A Crash Course in Flirting Through Different Cultures

By Magdalena Knapp, Contributing Writer

Many of you have heard of pick-up lines such as “Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? – Enough to break the ice! Hi, how are you?” Pick-up lines are a common way of flirting or starting a conversation. The language of love is spoken by everyone all over the world; however, is there a flirting “standard” that works in every country of the world?

According to many movies, like Titanic and every Nicholas Sparks movie ever, one deep look in a girls’ eyes is enough to win her over. However, this is not what typical flirting is like in the real world. When a guy goes out and talks to a girl, it rarely goes as smooth as seen in movies. Some flirts end with a glass of water in the boy’s face. Others end with a fake phone number given.

Many of my female friends will send me “help me” signals when we go out dancing and they encounter random guys who want to dance. Because of this, I wanted to know what the differences are in flirting scenarios around the world.

Different cultures have different ways of flirting. In Arabia, a woman looking into a man’s eye for too long may signalize that she is interested. In Europe, on the other hand, this is simply known as staring.

To prevent possible mistakes about flirting, it is important to know how people from different cultures flirt. In Ireland, it is well known that the best place to meet significant others at is a bar. “In Ireland, a common way to get a girl is on a Friday or Saturday night after a few drinks and the inner confidence comes out,” laughs Mark Mairs, a McKendree student from Ireland.

Boys from Ireland are often less confident when it comes to flirting. “Many boys choose the girl in order to impress their mother, because Irish boys are known as ‘mommy’s boys’ and they are very awkward sometimes,” giggles Mairs. When it comes to dancing, Irish boys know the score: Jiving sessions are the way to impress Irish girls. If country music is involved, the female conquest is sure!

In Serbia, things are a bit different. Many flirtatious approaches start with buying a drink for the chosen person. “We pay for the drinks for the girls in a bar, that’s a good way to start an approach, but first you have to look at them.” says Marko Vucetic, an exchange student from Serbia.

Serbians, like most of the Europeans, are very direct when it comes to flirting, and compliments are very important to them. If Europeans see a girl they like, they look her in the eyes and say it right away: “You’re beautiful.” They do not have to be at a bar, however, as this can happen in a number of places. “In Serbia, jokes are always good. If a girl laughs while you talk to her, you are one step closer to ‘wooing’ her!” says Matija Pucarevic, a McKendree student from Serbia.

In my opinion, it is very important to make your significant other laugh. It can start a conversation easily and wakes the interest. Also, in other cultures, jokes are a good way to break the ice. They are a welcome substitute for hackneyed ice breakers such as “Is there an airport nearby or is that just my heart taking off?” (Yes, things like that really happen…).

When discussing flirting and love, it is important to look at how people flirt in the city of love: Italy. Most Italian guys are very romantic. They like to give girls pet names, like ‘Bella’,  which means beauty. “It makes the girl feel special, which is a good thing to start talking to her!” says Luca Simonetti from Italy. In the Italian culture, if the joke is bad, the girl will not be interested. “The joke could also be so bad that it’s funny again- this works too!” says Simonetti.

In Poland, the approach occurs in the bar. Not during a drink, but while dancing. “The polish guy would just walk up to a girl and start dancing with her. If she keeps dancing with the guy, she signalizes him that she’s interested,” Explains Jacob Debkowski, a McKendree student from Poland.

Flirting may seem easy to some, but it is as complicated and complex as a chess set: one wrong move and everything could be lost. People all over the world flirt in different ways, but they do it for the same reason. Every one of us has experienced an awkward flirting situation, but they usually end up making funny stories or, better yet, leading us to that special someone!

For questions or concerns, comment below or contact Magdalena Knapp at magdalena.knapp16@mckendree.edu. 
Feature Image Credit: hercampus.com 


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