This is a guest post from an American who is living in Greece and is married to a Greek.
Christopher is also a teacher in my school LEXIS and a great inspiration to me.This is an excerpt from the first part of his ebook ''Sticking the Knife to the Bone''(Το μαχαιρι στο κοκαλο, η ελληνικη μεταφραση εδω).
Warning:If you are easily offended by vulgarities or you have idealised everything Greek,Christopher's post is not for you.Go read something else from my blog...
In his own words from his book:
''What the fuck is this Greek way anyway? I know what a lot of people are thinking, “Well if you hate the way things are here so much, why don't you just leave?” I know people out there are thinking that because my wife said that to me several times. The reason I don't leave is because I love and have hope for Greece and Greece's future. The reason I love and have hope for Greece comes from the COOL Greek people. When a Greek is beautiful, and I'm speaking about inner-beauty here, they are very beautiful. When they are ugly, they are very ugly.
Like I said before, this book is about the prevailing culture, not the wonderful, beautiful times that I had here with certain individual people, because those times are few and far between.
We need to shed the past so we can become like the Greeks of the past, with the benefits of the present. I feel myself to be more like the Greeks of antiquity than I see the Greeks of now to be, I hope, I dream, I build, I act. We need a GREEK RENAISSANCE! Greece used to be the light of the world. The world looked to Greece for the future. It could be again but only if we work for it. ''
I have been working on this book for a while now and I've found that writing this introduction has been the hardest part. I think I've written 4 or 5 different versions of it so far. I think that I finally got it right, with the help of those that love me the most. With my first rough draft I was thinking about plagiarizing one of my favorite comedians Carlos Mencia by saying “I would like to start this off by apologizing to all the people that I am about to thoroughly offend.”. Now, I don't want to do that. Really, I don't want to offend anyone but if you get offended, go fuck yourself. Think about it, you can only be offended by the truth. If you don't get offended then I'm not talking about you. So since I'm not going to start with a joke reference I'll start off with a warning. This book isn't a remedial class text book. It isn't written at an elementary school level. Even if you are smarter then a 10 year old that doesn't mean that you'll be able to understand this book. I will not dumb down this book for your stupid ass, so if you're a fucking quad (I'll be explaining what quads are later) I recommend you find a smart, cool friend to help you catch up so we can all move on and evolve as a species together.
Now for you anal fucks out there that only care about surface appearances instead of knowledge. I'll now give you a list of the words and frequency used that you will probably find vulgar, that way you can get over them and move on to the knowledge part.
Well, where to begin? Mr. Baggins says to begin at the beginning. I'll go a little before that though. I'll start with a choice I made a few years ago. That choice was, “Fuck this shit!”. I was a solider for the American Military, off and on for 11 years. The last duty station I was in was the Iraqi Theater of the Terror Wars. As most everyone can guess, I saw and took part in a lot of human ugliness. I will not be getting into that though, that's not the point of this book anyway. The point of this book is why I joined the military in the first place.
One night in Iraq, after going through what I can only call hell. I made that choice, fuck this shit. I sat down at my desk beside my rack and proceeded to write down on little slips of paper, the names of all the countries I could think of. I put them all in a hat, mixed them up, pulled out one slip of paper and it said Greece. That's how I decided to move to Greece.
I was very thoughtful when I saw that piece of paper. Like most Americans, I have a hard on for ancient Greek culture. If you don't believe that Americans have a hard on for ancient Greek culture just look at where all the best movies about Greece comes from. Well, except for My Big Fat Greek Wedding or My Life in Ruins but the others are pretty good and they all come from the U.S.. However that's just Hollywood, so nothing about reality. So I thought that it might be a good idea to meet a Greek so I could learn what modern Greek life is like. During my free time I was on the internet trying to meet people. That was how I met the woman who would later become my wife.
As I sit here writing, it's the 4th of July 2011. It's three years later from the time I first moved here. My wife tried to explain Greek life to me before I came here, but WOW, that didn't come close to preparing me for what I found when I came here. Needless to say, all my dreams and ideas about Greek culture was smashed to hell within the first few weeks of living here. So you can imagine what I feel now after 3 years. Right now I just have that one question on my mind. WHAT THE FUCK?
THE PERSONAL SIDE
I am personally amazed that anyone here in Greece gets married or has children. To start off with, just walking around anywhere in this country, whenever you see a group of people walking around, the groups are predominately same sex groups. Of course there are exceptions but usually just same sex groups. If you go to a club you'll see the same thing, same sex groups and I see the strangest things going on. A group of men will be sitting at a table or up at the bar. They will watch a group of women walk by and just stare at them. After the women pass by, they will turn back and smile at each other then start talking about what they would do with a woman like that. A group of women will do pretty much the same thing, except for the last part. It's just as strange though. Men at the end, turn, smile then talk. Women however, when the group of men pass by they turn to each other and then immediately shout out this God awful shrieking laugh, like someone bent all of them over and dropped a vibrating ice cube down the back of their pants. See, what did I tell you? Strangest shit ever! I can't understand this at all. If you find someone attractive, why wouldn't you want to go and speak with them?
