Obligatory Genders in Georgia Post 2: Siege Warfare

I picked that as the title because that’s what courting in Georgia reminds me of. I know there are a thousand posts on relationships and sex in Georgia, but after reading what I previously wrote, there were a few things I forgot to mention….or didn’t seem proper to mention at the time…whatever, I can’t remember.

What I’m going to do here is give some examples of people I know, and tell you all about their personal lives, and somehow try and interweave it into the point of this entry. Enjoy.

First up we have Teona and Givi, married and with a young child which is a little under a year old. When I came back to Georgia for Nino’s sake a few years ago, I met Givi for the first time (I met Teona a long time ago, back in ’07). They’d had some history together, by which I mean he’d been very aggressive towards her for no obvious reason for several years, and it wasn’t until a few months before I met them that they had become friends. When I met Givi for the first time, he seemed to like Teona, and when I said as much to her, she said ‘We’re friends now, but I don’t like him that way, I just don’t find him attractive’.

Two months later, they were married and she was pregnant.

Now, how the fuck did that happen? (Physically speaking, I know the answer, but you know what I mean). I don’t understand how you go from thinking ‘He’s not attractive and he used to be a bit of a dick’ to wanting to spend the rest of your life with him (which is what marriage entails when you come right down to it) in just sixty days. And as for children, to dive into such a life-changing decision after having previously given it no thought at all is just insane, at least in my opinion.

If you ask me, she married him probably due to pressure from her parents, which is pretty common here. Hell, my mother-in-law is forever asking when me and my wife Natia will be having children, and no matter how many times we tell her ‘not for a good few years’, she’ll ask again the next time she sees us.

I was about to make a point relating to Givi and Teona, but since it fits nicely into Robert and Katya’s story, I’ll move on.

Robert is a half Armenian and half Russian member of our family who is 28 years old. He’s a lovely chap, very kind-hearted and generous, and he became my godfather when I joined the Orthodox faith.

Now…this is a little difficult to write since I don’t want to sound like I’m being unpleasant, but I can’t see any way around it so here we go: Robert is a very short man, (he can’t stand much above 5 foot three) and after an electric shock from his teenage years that left him in a coma for a month, he is quite a sickly man.

His wife Katya is a Russian goddess, the very image of Maria Sharapova-esque Muscovite beauties. She married Robert when she was 16, and he was 20, a common girl-attracted-to-older-man scenario. They have a three year-old daughter, and because of Robert’s health, Katya is the only one in the household who works.

Small wonder she’s so bloody miserable all the time.

She’s got the typical self-assured confidence (bordering on arrogance) of most women who know just how attractive they are. Every time we’ve seen her over the last year or so, she’s been making snarky remarks at Robert for his small stature (which I think he’s also taking for comments about his manhood by the look on his face), who then responds by telling her to more or less literally get back in the kitchen. Since she’s the sole breadwinner and stunningly attractive, one can understand her frustration…and that she is prevented from leaving by her young daughter. Single parenting seems to be an extreme rarity. It’s a shame that all this stems from what probably seemed like a great idea when she was 16, showing off to her mates that she was married and they weren’t. A pity.

Speaking of Robert leads me onto his younger brother Kolia, who is married to Teka, another rare beauty of Kurdish descent. I originally wasn’t going to mention them, but I changed my mind. Deal with it.

They have something of a romantic story. Teka’s mother was very strict with her daughter, not letting her leave the house even to see friends or have fun; she had to go to school and come home, and that was it. Kolia was in her class, and they were apparently smitten with each other, but because of Teka’s mum, things were obviously difficult. He would wait outside her house window to talk to her, a la Romeo, and would have a female friend call her home number so he could talk to her without her mother realising.

No doubt you’ll agree, it’s very romantic indeed, and what reasons do I have to doubt it? Well, two, but admittedly as an argument it’s not as strong as my one for Katya and Robert.

Teka is, like Katya, strikingly beautiful. Kolia is, like Robert, short, but in place of Robert’s small sickly frame, Kolia is fat, with a great big belly and double chin. There have been a few instances when I’ve met Teka at parties etc. that I’ve found her staring at me, only to avert her eye when I look at her followed by a shy smile. I’d think less of it if she hadn’t been doing the exact same thing to my mate Rob when he was here, who’s a strapping Australian lad all the girls seem to want all over the damn planet.

My second point is that a cynical bastard like me could also point to the fact that like Katya, Teka was young when Kolia was courting her, and no doubt wanted to escape the tyranny of her mother by any means necessary. After Kolia and Teka got married in secret, her mother didn’t speak to her for three months, but this was a long, long time ago and ever since then things have been rosy. Take from that what you will.

The last example is by far the weirdest, and the one I find the most distasteful. I couldn’t even find the words to describe it until my American friend John decided that it was a case of Stockholm Syndrome, and he’s spot on. Ani, my wife’s twenty-one year old goddaughter, has been ‘engaged’ to a thirty-eight year old man, Giorgi, since she was sixteen. He left his wife and children for her, but Ani, being an Orthodox Christian, wouldn’t live with him before marriage and because the divorce of his wife was yet to go through, he wasn’t able to remarry yet.

