The People of Poland
Submitted 5 years 11 months ago by CultureWhiz.
There are variations in the human condition everywhere, and generalities are difficult. However, general mainstream behaviors tend to be conservative, largely because of the country’s general religious inclination. Typically, mainstream people have jobs or educational goals, and seek partners for serious relationships. Their innate conservatism can be seen in their way of dress and character personalities. Polish people are very self conscious about appearances. Anything different from the ordinary draws a lot of attention.
Polish, a Slavic language, is the official language and the most widely spoken. However, as the country’s influence in the European Union has grown, so has the amount of foreign languages. English is the most popular foreign language. Many ethnic minority languages such as Czech and Ukrainian are spoken throughout the country, as well.
All people of Polish descent are going to have varying looks based on which genes are dominant and which genes are recessive. However, certain characteristics can be ascribed generally. It is a popular misconception that *every* Pole is pale, blue-eyed and blonde. There are many of Polish people who don't look "Polish" at all, with a bronze tan and dark curly hair. The general look is lighter hair and eyes and high cheekbones and often sharp noses. This is a typical Slavic look. Poland is the most Slavic country in terms of genetics. R1a haplogroup /a Slavic gene/has been found in the highest frequency in Poland with around 60% of the nation belonging in that group. Slavs have the lowest pigmentation levels in Europe (that is, the highest incidence of blond hair, blue eyes ["pure" and "grey"] and fair skin). Slavic peoples originally had hair color between dark blond to dark brown with fair to olive skinned. Red hair is uncommon, although dyed red, platinum, and black is popular.
As for height, it depends on the generation. In general, older people are quite short, likely due to their living conditions and nutrition under communist rule. Younger generations are taller and generally slim. Women tend to have high cheekbones often wide cheeks and the eye lines will turn ever so slightly up, while men tend to have very square chiseled or puffy faces. When they gain weight, it's usually all in their upper figure and their waist and legs stay slim.
As in countries everywhere, there are many kinds of women in Poland. In terms of sociocultural and socioeconomic demographics, they fall into half a dozen highly generalized categories that express the many facets of a culture that has undergone major transitions in a few generations.
Among the peasant class, the roles of women changed very little, even while the country around them shifted from an aristocracy to a Communist regime, and finally to a modern, democratic Poland. Peasants and workers throughout have maintained a strong patriarchal ideology; a husband will still regard himself as superior and the master, while the wife is expected to play a submissive role and treat the husband accordingly. Yet a man will not make important decisions without consulting his wife. More equal relationships exist in the upper class and among the intelligentsia, where a man typically places great value on his wife's opinions and counsel. The worker and intelligentsia classes have increased both proportionately and numerically, in part due to the growing number of educated women; in Poland, women are now better educated than men.
The importance of the Catholic Church diminished during the Communist era, permitting many changes in the behaviors of Polish women, particularly in the western part of the country. Catholicism resurged after Communism, and it is particularly significant in the eastern part of the country; the general Polish population is very dedicated to religion, especially compared to other European countries. This means that most Polish women can be rather conservative.
Research shows that Poles have far fewer sexual partners than their Western neighbors. Strict Catholicism, which prevailed in the country until the Communist takeover, supports the patriarchy and reinforces double standards. The expression of female sexuality was taboo and a “good” woman was supposed to be modest, humble, and prepared to be an obedient wife and mother. However, the generation born in the 80s and 90s has deviated from the traditional norms of the highly religious society. Divorce, casual sex, and single women are more common, as people discard social values of previous generations and shift into more contemporary social mores.
General Categories of Women
Commentators on the social divisions of women in Poland have identified five major categories of female “types” and estimated percentage for each social group. These can be loosely identified as young liberated women (10%), female “players” (1%), country dwellers (19%), intellectuals (1%), and mainstream women (69%). As with all generalities, these categories do not take into account the cross-over factor. It is possible for women to leave the patriarchal country lifestyle to join the mainstream in urban centers, or for young liberated women to be intellectuals.
Young Liberated Women:
The Poles of today are pretty optimistic. They travel and learn languages and are like other Europeans, unlike the older, Communist generation. This social group has an intense culture of casual sex, much as their counterparts in England. The parochial nature of their social circles compensates for their poverty. They have the same mindset and worldview as young women in Britain, but this is obfuscated by their apparent sweetness.
Women in this small general category do not choose their men solely based upon appearance or power, but have a complicated rubric with other criteria. Some of their criteria can be very strange, like consciously choosing unattractive men in hopes that they will become hooked and be easily manipulated. Women in this category also want the freedom to date several men simultaneously to serve different needs and purposes, in the same manner that men in the “player” category maintain relationships with multiple women.
