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What are common Polish character traits?


dolnoslask
15 Dec 2015  #271
"Aren't you generalising a bit?" I probably was and I shouldn't, I need to get out and experience more of Poland, my village may not be really representative of the country as a whole.
Atch 17 | 2,893
15 Dec 2015  #272
I have never seen comments like this, for example, from Russian men about Polish women and I've been discussing with Russians for years...

Well I think Russian men being Slavs would be less inclined to look down on women of another Slavic nation. Despite their political history Poles and Russians seem to like each other on the whole.

I'm just wondering -and don't have a fit, I really am just wondering - did Western men get that impression because of the women from the Eastern bloc who ended up working in the sex industry? A few daft, ignorant guys hear about them or encounter them and they tar all Eastern women with the same brush 'they're all tarts' etc. And it is a sad fact that during Communist times really attractive, well-educated young women were sleeping with tourists for things like a few cartons of fags. I know it hurts to acknowledge that but it did happen. So an image is created that is hard to shake off. It's the same with women from Thailand for example. I know two guys married to Thai girls whom they met quite legitimately, one met his wife in Ireland and the other was living in Thailand when he met his, but people automatically assume that they 'bought' their wives on the internet.
dolnoslask
15 Dec 2015  #273
Atch " Your parents' generation grew up in a different Poland" very good point, maybe that's why somethings don't add up for me here, but don't get me wrong I do love the country and the people, I fell safe and at home here, and for the first time in my life people can say my name and write it down without me having to spell it out, might seem like a small point but it makes me and the wife smile each time.
Atch 17 | 2,893
15 Dec 2015  #274
for the first time in my life people can say my name and write it down without me having to spell it out, might seem like a small point

I understand completely. I'm Irish but my husband is Polish. We met in Ireland and one thing he could never get used to was the 'how do you spell that?' not just for foreign names but for Irish ones! You know in Ireland we have so many variations of spellings for surnames and even place names and nothing is spelt the way it sounds. Polish phonetics are a beautiful thing!
Paulina 9 | 1,448
15 Dec 2015  #275
Well I think Russian men being Slavs would be less inclined to look down on women of another Slavic nation.

So you would say Westerners are likely to look down on Slavs?

Despite their political history Poles and Russians seem to like each other on the whole.

Russian men have some slight fascination with Polish women sometimes, at least those who grew up in the communist times, from what I've noticed. Maybe it's because of all those Polish actresses who played in Soviet films.

They (and Poles) are also (surprisingly, I guess) more respectful and... I don't know... more gentlemanlike towards women than British men, for example (at least that's my observation).

did Western men get that impression because of the women from the Eastern bloc who ended up working in the sex industry?

That would be my guess, but you would have to ask those men, not me...

Btw, Atch, you're not being terribly polite by writing about my "fits" all the time, just saying... :P

So an image is created that is hard to shake off.

Atch, I don't care why this image came into being. It's no excuse. Women shouldn't be treated like this.
One of my friends worked as a waitress and lived in a room over a restaurant in which she worked in Italy. The owner had a key to her room and one night he was trying to get inside. She had to block the door with furniture so he wouldn't get in. That was f*cking scary for her!
Atch 17 | 2,893
15 Dec 2015  #276
So you would say Westerners are likely to look down on Slavs?

I think you're being deliberately obtuse. It was you who suggested that and I was responding to your statements:

most of them experienced sexual harassment and vulgar, offensive name calling by Western men when they were over there.

the stereotypes and prejudices about Polish women being repeated by Western men

it's the Polish and Eastern European women that seem to have such "reputation" in the West

Now on to other things.

more gentlemanlike towards women than British men, for example (at least that's my observation).

Now you see I would think the opposite. As an Irish woman I would find Irish men much more respectful towards women than Polish men (my own kochany mąź excepted of course!). Polish men lech over women quite a bit in my experience. You don't generally see Irish guys cruising and kerb crawling on Saturday afternoons, calling out to lone females through their car windows, Latino style 'Hey baby, wanna have some fun?' yadda yadda, you know the vibe. And as for the old fellas, Holy Mary, Mother of God, I was gobsmacked. Never mind all that opening doors and kissing hands, the way they stare at women and give them the up, down, head to toe inspection.

