Your Guide to Serb Savvy Dating is prompted by a comment on this blog by an art loving fashionista on the East Coast. She is currently crushing on a guy from Serbia. This post will also serve to address the many hits on this site I’ve gotten that resulted from Google search engine terms such as “how to find a Serbian boyfriend”. Who’d have known this would be such a popular topic?!
Obviously, being Serbian doesn’t define someone’s personality any more than being American defines my personality. It is only one of many facets that contribute to me being me. In fact, my nationality affects my beliefs, world views, and values more than it does my everyday preferences, habits, or lifestyle. However, any nationality can be typified and I will attempt to do so here- if only to save you a few headaches down the road:
If I could describe the typical male Serb (born and raised in Serbia), I think he’d be something like this:
His name is probably Marko, Milan, Milos, Ivan, Jovan, Rade, Stefan, or Aleksandar. His last name end in “ic”. He owns an espresso maker and uses it daily. He is probably good-looking, semi-athletic, has good personal hygiene, and likes designer labels. Some people might wonder if he is gay, but he is not, (Serbia tends to be very anti-gay), he is actually just a metro sexual European. He probably likes to watch soccer and basketball on TV, but likes to play tennis in real life. He crosses his legs like a woman. He will communicate bluntly, to the point of being rude and offensive but try not to take it personally, this is just the Serbian way. With every meal, he must have bread, regardless of how many carbs are already present. He will eat a lot of rich foods, but maintain a fit body. He will probably be a liberal. He will be accustomed to strong liquor shots, and will like to toast before, during, and after, a meal. (Americans – don’t forget that European etiquette requires making eye contact and clinking glasses with everyone separately while toasting) He will kiss others (both men and women) on the cheeks daily and think nothing of it. He will probably be a chauvinist, but don’t fret, he is curable. He likes a girl who wears high heels, but doesn’t ever complain that her feet hurt. He wants her to cook for him just like his Mama. This is impossible, but you can try. He will probably not go to church regularly, although he will know where the closest Serbian Orthodox church is, and who is in charge. He will know exactly where he was during the 1999 NATO bombing. He will prefer to save for vacations than to save for retirement, (not his fault – it’s a common European mentality left over from socialism) and he gets excited about hearing conspiracy theories. Your Serb understands the beauty in doing nothing at all, and doing it with style, and he loves to have fun.
Dating a foreigner can seem exciting at first, but ultimately is a challenge for even the strongest love and best compatibility. Soon you will move past the cute accents, the funny stories from childhood highlighting cultural differences, and the mastering of a few Serbian phrases. You will move into territory that will test your relationship. You will deal with differences in religion and spirituality, holiday rituals, political biases, finances, work ethics, gender roles, social situations, and of course, major language barriers that will never completely go away. He will probably be a part of a tightly knit Serbian community, and you may find it difficult or impossible to be accepted there. If you end up in a long-term relationship, expect to spend most of your vacation time in Serbia visiting his family/friends. Though these issues will undoubtedly challenge you, they will also be building blocks to help you understand each other better, grow closer as a couple, and even grow as individuals. Hopefully, learning about each other’s cultural differences will develop each of you into more well-rounded individuals, as you seek to learn from and understand the other’s perspective.
Date Ideas for Serbian/American Couples:
- Go shopping for an espresso machine together
- Attend a Slava (if you don’t know what this is, ask your Serb)
- Watch Novak Djokovic (the number 1 tennis player in the world) compete in the upcoming US Open or other Grand Slam
- Spend an afternoon at a street side café, sitting outside, people watching, and nursing your cappuccino for hours
Gift Ideas for a Serbian Boyfriend:
- Clothing from Lacoste
- Fitted T-Shirt with Italian or Russian logo on it
- Make him a home cooked comfort food meal (he won’t see this as a gift, but you might)
- Search out a hard to find Serbian food item online and have it shipped (Ajvar, Kajmak, bottle of Sljivovica)
- A book by Momo Kapor, a famed Serbian author
- Coffee Table book about Nikola Tesla
Best of Luck with Serb Savvy Dating