This category shares many characteristics with urban women in the lowest socioeconomic bracket. Over 20% of the Polish population lives in the countryside, subsisting primarily upon farming and agriculture. They tend to be passive people, with little education, few skills, and few employment opportunities. People from the countryside and poor areas of cities are at the bottom of social hierarchy and see children as insurance for protecting their future. Their way of thinking can be incoherent; logic is based on conspiracy theories, and they believe in a utopia of riches waiting for everybody when the conspirators are gone and real "people" take power. They rarely change their minds on an issue, even if shown undisputed facts, and thus they live in an endlessly repeating cycle of ignorance and poverty.
This cycle is due to a particular combination of religion and history. Catholic religion is known for its dogmatism and top-down method of imposing a belief system. There is no place for critical evaluation of any dogma; one is labeled a heretic if they do. Simply put, there is no place for rational, fact-based thinking. It is replaced by dogmas and conspiracy theories. There is a historical context for this social group; Poles were suppressed and oppressed by foreigners for two centuries, which made the underclass cling to their beliefs as a major tool for mental survival.
Women in this social category are highly educated and often placed in high-level positions professionally. They are often obsessed with doing well in school and getting a good career. In other ways, they share many of the characteristics of women in the mainstream of Polish society, in terms of manners, appearance, and behaviors.
General mainstream behaviors tend to be conservative, largely because of the country’s general religious inclination. They convey the general impression of “the girl next door” type, and rarely can be seen in very short skirts, unless they wear leggings underneath them. Like so many Polish women, they share a taste for high heels, which mitigates the overall modesty of the mainstream style of dress.
Men usually don't wear bright colors, maybe apart from red in informal clothes. If you ever see a guy wearing pink, it is a shirt covered by a dark suit jacket. Many Polish men can be curiously unemotional and have difficulties relating to others, especially women.
Most Polish men are simple, hard-working guys. They like to have a good discussion and even a stiff drink of two but are unpretentious at heart. They usually like thinner women, but sometime prefer a girl with curves. Family is important to them, and they usually have big families, and call everyone aunt and uncle.
Traditional at heart
Even though Poland has joined the rest of the western world after the lifting up of the Iron Curtain, it is still largely traditional as far as social relations and interactions are concerned. Part of the reason is the overwhelming influence of the Catholic Church. Here men and women have clearly-defined roles and expectations in society. Men on the whole like women who are feminine in their appearance and behavior. Sometimes Polish men have a very narrow preference towards someone with whom they would like to spend the rest of their life and others don't quite know what sort of things a woman should possess so that she, as they say, could "catch their eye".
There are also those who don't quite think about this because they believe it simply doesn't make sense to do so. According to them, when they find the right girl, they will instinctively know that she is the one, and whatever characteristics she has will not matter much.
According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, humans need to feel love (sexual/nonsexual) and acceptance from social groups (family, peer groups). In fact, the need to belong is so innately ingrained that it may be strong enough to overcome physiological and safety needs. An interpersonal relationship is a strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from brief to enduring. This association may be based on inference, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences. The context can vary from family or kinship relations, friendship, marriage, relations with associates, work, clubs, neighborhoods, and places of worship.
Interpersonal relationships are dynamic systems that change continuously during their existence. Like living organisms, relationships have a beginning, a lifespan, and an end. They tend to grow and improve gradually, as people get to know each other and become closer emotionally, or they gradually deteriorate as people drift apart, move on with their lives and form new relationships with others.
According relationship development proposed by psychologist George Levinger, the natural development of a relationship follows five stages:
Acquaintance and acquaintanceship – Becoming acquainted depends on previous relationships, physical proximity, first impressions, and a variety of other factors. If two people begin to like each other, continued interactions may lead to the next stage, but acquaintance can continue indefinitely. Another example is association.
Buildup – During this stage, people begin to trust and care about each other. The need for intimacy, compatibility and such filtering agents as common background and goals will influence whether or not interaction continues.
Continuation – This stage follows a mutual commitment to quite a strong and close long-term friendships, romantic relationship, or even marriage. It is generally a long, relative stable period. Nevertheless, continued growth and development will occur during this time. Mutual trust is important for sustaining the relationship.
Deterioration – Not all relationships deteriorate, but those that do tend to show signs of trouble. Boredom, resentment, and dissatisfaction may occur, and individuals may communicate less and avoid self-disclosure. Loss of trust and betrayals may take place as the downward spiral continues, eventually ending the relationship. (Alternately, the participants may find some way to resolve the problems and reestablish trust and belief in others.)
Termination – The final stage marks the end of the relationship, either by breakups, death, or by spatial separation for quite some time and severing all existing ties of either friendship or romantic love.
