Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dedicated to all Greek Women.

I recently heard this story I'm about to tell you from a friend living in Greece. The stage: a comfortable and fully equipped living room of a Greek middle class family. The happy owners, in their mid-fifties. The wife, Miranda, is a genuine Master of the house, doing anything it takes to take care of housekeeping and a family with a husband and 2 daughters in their mid twenties, which actually boils down to earn a living, cook for them, wash their undies, care for the family fortune and property(ies), the girls' studies and their future, and all things small and large. The husband, Yanni (half the Greek men are called Yanni), is an earner too, but he's providing far less than the wife, working in a boring public servant job; he worships socialising with alcohol and fags, and of course, what else, he just loves all those tasty Greek meals. He mostly wanders around the house in his boxers' underwear, covered in a dressing gown, loves to zap the TV, and is proud of his sexy 'good' looks. Occasionally, he tries to show-off his iPhone, especially when visitors are around, but, being a total technology agnostic, an internet immigrant as they call them these days, he doesn't even know how to make a simple device 'reboot'.

The day of the story Miranda is busy on a task with a lady friend of hers about an upcoming wedding event. They both seem reasonably busy, planning, arguing, organising. Yanni meanders in circles around the two women like a male bee, and needs strongly to see them both paying attention to him; he's a man after all, the man about the house. He already tried interrupting them to offer his 'help' but they politely turned him down. At one point he utters to the wife: "I feel painfully hungry, Miranda! Honey, why don't you prepare me a plate with some niceties to have a bite?". Can you believe the SOB? However, Miranda leaves her exchanges with her lady friend in the middle of a task, walks to the kitchen, prepares a full plate with delicatessens from the fridge, hands it over to him with a smile, wishes him a 'bon appetit' and walks back to her friend. "You forgot to bring me something to drink", he argues, rather annoyed. With a goodhearted smile, she storms back to the kitchen, grabs an ice cold beer, and she's back and says: "Here you go, my pasha, enjoy it, my darling". "This damn beer is far too cold, sweetie, my teeth are aching", he utters as he takes a sip. "Don't worry, darling" he says next, "you don't have to fetch another one, I don't want to interrupt you, ladies, too often. You seem pretty busy to deal with me, I know. Let me be, in my own misery". Soon afterwards he turns to them with a brand new and ecstatic remark: "Oh, that was good shit; girls, why don't you fix yourselves a plate to have a bite too?". A few minutes go by and he falls asleep in the sofa snoring heavily in front of a muted TV playing the game of the day.

If you are a Greek and read this story, you are like, why the heck this could be a story at all? Where's the problem? That's normal stuff! For those of course, who have been domesticated in the households of Central and Northern Europe, far away from the macho worlds of the countries washed by the Mediterranean, this is definitely a story! First crossing our minds, what's wrong with the dude? Is he paralysed or something? Why can't he walk to the fridge himself, and swallow whatever his heart desires without bothering the spouse and her friend? Why can't he even fix something along for the two busy ladies too? What is this with Greek men expecting to be served by their wives and partners? Who's to blame for these abysmal manners?

This a chronic problem in Greece for as long as I remember. Honest to God, I NEVER saw my dad walking to the fridge and pick- up anything. Even water. I mean, NEVER! EVER! He never prepared anything for us, me and my sister, let alone my mom, to eat or drink either. An apron would be the last thing he'd wear, he used to say. Better starve instead! He wouldn't even ask my mom for food. She knew him inside out, she picked his body language hints I presume, and would serve him like butlers do in TV soaps staged inside Victorian England. I wrongly thought that, as time passed by and Greek women got emancipated, this would have changed. Apparently not. Greek female emancipation seems to be a thing of smoking cigarettes and talking slang with a heavy voice alone. For the rest they are serving like slaves the men of the family, husbands, dads and their sons.

Who's to blame? Who started this? This is the simplest question to answer. It's not the Greek men at all !!! Philotheos Pharos, a preacher like no-one else I heard before, often said that too, as clearly and loudly as possible. And the Greek gifted comedian Lazopoulos as well. He hints and exposes the problem in almost each and every episode of his hilarious 'al tsantiri news'. It's the Greek women who cause all this damage to their men. This behavior eventually turns back on them as an Aussie boomerang. They start by spoiling their boy offsprings, whereas their husbands have already been spoiled previously by their own mommies. Boys are the Greek mothers's 'kanakarides' and pashas, their pride and treasure. They call them boys their 'children' (παιδιά) whereas they call their daughters simply that (κόρες). Girls don't count. Only boys. It's almost worse than in China!

As Pharos claims (and he's quite right too) Greek women turn their male offsprings into notorious arrogant and spoiled prats, and in later life the 'boys' expect to be treated by their wives and girlfriends the same way too. And those incredible Greek women simply accept this fact and just do it. Some of them even feel proud about it! Blimey! The number of times I asked my mom as a teenager to bring me water, regardless whether I was doing something useful or simply lazying off is beyond belief. And the poor thing, would stop whatever she was doing and would just go bring that to me. Would I be angry if she didn't? Probably yes, that is then, but I feel awfully embarrassed about my behavior right now, even as I write this down. Why do Greek moms do this? Why is it any good for? Is that an expression of motherly 'love' and 'care'? What Greek moms consider 'good' for their boy offsprings is a formula for disaster in their men's adult life. And a curse for their respective spouses. As for me, I found out the 'harsh' way. Years later, when I shared an apartment as a college student in Athens, I had the nerve to ask a glass of water to my room mate, another kid couple years older, and he was like "Who TF you think I am? Y'r fokkin' servant?". Yeah, that did the trick! I was shocked and felt ashamed, and I remember, I kinda missed my mom that moment real hard, but, as I said, I learned the savoir vivre pretty damn quick. The rest of my life was spent in an entourage where it's exactly the other way around, where most men are expected to get their 'shit' together and be responsible, meaning, showing some respect to their 'other halves' for their toil in keeping the house and family going. And do their respective parts. The fact that most women work and support the family financially over here in the 'North' for far longer than the case in Greece, might have something to do with this.

So, Greek ladies, lemme give you some wise advice: Stop spoiling them buggers. Apply some elementary to-do's and stop serving your kanakarides, dads, husbands and sons, cause they ain't worth sh!t to be served like pashas. Some practice in preparing their own food and fetching their own drinks won't harm their soft souls and fat ass. If anything, it'll give them some exercise to do and possibly make their lives less of a bore by offering them something else to think about than just sex and booze.

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