I’ve done a few blogs on Balkan stereotypes, and I feel that it’s time to progress into some more useful information: how to date a Balkan man.
Let’s be honest: they’re charmingly sexy and it’s inevitable that their flirtatious anger and abrupt irritability will bring you back to the good old kindergarten days, when boys used to throw spitballs at the girls they fancied, and the girls got mad but secretly liked it. Their chronic annoyance with everything in life is all an act and more importantly, a challenge. As a whole they are undeniably handsome and irresistibly masculine; but don’t be fooled, they are also the most difficult beings on the face of this planet.
If you ever find yourself in a relationship with a Balkan man, here are a few pointers that can work to your advantage:
Whereas most men respond well to flirting, a Balkan man wants an even greater challenge. If you show interest initially, then him asking you out (when he knows you already like him) means that he is submitting to your demands, and that is unacceptable. Satisfy his competitive nature by letting him think that he won you over. The more abrasive you are, the more intrigued he’ll be.
He’ll want confirmation that you like him, but as soon as he gets it, he’ll pretend not to like you. This is where you return the favor and act uninterested, followed by a period of prolonged patience. He’s not expecting this, as he thinks that he has you hooked. When he completes his 5 stages of grief, he’ll get back into the initial cycle of wanting the challenge. Except this time he knows you mean business.
Be on guard.
Now that he has you, this guy will seriously test your patience. His weird sense of humor will encourage him to annoy you to unimaginable extents, only to laugh at you when you get mad. In his mind he’s “testing your tolerance level”. (He thinks he’s doing legitimate girlfriend-research.) In reality, the only purpose of this is for him to entertain himself; so don’t take it too seriously.
Stock up on alcohol.
The Mayans predict that the world will come to an end in 2012, but if you’re dating a Balkan man, you’ll be experiencing the end of the world a couple times a year (mainly during flu season). This is because when a Balkan man catches a cold, he acts like he’s going to die. The best thing to do is to maintain a steady supply of rakija and cooked wine. After all, his conspiracy theories about the medical industry will cause him to refuse any medicine, and the long drunken naps will silence him to your benefit.
He’s always right.
Except for when he’s wrong, but when he’s wrong he can’t know that he’s wrong because he’ll be in a bad mood for the rest of eternity. Let him think that he’s right no matter what. It’s just the easiest way.
Don’t emasculate him with vegetables.
He’ll think you’re trying to starve him to death and he’ll stop trusting you. If for some reason you want to feed him more vegetables, hide them in stews or slip more of them into the salads that accompany the meat. Similarly, if you have to put him on a diet, don’t tell him he’s on a diet because a permanent frown will appear on his face. Just be creative.
Find your balance.
Balance of what, you ask? Well, you’re going to be expected to be a traditional yet slightly modern, mother of eight children with a perfect yoga-sculpted body. Something between a girl like his mother and a girl that his mother would never approve of; damsel in distress meets femme fatale; burek-maker extraordinaire meets pornstar meets virgin; educated but not educated enough to disprove his opinions; submissive enough to make him feel like the man, but not submissive to the point that it eliminates the challenge. Maintain the challenge, unless he means it, then don’t challenge him. Or do. I don’t know.
… Or, be yourself. And when he realizes that you’re probably the only person willing to put up with him, he’ll accept you the way you are because he doesn’t want to die alone.
Get along with his mother.
But not too well, because then he’ll feel ganged up on and he’ll rebel against both of you. Regardless, he’s a Balkan man and he loves his mommy, so be nice to her. Her being nice to you is a bonus; don’t think you’re entitled to such treatment. After all, you stole her baby and you suck at ironing. She has every right to hate you.
And finally, be strategic with your battles.
Whereas most men become mellowed with guilt when they know you’re mad at them, Balkan men are quite the opposite. Regardless of the reason, you being mad at them will turn into them being mad at you for being mad at them. To deal with the complex nature of fighting with Balkan men, your anger towards them is to be divided into 3 categories and dealt with accordingly.
1.The subliminal fight
If you’re only slightly mad at him and feel that your reason isn’t worth the major argument that is bound to follow, hide the salt or the remote control. Without realizing it, he will learn to associate whatever he did to anger you with being miserable and incomplete.
2. The silent treatment
This is for when you’re mad at him but not mad enough to go to war with him. The silent treatment will genuinely drive him crazy; it leaves him at an unpredictable phase and unpredictability indicates a loss of control on his part. Stay strong.
Despite the name of this category, you’re not actually going to kill him. You’re just going to blow up with anger to the extent that he thinks you’re going to kill him. This is in fact the only way to argue with a Balkan man, because the only way he’ll get the point is out of fear. Make him scared for your sanity or lack thereof, and he’ll learn faster than you think.
There you have it, a guide for dating Balkan men. I want to remind everyone that in reality I have nothing against Balkan men and will probably breed a few more of them in the future (you’re welcome / I’m sorry). That being said, good luck to you, to your Balkan man, and to your incredibly difficult dating life ahead.
The article was originally written in English.
Photo Credit: Christian G. Marra
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