Friendships may involve some degree of transitivity. In other words, a person may become a friend of an existing friend's friend. However, if two people have a sexual relationship with the same person, they may become competitors rather than friends. Accordingly, sexual behavior with the sexual partner of a friend may damage the friendship. Sexual activities between two friends tend to alter that relationship, either by "taking it to the next level" or by severing it
Humans are social creatures, and there is no other behavioral process that is more important than attachment. Attachment requires sensory and cognitive processing that lead to intricate motor responses. As humans, the end goal of attachment is the motivation to acquire love, which is different from other animals who just seek proximity. Stages of romantic interpersonal relationships can also be characterized more generally by the following: attraction; initiation; development; sustaining vs. terminating.
Attraction – Premeditated or automatic, attraction can occur between acquaintances, coworkers, lovers, etc., be based on sexual arousal, intellectual stimulation, or respect. Studies have shown that attraction can be susceptible to influence based on context and externally induced arousal, with the caveat that participants be unaware of the source of their arousal.
Initiation – There are several catalysts in the initiation of a new relationship. One commonly studied factor is physical proximity (also known as propinquity). The MIT Westgate studies famously showed that greater physical proximity between incoming students in a university residential hall led to greater relationship initiation. More specifically, only 10% of those living on opposite ends of Westgate West considered each other friends while more than 40% of those living in adjacent apartments considered each other friends. The theory behind this effect is that proximity facilitates chance encounters, which lead to initiation of new relationships. This is closely related to the mere exposure effect, which states that the more an individual is exposed to a person or object, the more s/he likes it. Another important factor in the initiation of new relationships is similarity. Put simply, individuals tend to be attracted to and start new relationships with those who are similar to them. These similarities can include beliefs, rules, interests, culture, education, etc. Individuals seek relationships with like others because like others are most likely to validate shared beliefs and perspectives, thus facilitating interactions that are positive, rewarding and without conflict.
Development – Development of interpersonal relationships can be further split into committed versus non-committed romantic relationships, which have different behavioral characteristics. In a study by Miguel & Buss (2011), men and women were found to differ in a variety of mate-retention strategies depending on whether their romantic relationships were committed or not. More committed relationships by both genders were characterized by greater resource display, appearance enhancement, love and care, and verbal signs of possession. In contrast, less committed relationships by both genders were characterized by greater jealousy induction. In terms of gender differences, men used greater resource display than women, who used more appearance enhancement as a mate-retention strategy than men
Sustaining vs. terminating – After a relationship has had time to develop, it enters into a phase where it will be sustained if it is not otherwise terminated. Some important qualities of strong, enduring relationships include emotional understanding and effective communication between partners. Research has also shown that idealization of one’s partner is linked to stronger interpersonal bonds. Idealization is the pattern of overestimating a romantic partner’s positive virtues or underestimating a partner’s negative faults in comparison to the partner’s own self-evaluation. In general, individuals who idealize their romantic partners tend to report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Other research has examined the impact of joint activity on relationship quality. In particular, studies have shown that romantic partners that engage in a novel and exciting physical activity together are more likely to report higher levels of relationship satisfaction than partners that complete a mundane activity.
Bonding is the process of development of a close, interpersonal relationship. It most commonly takes place between family members or friends, but can also develop among groups, such as sporting teams and whenever people spend time together. Bonding is a mutual, interactive process, and is different from simple liking. This bond is characterized by emotions such as affection and trust. Any two people who spend time together may form a bond. Male bonding refers to the establishment of relationships between men through shared activities that often exclude females.
Social gatherings are frequently arranged to enable people looking for a partner to meet. Such occasions may be parties of all types and social dances. Sometimes attendance at churches or similar venues would also act as occasions for people to meet. Schools and colleges are also common places for people to meet and form long-term relationships. It is not unknown for couples to form over alcohol or drugs.
Dating/Courtship is a part of the human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple. While the term has several meanings, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.
Polish women live in a male-oriented society. So you are expected to be a gentleman. Polish dating is old school, meaning you are expected to be a gentleman and chivalrous. Polish girls tend to think beyond material needs, so won’t be offended if you suggest going for a bike ride as a date idea instead of some fancy-shmancy dinner that costs your entire paycheck.
Successful mating requires solutions of a number of difficult adaptive problems. These including selecting a fertile mate, out-competing same-sex rivals in attracting a mate, fending off mate poachers (those who try to lure one’s mate away), preventing the mate from leaving, and engaging in all of the necessarily sexual and social behaviors required for successful conception to take place. As a consequence of the number and complexity of mating problems humans have recurrently faced over the long expanse of human evolutionary history, it is reasonable to anticipate that humans have evolved a large and complex array of
adaptations specifically dedicated to the task of mating.
