While everyone assumes that Greek men will cheat, that is not the case for Greek women.As a wife, she is supposed to be the Penelope and remain virtuous, even when her husband is a two or 22 – timer.Relationships are extremely complicated, I know that.But all too often I see the sacrifices to self and self worth, especially in terms of respect and equal division of house work and child rearing, that many of my Greek women friends have made for the sake of keeping comfortably Greek.I can safely say that both “feel” more Greek even if I had to become über-Greek so to speak in an effort to keep them from going “Greek lite” as I felt holding on to Greek culture extremely important.
And I got tired waiting such a long time for a balanced, egalitarian marriage partner who I also had chemistry for to come around.Same theme with Theseus, who according to both literary and historical record was an arrogant jerk.He needed Ariadne’s help to get out of the labyrinth but when his use for her was done, he abandoned her, pregnant no less, on the island of Naxos after getting her drunk on the way back to Athens from Crete.If only Zeus and Hera could have had marriage counseling and taken a seat on a pillowy cloud of a couch in some marriage counselor’s office.Perhaps they could have been the archetypes of a mutually respectful and satisfying marriage.I have tried to replicate I them what I have hoped to accomplish in myself as a hyphenated American.I never wanted to “greekness” to fade away into a barf shade of grey.I know many Greek friends who have “settled” for less-than-satisfying Greek men who are full embodiments of Odysseus or Jason.Risking the label of judgmental and unfair, I do not subscribe to their idea of happiness in marriage even though they say they are, because I can see from the outside how much of themselves they had to suppress or change all to be with a Greek husband.“ti tha pei,” the middle-aged ladies of the Philoptochos will chit chat, “tha parei xeno? It is considered a desperate measure, a settling for seconds should a girl marry a xeno someone outside the Greek golden race. But I believe that if the saying “a good man is hard to find” is true than the chances of finding a good Greek man are even slimmer.What the poet Rilke said is true not just for Greek but all relationships, ” in relationships it is men who do not know how to love.”Perhaps the answer then is to re educate Greek men and women in a new paradigm of sex relations that translates into genuinely equal, mutually respectful and satisfying marriages and families. Not chopping up Jason’s children in a fit of revenge for his infidelity nor divorcing Odysseus after all the years you invested in your relationship.We have heard stories of so and so cheating on his wife for many years.As a young girl I remember one of my father’s friends boasting,”I have had relations with hundreds of women.” I have stepped outside the Greek milieu and asked straight up Americans about what they thought of Greek men, “a–holes,” “proud” “immature”” shrewd” “good with money and business” but mostly arrogant immature “d—-“.Although I have not done formal surveys and research on it, my hunch is that they cave into the pressures, consciously or unconsciously, to marry greek because our culture puts so much stake at keeping the Greek culture alive.