Atch, I don't care why this image came into being.

No problem, but I do find the 'why' of things interesting.

Italy.

Now that's interesting. I wouldn't consider Italy to be the 'West' anymore than Spain or Greece or many other Mediterranean countries.
Ironside 48 | 9,801
15 Dec 2015  #277
I think you're being deliberately obtuse

No, Atch some people are just that sensitive on some issues which others find debatable or immaterial. It is more common that you may thunk.

Polish men lech over women quite a bit in my experience

That is a compliment for woman femininity and attractiveness, a something rather quite different to a vulgar catcalls. :)
TheOther 5 | 3,801
15 Dec 2015  #278
I really am just wondering - did Western men get that impression because of the women from the Eastern bloc who ended up working in the sex industry?

The answer is actually quite simple and has nothing to do with the sex industry. Two reasons, the first being that many women in the Eastern Bloc - especially in Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia - had a much more "relaxed" attitude towards sex than their western counterparts. Second, in the early to mid 1980's, western men travelling in communist countries were at a very big advantage when it came to buying power. Everything was dirt cheap compared to the west and hard currencies were highly sought after, because they could buy you almost anything in the east. Very attractive to a lot of women of that era, and that's pretty much how they earned their reputation of being "easy picks".
Atch 17 | 2,893
16 Dec 2015  #279
Second, in the early to mid 1980's, western men travelling in communist countries were at a very big advantage when it came to buying power.

Very attractive to a lot of women of that era,

Yes I know, I made that point myself.

it is a sad fact that during Communist times really attractive, well-educated young women were sleeping with tourists for things like a few cartons of fags.

many women in the Eastern Bloc - especially in Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia - had a much more "relaxed" attitude towards sex

I'm also aware of that but it's a point that I think many women from that part of the world would dispute and probably find offensive. Certainly from what my husband tells me, being sexually active from the age of about fourteen was common. He does stress that it wasn't all girls, by any means but that it wasn't unusual. On a mild level, stuff like playing strip poker, going skinny dipping etc was considered the norm. Probably no different to teenagers in many parts of the world.
TheOther 5 | 3,801
16 Dec 2015  #280
Yes I know, I made that point myself.

Not really, because women at that time were not so cheap that they would hit the sack with you for a pack of cigarettes, and they certainly didn't prostitute themselves (well, some did, but they were mostly government employed). The "attraction" of western currencies was mostly based on the fact that dollars and DM were the inofficial currencies of many countries in the Eastern Bloc, and they would buy you goods and privileges that weren't available to anyone without. No wonder that quite a few ladies took advantage of acquaintances from the west.

I think many women from that part of the world would dispute and probably find offensive

Probably, but most of them didn't have the opportunity to compare the East to the West to tell the difference.

Probably no different to teenagers in many parts of the world.

Societies in the west were already quite liberal when it came to sex (including the Irish gals spending their vacation in Spain...), but those in the east were a little different in that respect. Sex was not so much a commercially exploited "fashion", but something more natural which was simply a part of life as it should be. Relaxed, as I said. It's hard to explain.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
16 Dec 2015  #281
Sex was not so much a commercially exploited "fashion", but something more natural which was simply a part of life as it should be.

yeh I have heard that about East Germany under communism as well. The lack of advertising images allowed people to express their sexuality in a more natural way....
TheOther 5 | 3,801
16 Dec 2015  #282
I have heard that about East Germany under communism as well.

Same in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, don't know about Poland.
Atch 17 | 2,893
16 Dec 2015  #283
women at that time were not so cheap that they would hit the sack with you for a pack of cigarettes, and they certainly didn't prostitute themselves

Read this:
independent.ie/entertainment/books/the-fai-blazer-who-bought-a-polish-girl-for-a-bottle-of-scotch-29633275.html
Eamon Dunphy was a top Irish soccer player and is a household name as a sports broadcaster in Ireland, not very well liked as he's extremely forthright but he is generally honest.
TheOther 5 | 3,801
16 Dec 2015  #284
Read this:

Well, there are always exceptions to the rule, I guess - male douchebags and slutty sheilas included.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
17 Dec 2015  #285
I think you're being deliberately obtuse.

