Dutch Men Who Live with Their Parents

I don’t know who you are, but someone came to this blog looking for information on Dutch men who live with their parents.

Stop. Turn around. And go. You do NOT want to be with a Dutchman who lives with his parents. There are certain cultures in this world where people live with their parents until marriage and beyond. The Netherlands is NOT one of them!!! The boy has mother issues. (I don’t care if he’s 42, if he still lives with his parents, he’s a boy.)

The boy needs a mother and if you for some reason ends up cohabitating with him, he will expect you to be his mother, even if you have a job outside the home and are the sexiest little number to grace the land of cheese and tulip. And let me tell you, even if you are the most fab cook in the world and have won Top Chef three seasons running, your cooking will never be as good as his mothers.

“Oh, but I like him,” you say. Yeah, good. He’s human so he probably has some redeeming qualities. And perhaps you’re alone in a foreign country so you’re feeling a bit insecure. But you’re not his mother. And after you get over your initial loneliness and insecurities, you will meet a man who treats you for the fine young thing you are.

“But he has a reason…” What? He can’t do his own laundry? He just came back to Cloggie Land after rebuilding the dams of New Orleans and can’t find a new dam to rebuild and pay his rent? Uhm, no. The Dutch area very do-it-yourself kind of people. Go check out your nearest Doe-Het-Zelf or Gamma store for evidence.

The Dutch are not known for being the terribly most romantic people. But they are independant and reliable and will help you build that closet from Ikea. These skills might be lacking if all the closets in his house were built by his Dad in 1984.

So no. Do not date Dutch men who live with their parents. There are a lot of other hot, nice Dutch men out there who have their own place.

Advertisements

Dating advice: Dutch men and Russian women

A Russian friend of mine in Moscow (we met while we were both living in NYC) is dating a Dutchman who is also living in Moscow. She asked me for some in insights on the Dutch character so she could try to decipher some of the cultural differences she is experiencing. Now, of course, I don’t know much about Russian dating life — all I know is what I’ve read on the internet to try and decipher the cultural differences the Ukrainian and I were first experiencing. So I’ve kept is pretty one-sided to the Dutch.

——–

Hi [redacted],

I am sorry I did not reply earlier. My time in the Netherlands was bittersweet and I was not prepared to think about it.

What happened with the Dutch boyfriend? Well…we had an appointment to look at a house to buy, and 2 days before the appointment, the Dutchman came to my house to tell me he had changed his mind and thought I should return to the States.

The Dutch government makes it very difficult for a foreign partner to settle in the Netherlands. My cousin went through the process (she lives in the Den Haag) — though finally escaped the worst of it as she’s actually married to a Frenchman rather than a Dutchman.

Anyway, my ex-boyfriend aside, in addition to their absolute handsomeness, Dutchmen tend to be extremely reliable and honest. They are highly unlikely to cheat on their partner. If you are with a Dutchman for a month, there is a high chance you will be with him for years, if not decades. If you are with him for a bit of time, you might find his family considering you their daugther-in-law as the Dutch often do not get married. They will meet, move in together soon afterwards, buy a house together, have some babies and maybe only then consider marriage. They don’t play a lot of games in a romance (unlike American courtship/dating). If you are with someone you are with someone.

The Dutch also don’t go in for a lot of drama. In some ways, I found this refreshing. But in other ways, it was difficult. Sometimes you need to have a good fight about something to clear the air and get your views heard. I find that Dutch people often shut down emotionally. For as honest and direct as they are in the simple day-to-day, they don’t handle confrontation well.

Dutchmen also aren’t particularly known for being romantic. It is true, they split the costs for seemingly everything and they are more likely to help you build a closet from Ikea than to buy you flowers or jewely. My boss’s wife of 20 years told me that if I wanted flowers or jewelry, I’d have to buy them myself, no Dutchman would buy them for me.

But!! I have to say, if your boyfriend is adequately Russified, then you might get the best of both worlds. If you can get the reliability and solidness of a Dutchman combined with the flowers and tokens of affection and romance as you would with a Russian, you definitely have a keeper!!! 🙂

I do want to know more about how things are going with your man. I find the Dutch people who live abroad tend to be extremely cool, Unfortunately for me, I was living in Rotterdam surrounded by people who thought that moving 6 km away from their parents was a big token of independence. Not all Dutch people are like that.

———–

*I would take this out of letter form, but I am busy, busy…..

