Greek culture is somewhat different to its western counterparts, especially that of America. Greece is a laid-back country – society is not in a hurry and the people don’t rush around in mad circles. It’s an identity that dates back to antiquity and is reflected in the shared history of the Greeks, both within and without the nation state. Approximately 98% of the country’s inhabitants are ethnic Greeks and their culture and traditions have become virtually synonymous with that of the nation state. Due to instability in the Middle East, the recent influx of migrants could possibly lead to a build-up of other ethnic groups.
Location and Geography
Situated in southeastern Europe, Greece forms the southern end of the Balkan peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean. Due mainly to its warm climate, the Greek way-of-life is nice and friendly and pretty laid-back, and the country, especially the beautiful islands, is a magnet for tourists from all over the world. Because much of the economy depends on tourism, many of the inhabitants need to speak an international language, and most Greeks are able to converse in acceptable English. Again, because of its sunshine and beautiful beaches, Greece is also a favourite holiday destination for Russians, and therefore the Russian language is widely used. Once the centre of civilisation – think Plato and Socrates – the national identity considers itself to be a continuation of the ancient culture, with religion, democracy, travel, entrepreneurship and personal honour deemed to be central to the country’s connection to the past. Of course, as mentioned above, the Mediterranean atmosphere of cordiality and kinship also plays an important role in the psyche of the Greeks.
Classes and castes
Like most countries worldwide, Greece faces wide diversity with regard to income, with large imbalances between the wealthy citizens at the top of the pyramid and those crowding around the base. Since the end of the Ottoman influence and the gradual establishment of the modern state, the class system and associated welfare has become fluid, largely dependent on education and the type of work or career that follows. Although the country has borrowed heavily from the European Union with little chance of paying the money back, the Greeks nevertheless maintain a strong sense of social responsibility, esteem within the community and a well-defined attitude to correct behaviour.
Status of Women and Men, and gender roles within Greece
Since passing the Family Law of 1983, Greece has firmly established legal gender equality in family relationships and decision making. At the present time approximately 53% of university places are occupied by women, and in the general workplace there is no discrimination between the sexes. In the homestead, while the female happily does the majority of the housework, the modern man, polite and respectful towards their woman, will have no objection to lending a helping hand
The stereotype of Greek men:
- Loyalty in a relationship. Having chosen the woman he wants to spend his life with, he will do his very best to keep the relationship alive and meaningful.
- Friendly, free attitude. It’s all part of the wonderful atmosphere, considerably helped by the pleasant Mediterranean climate. The inhabitants are gregarious, open and kind.
- A typical pastime and ‘must’ is the siesta, taken in the afternoon when the temperature is high. It’s normal for shops and businesses in cities and throughout the country to close between 2pm and 6pm, when it’s too hot to do anything, and this means that the citizens have a few free hours in which to rest. In the late afternoon, when the air has cooled a little, everyone goes back to work, usually until around 10pm.
- The family is number one. During the hours of siesta, children are collected from school and the family routine takes over. Each member of the family doing their bit to help, lunch is prepared and eaten, and then the entire household will take a nap, either at home or on the beach beneath a large parasol
- Typically, the Greek guy likes to be the ‘good one’, and this usually means he is well-behaved, kind, polite and calm. He thinks honour is very important, along with his sense of social responsibility at home and within the community at large.
- He loves spending quality time with his close circle of friends, and will pursue this activity whenever possible.
- Meals are an important part of their lives, and is a means of establishing and maintaining ties among nearest and dearest.
The Greek husband
In Greece, marriage is considered the normal form of co-habitation, and the average age for this is somewhere in the mid-thirties. The divorce rate is among the lowest in Europe, and, with the exception of monastic orders and the upper echelons of the clergy, nearly all people marry. In the past, all marriages occurred in churches, but since 1982 civil marriages have been legal and are quite common. So, if you’re thinking about marrying one of these fun-loving people, remember that it’s likely to be forever and is sure to include spending a lot of time with his family and friends. They love social activities which revolve around eating, drinking, playing games, listening to music, dancing and having fun in general. They also enjoy conversation, often getting together to debate various issues. Transported by the moment and the friendship of the company, these gatherings usually generate an atmosphere of high spirits and relaxation. Admittedly, whilst alcohol might well contribute to the pleasant mood of the occasion, it is considered disgraceful to drink to excess and become drunk. So, if you can’t hold your alcohol, cease and desist from over-drinking! When it come to religion, nearly 98% percent are Orthodox Christians, just over 1% are Muslims, and there are small numbers of Jews, Roman Catholics, and members of Protestant denominations.
How to date a Greek man?
Most Greek men look for a lady who is smart, has a good sense of humour and who will be happy to be surrounded by his parents, aunts and uncles, children and close friends. With a temperament akin to that of the Italians, the Greeks can quickly become argumentative, but within a few seconds it’s all forgotten and peace and calm returns. To be successful when dating a guy from this incredible country, you should follow these tips:
- Prepare good, tasty food. If you are a great cook, you will quickly win him over, because it’s easy to reach the heart of adonis through his stomach.
- Build a strong relationship with his inner circle. Family will be always numero uno, so build a strong connection with your partner and all his relations will welcome you into their arms. Remember also to make a fuss of his mother, because she used to occupy a role pretty similar to yours and is highly respected by everyone.
- Be loving and spontaneous. Despite all the talk about equality, Greek men tend to be very traditional and, at the end of the day, regard themselves as the head of the family. The average guy wants a woman who will tend him, love him, look after his children, cook delicious meals and keep his bed warm.
- Be supportive. Though they may exude an air of great self-importance, they aren’t always as confident as they pretend. Try to encourage and motivate him, even though his ideas could land him in a mental asylum and/or jail. Most are all talk and little action, so rather than cutting him down, be positive about his plans to open up a lap-dancing, bistro/coffee club. Appreciate his interests and praise his efforts at all times.
- Be a goddess of cleanliness. A by-product of their highly controlled upbringing leads them to be very fussy – it might be about their appearance, their health, their home, their food or their car. And yes, because he’s always been allowed to throw his dirty underwear around (because mama will pick it up), you should be the goddess of good order around the home. Your attention to detail will impress him and leave him daydreaming about your efficiency.
- Honour and obey. Flattery will get you everywhere. Wooing your man by telling him that he is wiser than Zeus and more handsome than Hercules will have him begging you to go out with him. Just remember that you will have to keep this up for the rest of your life. But it’s a small price to pay for the love of a Greek God.
Not too sure about Greek men? No problem, you can also get to meet guys from France, Germany, Turkey, Australia, China or Canada. Just keep searching and your lucky star will find you when it’s the right time. Smart people know that, for each of us, there is always someone with whom to share life’s happy moments.