Thin, a cut of meat or stupid.
Thin as in not thick or else diluted is the issue here although the more Athenian leptos (slim) or athinados (literally “not strong” hence weak) is more commonly used in this context in everyday parlance.
The cut of meat referred to is thin strips from the part of the pig from whence streaky bacon is derived.
This rustic expression is used most frequently in its insulting sense in that someone is a highly diluted intellectually or perhaps that their intelligence is thin on the ground - in brief, stupid.
There is an awful lot of this about as most foreigners are viewed as stupid by Cypriots – presumably as there are still a were once willing to pay €200,000 Cyprus pounds for a house a Cypriot would judge as too small to keep his dog in.
Increasingly, however, the Cypriot population are viewing themselves – or rather each other - as stupid since the influx of foreigners have opened the eyes of the local populace to concepts such as good timekeeping, driving on the correct side of the road, using please and thank you, not smoking in restaurants under the No Smoking sign and resisting the urge to view all females (married or otherwise) over the age of twelve as fair game for their (the Cypriots) questionable charms.
A common occurrence of late is to tell foreigners, in the event of private conversation, “Look – Cypriots are stupid because…..” and citing bad manners, the strangulation of the tourist and/or property boom by the ever-rapacious Cypriot entrepreneurs, almost daily fatal car crashes, the inability to queue in banks, hospitals or anywhere else, abuse of foreign nationals verbally, physically and economically or even based on their behaviour at the beach in comparison to the quieter, better behaved foreigners.
It is to be advised that you should not say to the complainant “And you are from where?” as they will not be happy. Another faux pas would be should you ask what the complainant(s) are doing to remedy this situation as the answer will almost certainly be “Absolutely nothing”.
So just smile and nod until you can slip away. After all, what can they do?
This curios degree of national self criticism gives rise to the posited Ftanos A and the Ftanos B.
The type A is the standard goldfish bowl mentality Cypriot with no memory of yesterday from which to learn and no concept of tomorrow for which to plan.
This explains sky-rocketing prices on properties that were not selling anyway, the abuse of foreign residents as a mindlessly compliant cash-cow of biblical proportions and eternal milkability, and the tendency to drive in a fashion that only the truly immortal (or thoroughly plastered) should mimic.
The distinguishing characteristic of this group is the lemming-like plunge into oblivion – physically and economically – whilst harbouring the unshakable belief of their own unassailable rightness regardless of the havoc they wreak.
Tomorrow may be another day but that is not their problem as it will be a clone of this one.
The type B is similar to the type A superficially but tends to highlight ad infinitum (but accurately) certain characteristics of their A Type cousin as undesirable without actually drawing any long-term or global conclusions from this range of perceived deficiencies or necessarily dropping these habits themselves.
Seldom is any action taken against the practitioners of these perceived issues other than grumbling aggressively and glowering at perceived breaches of good taste, decent behaviour and basic intelligence as outlined in the Ftanos Type A.
Little is done to reign in the excesses of the type A on the part of the type B - and in all honesty there is probably very, very little they can do in view of the fact that their ivory-skulled cousins are still in the majority of young and middle aged Cypriots.
This brings us to a curious footnote to the Cypriot Ftani (pl.). They have a fairly specific distribution within Cyprus society.
They are seldom if ever to be found among those who have worked abroad and are far less frequent in areas of greater sophistication such as Nicosia or Limassol. Studying abroad makes little difference as copy and pasting information from Wikipaedia into a thesis seldom broadens the mind.
It should be remembered that until twenty years ago Ayia Napa was a fishing village and frankly, from the ftani viewpoint, it still is.
Dealing with the ftani type A is simple. Face it – you cannot because no-one can. Give up. Walk away.
The type B are a little more complex. – but by and large their dawning awareness that actions carry consequences is the hope for the future of European Cyprus even though the constant complaints can be something of a drag.
They need supporting as they evolve into a state of mind where they will no longer feel the need to state the obvious quite so frequently, and will have the strength and experience not to support ftani activities either actively or passively because they know that the ftani are part loose cannon and part unexploded bomb and we just don't need them and nor can we afford them.
So listen to them and sympathise because by and large they are right - and being both right and ignored is just about as frustrating as it gets.
My thanks to A.Q. for his input on this issue.