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Meeting Ukrainian Women

Starting off on the wrong foot could land your leather-shod paw in your mouth.
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 customs 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:

Visiting the home of a Ukrainian woman friend

When you get invited to the home of a Ukrainian woman friend’s family, be sure to bring a gift. Sure, you can never go wrong with a bottle of wine or a cake, but a gift that represents your home country would be greatly appreciated by your Ukrainian woman friend’s family. Give your presents a little more thought than usual; don’t just grab the first thing you see at the duty-free shop. It is customary to bring a bouquet of flowers, and when you do, make sure the flowers are not yellow and the number of stems is odd (uneven).

Greeting a Ukrainian woman

Do not shake hands across the threshold of a door. It is considered bad luck. Ukrainian women and men are a friendly lot, so don’t be impatient if they use a lot of time introducing themselves. Ukrainian women consider it unfeminine to shake hands when they meet. In formal situations, shake hands when being introduced or introducing yourself. When shaking hands, remove your gloves.

Take off your shoes upon entering your Ukrainian woman friend’s home. To keep their homes clean and free of dirt, Ukraine women and men change into a pair of slippers once inside the house. Most hosts provide their guests slippers, but even if you are not given any, do not insist on walking inside the place of residence with your shoes on.

Dressing up for dinner with a Ukrainian woman friend’s family

Dress appropriately. Casual dress is recommended when eating dinner at the home of your special Ukraine woman. Note that “casual” does not mean dressing for a heavy metal concert or a day at the beach. You need not show up in elaborate or showy finery, either, unless the occasion specifically calls for your Sunday best. Classic business casuals like dress slacks and button-down oxfords may get the stamp of approval of your Ukraine woman’s parents.

Table manners at the home of a Ukrainian woman friend

Graciously accept all food and drink offered by your Ukrainian hosts. Ukrainian women and men are known for treating their guests like royalty. Turning down food may offend Ukraine women and men’s generous hospitality.

Offer to share your snacks and cigarettes with those around you. Remember how your mother used to tell you that it’s always good to share? Ukraine women and men believe mothers know best, too.

Honoring Ukraine women with a toast

As a dinner guest, be prepared to give toasts. Ukraine women and men are earnest toastmasters, and it is acknowledged that the toasting follows a traditional pattern. The hosts gets to make the first toast, usually in honor of the guest. The guest reciprocates the honor by making the second toast. The third toast is given in celebration of Ukrainian women, such as the women in the household, and female friends and colleagues.

Be prepared to be kissed by your host one to three times as you greet and depart. Kissing is a ritual gesture of greeting and well-wishing among Ukraine women and men. Be careful when puckering up, though. Never kiss a Ukraine woman on her forehead. The act of kissing someone on her forehead is reserved for funerals.

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