Tuesday, June 18, 2013

About My Culture- The Eastern European- Part II

Welcome back to PART 2

                             here is  Part I in case you missed it :) 


Different cultures.
Somethings you/I do may seem rude. Mostly is unintended. It gets to be funny if talked about it. Here are "some" of the differences I have seen in US from where I grew up. 

This time I am going to start with the DO NOT section 

                  DO NOT  
Do not stand with your hands in your pockets. This is considered rude. 
Avoid shaking hands and giving things across a threshold of a house, room, or office.  It is best to cross the threshold completely before shaking a host's hand when arriving and leaving.   
It is considered rude to point with your finger. It’s better to use the whole hand.  
Putting one’s feet up on the furniture is considered extremely bad form, as is showing the soles of your shoes to someone.  
The American “Ok” sign and thumbs up sign are rude gestures.  
Putting your thumb in between your middle and index finger while making a fist is an obscene gesture.  
When shaking hands with someone, be sure to take off your gloves, as it is considered rude not to. 
Speaking or laughing loudly in public is considered rude, as Russians are generally reserved and somber.

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When in public
 Good grooming and polite deportment is essential, lest one risk being labeled "uncultured" by an elder. Since the collapse of Communism, many young Russians have become rich. Traditionally it was considered good manners to not call attention to oneself. Although wealthy Russians may flaunt their cell phones, wear expensive clothing and jewelry and drive foreign luxury cars, they are often looked down upon by their countrymen for flaunting their wealth.

Negotiations with Russians often involve flared tempers. During negotiations and meetings, temper tantrums and walkouts often occur. 
Night clubs and bars are popular places for students to socialize. Going to sporting events are common as well. There are also many student festivals. 
Drinking is acceptable in designated areas. It is not polite to be excessively drunk in public, but it happens quite often. Smoking is acceptable in designated areas.  
*(There is a 18 year old drinking age, and rarely enforced.  It is common to see preteens, and even younger children, drinking alcoholic drinks) 
Flicking the throat with the index finger can mean, “I want a drink” or “he/she is drunk”.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
No smoking age limit, no club entrance age limit.
*(There are vending machines with cigarettes in many bus stops in the cities)
*(If you are well groomed, clean dressed, semi prepped - for men, you will be allowed to enter the night club. If not, no matter how much money you offer/bribe the bouncer with, he will not let you in)
The clubs stay open mostly 24 hours. Most close when the sun comes up for a few hours.
Many during open to serve breakfast as they make a few small changes from the nightclub to day time locale.
Traditionally men ask women out, but it is acceptable for women to take the initiative. 
Most men do not tend be forward or overly aggressive. Many are passive and shy. 
*(In clubs, when dancing men dance with men and women with women as well, without having the "category of being homosexuals)
*(best friends of any gender do hold hands while walking down the street, again, with no issue) 
Chivalry is still valued. Men are expected to hold the door, offer their seat, offer their coat, etc.
Meeting Etiquette
The typical greeting is a firm, almost bone-crushing handshake while maintaining direct eye contact and giving the appropriate greeting for  the time of day.
When men shake hands with women, the handshake is less firm.
When female friends meet, they kiss on the cheek three times, starting with the left and then alternating.
When close male friends meet, they may pat each other on the back and hug. 
Titles are important and it is best to address people directly by using Mr." Gaspodin", Mrs./Miss " Gaspazhah", followed by the surname.  
One should always wait to be invited to use first names before doing so yourself. 
*(It is very uncommon to call someone else "mom", "sister", "cousin", "auntie" if they are not blood related.
 During conversations, an arm's length of personal space tends to be the norm. 
There is not that much touching during conversations, especially at first meetings.  Friends and family tend to touch more.

 @ Taste Of The World Event.
For more photos visit and "like" Steve Yap Photography page:

 Romantic/Tough Area

Romantic love is acceptable and open, with little stigma for premarital sex or even unplanned pregnancies. Women do not bring the boyfriends to the parents house. They first meet in a "neutral" territory.
During childbirth, men are kept out of the hospital room, and women are expected to stay stoic and refrain from crying or showing pain.
After birth the woman is paid by the state a 3/4 of the salary for 2 years to stay home with the baby.
*(In Bulgaria is 3 years)
During the Communist era, women were expected to work outside the home, but that is changing and now men are stepping again into the roles of providers.
Men bring flowers on dates. They pick the restaurant, pick the best table.
Woman chooses which side to sit.
Men make sure the glass is never empty and yet they do not get drunk. 

When entering a venue:

The man takes his hat off. Women are allowed to keep their headgear on. 

A restaurant, business building, someone's home, theater, always the woman enters first!
  It is rude for the man to enter first or together, in the same time. 
 The only place where the man enters first is in a nightclub and exits after the woman. The explanation for this is: A club is usually for "pick-ups". When the woman enters first, means she is available, she is single, ok for men to approach. When the man enters first then the lady, is a non-verbal way of telling others to back off. 
When exiting the club, the lady exits first then the man- that means they are together. If she exits last, that means that she is available, and men will exit after and approach her outside. 

While inside, a drink is offered as in: "What would you like to drink?" not: "Would you like to drink?"

Also, offer a seat as soon as possible. 

When walking on the street:

The woman is never walking to the road side. 
If she is exposed to the cars, means she is a street walker, shown off by the "pimp".

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part III coming soon.

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