During the customary introductions, she told us she was here as part of her university studies, and over the next six weeks would be conducting an anthropological study into the Serbian dating scene.On that note, she wanted to know if we had any single male Serbian friends interested in taking her out. With no 'data collection samples’ to suggest, we watched her wander off, no doubt in search of an eligible case study.This expectation of all-out glamour is hard to compete with, especially when what is deemed attractive among 20-somethings back home in Australia is looking as if you put in minimal effort but you happen to look good.In Serbia, however, the effort shows, and it is meant to.As for my friends from outside of Serbia, they mainly just want to know if Serbian men are similar to Russians... In Serbia, it seems traditional dating customs hold strong, manners are not forgotten and chivalry is not dead.Perhaps I am used to the norms of London living, but I am always surprised and impressed when here there is no discussion on splitting the bill and your date always makes sure you get home safe.A friend and I were recently in a café in my neighbourhood when a young Canadian girl approached us and introduced herself.
When I told him Sagittarius, he smirked and said "the same as my dad." There was no elaboration, and I still have no idea about its relevance, but apparently it's a big deal. I had been forewarned by a colleague about this phenomenon of 'the astrology question', but had assumed it was an exaggeration.
It got me thinking about my own experiences when being courted by Serbian men, and how different, if at all, it really is. Locals are mainly interested in how their fellow Serbs have behaved and whether they have shown themselves in a good light, largely because of their consciousness of their international image.
Countless times, I have been told by Serbs that they believe they are perceived globally as 'the bad guys', a possible legacy from the wars and one allegedly propagated by film.
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They also have an uncanny ability to wear six-inch heels in all weather and on all surfaces - including the cobbled Skadarska Street.