Whether you don’t know how to react when your lover shrugs out of their swimmers at (the nudist) Paradise Beach or whether you simply don’t know how to approach the flirty eyes across the bar, there are a number of different situations travellers must adapt to in Greece.
And – while it is always more important to treat every human interaction on its own merits, rather than making assumptions about random geographic expanses – if you want to remember your time in Greece as illustrious – rather than “the time you got rejected, sunburnt and drank alone in your room,” we have some basic advice might help make that happen.
While we’re are no experts in love, we are friends with a number of dating coaches and relationship experts who have shared with us numerous tips on dating when travelling (and in general) over the years. From Chris Manak to Dr Nikki Goldstein, we have explored everything from ‘jibing‘ and ‘paperclipping‘ to why it’s better to look nervous than confident.
Today we are going to take those skills and apply them to a destination that should be on every traveller’s bucket list; here are the dating rules all travellers need to know before visiting (or hooking up in) Greece.
Don’t assume you will be a novelty (but also, don’t assume you won’t be)
Although publications like Culture Trip have said, “Greeks have a thing for travellers” this is quite the generalisation. That being said, there is some truth to it. So don’t ignore the advice completely, but also don’t write it off as a possibility. In other words, feel free to play up your Aussie accent or American twang, but don’t expect a round of applause every time.
Don’t panic if your newfound beau or beau-ette spontaneously gets nude
After you hook up, if you find yourself chilling on the beach the next day with your new-found fling, don’t panic if they abruptly whip their kit off (although, to be fair, knowing you are a tourist they might pre-empt your awkwardness and not do this). They may also not be into nudism in the first place. But if they are, and they are looking to test you, if you want to put a cultured mask on your naive tourist face; don’t act shocked.
This leads into a broader conversation (which we reported on in more depth earlier this year) around the freedoms Australians and Americans are denied back home, but which many of them simply can’t handle once they are there to be experienced. The main takeaway? If you end up at a beach party with more skin on show than normal, as long as your sense of discomfort stems from your uptight upbringing (rather than because you genuinely feel uncomfortable about your environs) then try to go with the flow.
Feel free to flaunt (some) expectations
As Culture Trip writes, “If you find yourself in a bar, you will see that Greek men will more spontaneously come and talk to a foreigner than they would with a Greek woman. The courtship that ensues is usually filled with compliments and praises about your accent, beauty or even your homeland.” They then add that gender roles are still quite rigid in Greece. And, again, while we understand what they are getting at, we’d also say assuming everyone is like that (or will respond badly to you cheekily going against it) would be to miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Be on your best behaviour when meeting the ‘parea’
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Usually, the first sign things are getting serious with someone in Greece is when you meet the ‘parea’ – your date’s BFFs. While this is probably not going to happen if you are on a whirlwind trip and your date plucked you from Tinder, if you are sticking around (whether that involves settling in as a digital nomad or joining the ongoing anarchist revolution) then you will want to impress your partner’s ‘parea’ (usually a mix of childhood friends, university pals and/or colleagues), whose approval is almost as important as families when it comes to having a successful relationship.
Don’t be surprised if your date is 30 and still lives with their parents
While it may be an Australian rite of passage to leave the parental nest and begin drinking the Centrelink milk as soon as you hit your second year of uni, in continental Europe it is much more common to stay at home (or to go back to living with your parents after you graduate). Whilst this comes with squeaky bed drawbacks, if you look at the life expectancies of places like Greece, Italy, France and Spain; you soon see the awkward moments you go through with your partner’s parents (and the community ~vibes~ living together engenders) are well worth it in the end.
Look for a date in oblique places
Tinder and your favourite top 40 nightclub not working? Even if you are only in Greece a short while, signing up to activities that only longer-term residents (and locals) are more likely to do can be a great way to meet people with similar interests without the pressure that comes with a dating app rendez vous. How does this fit into an etiquette guide, you may ask? Well, it would be (obliquely) rude to come to a country and only expect to find love in a club.