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May 21, 2003

How to Get a Greek Guy

A couple of weeks ago I was at a Greek festival at St. George's, talking with a few of my female friends, when they began venting about the lack of Greek men in the community. What really annoyed them was the fact that "Greek-American guys don’t pursue girls". In Greece, they said, guys pursue girls with impunity, but here, they lay back and wait. But what are they waiting for exactly? When’s the last time you saw a Greek girl go up to a Greek guy and ask, "Can I buy you a beer?" That never happens, and according to my friends, it would be just plain strange if a Greek girl even tried it.

When I sat down to write this article, my first thought was to address this issue and find a way to influence my fellow male members of the Greek-American community to take my friends' comments as constructive criticism, to help them change their approach to meeting women. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that who am I to try to change the men of this community? Can a single feature article change the social psychology of an entire demographic? And as a member of this demographic who doesn't really mind if other members of this group exhibit this behavior, (and may subconsciously be exhibiting said behavior myself) am I really one to be administering advice? So instead of answering the question, "Why don't Greek-American guys pursue girls, and how do you get them to start?" I opted for a strategy that served me well throughout the essay portions of most of my AP exams in high school: If you can't answer the question posed to you on the essay, just answer a slightly different question that you do know the answer to. This article isn't going to be about why the proverbial deep-sea bass you've watched doing laps around your boat doesn't take the bait; this article's going to be about what parts of the sea you need to take your boat to when that one fish just refuses to bite.

Go where the guys are, and I don't mean a Greek Night. Don’t get me wrong. Greek Nights are great fun. It’s the one place where you can enjoy contemporary Greek music in a stylish setting, where everyone is dressed to kill. But as much fun as these nights can be, I don't know how conducive of an environment they are to actually meeting people. Yelling to the person you're talking to when they're two feet away doesn't seem like the right start to a lasting relationship. How many couples can you name who got their start at a Greek Night? Thus, if you want a longer-term relationship, you might want to try another venue.

An undiscovered wealth of guys is at "Greek League", a local men's basketball league sporting over 120 Greeks and Philhellines (Philhellines: non-Greeks who like gyros and baklava, usually exhibiting the consistent ability to score 18 points per game or more), most of them single. For three months during the winter and early spring, you can catch these men in their natural habitat, without the pretense found at other events.  Why is this an attractive venue, you ask? Well, imagine the boredom that can set in on a male on the sideline waiting for his game to start while watching two rather homogenous teams of mostly olive-skinned twenty-and -thirty-year-olds scrapping to each score 40 to 45 points a game. Therefore anytime a koritsi shows up, she quickly grabs their attention. If she didn’t feel like sitting on the bleachers, there are other ways she could come, check out the goods, and remain a little more undetected. There’s always a need for scorekeepers, which could be a good way to actually get the name of whoever catches your eye. Regardless, unlike a Greek night, the lighting is better, the guys are sober (at the worst, hung-over, depending on what time their game is on the weekend), and at least you have their jersey number and team name you can use to look up their name on greekleague.com when you get home (as opposed to "Kosta, from Maryland", which is not helpful at all).

Another good place for nabbing a Greek guy -- Greek festivals. I know, plenty of you “know” every guy or girl under 40 in your own church community, but what about another local church community? Despite living within miles of each other, church communities can attract totally different people, and maybe the guy who everyone knows at some other community is actually your Prince Charming. In addition, festivals tend to attract the illusive “Christmas and Easter Only" (CEO) crowd. This secretive group is filled with the people that everyone talks about when they get in line for communion or antidoron; where they go for the rest of the year - no one knows, but for two nights it seems like everyone is talking about them. Occasionally they come to festivals, and a girl who has her wits about her could probably find a way to strike a conversation if she took the chance. (“Hey, aren’t you one of those CEOs Fr. Philintheblank always lambastes at the holidays?”) But beyond that, do you know where most of the guys are at festivals? Well, ladies, when you’re looking for your big, hot hunk, go to where there are plenty of other hot hunks…of meat. I'm referring, of course, to the gyro stand or lamb spit that is present at every festival. Think of it as your Sizzler of mankind. Just like Greek Nights, the guys are smoky, but at least this time it's with the scent of marinated charcoal. And frankly, how many guys could refuse a girl in line who says, “I want a chicken souvlaki with extra tzatziki and your number.” Look at it this way; taking a guy home will have memories that last longer than the to-go box of pastries you also picked up.

Finally, when all else fails, and you still haven't gotten a fish to take the line, use the net. Sign up on DCGreeks.com, take a couple of minutes to write a few sentences in your profile over and above the canned drop-downs we ask you to fill out, and you can feel confident that guys will write you messages. As I write this, there've been over 6,800 messages sent between DCGreeks.com members since we started the site in July, 2001, and 55% of those messages are from guys to girls. (If you post a picture with your profile, the chance you'll catch somebody's eye increase exponentially.) Conversely, if there's a guy whose profile tells you more than, "I want a nice Greek girl to cook for me. HOLLA!" don't be afraid to write them first. With over 320 guys in our Member Directory (and growing), there may just be one for you.

Regardless of where you turn to find love in the DC area, I guess the bottom line is to take a chance. If you never muster the courage to go talk to the mysterious guy who you’ve been watching every year at Easter service, pretty soon you might see him show up with a wife and kids. I’d say be open to meeting new people, and if you have a track record of choosing the wrong guy, make it a point to take a chance on someone who you might not otherwise seek out. And please, don’t wait for us to make the first move. We’re not all married or in relationships, and sometimes when we show up to places with a girl, it might just be a cousin we're showing around town. And maybe, we don’t approach you all because we have the exact same misconceptions. “Wow, she’s gorgeous. She must be seeing someone. I don’t have a chance. Hey, did they just bring out a new pan of galaktobouriko?"

Read past feature articles