Nowhere do people have an equal desire to mate with all people. Everywhere, some people are preferred as mates, others shunned. Desires are central to all facets of mating. They determine who we are attracted to, and who is attracted to us. They
influence which attraction tactics will be successful (those that fulfill desires) and which attraction tactics will fail (those that violate desires). Successful mate retention tactics involve continuing to provide resources that fulfill the desires of a mate. Failure to fulfill these desires causes breakup and divorce. At every step of the mating process, from mate selection to mate expulsion, desires determine the ground rules.
Most girls and guys simply date people they know and fall in love. Most of them are either single for very short period of time [due to lots of available people they know from somewhere] or they are in the middle of their relationship which can be good or bad or whatever however since they're committed to it they want to make it work in the first place.
The human desire for companionship is one of the strongest human drives. It is an innate feature of human nature, and may be related to the sex drive. If you're looking strictly for short-term partners. You may want to check out some of our user tags for places to visit. However, to get the higher end in foreign lands, you generally either pay for play, or you immerse yourself successfully into local social circles.
Social Life: As a country, Poland is very conservative. Unlike the rest of Europe, you won’t find open displays of nudity in Poland, and the former President even tried to ban miniskirts and heavy makeup in 2007! Now, you’ve got to understand that these sentiments are mostly held by the older generations. The problem is that Poland is an aging country. Because of economic and political reasons, Polish people simply aren’t having many children and the population has gotten old. This makes it pretty difficult for the younger generations who grew up with Western culture and the internet.
Etiquette in Poland
Men are called "Pan" and women "Pani" (in direct address; as Polish nouns are declined, the form of "pan" and "pani" change depending on how they are used in a sentence). That said, most Poles would just use their first names when speaking in English (or in another language without a similar form). If you are speaking in Polish, make sure to use the correct form.
In Polish, it takes some time before adults become familiar enough with one another to refer to each other using the familiar equivalent of "you" ("ty", equivalent to the French "tu"). Often, people who have worked together or have lived as neighbors for years still do not use the form "you" when speaking to one another.
Some men, particularly older men, may kiss a woman's hand when greeting or saying goodbye. Kissing a woman's hand is considered to be chivalrous by some, but is more and more often seen as outdated. Handshakes are quite common; however, it is very important to remember that men should not offer their hand to a woman - a handshake is only considered polite if the woman offers her hand to the man first. For a more heartfelt greeting or goodbye, close friends of opposite sex or two women will hug and kiss three times, alternating cheeks.
Social attitudes and norms
Poland is a modern country with an old-fashioned social system. Currently there are three strata in the Polish social hierarchy: a very wealthy and powerful upper class that owns and controls the means of production; a middle class of professional workers, small business owners, and low-level managers; and a lower class, who rely on low-paying wage jobs for their livelihood and often experience poverty.
The Communist regime, which survived until 1989, largely suppressed the middle class under Communism, and curiously, the general population assumed many of the customs of the szlachta (nobles or gentry). The educated and the former aristocratic class continue to use politeness and social graces to differentiate themselves from the uneducated and the nouveau riche.
Homosexuality is legal in Poland but not openly tolerated. Polish society is conservative and for the most part remains hostile towards the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The Polish gay and lesbian scene is fairly discreet; Warsaw and Kraków are the best places to find bars, clubs and gay-friendly accommodation, and Sopot is noted as gay-friendly compared to the rest of Poland.
There is a cultural concept in Poland called “Polish Hell”. If someone in Poland achieves something, people believe it is either because they stole something or they used other people, rather than working hard—or they simply had connections. “Polish Hell” is an excuse to blame everyone for everything. It doesn’t matter if you achieve success in Poland, because many Poles come up with an excuse for the achievement that diminished it. However, if you fail, you are still subject to tough criticism and blamed for your failures. Communism imprinted the mentality of “worse is better” and “don’t try to get above average.” It is the frustration of the masses in Poland that reveals itself when somebody achieves success; it’s generally assumed someone successful must be a bad person, because he couldn’t have achieved it without some illegal activity.
The Importance of Family
The family is the centre of the social structure. One’s obligation is to the family first and foremost. Extended families are still the norm and really form an individual’s social network. Poles draw a line between their inner circle and outsiders. Family members are naturally part of the inner circle along with close friends, usually “family friends”. Poles will interact differently with their inner circle and outsiders. The inner circle forms the basis of a person's social and business network. The people from the inner circle can be relied upon to: offer advice, help find a job, cut through bureaucracy, or even rent an apartment. There is an elaborate etiquette of extending favors and using contacts to get things done.
This page is a work in progress and a first draft that I wanted to get out there. I’m looking for some reasoned feedback.