Ukraine Guidelines for Foreign Men
It is hard to believe that Ukrainian women are as beautiful in real life as they portray themselves on the Internet. Although many ladies use professional photographers to enhance their images and some even have images that are a few years old, the reality is that Ukrainian ladies are possibly the most attractive in the world without exaggeration.
The average Ukrainian lady is tall (1.7 m +), slim, beautiful in her facial features, has exquisite fashion sense and wears her hair long. It is common for ladies to have manicured nails in the most beautiful designs and the further south in the country you get towards Odessa it seems the more predominant blonde hair becomes. Near the Black Sea area many women also have beautiful olive ‘Mediterranean’ skin. If you walk in Odessa and Nikolaev in particular, you will notice that Ukrainian ladies are very pretty. It could be said that these cities are the centre of the universe when it comes to beautiful women.
It is normal for a Ukrainian lady to learn from an early age how to dress in a sexy but refined manner and apply make-up that enhances their natural beauty. They wear high heeled shoes or leather boots, dependent on the season, with aplomb over even cobbled streets. It is a delight to watch. Why do Ukrainian women advertise for men then? Many have had problems with their local partners, who have a propensity to drink alcohol and have affairs with other ladies. There are also significantly more ladies than men in the Ukraine. From an early age the ladies know they have to look attractive to find a good partner because of these circumstances.
One of the key mistakes Western men make is to assume that Ukrainian women are desperate to leave the Ukraine and get married because they advertise themselves in this way. In general, Ukrainian ladies use marriage introduction services as a lifestyle option that may provide a choice for her future direction. It is a big decision to leave the country she has grown up in and being used to an extended family it is sometimes hard to leave. Many will be keen to leave, but you should not expect the lady to make this decision (and yes, it is her decision ultimately) without knowing you after several meetings. This will no doubt take a year or so unless you are lucky enough to be able to travel to the Ukraine frequently.
Some ladies are not genuine in their intention to marry or leave their home but that insincerity can happen in any environment. Be on your guard for this possibility because very few Ukrainian ladies have travelled further than Russia and when it comes to the reality of moving to a foreign land, some will baulk at this even if it means a better life. It is a matter for a man to ask questions about this in an appropriate way that will satisfy him of the lady’s true intent. Equally the lady should be encouraged to ask a man what his true intentions are because there is more risk for a lady having to leave her home if something goes wrong.
You will find that many ladies do not have a computer and therefore do not have direct access to the Internet. They depend upon Internet cafe’s or friends or even using a computer at their work to send and receive messages through the agency so patience is required as there will often be a week between messages. Most ladies work six or even seven days (50 to 60 hours) a week to support themselves and their children so it is sometimes very difficult for them to get to Internet facilities.
Most ladies have a mobile telephone and as long as you take into account the time zone change and when the lady is working, it is a good way to keep in touch, even if neither of you are fluent in each other’s languages. Sometimes the simplest messages are the most important, so that they know you are thinking of them. Ukrainian women are very romantic and old fashioned in that respect, so they do appreciate attention.
It is not a good idea to start talking about sex and physical relations unless the lady wishes to do so for the same reason – the ladies have old fashioned values and some are religious (normally Eastern Orthodox). For many Western men, this old fashioned and family-orientated nature is one of the big attractions of Eastern women.
A good idea if you are communicating with a lady before meeting is to send her flowers through the agency so you will receive a photo of how she really looks when she receives the gift. Of course this has the added bonus of being able to pass your contact details to her and she will greatly appreciate the thought of flowers. Just remember not to send an even number of flowers because this is associated with funerals and Ukrainians can be quite superstitious.
Do not be fooled by the willingness of ladies to write to you and by their sexy appearance. It is not uncommon for a Ukrainian lady to wear a mini-skirt even in Winter and to dress in what might appear to a Western man to be promiscuous behaviour. The reality is very different. The ladies’ conservative nature and the fact that many live with their parents or extended family means they will not normally indulge in public kissing, meeting men without company for the first few meetings and certainly not coming to men’s apartments without being sure of the man’s intentions. It makes no difference if the lady sends you images of herself in a revealing swimsuit and she talks about affection on the Internet. Having said this, it is noticeable that younger Ukrainians, especially in Kyiv (Kiev), seem to have no problems displaying public affection to a man so the culture is changing, no doubt with the influence of the Internet and Western videos.
The bottom line is that you should not expect the ladies to jump into a physical relationship with a man straight away. Most ladies that advertise do not end up marrying through the Internet. The best approach is to have fun meeting ladies as friends and enjoy their unique culture. That way it is much less stressful if you do not have high expectations. If something comes from relationships like this then it is going to be special because a partner should always be a best friend anyway.
It is a personal choice whether a man should communicate with several ladies and wait until he knows the ladies well before making a commitment to one lady or just communicating with one lady in the first place. If things do not work out, and this can happen because of cultural or language difficulties for example, then knowing other ladies will reduce the possibility of disappointment. Naturally some ladies will not like this but if this is your intention you must be open with the ladies. You should tell them that you are also comfortable with them communicating with other men as it is their right to search for the right man, just as you are searching for the right lady.