Russian men bring you flowers

From 2005 – 2006, I lived in the Netherlands and had a fairly serious Dutch boyfriend. One night, in February 2006 just before Valentine’s Day, my boss invited me and my boyfriend over for a weeknight dinner, prepared by his lovely wife girlfriend-of-18-years. Midway through the meal, the conversation migrated from American vs. Dutch traditions of Valentine’s Day presents to American vs. Dutch traditions of romantic presents for your beloved in general. I made the observation that Dutch men do not seem to bother with flowers and jewelry for their wives and girlfriends.

“That is true,” said the boss’s wife. “If you want flowers, you have to buy your own.”

“That’s boring,” I replied. “Where’s the charm?! The chivalry?! The romance?!”

“Dutch men are just never going to give you romance, ” the wife girlfriend declared. “In 18 years that we have been together, I have never once received flowers or jewelry from him.” These final few words were delivered with a very pointed look at my boss.

“I gave you flowers once,” my then-boyfriend interjected, looking smug, as if he had won some sort of Dutch-I’m-so-chivalrous contest.

“Yeah, once. For Christmas. That’s it, so it doesn’t really count,” I replied. He wasn’t going to get off so easily for being lazy in the romance department.

Hei, ja! I gave you earrings once! Those red ones!” my boss exclaimed in victory, looking at his wife girlfriend as he leaned back in his chair with his hands behind his head, smug as well. He could be redeemed!!

“Earrings? Earrings?” the wife turned my boss.  “No, those were red pimples for my ears! Tiny red pimples! They were the most divorce-worthy present you could give me!”

Not being able to bear a lifetime without flowers, chivalry and romance, I left the Dutchman a mere 7 weeks later (ok, maybe there were a few other reasons too — but they would’ve been more bearable with a little romance to take the edge off). Barely a year passed before I met the Ukrainian. A man with exquisite taste in jewelry, and a regular deliverer of flowers to our kitchen table. He always does it at a moment when I’m not looking, so that even though the flowers are a regular appearance, they are always a surprising appearance, thus keeping the romance alive!

Last Saturday, after the exquisitely painful experience at the vet where we agonized over just how many unnecessary tests and procedures could we deprive our dogs of, we went to Trader Joe’s on 9th and Bryant. We did our shopping, came to the checkout line, and suddenly I remember that I had forgotten to buy the dogs their weekly treats of SoftAndChewyPeanutButterYumYumTreatsForDogs. I stepped just 7 feet away from the cart, turned around, and studied the shelves until I found the box I was looking for. I turned back around, spied out cart, and saw the gorgeous pink flowers filling the cart’s child seat.

It was romance-at-the-grocery-store. Proof that being good towards your wife can be the smallest gesture of love in the most mundane moment. No special occasion needed.

On our first anniversary, I finally learn to trust my husband

Sunday was the 1 year anniversary of the Ukrainian and I meeting. I spent the day stranded at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago due to tornadoes and other extreme Midwestern weather. The Ukrainian spent the day working on his financial internship in San Francisco. We were 2300 miles apart with no idea of what time we would see each other again. I was exhausted from a multi-city tour of the East Coast and Midwest that originated due to the need to attend a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery the previous Monday and to be in Chicago for my 10 year class reunion at the University of Chicago by Friday. In the middle of my travels, I spent 3 days in NYC working. I was stranded and exhausted. The Ukrainian was over-worked and far away.

You wouldn’t think such a set-up would lend itself to romance…but au contraire…as anyone who has ever seen Love Actually knows, airports are the place-to-be for romance at its finest with all its good-byes and hellos, reunions, last-moment-forevers, and those who meet their lovers while being stranded themselves.

I had a friend in New York whose then-boyfriend now-husband used to take a taxi to meet her at La Guardia whenever her flight arrived or departed — no matter how early or late. Another friend would take the bus up to Harlem and then over to La Guardia to meet her fiance so that he wouldn’t have to travel into the city alone. Me? I just gave all my visitors my address and expected them to hail a cab themselves just as I hailed one myself whenever I was off to or coming from someplace. I was never in love enough or had anyone who loved me enough to pay the cabfare and take the time to meet me at the airport.

Then I moved to San Francisco in the spring of 2004. Within months, I met and fell in love with a Bulgarian (not to be confused with the Ukrainian) who drove a silver G4 Golf and made it his duty to see that I was always picked up from San Francisco International airport. During the 6 or 7 months we were together, I traveled often. To Des Moines. Austin. Dallas. NYC. Miami. Dallas again and again for work. Each time, the Bulgarian was there to pick me up right outside United’s baggage claim in Terminal 2. I took his dedication to airport-pickup duties as a true sign of his love and devotion to me. The drive from the airport to the city of San Francisco was filled with my chattering about all I saw and did on my trip. At my house, he would carry in my luggage, we would have a little romance usually followed by a nice dinner out on Valencia St. “Being picked up at the airport”. Could there be a more romantic date than that?

