Stereotyping the Polish Male

In the nicest possible way, obviously.

I came across this two-part article the other day, and I have been wondering about it ever since. Is it okay to stereotype the men of a particular nation, based on statistics or not? If it can be done with “the German man,” surely my experiences with Polish males can also serve as the basis of an article? After all, anything goes in humorous writing. So, without further ado, here are most of the Polish males I have met in my life. I suspect that if you judge anyone after reading this, it’ll be me. The fact that it’s weird to even have such a list in your life has been pointed out to me before…

The Polite Pole. He was the first Pole I’ve ever encountered, on my first ever bus ride in Liverpool. (There were two of them, actually, and many more after.) I’ve met many polite Poles over the course of the years. They’re lovely. They carry your bags. They compliment you on your intellect. And they never once make it seem like they’re hitting on you. Until you suddenly find yourself married to one of them.

The One in Denial. Upon arrival in England, he changes his name to an English one, because he feels he can’t expect anyone here to possibly pronounce the name Krzysztof. Or Maciek. Or even Pawel. He’ll spend the rest of his life slowly changing into an actual Dave, or Steve. Which is a pity.

The One Who’s Not like the Others. He wears his hair long. He gives himself a fancy, made-up alternative name. He’s not averse to cricket. He’s very nerdy, very mysterious, and you can’t for the life of you pronounce his new name. If only he’d stuck with Grzegorz.

The One with the Pope. In April 2005, a Pope dies. In a house full of Polish people, this has all the makings of a tragedy, because this was the Pope, the one and only John Paul II, the Greatest Pole of All Time. And the Polish love their Pope. After having happily shared a bed with you for a blissful few days, a certain gentleman confesses that he has a girlfriend in Poland, and his agony over the dead Pope and swiftly recovered Catholicism make him want to stay faithful to her. It appears this can be done retroactively. It’s a true papal miracle, and the best excuse for a break-up ever. But like I said, there is a whole house full of Poles.

The One Who Remembered. You meet briefly in 2005. Years later, he finds you on Facebook. You get along well, and he remembers a lot of stuff about you (see also: the Polite Pole), so you must have actually met him before. It doesn’t matter that you don’t remember him because that way, you have the pleasure of getting to know each other all over again. In my defence, I did meet a lot of Polish people in 2005.

The Ever-so-slightly Dysfunctional Friendship. You get on like a house on fire, and you can talk for hours. Normal conversational rules do not apply, and you hope he blames the amount of inappropriate subject matter on your foreignness. East Germans are weird, he notes. He’s a good egg, and a good friend, and you hope he never meets any other, more normal, East Germans.

The One Who Understands Me. Considering I only understand 2% of the lyrics, this famous Polish musician sounds like he can see straight into my soul, maaaan. I think about this man way too much. I obsessively ponder his hairstyling decisions. The fact that those possibly meaningful lyrics were actually written by the guy’s dad is not weird at all. Not even when you think about it for quite a long time. Not. Weird. Nothing to see here.

The Husband. The first time we met, he’d just been outside, chopping wood. His first ever present to me was a book. He proposed with the immortal words “Can I ask you a question?” Does it matter that he’s worryingly fond of Ronald Reagan and ski jumping? Of course it doesn’t! I’m convinced he can be retrained. Also, does it surprise anyone that he himself is deeply suspicious of the Polish male? Hmmm.

The Boy. He’s small. He’s strange. Based purely on how he treats the cat, he might be a psychopath. His name translates as “Winnie the Pooh,” and I adore every last bit of him. We will blame all the weird stuff on the fact that he’s 50% East German.

Small boy with toy bucket over his head
“I’m in the bucket!”


By Karo

Schnazzy East German translator and cricket obsessive residing in England. I have other qualities, too.

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