Love Life

Dear Dr. Ovlowska,

I’m a single British woman and I’ve been living in Poland, working as a professional investment banker and financial analyst, for nearly three years. I still haven’t figured out how to behave in order to attract a decent Polish man! I have no problem in my working life, but I cannot make the switch in my private life. What’s wrong with me?


Dear Jenny,

Your dilemma sounds like a typical example of culture clash. Someone like you, from the Western world, probably has a different attitude to sex and relationships than do Poles. International Women’s Day, coming up on 8 March, is a good example of how differently East and West have evolved on certain issues. You are caught up in a game that has seen a strong political message sharpened by the eternal man/woman conundrum.

International Women’s Day became an established feature in countries where Communist or socialist government came to power, including Central and Eastern Europe and the USSR, and was seen as a celebration of women’s contribution to the collectivised state. In the West, however, the growing women’s movement took a very different direction — the enemy was not corrupting capitalism but men in general. ‘Male Chauvinist Pigs’ needed to be put in their place, and women took to wearing shoulder pads in board meetings to show that they were ‘just as good’ as their male colleagues.

Today as an investment banker and financial analyst you may allow yourself the freedom of a neat pencil skirt and a blouse when you go to work, but chances are you drink (lots of ?) red wine, and defiantly keep a dildo in your briefcase to underline your freedom and independence.

How do you feel about ‘traditionally’ romantic dates? Does a gallant Polish kiss on your hand make you uncomfortable, or do you squeal with delight? Do you enjoy it when he helps you into your coat, or do you insist on doing it yourself? Do you pay the restaurant bill and cover your share of the taxi ride home? If so, you may be hurting your date’s feelings. If you think you must “fend for yourself” and demonstrate your equality, a Polish lover is not for you. If, however, you can surrender and forget your upbringing, all you have to do is lean back and enjoy the ride. You can trust that your femininity will be respected and cherished in this country.

I know I am asking a lot my dear, but the rewards will be worth it.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Ovlowska

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