I'll now tell you how we do things in the U.S. and hopefully it will help you out. We do have many ways, everything from meeting people online to being set up on a blind date by family or friends, but I'll just teach you the most popular way. So, get out your highlighters so you can mark this part for future reference. I will be teaching this from the male perspective, well because I am a guy but don't worry. This advice will work for women as well. The setting is in a bar. You look around the bar and see a beautiful woman.
Step 1- If you are with friends say “Excuse me please but I just saw a woman that I want
to meet.” (if you are alone ignore this step)
Step 2- Walk up to her.
Step 3- Say “Hello my name is insert name here.” (if she is with friends greet them as well)
Step 4- Ask “May I join you for a minute?” (if she is with friends look at the friends
after you ask her that to show them you think what they think maters to you)
Step 5a she says yes- Say “Thank you.” “I was looking around the bar when I was struck
by your beauty, so I wanted to come over to meet and talk to you to
see if your heart and mind is as beautiful as your face and body.”
Step 5b she says no- Don't say the “Thank you.” part but continue with the rest of the
line. After you finish the line say “However you're not interested in
me.” “I apologize for disrupting your night.” “Have a good night.”. Then walk away.
There, nothing more difficult than that. Meeting a woman (or a man, like I said this plan will work for women as well) in 5 easy steps.
I gave that advice and now I am back to that all consuming question; WHAT THE FUCK?! Greeks can take what should be the simplest thing and turn it into a complicated process, in your heads before you even start to try. Tell me what is more simple than attraction. It's something that almost everyone on this planet experiences. Men want women, women want men, fags want each other. Its a universal thing. Everyone wants that personal connection. Everyone loves fucking. Being one with a fellow human being even for just a night is desired by everyone. So why take what everyone loves and turn it into something complicated?
FRIENDSHIPS BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN
I know that a lot of you Greeks may not believe this but it is possible for women and men to be friends and no fucking going on. Its true, really really. “Really really?” Really really! I'll tell you a couple of stories about this subject and it shows again how Greeks can take something so simple and turn it into something complicated. On with the stories now.
I was at a bar here in Σέρρες, with a couple of buddies one other guy and the cousin of one of my buddy's girlfriend. The cousin I should say is a woman. The rest of the group were guys. I didn't notice what was going on in my mind at the time but I noticed after I had left. The thing I noticed was that we were four dudes and one chick all together. That isn't unusual in itself but the unusual thing was that she was drunk as hell. Everything was cool, I loved it. We were just five people, chilling out together and enjoying each others company without any complications. That was the first time that happened to me here in Greece. I've been out in mixed company before but the girls I was with never got drunk in public, not even with friends. I heard stories that no Greek woman would do something like that because she would be afraid of what others would say about her. When I say “say about her”, I mean in that fucking petty gossipy way that people talk about each other here. Gossip jeez, that will be covered later. Hell, I could probably write another book just on how Greeks gossip.
The second story is, I have a friend who is a married woman. She isn't happily married though, she wants a divorce and she is working to make that happen. I can't blame her. I met her husband several times and its hard for me to see why she married him in the first place. The thing I want to get at though with this story is that he is using me as an excuse. He has been going around to all her family and saying that his wife and I are fucking. He is putting stress on her, their kids and her family. No stress on me though, just because of the way I take things. I don't take bullshit to heart. “Why?” you may ask, its because it's just that, bullshit. The only thing that makes me upset with this man is what he is doing to her family.
It's possible for men and women to be friends and no fucking going on. If you only count people that are the same sex you are as your friends then you are denying yourself the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of half of the population.
I am only speaking of generalities here. I know that what I speak of isn't the case for all individuals. I have found, what I feel are the prevailing values here in Greece and I speak about them. And yes you guessed it, I ask that all consuming question. “WHAT THE FUCK?”
Men here feel that the only thing women are on this planet for, is for fucking, continuing the progeny and taking care of the house. Women here feel that the only thing men are on this planet for, is for fucking, continuing the progeny and providing money for the house. Whenever someone tries to step out of those predefined roles there is hell to pay. If a man wants to work in the house the woman will yell at him and say he is doing everything wrong. If a woman wants to go outside the house and work then the man will yell at her and tell her that she is incapable of working outside the house before she even tries.
That last paragraph was for the people who are unhappy and want to do something different and how the spouse or mate will treat them. I know the opposite is out there too. That there are couples that love that idea. That there are women that want nothing more than to take care of the house and kids. That there are men out there who want nothing more than to work for money to provide for the house and kids. I will not be speaking about them though because if they are happy like that and they found someone else to share that way of life with, I am happy for them and I understand their desire to be happy. It's only when people are unhappy and they keep doing the same thing again and again because of what others will think of them, while they have the chance to change their situation, that's what makes me ask, WHAT THE FUCK?
