Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Serbian Women Do Not Vacation Without Their Husbands

It's been depressingly cold, grey, and/or raining for days now in New England. So at 3am the other night when I woke up and wandered restlessly out to the living room, it seemed like fun to surf sunny destinations on the Internet. And somehow in my sleep befuddled mind, when I spotted a single, insanely cheap, ticket left to Albuequerque, it made perfect sense to buy it.

Which is how I found myself waking up the next morning and announcing to my husband, "I'm going to New Mexico for a few days tomorrow. Can I get a ride to the airport?"

His reaction, "Serbian women do not go on trips alone."

"Your sister goes on trips alone." "She's not married." "I go on business trips alone." "This isn't business. Wives do not go on vacation without their husbands!" "Maybe in Serbia they don't, but I'm American." He's disbelieving, "Oh really? You know women who have gone on vacation without their husbands?" "'Oh honey, it's normal. All my girlfriends have done it. So, can I get that ride to the airport?" "Ask your step-son."

In the end we reach a compromise. As long as I recognize how incredibly broad minded he is being, a true citizen of the world, he will give me a ride. Also I cross-my-heart and swear I'll never ever make plans again without talking to him beforehand; which in all fairness I should have done from the beginning.

As I dash around the house packing, the men of the house gather in the kitchen. "You know if you were a Serbian woman, you'd be cooking like crazy right now." "Why? I'm leaving." "You'd prepare each meal for us for all the time you're away and write a long note with instructions."

I do, in fact, adore cooking. But, I'm not an idiot. These men are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves without me, and frankly they'll enjoy it. Why would they want to reheat pre-cooked stuff when they could roast new potatoes, grill lamb, hit the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet down the street, or order a pizza with all their favorite toppings?

"Go wild guys," I tell them. "It's your big chance to eat anything you want!"

My husband agrees. But he's careful to let me know he won't be telling the folks back home about this. They wouldn't understand.


Anonymous said...

Modern Serbian women rarely cook. They spend most of their time at a cafe or in a tanning bed. Or watching spanish language soap operas.

Goca said...

Serbian women do travel alone and go on holidays without their husbands.
I've been meeting my girlfriends who live outside Serbia in different places for years. Those of us who are married have never had a problem with it.
We also cook and enjoy cooking both for our families every day and for gatherings and special occasions. There is a huge grey zone with millions of women in between what your husband describes as one and what the poster "anonymous" claims.
We're neither slaves to our families nor empty headed bimbos as suggested by "anonymous".
Generalizations and extremes rarely work well.
There's a whole array of shades and subtle differences and that's what makes everyone unique.
Maybe your husband's views have their roots in his small town background (if he is from small town at all since I haven't read the whole of your blog) but I hope he's not a relic from the last century because he sounds like one.