all, but we for sure contributed largely.
13. When abroad our best holiday place is …guess what… Greece
When we live abroad we miss Greece. We mostly seem to miss friends, sea, sun, beaches, food, wine, talking out loud and many more. You can swim in Greek beaches without being afraid you might get eaten by any kind of mammal.
You can walk in Greek forests without thinking that all plantation and insects may kill you.
Seems Greek abroad miss Greece for the “chaotic” part too. Too much “structure” and “safety” is fine for daily routine but when you want to have fun, things need to be a little “rough”.
As in all countries we have our own music, deeply rooted in tradition. It is a combination of ethnic and jazz maybe, but not exactly there. As in all nations our music expresses emotions of the moment or of the past.
Depending on where you come from in Greece, local music produces feelings of heroism, sadness, festivity, humor or even… seduction.
In the past it was our way for opposite sexes to come closer when society customs were strict.
15. Our dad is our hero
A hero for girls and the first heroic model for boys. The bond that is formed between a father and his children never breaks but only with death. Even when they argue and disagree and “fight” that bond remains. This is something still alive in Greece along with the family concept.
16. Our mum is a saint… A SAINT!
Enough said. Especially for Greek men that is true. Respect it, even if it is not like that. It will save you lots of trouble.
17. Our families are huge
They are due to the concept of family that still exists in Greece. Even with their flaws, extended families exist. In many countries families break after kids reach adulthood. When abroad, the family concept is -deliberately- cultivated as way to protect kids.
This has a good and a bad side, though. Many times kids are over-pampered. So, you, who are interested in a relation with a Greek woman/man try to figure out.
18. We are in for adventures. Any. Kind. Of. Adventures (wink wink)
So many songs written about broken hearts in Greece. Yet love affairs are not the only adventures we are into. We tend to think out of the box. We are inventive and maybe that is the reason we thrive in environments where thinking like that is necessary.
We break the rules. Sometimes with good, while others with bad results. We don’t go “by the book”. Many times we neglect safety and reason.
Yet, “somehow” this seems to work in the long run.
We love our past. We also have near-mythical origins. Do we need an article for that? No. Our history is taught all over the world.
19. We feel proud when we help
We have a weird mixture of altruism, volunteerism and “cruelty” at the same time. There are times where “our enemy” will get our help when they don’t expect it.
When we are pressed down we seem to bring up our best to help. When we are living good we tend to forget that.
20. We are spoiled…
That relates on how our mum and dad were raised. Generations that were raised in World War II were exaggerating in almost everything. They wanted their kids to have lots of food, more than one houses, continuous safety (i.e. working for a public service) and more.
During war times many kids didn’t survive due to lack of food and other necessities. Many parents became over protective.
So, all these, created issues and also got many kids spoiled. You may date one of them. Don’t worry… he/she will -logically- come to reason if they love you.
21. Our Mediterranean diet kicks ass!
We ate Greek yogurt or chobani or whatever you like to call it far before it was a trend. Foods like “gemista” are part of our diet, while the famous Greek salad is considered a complete meal.
Paleo? We ate “Paleo” before that was invented, yet we cook our meat a little more. Try “Souvlaki” and let me know if you don’t get addicted.
No-Carbs-Diet? Well we didn’t invent that since we consume a good amount of potatoes and spaghetti (makaronia).
“Eating organic”? Just visit a Greek village where many things are home grown and get invited to a table. Is there more organic than that?
We knew how to eat (even when eating lots) properly and we still -try to- resist to fast food culture.
There is a reason when most come to Greece for vacations, they take a “few extra pounds”.
22. Greek summer sun and sea also kicks ass
Read the posts in our travel blog here. See the light, color of the say and photos. Summer in Greece is unparallel. Depending on where you stay you can have access to great beaches, stunning cultural events, terrific forests and mountains. All in short distance!
23. Our life philosophy hovers around well being
Working is needed so to live life after work. Mark our words… Living the Greek way is the right way. The future will prove that.
People need more free time, less work and more resting time. This is how ideas come forth.
24. We are a “last minute” kind of thinking but it works!
From hosting the Olympics to submit our tax return or even order the “thing” we must have today, we do it the very last minute.
In some weird and twisted way this works most of the time. Why? It remains a mystery. Perhaps we work better under pressure.
Test this with a Greek mother. Tell her that tomorrow 15 of your friends will come for lunch and next thing is you find a ton of food cooked by morning time, enough for 30 people.
25. But are Greeks all “that nice”?
Well no. We are moody because we are so passionate. We tend to jealous a lot too. There is fire in us. This may not work come out nicely all the times.
But again, who is nice all the time, right? After all, tragedy and comedy are Greek words!
Have you ever dated a Greek man or woman? We would like to know your opinion.