UKRAINIAN ETIQUETTE AND DATING BEHAVIOR
When in Ukraine, do as well-behaved foreign guests do. If you are a Western man who is visiting Ukraine for the first time to meet his Ukrainian woman friend, you may find the entire experience confusing. A little knowledge of Ukrainian behaviors and etiquette could go a long way towards impressing that special Ukrainian woman.
Below are a few rules of etiquette that could save you a lot of embarrassment and trouble:
Following these rules, may avoid embarrassment
- If invited into a family home, it is traditional to bring a gift. A bottle of wine, a cake, chocolates or a bouquet of flowers is customary. If there is a child in the house, it is appropriate to provide him/her with a small gift as well.
- Do not shake hands across the threshold of a door. It is considered bad luck.
- When shaking hands, take off your gloves.
- In Ukraine it is not a custom to shake hands with a woman. Kissing her hand will make you very gallant.
- Be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering a home. To keep apartments clean, most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers.
- On public transportation, give your seat to mothers with children, the elderly, or the infirm.
- At the entrance of upscale restaurants, expect that your coat, briefcase or baggage will be checked.
- Have business cards printed in Ukrainian on one side and English on the other.
- When eating dinner at someone's home, casual dress is accepted.
- If you bring flowers, make sure it is an uneven number (even are for funerals) of flowers.
- Be ready to give toasts at dinner, for guests are often asked to do so.
- Offer to share your snacks and cigarettes with those around you.
- Be prepared to accept all food and drink offered you when visiting friends.
- Ukrainians are known for their generosity when it comes to feeding others. Turning down food - may be considered rude.
- For business, dress should be conservative. Men should not take off their jackets unless asked to do so.
- In Orthodox churches women wear scarves or hats, and men take off their hats.
- Don't put your thumb between your first two fingers - this is a very rude gesture.
Ukrainian Flower Etiquette
If you bring flowers, make sure it is an uneven number of flowers and also make sure when you send flowers to your lady that they are uneven too. (Yes it is a custom in the Ukraine to send uneven numbers of flowers because in their Culture the even number of flowers is usually given to someone as a sign of your condolence (Most bring such Bouquets to a funeral) and this could upset your lady or she might not like it. One should be also careful with presenting yellow flowers as this color has falseness meaning. If you will send just yellow flowers to your lady she can decide about your parting.
Old Fashioned Dating behaviors
One will find that most Ukrainian women, in all other cities in Ukraine, are modern thinking, though they do follow some dating behaviors which may be considered old-fashioned by Western standards. These cultural differences add a certain amount of charm to these beautiful ladies. Below are listed some of the more common dating behaviors that are considered the norm in Ukraine:
Bring flowers - Flowers play a much more important role in Ukraine than they do in the West. A single rose is appropriate for a first date. If you meet your lady's family, be sure to bring flowers to her mother.
Dress your best - Ukrainian citizens do not share the altruistic "looks aren't important" mentality that has spread through the West. First impressions are very important to them. You will notice that on the street, people will look first at your clothes, then at your face.
Offer your lady your arm - Usually, men and women do not hold hands in Ukraine when they walk together. Instead, the woman takes the man's arm. Be sure you always offer your arm to your lady when you cross the street. Help your lady onto/off of vehicles. Many Westerners are not accustomed to using public transportation systems and forget this courtesy. When the two of you get onto or off of buses, trams, taxis, etc., always extend your hand to help your lady.
Always do the pouring - When at dinner or at a bar, always make sure that your lady's glass is full. The man always does the pouring. This is an old custom but very deeply ingrained. If you forget to do this, she may think you have no table manners.
Drinking – One of the main reasons Ukrainian ladies are interested in Western men is that alcoholism runs as much as 50% among males in this part of the world, which causes them to be less than desirable husbands. Therefore, when it comes to drinking, you should always show moderation and self-control.
Attitudes about sex - You will find that Ukrainian women have the same (i.e., modern) attitudes about sex as Westerners do. Specifically a few will engage in sex on the first date, a few will not engage in it until they are married, but the vast majority fall somewhere between these two extremes - they will have sex when they feel that a certain level of mutual caring and trust has developed in the relationship.
Asking for her hand - It is still an accepted Ukrainian custom to ask the woman's parents for her hand in marriage. If geographic distance is a problem, consider a phone call. Your fiancé' may not think this is important or even want you to ask her parents, but at least make the offer. Remember, if the woman still lives with her parents, you do not want to offend them by failing to respect an old Ukrainian custom. Starting off on the wrong foot could land your leather-shod paw in your mouth.