I'm a pretty girl. No knockout, and certainly not a supermodel, but I get my fair share of catcalls and flirtatious men trying to (pathetically) hit on me from time to time. Thankfully Dutch men are better-contained than their American counterparts and do not, as a general rule, go tweeting on the streets.
However, they do wink.
But I've finally figured out that it's part of the Dutch DNA (or something like that), an inherited social behavior meme probably connived back in the 1600s when the Calvinists took over and made the potato the national vegetable: now that catcalls weren't allowed, men had to come up with a more subtle way to let women know what they really thought of them, although one must wonder how anybody within line of sight could miss such a huge, exaggerated stage wink. The Dutch don't exactly do subtle.
It took me a while to figure this out because my boyfriend swore that he never winked at women, which I believed because he's my boyfriend and because he has some pretty attractive female friends, and his eyes always close simultaneously. But earlier this week, I met up with Amanda and Dan and she corrected me--my boyfriend did, in fact, wink at her! As if that weren't proof enough, we had also recently attended a funeral, where winking was rampant, and even the crudest Low-Countryman knows one simply does not hit up chicks in black.
Verdict on the wink: mostly harmless, probably unconscious. If you want to have a little fun, mention it to a winker and watch him go crazy :-)