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Why Greeks Don't Date Greeks

Have you ever noticed how many single Greeks there are in the DC area?  If you were to gather 400 young Greek-Americans in one room there might be all of 25 couples with the overwhelming majority of people in the room being single looking to find someone.  So what’s the reason that the number of Greeks that are actually dating each other in DC is so low?  Is it something about Greeks in general, or Greek-Americans living in this country, or Greek-Americans living in D.C.?

These questions were the topic of discussion over the weekend among a small group of Greeks, all in their 20s, each of different life experience and opinions.  One of the women in this group, who had spent several years in Greece, couldn’t believe the fact that Greeks in this area were having such a hard time getting together.  She claimed that in Greece, guys and girls go out with each other all the time, and that there isn’t so much game-playing going on between the sexes.  According to her, in Greece, if a guy is interested in a girl, he goes after her, and that’s it, end of story.  If for some reason the guy isn’t interested in the girl, but the girl is interested in the guy, the girl would find a way to win the guy over.    

Too often among Greek-Americans, if a Greek guy actually gets to the point of asking a Greek girl out, you get the 3-Date (3-D) or 1-Month (1-M) period, after which there is a good likelihood that either the guy or the girl will freak out, thus ending the relationship.  Basically stated, after three dates or one month of dating, either the Greek guy or the Greek girl will sometimes decide that they’re in it for the long haul, but more often than not, that it’s time to end the relationship.

How can two perfectly good Greeks tragically end a potentially nice relationship even before it gets a chance to develop?  Notice we use the term “two perfectly good Greeks,” because its always a nice Greek guy and a nice Greek girl that somehow can’t seem to get it together.  Often the guy or the girl realizes that the person sitting across from them at dinner on their third date is a nice enough person who they could easily bring home to mom and dad in a few months.  (We said a few months, not a couple of weeks…  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.)  And it’s because of the fact that they could bring them home to mom and dad that the relationship ends, as silly as that sounds.  For starters they are Greek, satisfying the first and most important criteria, hereinafter referred to as #1.  So if you add #1 to a nice enough person, there’d be no reason not to continue the relationship.  Of course, many Greeks feel that every relationship with another Greek that lasts past 3-D or 1-M will naturally lead to that sunny Sunday afternoon in June that will have pappou and yiayia flying 5000 miles to make.  If this image freaks out one of the participants in this relationship, even in the slightest bit, you can rest assured that this relationship will soon end, often without the other participant even knowing why.

This 3-D or 1-M rule absolutely horrified the woman in our group who had spent time back in Greece.  Why would anyone freak out and end a relationship just before it really had a chance to progress?  Are Greek-Americans just freaked out at the slightest hint that a relationship might end up in front of that bearded gentleman that some Greeks only see on Christmas and Easter?  According to our eternally optimistic friend, in Greece, guys and girls just date and see where it leads and there isn’t any sort of pressure attached to the process.  The “pressure” exists here because when a Greek-American dates another Greek-American, that’s different than just dating another person you met in a bar in Adams Morgan.  In Greece, when a Greek guy dates a Greek girl, its just a guy dating a girl, because everyone is Greek.  Everyone meets #1, making it disappear as a criteria altogether.  But here, just because the person is Greek, they somehow merit stronger consideration because of #1, so the tendency is to ignore some things about that person that would be more important to you if every person you could date in this country was in the same position in having satisfied #1.  This would seem more of a factor in DC, as opposed to Chicago, New York, or Boston, because there are less Greeks in DC than in these other places.  The whole Greek community knows the weight of #1 and has the expectation that if a guy or a girl meets #1, then any reasonable Greek guy or girl should stay with that person except in the worst of circumstances.  So knowing that this is the expectation, many scared Greek-Americans decide that it’s best to end it early before too many people find out and label the relationship as being “serious.”

This fear of a serious Greek-American relationship leads to many guys not even taking the first step in asking out a Greek girl.  It’s not that Greek guys are shy, as another woman in our discussion group stated.   No, the reason that Greek guys don’t ask out Greek girls as often as they should is due to their misguided view that there are a limited number of quality Greek girls in this area.  First of all, there is nothing wrong with the Greek women or the Greek men in the DC area.  While there may not be that many Greek girls in this town as other places, there are certainly enough quality Greek girls in DC for every Greek guy, and vice versa.  But due to the perception that only a certain amount of women in DC can meet #1, many Greek guys are selective in actually pulling the trigger and asking a Greek girl out.  That’s why a Greek guy will ask out many more non-Greek girls than Greek girls, because there’s no real premium placed on these other girls, because they don’t meet #1.  It’s like going out for fast food versus going out to dinner at a nice restaurant.  If you’re in the mood for fast food (dating a non-Greek), you really don’t care if you go to McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s, because chances are, it’s a five dollar meal and it won’t be the only time this week or month you’ll go out for fast food.  But when you go out for a nice meal, (dating a Greek girl), something that you don’t do that often, and that will cost way more than a few bucks, you’ll stop and think before selecting between Sequoia, Morton’s or Kinkade’s, which are all great choices in and of themselves. 

For those of you out there that think this is a pretty grim picture that we’ve painted, there’s still hope.  We’ve just described our theory on how the state of the dating scene is in the DC Greek Community, but it’s not necessarily how it has to be.  If Greek-Americans stopped placing undue influence on the consequences of #1, and just relaxed and let things progress naturally, things would be a lot better.  We’re not saying that all of these relationships would end up as life-long commitments.  A lot of these relationships, if allowed to continue past 3-D or 1-M might just naturally end because the two people didn’t have all that much in common, or for other reasons that normal relationships end outside the Greek community.  And when that happens, the two participants could just step back, take a couple of weeks to clear their heads, and then move on, hoping to meet the next Greek guy or Greek girl here in town, because despite the perception, there are plenty of Greek guys and Greek girls to go around.   

Read past feature articles.