“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela
When you start corresponding with Ukrainian women and then Chat Live with them or come to visit, sooner or later you will start noticing little unusual things. Sometimes you just let them go but some things might really bother you. What is right and what is wrong? Although you might be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a lady you really like, it is nice to know in advance what surprises to expect from our differences in culture.
It is important for Ukrainian ladies to look good and you can see on the photos that they take good care of themselves. Recently I received a complaint from a member saying that the women at www.Unona.net
are too beautiful, that they cannot be real, so he is going to delete his profile. As flattering as the first part of the statement sounds, I do not agree with the second one. Yes, it is very important for us to look attractive at all times, no matter how much effort is required. Bonus: Ukrainian woman usually also takes great care of her husband and kids.
Polite words: One of the clients I talked to was really surprised when he called his lady on the phone for the first time. He said she sounded very blunt. Remember that a girl is using all her limited English, and she is limited by her inexperience to making only very simple sentences and most likely she would omit all the polite words like “Thank you”, “I appreciate it” etc., also because Ukrainians do not use them as often as Westerners do. That is why our translators often have to interpret the situation and context and add the missing words so that a gentleman would perceive the lady’s true intention.
Love you: You know that many words cannot be translated into different language word for word. The expression ‘I love you” has a profound meaning in the Russian and Ukrainian language. You can love your parents, your children, and your husband. But you can hardly love a man you have been corresponding with. If you do not hear these words from a lady you correspond or chat with, do not worry. These words are very special to her and she will say them only in the right time.
Smiles: unfortunately we do not smile as often as people in the Western countries. You cannot believe how many times we have to ask the girls to smile in the pictures or on the videos. This is just not something we are used to, although Ukrainian humour is definitely bright and fiery. When you meet the friends and family of your bride to be, you will love it. In my family the jokes of my Ukrainian friends are remembered with great warmth.
You and you: in Russian and Ukrainian languages (like in French) we have two forms for the second person greeting – it could be in singular or in plural.
- You use singular “you” when you address a child or a person who is very close to you.
- You use plural “you” when you address a person whom you hardly know (a stranger in the street) or when you want to emphasize your respect to this person. At the same it makes it sound more distant.
For example when you just got acquainted with a lady and chat with her, you address her “you” in plural (“Vy”) . When your relationship has developed, you call her “You” (“ty”) . And when you come to meet her parents, you call them “You” (“Vy”) again.
Treating elders: You might have noticed that Ukrainians have greater distance between the generations, mainly because of the special respect we treat elders with. When you address authorities or parents of your bride, you always use father’s name with the first name. For example: Anna Vasilyevna (“Anna daughter of Vasily”), and Tatiana Grigorievna (“Tatiana daughter of Grigori”). Grandparents usually keep very close relationships with the grandchildren and children, and support them in many ways. At a family dinner you will often see several generations at the table.
Treating men: A man for Ukrainans is a head of the family, the main provider and protector. You might notice that Ukrainian men try to behave in a macho type whose authority is never to be doubted. My father used to say: “It is so because I say so”.
Treating women: Attractive, sincere, hardworking, patient and very loving Ukrainian women… I truly think that they deserve a better attitude from Ukrainian men.
Treating children: I was amazed to see how family oriented North Americans are and especially how much time fathers spend with their children. In Ukraine it is usually mom’s responsibility to take care for the kids and fathers who check homework, play football, and go fishing with their children are rare and precious exceptions.
Meeting people: While North Americans like to hug when meeting people, we often kiss. And kissing a lady on the cheek at your first meeting is fine. Holding hands is something very personal and romantic. Another traditional way of walking for a man and woman is when a woman puts her hand around the man’s arm. Although it sounds unusual, you will love it!
Courting and gifts: Traditionally after a date in Ukraine a gentleman takes a lady home. If he cannot do so, he calls a taxi and pays for the ride home. Sometimes when he wants to be really nice he pays for both ways. If a lady comes to meet you from a different city, it is also nice of you to offer her to help with the transport expenses.
Everybody likes to receive gifts, and Ukrainian women are no exception. When sending your thoughtful gifts to ladies, please do remember the saying “it is the thought that counts”. Do not send extra expensive gifts to a person you have never seen. But remembering about your lady’s birthday, about an International, or even better Ukrainian holiday
, would be very thoughtful.
Space: the traditional American “give me some space” might be difficult in Ukraine. Apartments are smaller, the public transportation is overcrowded and very often you will find people being closer to you than you like. That is OK. You could always use taxis for transportation since the ride is usually very inexpensive (only a few dollars for a short ride). When you come to meet your lady, choose to rent a personal apartment. This way although spending all the time with her, you would have your own space for retreat.
Smoking and drinking alcohol: Unfortunately it is legal in Ukraine to sell alcohol and cigarettes in ordinary stores and even little kiosks on the street. Drinking alcohol and smoking in public places is also legal, although some people might frown on that. Being exposed from the early age to smoking and drinking, Ukrainians do in fact smoke and drink more than average Westerners. Unfortunately it is still considered “cool” for teenagers to smoke.
Internet International Dating: Although more people have access to Internet in Ukraine nowadays and many people get acquainted locally with the help of Internet, International Internet dating is still treated with doubt. Lack of knowledge and lots of fear of looking for a husband from abroad look very hopeful but unrealistic for most of the ladies.
Dear gentlemen, we have to ask you to be more real for our ladies too. Even in spite of the time difference, please try to invite your ladies to the Live Chats to make yourself real to each other. If you have a web camera (a $20-$50 investment), you could make it so that the ladies could see your smile and hear your voice. We will shortly have web cameras in all our offices of Unona in Ukraine, so that the girls could come to chat with you at any time.
We wish you best of luck! Be happy and make our girls happy too!
this article was written by Elena Volkova, Vancouver