Hi Everyone,This morning I'm working on cleaning our flat, doing laundry, etc. Cleaning is such a mindless occupation...at least for me! It is something that's very necessary for my allergies and asthma! Cleaning is also something necessary just to take care of our things and maintain a pleasant atmosphere! But my mind is rarely completely occupied with the cleaning process...so it wanders into other, more interesting areas! I guess cleaning is a sort of meditation for me...well, clean house...clean mind...:0) Anyway, this morning, as I'm cleaning, I've been thinking back to when my husband and I were in the States visiting my family, about a month ago. We had a great time...except for one heated argument that Jiří and I had.
We were in the process of moving my youngest daughter back to college. This is a very involved process, and can also be a very emotional time for all involved! This was my husband's first time to be involved in such a process...he learned a lot on that trip! I don't remember what the argument was about...that's not so important for this blog! I just remember that I was pushed to the boiling point, and hollered at Jiří--like a mother hollers at her kids sometimes! This was the very first time that I had ever raised my voice directly at him (I've raised my voice plenty since we've been married, but not directly at him...just about things!)--we've been married for 4 years, but have only been actually living in the same time zone for the past 21 months! So, we're still in the newlywed phase! My husband, Jiří, was pretty shocked by that! He didn't like it...and true, I shouldn't have hollered like that in the first place...or said what I did...but still...I'm an American...and a woman. Americans are used to being out-spoken and loud in the heat of some emotions! Plus, being a woman, that just goes with the territory on occasion...not many occasions, but it can happen! In the heat of the argument, my husband called me an overly sensitive feminist...and I called him an insensitive cactus for the way he was acting at that moment in time! We both said things that we shouldn't have, but since then, we have made up and can now laugh about the whole episode!
Czech guys are, for the most part, "afraid" of American women. They have somehow gotten the idea that all of us American women are fanatical feminists! When Jiří told his colleagues he was marrying me, they warned him to not do it, or he would rue the day, as all American women are such feminists! Well, he went ahead and married me anyway...here we are today! I don't know about the younger generation of men, here, if they are so "afraid" of American women. But definitely, those my age and older have this idea that American women are impossible feminist fanatics, and that we take the backbone from any man we encounter!
So, my husband, when he called me the overly sensitive feminist, was hurling the ultimate insult a Czech guy of his age could hurl! When he first said those words, I was pretty upset and VERY mad! It was not funny at the time, but now, looking back, it is one of the funniest things anyone has ever said to me! Think about it for a moment..."overly sensitive feminist" is a bit of an oxymoron. Most people (Americans, anyway!) will see that right away! And to call me a feminist...that's also pretty ridiculous! I'm more of a traditional kind of woman and wife...who has a temper, yes, and is out-spoken at times...yes...and I can be sensitive...yes...! Overall, I'm a pretty traditional wife...I come from a very traditional family, too! So, to have Jiří call me an overly sensitive feminist is pretty ridiculous and funny! He called me a feminist because I got so mad and hollered at him. Well, when I hollered, I felt more like a mother at the end of her rope with a kid who is not doing his homework day, after day, after day! But, I'm not a feminist in the strictest sense of that term!
Czech men, to me, seem to be rather on the insensitive side, yet many of them love to watch the fairy tales that are shown on TV during the holidays! They see women as the homemakers (yes...even if we wives have a full-time job!), except for washing windows...that's a man's job! According to traditional roles here, women are also supposed to take care of the family's shoes--cleaning them and polishing them. In my family, the men have always done that! That's one example of the cultural differences my husband and I have to deal with every day. It can be quite funny sometimes, and quite baffling at other times!
Anyway, men, here, are more what American women would call a chauvinist....at least the ones in their 40's and older...most of them seem to be this way! My own family men are no wimps, that's for sure! I grew up in a family that has very strong, manly men...but the women were no wimps, either...on both sides of my family! Men here are not used to women being strong-willed...well, they are...but the women seem to be like this in other ways that I haven't figured out yet.
I've got to improve my Czech so I can take a few lessons on managing a Czech husband! I don't mean to digress, but this topic is one that is very interesting, and one that I'm still very much trying to figure out! Ultimately, on that day we had the heated argument, Jiří was the insensitive cactus to my overly sensitive feminist. He meant that as an insult, but it didn't phase me, and still hasn't. Its just now a funny story that we've laughed about since!
One thing I know, and that's Czech men are still somewhat of an enigma to me...one that I hope to understand over time! And hopefully Jiří will one day understand the engima of his American wife!
That's all for now, you all have a great day!
*****Disclaimer: I have no intention of trying to stereotype Czech men! It is just my personal observation that some guys here seem to be more on the chauvinist-side than we are used to in the States! :0) Certainly, not all guys here fall into that category! Also, I'm not saying this is a bad thing...it certainly is not bad in my husband...well, for the most part, that is! :0)
(c) 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath