The Dutch are notorious for being tall, reserved, handsome — and lousy flirts. In Tipsy interviews and on internet rants 1 2 3 4 5 6, expat women in the Netherlands express constant frustration; they can expect more attention from a Dutch sack of bricks than its construction worker wingman.
This shouldn't be a surprise; Dutchmen have been conditioned to hang back. Only 12 percent of Dutchwomen think it's admirable for a man to make the first move. But the more egalitarian system of Dutch flirting does present some advantages; for example, an attractive woman can enjoy a glass of wine alone at a Dutch bar without inventing an enormous, fanged, jealous boyfriend who will be joining her shortly.
On the other hand, expat women (at least those from non-Scandinavian countries) tend to complain that they don't feel quite as beautiful without the constant explicit attention and, more importantly, they can't seem to figure out how to snag a local lover.
So, whether you're looking to knock nethers in Amsterdam or ensnare a Dutchman passing through your neck of the woods, here's Tipsy's compilation of advice from women (Dutch and otherwise) who have (eventually) succeeded in bagging one of these elusive prizes:
• Project strength. Dutch guys expect girls to be forward, have a lot of personality, and make their own decisions. Women in most countries are conditioned to hold back — will yourself to make the first move.
• If a Dutch guy starts explaining his job, divorce, kids, salary, living situation, etc. — this may be a sign of interest! It may seem crass, but to many Dutch this is an integral part of flirting. Sluttier or more desperate Dutch men are even known to work the room, explaining their CVs to any girl who will listen until they find one who expresses interest. Dutch men generally tend to be honest and straightforward about their life situations — they consider this part of looking for an appropriate match.
* Similarly, a guy may show he likes you by asking lots of practical questions. Where do you work? Do you want kids? Could you envision living the rest of your life in the Netherlands? Better for him to know these things before investing too much time flirting, right? This explains why a female friend-of-TP was recently asked by an apparently interested Dutchman in a bar, "So, why did your last boyfriend break up with you?"
• Strongly related to the above two points: Dutch guys have a reputation for being boring. Order a drink (or a few); as theatre critic George Jean Nathan used to say, "I drink to make other people more interesting." Do what it takes to get fascinated with your Dutchman.
• While you're at it, get your guy drunk. "A drunk Dutchman behaves like a normal man," a woman in Amsterdam told me. She was Italian, so her expectation for "normal" may be slightly skewed — but it's still good advice. If your Dutchman is sober, you'll have to behave more like a Dutch woman to get him (be forward).
• Try to be with him at the end of the night. In Holland, being the last two people around is considered a classic signal. Should be obvious, right?
• But even then, you will probably need to spell it out for him. A source with ample experience bagging both German and Dutch guys tells me that German guys — who also wait for the woman to make the first move — are at least susceptible to flirty looks and will respond appropriately. Dutch guys need you to actually verbalize your intentions.
• When heading out for a date, take cash! The expression "Going Dutch" is true to its etymology. (Also know that foreign credit cards frequently don't work here.)
• Don't say "no" when you mean "maybe" or "maybe later". Unlike their less civilized counterparts, Dutchmen generally won't make a second attempt for your phone number, a kiss, etc.
• Chances are, the man will arrive by bike, but don't take your bicycle when you go on a date. That way, afterward, when public transportation is closed, the man will feel obligated to give you a ride on the rack over his back wheel. Ride sidesaddle, wrap your arms around him, nuzzle him, slip a hand down his pants, and see if you can get him to lose balance.
Photo credit: Kevin Dooley.