What I do; I like to work outside and inside the house. I know what some of you traditionally minded Greeks are thinking. “Wait a minute, you work outside and inside the house.” “But you said that you were married, doesn’t she take care of the house?” Yes she does. However, we consider a marriage to be a union. We share everything, and when I say everything that is exactly what I mean. Neither my wife or I do anything that we don't want to do. We take care of each other and our house because we want to. I love to cook. I also clean, iron and sow up clothing. Everything that a traditionally minded Greek would say is woman's work, I do. The only thing that a woman does that I don't is bleed for a few days a month or get pregnant. This sexism bullshit has got to go. Damn dudes, I fucking hate it when I do something that is considered to be woman's work and a woman says “bravo” like I did something spectacular. Don't fucking patronize me. Work is work no mater where the location is. I also have this little old annoying lady that lives just above me and she is a peeping tom and a gossip. Whenever she comes out to her balcony she looks into my apartment to see what is going on. One day I was ironing in front of the window and I looked up to find her starring down at me with this “holy shit” look on her face. Like she was thinking “Damn a man doing woman's work!”. I have many such stories but I think you get my point.
THE PETTY SHIT
WOW gossip, what to say about that. I think that gossip is the most fucked up forms of communication there is. Damn, and people here treat it like its a sport. Football is the most popular sport here in Greece with gossip a close second. It makes me ask, where are peoples priorities. Why are people lacking so much in their own lives that they need to talk so much shit about an others life. I remember when I first came to Greece, that there were more gossip news programs on TV than there were regular news programs. That's also very fucked up.
I'm happy to know that at least one Greek agrees with me on this subject. A man named Αλκιβιάδης a few years ago went out and bought a huge dog and then cut off its tail. His friends came up to him and said that everyone was gossiping about his dog's tail. Αλκιβιάδης told his friends that this is exactly what he wanted, for all the people in Αθηνα to be gossiping about his dog's tail and leave him in peace.
Let's break this topic down a bit. I will use an Americanism here, well because I was an American and it makes things easier on me to keep things straight in my own head. The Americanism is, Don't hate the player hate the game. What that means is, don't hate the people that succeed in this life, hate the life that you don't succeed in. We call people that do hate the players, haters. That is what a gossip is, a hater. They're haters because when ever they talk about someone they're talking shit. If they were speaking good stuff then it would just be talking. So now, since you know my frame of mind, I'll just call gossips what they are, haters. They didn't used to be haters. No one was born a hater. They became haters. They are people that used to want good stuff. They used to dream, hope, plan and work for good stuff. For whatever reason good stuff didn't happen for them. Now they hate good stuff and the people that have good stuff.
I don't understand the pettiness of of your bullshit you fucking haters. Don't talk bad about the players, they are the ones that are out and accomplishing things. Hell, if I was a hater I would go find what ever player that would be willing and ask them to mentor my little hating ass, so hopefully I could be a player one day myself. That's what we players do. We just don't sit down hating. We appreciate good shit and we talk to each other so we can figure out how we can be bigger successes.
If you are a player and you have people hating you don't be disheartened. Think about it, they are hating you because you have success in your life. So use these fucking haters as a gauge of your success. If you have 10 haters now you need to figure out how to get 15 of those fuckers in a month. That way you can see how you are progressing through the game.
Get rid of this jealousy bullshit please. It serves absolutely no purpose. Oh sorry, I should explain that I am talking about relationship jealousy here. The reason it serves no purpose is because if someone gives you a reason to feel jealousy then they are not dedicated to you in the first place. People get jealous here for the stupidest things anyway.
Time for the examples. If someone finds the person that you are with attractive, then take it for what it is, a complement. I mean look at it logically, you found the person you're with attractive, so why do you think that others shouldn't find that person attractive. When my wife and I lived in Nea Mihaniona, we went up to Makro up in Thessaloniki every once and a while, for our shopping. One time, my wife started to take the cart up to the security, to get the cart checked, while I was still paying the bill. As she was up with the guard, he started to flirt with her. I didn't get jealous at all. I took it as a complement. I have someone that he wanted, I felt happy and proud.
The stupidest things to become jealous over, doesn't even need to involve flirting. I had a buddy who was a bartender when I knew her. One night, when I was out and about walking by some clubs in Θεσσαλονίκη , I went into the bar she worked at, to see her. As always we chilled out talking having a good time. Later she had to go to the kitchen to do some dishes, which left me at the bar. After some time went by, I thought of something that was relevant to the conversation that we were having, so I went back to the kitchen to tell her. Right after me a guy came back to the kitchen and just stared at me. What the fuck? I said hi to him, I tried to be sociable, I didn't know what the fuck was going on. She told me that he was her boyfriend and he is very jealous. Jealous over what, that someone wants to talk with her.
I even know of some guys that go out with their girlfriends or wives, when they go to look for a job and submit CVs. As if they didn't, their wives or girlfriends would would be out fucking in the streets. Damn dudes if I owned a business and someone needed a fucking escort to come apply for a job, before they even start to talk to me, I would tell them not to bother. If you aren't independent enough to apply for a job alone then, I don't want to hire you.
This is why I'm saying that jealousy serves no purpose. OK, here we go, If the person you are with is dedicated to you, then they will handle things themselves. Of course people will always flirt with the person you're with, but they will say “Thank you for the compliment but I am with somebody.”. If the person that you are with accepts the flirting and starts flirting themselves, they aren't really with you in the first place. So, as you can see right there, jealousy serves no purpose, so drop the bullshit.