Men will have the opportunity to write to many more ladies than the reverse, and it is common for advertising ladies to not have any men write to them. This does not seem to put the man in any position of ‘advantage’ because of the fact ladies mainly use the contact service only as an option. They hear that Western men are more gentle and empathetic to ladies than local men so this appeals to them as ladies are normally interested in romance, caring and a stable family life above all.
The first letter you receive from a lady will not generally be completely written by the lady but a translator that assists their clients to send a nice, general message of introducing herself. The ladies will normally have searched the men’s profiles and sent this introduction letter to all the men that interest her and thus she will not expect an answer to all of these letters. However it is polite and displaying Western courtesy if you send a short reply acknowledging this letter even if you are not interested.
The language barrier can be a problem. A surprising low number of young women are unable to communicate in English at all, compared to other parts of Europe.
Russian is spoken by nearly all Ukrainians. This language is quite unintelligible at first to most Westerners because of the Cyrllic alphabet, with its 33 characters. Many of these letters are quite unique to Russian, some are silent, while others look like the English alphabet but are pronounced quite differently. For example, what looks like a ‘B’, ‘H’ and ‘P’ in Russian actually sounds like a ‘V’, ‘N’ and an ‘R’. Don’t be too put off because at least Russian is phonetic and words can be sounded out once you have learnt the alphabet. Many Russian words are also recognisable as sounding the same in English, such as bar, bank, taxi and restaurant.
Native Ukrainian sounds similar to Russian and it does have many common words, but is a distinct language. Unfortunately during eh Soviet era the Ukrainian language was not encouraged so many older Ukrainians cannot speak their own language. This is slowly changing as the native language is now taught in schools, as is a small amount of English.
One way of really impressing a lady is to learn as much Russian as you can before meeting so you can show her you are truly interested in her culture; and thus her. The ladies that can speak reasonable English are understandably sought after so if you meet a lady you like in this category, you may not be the only man to court her!
Do not underestimate the problem of language, as it can be frustrating to learn deeper things about a lady when you are unable to properly communicate. An interpreter is recommended for the first meeting at least, and this has the added bonus of making the lady feel more comfortable as a kind of an escort.
A cardinal sin is to insult their nation in front of the lady. They all know that the Ukraine has its problems such as packs of stray dogs, hazardous traffic, long working hours with few breaks, alcoholism among men (women do not appear to drink alcohol very much at all) and some political/police corruption. However Ukrainians are brought up to be very patriotic so if you must mention the obvious then do so in a positive way (for example: “the ladies here seem to be working so hard to support the men in many cases; I think it may make Ukrainian ladies very resilient and appreciative of a partner that supports them”).
Sometimes the ladies themselves talk openly about the difficulties of living in the Ukraine, particularly about making ends meet when it comes to raising children. If they are comfortable discussing these matters then by all means talk about it but don’t make out that the West is vastly superior because we all know that the West has its own problems and is not a perfect society.
The Ukraine is a large nation and it has many beautiful historical buildings and landscapes. The beach ‘resorts’ near Odessa is not one of them. It is unappealing because of the Black Sea pollution and general untidiness of the area. Try to get out and see the countryside if you can, particularly if the lady is willing to act as your guide and to help you with the language.
It is considered to be quite rude to talk loudly in public and to loiter in a socially unacceptable manner. As a tourist, it is important to abide by the customs and do as locals do. Do not under any circumstances take pictures or video when it is prohibited, especially inside churches. These are places where people come to worship and confess so be respectful in these places. Women should carry a scarf and cover their heads and shoulders if they want to enter an Eastern Orthodox Church. Eastern Europeans are on average a lot more religious than Westerners.
The Ukrainian currency is the hryvnia, which is not commonly available in other nations so must be purchased in the Ukraine. US dollars are accepted in many locations, as are Euros and most hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards (ask first though).
Travel to the Ukraine can be difficult because it is not as well served by air carriers as many European nations. The national carrier Aerosvit operates a range of aircraft from B767s on its long haul flights down to some ancient Antonov AN2 aircraft on some of its domestic schedules. Aerosvit is a reasonable airline and was not on the EU black list for unsafe airlines at the time of writing. Lufthansa and LOT Polish Airlines also operate to Odessa.
Always allow a little extra time between transfers at Kyiv Boripsol because aircraft can be late and there always seems to be thousands of people wandering around the airport terminal. You will also find that you can only check-in about two hours before the flight so you may have to wait patiently for the facility to open.
If you arrive at Kyiv Borispol then prepare for a crush of people lining the exit, some trying to encouraging you to use their taxi/accommodation service. It is a good idea to pre-book the transfer to the accommodation to avoid this hassle but quite discretionary on the return to the airport because at least you know where you are going on this leg. If you have organised a transfer and no one is there waiting with your name on a placard, do not worry too much as the transfer service should have provided you with the representative’s name and telephone number and if your cell phone does not work you can get assistance at the information kiosk near the arrivals exit.
