Pride and Prejudice, or the Single Girl’s Life in a Small Caucasus Town

My host mom heard I liked a Turkish guy.

She pulled me aside with a kind and sweet smile.  “Ruth,” she said, “you will have cultural differences with this boy.”  I sigh heavily, thinking I know where this is going, because somehow ’tis my pattern to like boys of different cultures and to be warned away.  I stare into the sinking fire, squaring my shoulders against the usual.

She nods wisely and continues.  “You need to find a good Georgian boy.”  I look up in surprise.  I bite the inside of my mouth to stop a traitorous smile.  How will a small-town Georgian Orthodox macho boy be any better a match than an Istanbuli secular Muslim?  Curious.

My host mom’s on a roll, thinking my choked silence and crooked mouth means a possibility of American capitulation to wily Georgian sex appeal.  She leans forward and raises her eyebrows conspiratorially.  “He’s single.  Thirty-seven.”  Already the huge red flag is raising and waving madly–in this part of the world this is a very suspicious sign in a man–but I let her continue. “His name is Soso, and he’s not in prison anymore, and he’s unemployed.”  She smiles winningly at me, like she’s just let me in on the jackpot.

I blink for a second.  What is the diplomatic response to this?  I return her smile and choke down another laugh.  “See, the thing is,” I say eventually, “I don’t like the name Soso.”

And I carefully return my gaze to the fire, glad a season-long power-outage will help my scraggly hair hide my face.  “But thank you for thinking of me, anyway.”


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in Caucasus, interfaith dating, Marneuli, Peace Corps, Republic of Georgia, travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pride and Prejudice, or the Single Girl’s Life in a Small Caucasus Town

  1. Maggie says:

    I only wish I could have seen her face as she told you all that. Thanks for the morning laugh!

  2. sputnitsa says:

    She has the most mischievous, adorable face, too. But of course she was dead earnest about this promising catch. 🙂

    Thanks for coming by 🙂

  3. messera1 says:

    Very cute post! This is the norm in Armenia as well – I’ve even had the Obudsman of Human Rights promise to find me a husband; another girl was promised yesterday by the Minister of Defense that he would find her a husband… all in a day’s work, right?

  4. sputnitsa says:

    Hilarious 🙂

    The Ministry of Justice came to speak with volunteers about their rights in Georgia, and hilariously, the first right we were informed of was — the right to marry a Georgian.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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