I'm asking a question, Atch :) You wrote that "Russian men being Slavs would be less inclined to look down on women of another Slavic nation". That would suggest that non-Slavs would be more inclined to look down on Slavs? Why would that be? Slavs look down on other Slavs too, for various reasons lol Some Russians look down on Poles, but for different reasons than Westerners. Some Poles look down on Russians also, usually for similar reasons for which Westerners look down on Poles, funnily enough. Some Czechs look down on Poles, allegedly, because the Czechs are atheists and Poles are religious.

Everybody is looking down on somebody in this world, I'm afraid :)

It was you who suggested that

No, I didn't. I wrote that there's a stereotype concerning Polish and Eastern European women in the West. Eastern European doesn't equal "Slavic".

As an Irish woman I would find Irish men much more respectful towards women than Polish men

But I didn't write about Irish men. I wrote about British men. I have nothing to say about Irish men because I haven't met any, as far as I know, and on PF they seem to be in minority.

(my own kochany mąź excepted of course!).

Of course! lol
Some Westerners get married only to the exceptions to the rule among the Polish nation, it seems ;)))

Polish men lech over women quite a bit in my experience.

What do you mean by that?

You don't generally see Irish guys cruising and kerb crawling on Saturday afternoons, calling out to lone females through their car windows, Latino style 'Hey baby, wanna have some fun?

I don't generally see Polish men doing that either o_O Where did you see that?
As for the vibe - I know it, because I've experienced it myself. Not in Poland though. I've experienced it in Italy (fortunately I didn't know Italian so I didn't know what they were shouting at me lol). Polish men are nothing like this, at least where I live.

And as for the old fellas, Holy Mary, Mother of God, I was gobsmacked.

Again, I haven't observed any such a thing... Unless you mean some nasty old grandpas in some God-forgotten village then maybe you're right.

Btw, I can spot a Westerner only by the disturbing way they look at the women here in Poland. I've already written about this on PF once. A Polish guy, if he passes by a beautiful woman he turns his head once after her and that's it. In case of Western men - they gape into women as if they haven't seen a woman in their lives. The woman doesn't even have to be beautiful - which puzzles me even more. Even if a man is young and handsome and walking with and talking to a pretty girl already he would be looking for an eye contact with the woman passing by them. For me that's sleazy, tbh.

No problem, but I do find the 'why' of things interesting.

Atch, to be honest, I had an impression that you were justifying those men in a way. And that you were being "deliberately obtuse" yourself.

I think the reason "why" is pretty obvious - you gave an example yourself - Thailand.
The tables are turned, for example, in Egypt. In Egypt it's the Polish women who are sex tourists nowadays. The reason is simple - economic situation in Egypt. One Polish woman who is married to an Egyptian man and lives in Sharm el-Sheikh, a city tailored for tourists, wrote on her blog that in November this year (the bombing of that Russian airplane was a big blow for tourism) an Egyptian man approached her Polish acquaintance at the Old Market and simply asked whether she needs "a slave". This guy was so desperate because of unemployment that he was ready to do anything for some food and a roof over his head.

It's always going to be like that with poorer vs richer countries.
But some men somehow refuse to realise this and think that it's somehow a "character trait" of Polish/Slavic/Eastern European women. And that's what I'm against.

Now that's interesting.

Why is that? Most of the women I wrote about were sexually harassed in the UK and only one in Italy.

I wouldn't consider Italy to be the 'West' anymore than Spain or Greece or many other Mediterranean countries.

Why not? Was there some tectonic break up of Europe and those countries floated somewhere else? ;)

many women in the Eastern Bloc - especially in Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia - had a much more "relaxed" attitude towards sex than their western counterparts.

I don't know about "relaxed" attitude towards sex, to be honest, I was too young for that.
Lately I've seen a documentary about Polish martial law refugees on TVP1 and one of them returned for a brief moment with a Western humanitarian aid convoy to Poland and she said that the poverty was terrible. I myself remember, when I was a little kid, standing in a long line after meat in "sklep mięsny" with a stamp on my hand to prove that I'm "legally" in the line lol I remember the times when it was difficult to get toilet paper :/ I even remember being angry at my dad that he didn't bring it - I was convinced that he just didn't try hard enough to get it ;/ I was just a silly kid, little did I know...