But the relationship didn’t last. All the while the Bulgarian was picking me up at the airport and following up with superbly romantic dates, he had scheduled his ex-girlfriend back in Sofia, Bulgaria to move in with him into his 1-room San Francisco studio apartment come winter.

After her arrival and our breaking, there was no longer anyone to meet me at the airport. Gone was the anticipation I felt when I deboarded the plane and made my way down to United’s baggage claim. Now, it was almost the same mess of a life I led in NYC. After getting the bag, I would have to spend a not-so-small fortune on a taxi, or wait forever for the train back to San Francisco. While in New York, I had felt young and independent and quite worldly making my way to and from NY’s airports, in San Francisco I felt merely old and rejected. Sad that not only did I have to travel myself, I had no one to come home to.

2 years after breaking up with the Bulgarian in 2005 and less than a week after meeting the Ukrainian in 2007, I was departing for another trip. This time I was flying to Las Vegas to join 24 strangers on a wild and crazy road trip through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. We would be visiting the Grand Canyon, hiking in the desert outside of Page, Arizona, and embarking on a perilous hike to Angel’s Landing in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The trip was part of a conscious effort to revive the independent spirit that I had lost when I broke up with the Bulgarian and, subsequently a year later, the Dutchman.

The Ukrainian seemed sad that I was leaving only a few days after our meeting.

“I’ll be back,” I told him.

“I’ll pick you up at the airport,” he replied.

“Really?” I asked.

“Really.”

But the Ukrainian wasn’t waiting for me outside the United baggage claim at terminal 2. I stood at the baggage claim, exhausted and dehydrated from my desert hiking trip, waiting for my desert hiking gear to appear on the conveyor belt when suddenly 2 arms grabbed me from behind, a face nestled itself into my neck, and flowers were thrust into my hands.

It was the Ukrainian!!!

Driving around San Francisco International airport waiting for me to appear, as the Bulgarian had done, was not good enough for the Ukrainian. He bought the flowers. He parked the car. He greeted me in a most romantic, if a bit surprising gesture.

My fellow hikers stared. The women flashed green with a bit of envy. Here was one of their fellow hikers getting the scene-from-a-movie airport greeting. Immediately, I knew I had made the right choice. Of all the men I could’ve been dating at that time, I wanted him: the Ukrainian.

There have been more trips since that first one, of course: Iowa, New York, and Asia. And each time the Ukrainian has made it his mission to meet me right at the baggage claim. Even after his car finally died a brutal death, the Ukrainian would take the train down to the airport to be there for my arrival.

But despite my love for the Ukrainian, and his great romancing talents, I kept finding myself lacking the anticipation of having someone waiting for me at the airport. I was always happy to see him and happy to be home. But I held back from the “OhMyGodI’veBeenWaitingForeverToSeeYouAndIAmSoHappyYou’reHere” onslaught of emotion that would’ve made me grab him wildly and kiss him with all the full force and equality of my love for him.

I held back because I didn’t trust the situation. I didn’t trust that the day might come when the Ukrainian would not be there to meet me at the airport with flowers and a hug and a kiss and a smile. I didn’t want to transform myself back into the rejected woman I had been only a year prior.

But this trip back East on the anniversary of our meeting and almost the same anniversary to the day of our first pick-up at the airport was the first time I had traveled since we’d been married. And something was different. Something had happened in the past 2 1/2 months since we had said “I do” in the same spot that Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio had said “I do” some 40+ years ago in San Francisco’s city hall. I had begun to relax. I had begun to trust my husband. That no matter what divorce and marriage statistics might say, my husband would always be there to meet me at the airport and also be there for anything else I needed in the coming years and decades. There would be no ex-girlfriends secretly inserting themselves into his life and no sudden spurt of Anti-Americanism (as had been partially the case with the Dutchman) causing him to get cold feet. We were already married. We had made a commitment to each other to stick it through thick and thin.

And while sitting there in O’Hare airport on our 1-year anniversary of our meeting, waiting for the weather to calm down, I wanted to be with my husband. I imagined him coming up to me from behind with flowers in his hand just as he did that first week after our meeting. I imagined the romance that was sure to follow once we got home. And I imagined us lounging on the sofa afterwards, eating our anniversary cake and discussing all the details of our week apart and our year together.