I suppose the obvious thing wrong with this is that when she was sixteen, he was thirty-three, which would make him a child molester in a lot of Western countries. She eventually went to university in Russia, which he paid for, thereby creating a dependency. I’m sure the fact that he looks older than he is, has a sizeable gut and double chins hasn’t escaped him, and he’s made it known to her that he’s worried because she is a young Ukrainian with a perfect figure in a university full of randy Russians.

They’ve broken up and got back together more times than I’ve had hot meals, but what strikes me as so strange is that she seems totally incapable of looking at anyone else (which you’d think would make Giorgi’s paranoias a little obsolete). I find it very hard to believe that there isn’t one nice Russian lad who she could go out with at university, but she holds the Georgian belief that if you’re American, European or Russian, all you ever think about is sex (which is ironic, Georgian men being what they are).

If it sounds like I’m personally attacking the man, it’s because I am. He’s sarcastic, unpleasant, arrogant and very ignorant of the outside world. His beady black eyes are envious and mocking, and his sense of humour comes at other people’s expense from a seeming lack of self confidence and the fact that his girlfriend is frequently mistaken for his daughter. I really don’t see what she’s talking about when she says ‘he makes me laugh so much, and his eyes are so beautiful’.

John’s theory of Stockholm Syndrome could be fairly spot on, but it’s possible that it’s not as simple as that. It sometimes sounds to me like she’s trying to convince herself how attractive and wonderful he is. Since he pays her university fees, she needs his money; she admitted as much to me once, though she tried to make it sound as though it was a secondary problem created by their breakup, and the main issue was her apparent heartbreak. I can’t be sure whether she herself believes what she says about him, or if she’s just trying to put a nice spin on the fact that the deal is she goes to university at his expense as long as he one day gets to fuck a girl the same age as his children.

So there you go. Another addition to Georgian gender relationships. Apparently I started writing this on the 11th of July, which was a bloody long time ago, and I’m sure back then I was planning to write something different. Ne’ermind.

End of broadcast….


About tcjogden69

Former soldier, current boxing trainer/student living in Tbilisi.
This entry was posted in Georgia, Tbilisi, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Obligatory Genders in Georgia Post 2: Siege Warfare

  1. Hmmm..... says:

    I’m a Georgian girl – I actually knew a girl who had a crush on a 27 year old man…when she was 16 or 17. And he liked her just as much, apparently. To be honest, during all my teenage years I found a lot of older men (college age and older, up to 32 years old) to be very attractive. I think this is because girls develop quicker than boys – when you’re 13/14, boys your age are very, obviously horny. When you meet an older man, he’s thinking about the same thing as the teenage boy – sex – but he knows how to conceal it better and since he’s older and has more life experience (and better fashion sense), he seems more ‘sophisticated’ and since you think you’re grown up and know it all and pretty ‘sophisticated’ yourself, you’re attracted to this older man. You know how it is – you think “well, I’m 16. I’m mature! And so is he. We can talk about lots of things. What’s the big deal?” Granted, I never dated any of those older men, but the attraction was there. Also, when a girl hits puberty and starts developing, a lot of older men hit on her. This continues throughout her teenage/university years, and it becomes so common that you don’t think of it as “creepy” or “threatening” anymore. At least, that’s how it is in the U.S. and probably Georgia.

    I think the reason why more girls in Georgia get into bad marriages like those listed is because of the bad economy (no jobs so parents pay for everything and you can’t say no to them), controlling families (marriage is a way out), and overall gender imbalance (I’m not talking about the sex ratio – I’m talking about comparing the number of men vs. women who are alcoholics/drug addicts/cheaters/jobless/refusing to help with housechores/carry out domestic abuse). I don’t mean to make our men sound horrible, since I know lots of good Georgian guys, but that is the sad reality. When there’s not a huge pool of great husband-material to choose from, you either have to lower your standards or be alone for a long time. The average Western man takes a long time to get married (if at all), but when he does he helps out with housework, raising the children, sucks up his pride to take a job he might hate to support the family, and is aware that cheating means breaking your marriage vows. The average Georgian man – not so much. Granted, I’m not sure on the cheating part, as cheating happens everywhere and it might be that our men are more open about it, but the part about housework/kids/jobs is right.
    Sometimes, women are desperate to get married, so like ‘Teona’, they will marry a guy who shows interest because they’re scared of dying alone. If you’re not married by 26/27 in Georgia, you’re considered “old” by most of society.

    About Giorgi – 16 and 33 is considered pretty gross in Georgia, too. At least by normal people. The reason why he’s paranoid is because he knows he’s doing something wrong. Everyone in Georgia knows that the only reason a 16 year old girl marries a fat, ugly, paranoid, controlling guy is because of the money. Georgians don’t really call people out on it though – they just think to themselves “they’re not fooling anyone. She wants money and he wants a hot, young wife. They deserve each other.” People just sort of shrug about it and go about their day. BUT they talk about it once the couple is out of earshot.