So I'm not surprised, people could be pretty desperate.

TheOther, even if people in the communist countries had a more "relaxed" attitude towards sex than their western counterparts, I think what followed after the fall of communism was probably more crucial. Economic situation in Poland was dismal. In Russia it was even worse. Poles would try to get into the West to find work, legally or illegally, and, hence, sex trafficking was rife. Polish women would end up in brothels in the West and Russian women in Turkey. Apparently, Russian female name "Natasha" is a word for a prostitute in Turkey.

Nowadays, it's mainly the Romanian women who are sex trafficked in the West, apparently, judging by what I found out by watching Euronews

There were articles, documentaries about this stuff, films - for example: "Your Name Is Justine", "Trade" with Kevin Kline and a Polish actress - I recommend the second one especially. Apparently it was based on this article:

nytimes.com/2004/01/25/magazine/the-girls-next-door.html?_r=0

"dozens of active stash houses and apartments in the New York metropolitan area -- mirroring hundreds more in other major cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago -- where under-age girls and young women from dozens of countries are trafficked and held captive. Most of them -- whether they started out in Eastern Europe or Latin America -- are taken to the United States through Mexico. Some of them have been baited by promises of legitimate jobs and a better life in America; many have been abducted; others have been bought from or abandoned by their impoverished families."

I really recommend reading the article, it's long but it's quite an eye opener. I needed a week to recover after watching that film "Trade". I must say I've seen a few documentaries on this topic about different countries and the extent of evil, cruelty and filth in this world is unbelievable.

So, to sum it up, I suspect it probably has a lot to do with the sex industry, actually.

I'm also aware of that but it's a point that I think many women from that part of the world would dispute and probably find offensive.

Why offensive?

Read this:[/url]

I'm not sure what's your point? It's not like there weren't women prostituting themselves in communist Poland lol Of course it was a taboo for communist governments because prostitution was seen as a capitalist exploitation of women but it doesn't mean that there weren't any people ready to sell their bodies for whatever they needed.

It's just in the West prostitutes had higher expectations in the payment department, for obvious reasons, I imagine and as TheOther wrote there were many things you couldn't get without Western currency. It probably can be hard to imagine for someone born in the West, but in those times a bottle of Scotch, a box of Western ciggarattes, a pair of jeans, a vinyl with Western music or simply dollars were "something", a kind of a "holy grail" in a way ;)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_Girl_(2012_film) - Sweedish film about what was going on in the 1970s, I've watched it on AleKino! some time ago, pretty gross stuff, especially that it's based on real political scandal.

After all, it's allegedly the oldest profession in the world and it was and it is present in whatever country and under whichever political system and regime.
Atch 17 | 2,893
17 Dec 2015  #286
Paulina I sense you're seeking a sparring partner and I really don't have the time or inclination for that. However I'll do you the courtesy of a brief response.

That would suggest that non-Slavs would be more inclined to look down on Slavs? Why would that be?

As far as I'm concerned I already addressed that.

I wrote about British men

You mentioned that your friends were in the UK but you spoke of what you term 'Western' men or 'Westerners'.

Some Westerners get married only to the exceptions to the rule among the Polish nation, it seems ;)))

I get your point. Let's just say that like so many women I've done a lot of work on him to bring him up to scratch - but the raw material was there to begin with!

I don't generally see Polish men doing that either o_O Where did you see that?

Warsaw, Wrocław, a few places.

Polish men are nothing like this

Some are. I was never approached that way in Ireland but I was, more than once in Poland.

Again, I haven't observed any such a thing..

Well it's true. I remember once I was waiting to cross the road in central Warsaw and there was a guy, well over sixty I'd say, standing beside me and quite blatantly inspecting me. Now it had happened so often in the past I'd just had enough so I turned to him and said in English, 'that's right have a good old gawp, God Almighty' or something along those lines.

a Westerner

You use that word a lot and it's meaningless. There is no such thing, any more than there is an Easterner. People from Western Europe are of different nationalities and cultures. Are you an Easterner Paulina? or a Centraler???

