Waiting for love
Slovenia is located right next to Italy, but there are definitely some stereotypes that the Slovenians do not share with the Italians. Italians are said to be romantic and seductive. Very little of that applies to the Slovenes, who seem to have some difficulties in expressing their appreciation of the person they fancy.
Aljosa (28, photo) will do exactly nothing if he likes a girl. `I am not that kind of person`, he says, adding that he will neither look for eye contact, nor start a conversation with her, or try to get her phone number. `I won`t try to arrange to see her again, I will just wait for that to happen. I think there must be some kind of energy between us to make that happy. If another guy is quicker and a bit straightforward, he may run of with the girl, but I won`t consider that a loss. That`s just the way things happen.`
..counts on energy to find a girlfriend
Slovenians are not very much helped by the prevailing greeting etiquettes. Whenever they meet in groups, which is the usual strategy for a night out, men might shake hands, girls might hug, but it is highly unlikely that people will start kissing each other. The more likely greeting is a simple `hi` or a `hej, let`s go`. Aljosa thinks that he could only get away with kissing the girls once: `They may then take it as a compliment or just something out of the ordinary. If I did it again the next time, they would probably get annoyed and find it unnecessary.`
Aljosa further explains: `Of course, there are some of these typical guys who can get away with just about everything. They will just walk up to a girl and ask what they want from her. Some girls may like it, but most of them probably won`t. Only when there`s a lot of alcohol involved, strategies like these may work. The best way is to organise something through your group of friends: they may help you get in contact with a girl from another group, or make sure that the girl of your choice will be present again next time the group meets.`
Tina (25) would prefer to have a soulmate rather than somebody who surprises her by his romantic approach. `Getting together is more of a process than something that just happens. It`s nice to have so many technologies to avoid speaking face-to-face. SMS, e-mail and internet websites are perfect excuses to use a more indirect approach. Otherwise, the best way is to keep meeting up with friends and making sure that there are fewer people every time you meet up. Eventually it will just be the two of you. Then you might go for a drink, the next time for a meal, then for a walk.. One-night stands certainly exist, but I don`t think they are as common as people think. We don`t live in an American TV series here.`
Tina thinks that many Slovenian guys are too shy to approach a girl. She does understand why: `Girls often gather in groups and they are not always very open to somebody stepping up to them. They may joke or even offend the guy in question, sending him off alone. Which is not very encouraging, and neither is the standard way of going out: sitting down, group by group and with little interaction between them.`
Tilen (24) thinks that Slovenians have just as many problems breaking up as they have difficulties getting together. `Both are usually very gradual processes. At the end of the relation, it will be on-off, with common friends to take into consideration and many unpleasant decisions to be taken.
Nina (23) has been with her boyfriend for quite a while and cannot remember that she ever asked a boy out for a coffee. Like Aljosa, she doesn`t consider herself `the kind of person` to do something like that. Nina explains that many people now use the internet to get together. `I had a few of these things going on when I was younger, but that`s a long time ago.`
Another Nina (also 23) thinks that some people are starting to drown in their digital identity. `They create this image of who they have always wanted to be. They make themselves so much more interesting than they really are, and the on-line life starts to suit them better than reality. I find that quite scary.`
Nina continues by telling that Slovenian men are not very romantic, but they are not expected to be either. `Some guys just make a fool out of themselves trying to be romantic. If it`s not part of their personality, it just makes them look ridiculous. Only foreigners can get away with it. A Slovenian who is too friendly will be cuker naraste: too sweet or even cheesy. Apart from that, they are usually too cowardice to say anything at all before they get drunk.`
`I love you` in Slovenian is not used in the same way as in Italy. Nina calls it `a nice phrase for your wedding day: `It`s not even very likely a Slovenian will tell his boyfriend or girlfriend: I like you. The best compliment would be to day `Si my vredu`, meaning something like `you are cool`. And the appropriate reaction is to smile or say thank you.`
`It is surprising how many couples decide to stay together, even if they have already found out that they are no longer very fond of each other`, Nina says. `They are just scared of ending up lonely and single, a feeling some already start to have at the age of 24. They stay together, simply hoping to avoid going through the entire matchmaking process again.`
Whoever is now tempted to believe that love doesn`t exist in Slovenia, here`s some proof of the opposite. Matej (18) and Tamara (18) got together two years ago when they turned out to living in the same student dorm. `We talked a lot for about fourteen days. Then after that, he told me that he liked me and the next day I told him the same. Nothing happened yet at that time, but there was a summer party the next day, and we danced together and kissed`, Tamara tells.
Urska (22) and Dejan (22) met at a birthday party of a mutual friend. `The guy celebrating his birthday told me that I should come to his birthday party because maybe I would like somebody. I don`t think he specifically meant Dejan, but we did like each other. We first talked about sports and drank a lot. Then we kissed and a week later, we decided that we would be together. That`s about a month ago now`, Urska says with a smile.
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