The Greek Pick-Up Artists of the 70s Loved British Girls On Tour | VICE United Kingdom
Long, unkempt, greasy hair, bushy mustaches, unbuttoned silk shirts that show off hairy chests and gold chains; It might not be what Greeks like me want the rest of the world to think we look like, but – in the 1970s and 80s – this was how a foreigner would describe someone Greek.
The men who popularised this archetype were called "kamaki" – a Greek slang word for the kind of man who spends most of his time in tourist areas trying to pick up girls. Kissing a Greek girl back then would be synonymous to asking for her hand in marriage, but that wasn’t the case for the English and Scandinavian girls visiting Greece in the summer.
In the years before the Greek military junta of 1967-74, Greece’s unique offering of sea, sun and sand covered in semi-naked bodies led to a surge in tourism. The Sexual Revolution had just taken over the West, so young people from that part of the world travelled to Greece in search of a frantic summer of love.
“Doctors, lawyers, builders – all young men of my generation were ‘kamakis’. You see, Greek girls didn’t really go out then,” John Klouvas, one of the most popular kamakis of the time, told me last time I visited the island of Rhodes – where he lives. “We were sexually hungry and AIDS didn’t exist. I was born in 1955 – around 1970, when I was 15, mass tourism exploded. It was thanks to those foreign girls that we came of age. All the Greek girls wanted was to get married. All my friends ended up married to foreign girls.”