Was there some tectonic break up of Europe and those countries floated somewhere else? ;)

Italy, Spain et al are politically less democratic and economically less stable. Would you really say that Italy was in the same category as Sweden for example? A lot of talk about East and West here but Northern and Southern Europe are two very different kettles of fish.

Why offensive?

Use your common sense.

a bottle of Scotch, a box of Western ciggarattes, a pair of jeans, a vinyl with Western music or simply dollars were "something", a kind of a "holy grail" in a way ;)

Of course I can understand that.

present in whatever country and under whichever political system and regime.

Absolutely but the country under discussion was Poland.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
17 Dec 2015  #287
Paulina I sense you're seeking a sparring partner and I really don't have the time or inclination for that.

No, I'm discussing. The fact that I don't always agree with you doesn't mean that I'm seeking a sparring partner or whatever.

You mentioned that your friends were in the UK but you spoke of what you term 'Western' men or 'Westerners'.

I wrote: "They (and Poles) are also (surprisingly, I guess) more respectful and... I don't know... more gentlemanlike towards women than British men, for example (at least that's my observation)."

You wrote about Irish men being more respectful towards women than Poles and I pointed out that I was writing about British men, not Irish men.

I get your point.

No, I think you understood me in the opposite way than my intention was... ;) But nevermind.

Warsaw, Wrocław, a few places.

Lots of must have changed since the time I visited Warsaw and Wrocław the last time, because I haven't observed anything like this - not even once.

Some are. I was never approached that way in Ireland but I was, more than once in Poland.

Well, then I must say I'm honestly surprised. If it was so commonplace as you write I would have notice something like this, I would think.

there was a guy, well over sixty I'd say, standing beside me and quite blatantly inspecting me

Atch, maybe you're simply some stunning beauty by Polish standards :D

There is no such thing, any more than there is an Easterner.

Of course there is and it's not meaningless. Russians use the word "Westerners" all the time :) I've adopted it from them because of the West vs "Eastern Europe" divide that I see all the time on this forum and elsewhere.

People from Western Europe are of different nationalities and cultures.

Atch, you just wrote that Italy and some other countries aren't "the West" anymore, according to you. So is there something called "the West" or isn't there? Because if there is, that would mean there are also the Westerners.

Are you an Easterner Paulina? or a Centraler???

As a Pole I'm usually considered by the Westerners to be an Eastern European :)

A lot of talk about East and West here but Northern and Southern Europe are two very different kettles of fish.

That's right, I was told in Italy, I think, that the Northerners look down on Southerners. So there's not only the division into the West and the East of Europe, but also into the North and the South. And my impression is that according to Northern Westerners the East is worse than the South in this hierarchy :) We're in the worst "category" as far as Europe is concerned, as you put it :)

Use your common sense.

Well, I'm not sure what's wrong in having a relaxed attitude towards sex. Isn't it something that liberal Western societies are proud of? Because that would be my impression from what some British men were writing here (they were complaining, for example, that Polish women are too "vanilla" and not sexually liberated enough because of their Catholic upbringing, according to them, etc. etc.).

Absolutely but the country under discussion was Poland.

But you made it look like it was somehow something unusual :) At least that was my impression.
Atch 17 | 2,893
17 Dec 2015  #288
You wrote about Irish men being more respectful towards women than Poles and I pointed out that I was writing about British men, not Irish men.

Yes, you're right.

If it was so commonplace as you write I would have notice something like this,

Well I'm not making it up.

maybe you're simply some stunning beauty by Polish standards :D

My husband would say so!

some other countries aren't "the West" anymore,

Anymore? They never were.By the way note the significance of the air bunnies. No, there's no such thing as the West. It's an invention.

liberal Western societies

And there we go again.

We're in the worst "category" as far as Europe is concerned, as you put it

Paulina, I have absolutely no interest in all this East West North South lark, that's your thing. My true interests are butterflies, rainbows, flowers, kittens and embroidery.

Now the day is wearing on and I must go and do something fabulous darling.
G (undercover)
17 Dec 2015  #289
'Hey baby, wanna have some fun?'

Perhaps you just look like you wanna have some fun ?
Ziemowit 12 | 3,618
17 Dec 2015  #290
No, there's no such thing as the West. It's an invention.

