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….