The girls and I had our second Serbian lesson today. We learned how to introduce ourselves and ask others for their names. We learned how to ask and say our ages, count to ten, identify members of a family and inquire as to how much something costs. I also learned that men are paramount in Serbian society. Both yesterday and today, in explaining the male and female classification of words, our instructor said, “men are the most important” or men are the only things that matter in Serbia (to that effect), several times. She did this as she was explaining why many words only have a masculine identity. I, of course, do not want my girls learning this ideology, so I quickly say, “that’s not true”, and smile as sweetly as I can. Not that a gender gap doesn’t exist in Canada, but I feel it more acutely here. Upon further research , I see that this ideology appears ingrained within the culture. Perhaps not, but our experience with living in Serbia leads me to believe this is true.
I’m also learning that the craning of necks to ogle women is not just a Serbian thing, as many others have told me this is more common in Europe than North America. At the pool today, I saw an older teenage boy with short cropped hair, let’s call him the Serbian version of Jason Bateman, with a pencil-thin, braided tail that extended from the nape of his neck to the waistband of his shorts. A pretty girl walked by and that tail whipped as though snapped by an animal trainer. She did not notice the boy or his tail. Almost felt sorry for the kid. Almost. When my girls get older, I will likely yank any tail that whips at them or tie that tail to a tree until it learned some manners.
Kinda like this, but Jason Bateman with a loooooong tail. But I think Jason Bateman would actually make it look cool. Or insanely funny. I’d love to see either.