“Hi, I’m Stelios Onassis, pleased to meet you,” says a demigod as he lies down opposite me in the open-air lounge bar in Athens.
I wonder if my Casanova is related to his namesake, the late, multi-millionaire magnate, Aristotle. After all, if there is one destination for wealthy Greek families, it’s right here on the coast just outside the country’s bustling capital Athens. A bearded priest in long black robes approaches. Onassis waves to him. “My cousin,” he explains, and nobody finds it strange that he joins us on our white bench. Sexy and authentic, this is the Athens I love.
Greeks flirt with impeccable nonchalance. As I’m wondering on to my favorite stomping ground – the district of Psiri – where the same enthralling combination of shabby and chic makes for an ambience similar to Notting Hill in London or De Pijp in Amsterdam, I attract the attention of another flirter. “Do you want to touch the moon?” asks a handsome man in a tight white T-shirt.
Flirting is a part of Athens street culture, but there is always an escape from unwanted advances. If a man is rejected or spurned, he will just shrug it off easily, without hard feelings. Although it is important for a Greek man that he does not lose his filothimo (honor), flirting is respectful in the streets.
Eventually I find that ‘moon’ my Greek seducer was talking about. Sitting on the roof terrace of the restaurant Kouzina, right next to the ancient Acropolis citadel, I find my eyes wandering from the buzzing Athens towards the sky. The moon shines so clear over the city that it seems I could reach out and touch it.
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