1. Men in western Greece do not put product in their hair. In this economy, who do you think you are? Daddy Warbucks? Do not look like you use gel, hairspray, clay or any kind of goop to look stylish. Get a bad haircut like a futbol player & be done with it. Your Yaya is starving in the mountains and you’re just throwing money around putting crap in your hair.
2. The only men who wear hats are 70 and older. The only hats worn are fisherman’s hats and any attempt to pull off a baseball cap of any kind is a clear signal you aren’t not just a foreigner; you’re an American.
3. Board shorts on the beach and shirts with sleeves at any beachside restaurant are entirely too dressy, day or night. Furthermore, any swimsuit, whatever your age or size, cannot exceed the amount of material worn by any woman sitting near you.
4. Adjust your junk frequently. This is a signal you are wearing trendy uncomfortable bikini underwear that were never intended to be worn by a typical Greek man. You must move your stuff around regularly or people will think you are a Eunuch, from another country.
5. If you ask for frappe – correction – when you ask for frappe, do not request going light on the sugar. Same if you ask for filtered coffee. You’d be better off just smacking your very polite server squarely in the face than telling them you don’t take sugar.
6. You can’t be so homophobic that you are unwilling to put your arms tightly around another man’s waist while riding with him on the back of a scooter. And putting your chin on the driver’s shoulder is the only way he can hear what you are saying to him.
7. Never look at your Smartphone in public. Again, who can afford that crap with Yaya hand-washing clothes with homemade soap back in the village for you? And what’s so damn important to say that you can’t wait to say it to a person’s face?
8. If you are not raising your voice you are clearly praying and have no intention of communicating with anyone but your God. Shouting is speaking – and simply speaking is unheard of – literally. Addition: Bountiful hand gestures will cover the fact you may not be quite fluent in the language or dialect of the specific region.
9. Never let anyone see you exercise. If you are worried about your weight then you are eating too much, plain and simple. If your ass is not burning enough calories walking to your home and back, or around town, you are eating more than your share. Remember sweet Yaya growing vegetables and making her own cheese from goat milk?
10. Wearing a watch is completely unnecessary. When the sun comes up it’s time for coffee. When it’s high in the sky every shop is closed and you should try to get a little shut eye, or at least be decent enough not to roam the streets looking for a vendor. When evening comes it’s time for salad – and coffee. When it’s completely dark, it’s time for a sweet snack – and coffee. In the winter you will have short days & in the summer you will have long days. There is nothing more you need to know about time.
11. Never, ever look like you are trying to get anywhere fast – unless you are on the back of a scooter with a man trying to look death-defying. The one and only reason for speeding is for the thrill. Everything else will get done when you get to it.
12. If your skin is glistening it better be because you are sweating. Lotions, especially suntan lotions, are for the weak and the white. Don’t ask for it, and if you absolutely need to wear some, bring a kind that isn’t shiny and don’t let a soul see you put it on your body.
13. The supermarket is not super at all. In fact it is about the size of an American convenience store only smaller. It may or may not be open at any given hour, and nothing sold there is convenient, except cigarettes.
14. Look like you smoke even if you don’t. Light a cigarette and just keep tapping it into an ashtray hoping no one sees that you actually aren’t puffing. Who, but a foreigner, drinks coffee without a cigarette? So, at a minimum you will need to burn four cigarettes each day.
15. Finally, do not huff and puff when walking up hills. Take slow steps if necessary but if you look like you are having difficulty; you are a flatlander from another country who has probably never seen a live goat, let alone eaten a cooked one. Take those hills like a runway model and cry about it behind a closed door later.