I texted him every update to the flight delays and weather pattern. I texted him when I got on the plane, when we ready to take off, when we landed, when I was inside the gate, in the bathroom, and on my way. As I headed down the stairs toward United’s baggage claim, my eyes scanned the waiting people looking for his blonde hair and his tall, lean physique. At first I didn’t see him. I was disappointed, of course. But knew he would be there, somewhere. And then, just as I head over to the claim for United Flight 149 from ORD to SFO, I saw him. And he saw me. And I ran. I ran to him. I jumped on him like a monkey. And I kissed him for the entire past year of loving him. And I kissed him for not having kissed him enough all those times he had met me before.

At last, I had found my someone to always meet me at the airport. And OhMyGodIHadBeenWaitingForeverAndCouldn’tWaitToSeeHim.

Once upon a time, I was a foreigner too

Not so very long ago — in the days before I met the Ukrainian — I spent almost a year living and working in the Netherlands. My arrival there seemed almost an act of God (though few of the Dutch I met believed in any deity). Like my meeting with the Ukrainian, I found the posting for the Dutch job on Craig’s List. As I already had plans to holiday in W. Europe to visit my cousin, I applied for the position almost as a lark. To my surpise and astonishment, I got the job and found myself moving to the Netherlands barely more than 3 months later.

I was optimistic about the move and the new position. I was excited about leaving urban and corporate America for the smaller Dutch cities. Having grown up in Iowa — but having left the state as a teenager — I found the tall, blonde Dutch people, the flat land, and the fields of cows and flowers to be comforting. I felt at home on my visit. Why should my move there be different?

What I was not prepared for was being incapable of performing some of the simplest daily tasks on my own. Everything from package delivery to garbage take-out was all done just a little bit differently and in a foreign language. My cousin tried to help a bit when I first arrived, but she had her own problems to deal with and could not be available for a needy foreign cousin. My employer was of some help with charting the course of getting my legal documents in order so that I could get paid and pay taxes. And I had one female colleague — one who had championed my cause to be hired by the company — who went above and beyond trying to help me adjust to life in a foreign country.

But it was not enough. There were too many calls to be made in Dutch, letters to be translated, grocery store aisles to be deciphered…and on and on…that I did not even know how to begin to set up my life for something so basic as a phone line or cellphone. So, for much of the first 2 months of my presence in the Netherlands, I lived without cable, tv, phone, or internet. The nights were extremely lonely. I would take the train back from Rotterdam (where I worked) to Haarlem (where I first lived) — an hour and a half journey door-to-door, come home, walk my dogs, and then just sit there on my sofa staring at the ceiling. I wondered, what had I gotten myself into? I had no communications with *anyone* outside of my office (or the emails I would furtively try to catch up on at work).

And then came my hero du jour. A male colleague at my office took notice of my plight and made it his mission to save me. At first, I just thought he was a really nice guy. Who on earth would go so far out of his way to help somebody? He arranged phone, internet, and mobile service for me. Later, he found a house closer to the office so that I would not have such a long commute. He introduced me to his friends so that I would not be lonely. At first, I did not think of any ulterior motive in his actions — after all, I had left someone back in the States who had bought a plane ticket to come visit me.

But soon, my gratitude for all his help turned into a crush. The Dutch male colleague looked like a classic Iowa farmboy:  tall, blonde and brawny (Iowa was mostly settled by Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians, so it shouldn’t have been that surprising). If I squinted a little, he almost looked like my dad. As my crush grew, I began to suspect that the feelings were returned. I called things off with the man back in San Francisco and soon got together with the Dutchman.

At first, we seemed in love. But it was an unbalanced love confused with need. He was my hero and I could not function without him. If the heater was broken, I would have to stay home from work and have the repairman use my cellphone to call the Dutchman at work to translate everything being said in my house. If I was sick, the Dutchman had to call the doctor. If I had questions about my energy bill, the Dutchman would have to call the energy company. The dependency was frustrating because it seriously tipped the balance of power in the relationship. I often felt like a small child with no control over my life.

Clearly, the relationship with the Dutchman in the Netherlands did not last as I am married now to a Ukrainian in San Francisco. But I am grateful for the experience. There is a risk that the same disbalance of power could happen in our relationship. There are so many things I know about how to be a good American that have nothing to do with citizenship or patriotism but more with how to reroute a UPS package, rent a car, find a dog-sitter on Craigslist, or the etiquette involved in paying a restaurant bill. It’s a challenging balance to find. At one level, you want to help. On another, you want the person to be independent and figure it out themselves, but magically getting it right on the first try. Sometimes, the easiest way, is to let someone else explain.

We have a good balance. The Ukrainian has adapted to American culture far faster and better than I ever did to the Dutch way of life. There are still occasional moments, when I am surprised by something he doesn’t know. But there are becoming some moment when he seems to know “the system” better than I.

One day, maybe, he will know it all better than I do. Either way, we will be in Kiev at some point and I will become lost once again.