    • tcjogden69 says:

      All true points indeed. As for younger women being interested in older men…I think that’s true wherever you go in the world, certainly was in Britain and France. I’ve just re-read this and I think basically my point was I find relationships here very frustrating. I get very sick and tired of Georgians telling me how Georgian culture is superior because of the Orthodox religion and the family values…these two elements which basically make Georgian men into drooling perverts. It makes me laugh how they describe themselves as having been the ultimate lovers of the Soviet Union, when if they tried what they do in the UK they’d get laughed at by the girls and the shit beaten out of them by the boys. I suppose my real problem with it all is that this traditional lifestyle is almost holding back their development; I wonder how many miserable married couples in their early 20s would be happy if they single, or even in a more casual relationship with the same partner, if only they were given the chance by society and their families. Not all Georgian men are like it, it’s true, but many are, and I can’t for the life of me understand them. Why, just the other day, I was at the gym in the swimming pool, alone except for a young lass in her 20s and an overweight Georgian man in his 40s. Everywhere she went, he followed her, talking to her. Anyone could have seen she just wasn’t interested and wanted him to fuck off, but he kept at it anyway.
      I suppose the thing I find the most annoying is how on the one hand, people are very protective of the ultra-Christian culture and on the other bitching and moaning about the hypocrisy…which is caused by the very religious teachings they’re defending. They’re also very critical of the new generation coming up, the teenagers who are freely screwing each other in fine British style, but I think it’s all to the good; it might well prevent a lot of unhappy marriages.
      I don’t want to be seen as another Neal character, a wanker who whines and moans about how this place needs more ‘American values’ and whatever else that self-satisfied moron and his cronies want to do to this place, but I do think there needs to be some changes, and I’m happy to see they’re progressing in a more or less natural fashion.
      We’ll see what time brings, but it’s sad to see things as they are. Last month, a woman we know called Nana, a beauty in her early 30s married an Iranian man she met twice who weighs over 16 stone of fat. Despite how she was trying to look excited, I could tell the idea of him jumping up and down on her didn’t exactly thrill her.
      Maybe, as things change, Georgian men will change too. At the moment they’re so confrontational and wannabe aggressive (for the most part) it’s actually hilarious. I’m at a university here now (ha!) and one mildly overweight and short brute of a lad comes up to me, asking what I do here, and telling me he’s a gangster. A real gangster. So I mentioned I’d been a soldier, and I was here because of my missus and I box here a lot. He immediately challenged me to a fight. I accepted, of course, which took him aback a bit, and I met him in the gym a few days later. Since he’d never boxed he didn’t stand a chance, and I knocked him clean out in the third round…all very amusing. That’s another thing I find very funny about them, which I’m sure you, since you’ve lived in the US for so long, will understand; they don’t seem to understand consequences. Not that I walk around saying ‘I’m a hard man’, far from it, in fact I hate that kind of alpha-male bullshit. But the point is, if someone has served as a professional soldier and boxes regularly, in my country these are the sorts of people it’s best not to tangle with. But here, it’s the opposite. I daresay I’m just a little tired of it all – I haven’t been amongst my own people for a long time, and despite how much I love the place, I am need of a holiday for Christmas.

      • Hmmm..... says:

        I, too, think it’s good that the teenagers are thinking differently, but it seems that they don’t know what a “real” Western relationship is like, so they think that what they see on TV (casual sex) is the norm in the West. I don’t know about Britain, but that’s not how it is in the U.S. Here, you can have casual sex if you want, but if you do it too much it’s looked down upon (more so for women than men, but also for men). A “good catch” here, at least when it comes to men, is a guy who’s smart, funny, etc… AND a guy who doesn’t “advertise” sex all the time. I find that Georgian young men tend to do this more- they have shirts that say “Sex Instructor – first lesson free” and pictures of naked/half naked models/sexually suggestive poses on facebook. None of my American guy friends (or their friends) have that, but some Georgians do. I was actually amazed to see the “sex” T shirts in Georgia – guys like that would be considered “douchebags” in America, but there they have girlfriends, female friends, and female relatives who think they are “so funny” with that shirt and “so cute” and an “awesome guy.”

        If I were Nana, I would have married a Georgian man. There’s still good guys left there, and even if there weren’t, better to marry a good looking Georgian guy (or average looking) who’s not such a good catch than a fat Iranian. At least you have shared culture/religion/language with him.

        You just have to stick it out – it’ll be a while before things change. It’s changing slowly. The problem with Georgia is that since the future is so uncertain, people don’t bother thinking about it. Why waste time in something that probably won’t happen or will change? Consequences also fall under this category, although I’ve noticed that Georgian men tend to think less about it since they’re not judged as harshly as women and it’s “expected” for them to defend their manhood by drinking, fighting, etc…

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