Odessa is not a brilliant airport terminal because it is Soviet-era vintage, complete with ancient derelict aircraft lying around, facilities in marginal condition and dogs wandering around among the aircraft. You do not need to get to Odessa airport more than 1.5 hours before the flight as it is not a busy airport. However, remember that Ukrainian road traffic can be crazy and true freeways are almost non-existent so it will pay to leave for the airport with some time to spare.
Most ladies will not travel to see you so if you are in Odessa or Kyiv if she lives outside these cities so if your lady is in Nikolayev you will almost always have to travel yourself to see her. This is partly because of their long hours of work but they also feel more comfortable meeting men ‘on their own patch’. If a lady does travel, make sure you offer to pay her expenses. Ladies in the Ukraine expect men to treat them right as a gentleman and this is appropriate, given that they are classy ladies.
No one in the Ukraine seems to wear seat belts and it is particularly heartbreaking to see young children unrestrained in vehicles. If you can find a seat belt do not be shy about wearing it because accidents are unfortunately common.
Travelling by train takes a little longer than European trains over the same distance because Ukrainian transport systems are not as well developed as Western Europe. Kyiv has a reliable metro system within the city.
Taxis are normally reliable but make sure you settle on a cost before travelling long distance. At the time of writing, it costs about US$100 round trip from Odessa to Nikolayev or Kiev to Zhitomir, both being about two hour trips one way by taxi. Locals commonly hail passing vehicles that charge a nominal negotiated fee about half that of taxis but this is not a recommended practise for tourists because of the language barrier.
Courting a Ukrainian lady is not a cheap affair. You will spend many thousands on air fares and accommodation but at least Odessa is a cheaper place to stay than the hideously expensive apartments and hotels in Moscow. Expect to pay an average US$150 a night for Odessa and perhaps half that in Nikolayev, dependent on the type of accommodation you choose. Don’t worry too much about trying to impress the lady with the most expensive apartment because it isn’t common that she will see it for very long unless she knows you well. Make sure the apartment has some form of Internet connection so you can communicate with home, security door/facilities and an air conditioning unit.
It is common for apartments to have toll bars on their telephones so if you are able to arrange Internet access, a good idea is to use an Internet based telephone system such as Skype to communicate with. Don’t expect to see much English on TV, if at all. Take a good book! Although Ukrainian apartments generally have better bathroom facilities than Russian apartments, many still have antiquated systems and it is not uncommon to have problems with hot water. Some apartments at the luxury end of the scale are beautifully decorated and worth staying in just for the architecture although even these can be in otherwise run-down buildings.
In Ukrainian homes it is considered rude to walk around with your shoes on and you will generally be asked to wear some indoor slippers. Many apartments provide the same to keep the apartment clean.
If you are carrying gifts for the ladies, make sure they are small and not too obvious as you will attract the attention of the customs police, who are sure to try and extract some money from you, appropriately or not in Odessa although this seems to be less of a problem in Kyiv. If you are asked if you have gifts, indicate that any gifts you have are souvenirs from other countries you have visited to take home or wear them as if they were your own and say nothing. You can of course solve this problem by purchasing while in the Ukraine for the ladies such as jewellery and perfume, although it is recommended that the later is chosen by the lady herself because scent is a very personal affair.
Under no circumstances should you give a lady general commodities such as food, toilet paper, etc thinking that she cannot get or afford these items. Imagine if you were given such things, even if you needed them. Ladies will appreciate a small but special gift that is personal to her and if it is something like jewellery she will have something to remember you by. Remember that ladies are very appearance conscious so jewellery is always popular. However don’t buy lingerie or sexy items of attire as this would e considered suggestive unless you have formed a close relationship.
Many ladies older than 30 have children they are bringing up by themselves. If you like children, these ladies are a good marriage prospect because these ladies are genuinely looking for a Father for their children. A really attractive trait of Ukrainian ladies is that there are few who are in the Western mould of pushing women’s rights so that even professional ladies are more than happy raising children if that is what is best for the family. That is not to say that they are submissive, just that they appreciate the important role of a woman in the family. Interestingly, many Ukrainian ladies are genuinely shocked when they realise the incidence of bi-sexual and lesbian women in Western society as it does not appear to be common there.
Make sure you ask ladies with children what the custody status is of their children and whether they can leave the country with their children if that is what she decides. Some do not have the permission of their ex-partners or the courts and this can lead to some serious difficulties for a long term relationship. Apparently, anything can be paid for in the Ukraine so it is possible to pay for such permission if this has not been granted already.
Do not expect a lady to introduce you to her family, especially her parents. This is considered to be a very serious step and one that is only taken at the end of courtship. Some ladies do not tell their family they are using an Internet dating service.
Ukrainian ladies have a deserved reputation for beauty, intelligence and hard work. In fact, it is easy to consider that the Ukrainian economy would collapse without the tireless workforce of educated women. These ladies have as much to lose from a poor relationship decision as any man, so it is important that Western men are patient and aware of the different culture involved. If it works and you meet the right lady using the Internet services, then there is every reason to believe that you will be a lucky man because these women are genuine class.
Written by: Len Wicks / January 2, 2008 /