Yes, it may be a common Polish character trait to think in terms of "the West" or "the East". But on the other hand, where did you get such terms as "the Near East", "the Middle East" or "the Far East" from? These terms have not been invented in Poland. Clearly, people who invented those terms must have thought of themselves as being "the West".
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
17 Dec 2015  #291
Thought that I'd butt in, we Poles are very patriotic. We seem to have this mindflex that 'Polish stuff's the best'. That is why many of us living abroad buy from Poland.

We also hate every country that's hosting us, this is generally true (but is also partially a joke) >:) . We usually have a great sense of humor (this cannot be said about me or my mother) and we also take Easter more seriously than others.

In short, we're just Poles.
TheOther 5 | 3,801
17 Dec 2015  #292
So, to sum it up, I suspect it probably has a lot to do with the sex industry, actually.

Maybe there were two different phases in which the reputation of women from the East developed? Communist times in the 1980's when being "friendly" to westerners could have its advantages, and the post-1989 era when some of these women were exploited by the sex industry. Either way: we have to be careful not to generalize too much, because we are only talking about a small percentage of the female population.

I really recommend reading the article

I'll check it out, thanks for the link.

it may be a common Polish character trait to think in terms of "the West" or "the East".

I believe that most Europeans who can remember the Cold War will do that.

My true interests are butterflies, rainbows, flowers, kittens and embroidery.

You forgot unicorns... ;)
Atch 17 | 2,893
18 Dec 2015  #293
These terms have not been invented in Poland.

I never suggested that they were. They're just handy labels that people the world over use.

You forgot unicorns... ;)

Well firstly they're tacky, secondly they're mildly hideous, and thirdly - unlike the other delights I mentioned, they don't actually exist!
TheOther 5 | 3,801
18 Dec 2015  #294
Many kids will disagree with you here...
webi11
25 Jan 2017  #295
everybody is the center of the world wherever and whenever they are there.

not polish. italian

like a timex. take a likkin' and keep on tikkin'.

sven
dreamvendor
17 Jun 2018  #296
Stubborness, overdrinking, whining and complaining, thievery, shyness with women, chauvinism, prudery, lack of fashion sense, overly religious and too Catholic, mama's boys, sarcastic.......excuse me but let's get real, these are not Polish traits and characteristics, these are HUMAN TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS. You cannot attribute one race or ethnic group as having the monopoly on what ALL races, ethnic and religious groups already possess. Everybody, no matter who they are or what gender or what their ethnic background or culture is, brings to the table the very same traits and characteristics that are being attributed by some of the posters here as TYPICALLY Polish. You cannot paint and tar all Poles with the same brush of stereotyping. You do a disservice to HUMANITY as a whole. People are People. Stereotyping leads to dehumanizing and objectifying people, which then leads to divisiveness, war and genocide. Has everyone forgotten the genocide in Rwanda, the genocide in the former Yugoslavia, the Holocaust of the Jews of Europe? How did that **** get started? With this same me vs. them, them vs. us mentality.
johnny reb 17 | 3,893
17 Feb 2019  #297
Stubborness, overdrinking, whining and complaining, thievery, shyness with women, chauvinism, prudery

Wow, that pretty much sums it up doesn't it.
Grumbling and complaining all day every day.
Very family oriented and jealous.
Good cooks and generally very loud talking.
Nosey wanting to know everyone's private business to gossip with but keeping their private business to themselves..
Always trying to show each other up.
That's a typical Pole alright.
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,632
17 Feb 2019  #298
JR, thanks for reminding me again why I left everything behind and didn't return until half a century later.
Chemikiem 6 | 2,066
17 Feb 2019  #299
I notice that he conveniently omitted the rest of the quote.

.excuse me but let's get real, these are not Polish traits and characteristics, these are HUMAN TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS

Exactly.
Some people are only happy when they're trolling.
pawian 161 | 9,986
17 Feb 2019  #300
JR, thanks for reminding me again why I left everything behind and didn't return until half a century later.

Guys, you obviously lack one important trait - a sense of humour. Don`t be so dead serious about other bad Poles, can`t you take a little joke? :)


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