Some men are constantly on the prowl for the next gadget that will catch their fancy, some satisfy themselves with accumulating as much riches and belongings as possible, others get off on the applause of the crowd and others find satisfaction in searching for treasure Greeks, on the other hand, love women, and they love to talk, but what they like best is the act of making love. Flirting and sexual banter are not just a means to an end in this country here, but rather part of social interaction.
Here they call it kamaki… or the art of harpooning. It was the most popular method to “score” back in the late 70s and 80s when Greeks began to sexually liberate themselves.
Old men flirted, married men flirted, single men flirted… everyone in this country flirted… but only the masters of kamaki were actually successful in harpooning their victims, mostly northern European female tourists.
However the fear of AIDS, the internet, a fast paced and more demanding lifestyle as well as the sexual liberation of Greek women eventually brought this carefree era to an end, leaving a bittersweet taste among the dwindling ranks of the classic Greek lovers.
Today, things are simple: a couple of stares, casual conversation; a drink or two, and that’s all that is needed to “score”. Traditional roles are in the past and Greek women today succumb easily to the classic Greek lovers’ advances and the sport of sex. However, twenty and thirty years ago “kamaki” was as technical as the wiring on my computer and needed expertise and mastery to execute to perfection.
Famous in the 70s and 80s the classic Greek “kamaki” would operate on islands with mass tourism like Rhodes and/or Crete. And even in Syntagma Square (Athens downtown).
A legendary character… the classic Greek lover followed a certain style. Typically he was 20-45 years old, short in height but effective in appearance, always had a golden chain decorating his hairy manly breast and usually wore a tight shirt that had to be open some 15 cm. He also preferred tight trousers in order to promote the I promise you everything manhood look, usually bathed himself in Brut cologne, carried a rosary (komboloi) which he would tactfully play in his right hand and he would allow a cigarette to hang at the far end of his lip. These swarthy, afro-haired kamaki men certainly were in a class of their own, even forming associations that established rules of conduct.
On Rhodes, for example, the unwritten code established that any girl with a local boyfriend was off-limits to other kamakia for a week. In the southern town of Nafplio, which was very popular with French tourists, it was forbidden to steal someone's conquest and the kamakia here were obligated to show which victims they had chosen before the evening began in order to avoid confrontation from other kamakia operating in the area.
These Greek lovers even had guidelines for spotting the most promising catches. They would always choose women that were less tanned, because according to their theory, when she had a golden color that meant that she had been around for some time. They rather preferred the 'fresh stuff', or newly arrived tourists, because this class of women were more vulnerable and easier to score with.
Most of them would speak extremely poor English and they became known for their all time classic lines:
Do you like madmasoille the Greece?
Come with me gia na tin vreis!
Sounds silly today, I agree, but back then it was enough to woo a female from Scandinavia, France, Germany or even Britain. Tacky you say… indeed, but just one whisper in the ear of a female and the promise of an unforgettable summer night… and believe it or not she fell like a pancake!
Whether they came from Canada, the US, Australia or anywhere else, tourists, male or female, always somehow came across a classic Greek kamaki, and the sale of Durex latex condemns skyrocketed in this country!
Some plied their trade on beaches while others haunted tavernas and clubs where they would try to outdo other kamakia on the dance floor. Their brash antics, and ideology, were considered too extreme and offensive by the then conservative society and they were highly criticised on local television.
But that didn't stop them… They would make love on the beach, in the water, on the rocks, everywhere. For them the art of lovemaking was as necessary as air is for the common person. But against the odds, many of these men ended up falling in love, and tens of thousands of mixed marriages were recorded between 1980 and 1990.
That era is dead and gone… but today it has been taken over by the internet. I am sure most of you have been hit on, or have flirted through Facebook… well the home of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle is no exception... apparently Athens is the "most flirtatious online city" of the modern world, a new study recently showed.
Athens topped a "World Flirtation League," which ranked cities by the number of online flirtations initiated per month by the average user in each on online social networking site Badoo.com. Moscow came second, while Rome placed 8th and Madrid 31st. Paris was ranked 38th, London 57th, Berlin 79th, and New York was placed at the 89th position. In the study of nearly 200 cities across the world in which Badoo analyzed, more than 12 million flirtatious contacts were made during a one month period, with approximately 108 million users chatting and flirting in 180 countries. Now that is a lot of kamaki!
Maybe the tactics have changed, but Greek men, and generally all men in the southern Mediterranean (Italian are my favs) just “have it” as far as I am concerned. Whether they call them kamakia, or whatever, they definitely know women. I think Italian, Portugese, Spanish and even men from southern France are just plain sexy and hot, hot, hot. There is just something that men from certain countries do that transfers the "best lover" brand on even those men who aren't necessarily "best lovers" but just happen to be from that country. Like I said... they have it!
I guess it is because they are not afraid to come up and talk to you, and they know how to start slow, with a nice cup of coffee or a long walk on some historic street. They know the places you can't find in any tourist guide. They know the whole history of the cities in which they live, who the fountains are named after and where the most beautiful statues are. You instantly become intrigued and phase two begins… the dinner.
They know the most romantic little cafés and bistros and trattorias, candlelit places where you can be alone and drink the most fantastic wine and indulge on unique tastes. They tell you what's on the menu and what you should try and the whole time, they are looking deep into your eyes, like you're the only woman on the entire planet. What woman could resist a man like that? End of phase two… phase three starts.
Then, after a moonlit stroll along the waterfront and a kiss in the doorway of your apartment, or hotel room, you find yourself unable to… well, I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
So what if the Economist ranked Athens as being one of the worst cities to live in Europe in its 2011 -when we were in the midst of a bad economic crisis-, at least everyone who is anyone knows that when visiting this country you definitely have a better chance of "scoring" here more than any other place in the world.