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.Since it is the mothers who transmit the culture, the drive for endogamy is very sharp in Greeks of the diaspora. It depends whether the Greek or Greek american has absorbed the mores of a more egalitarian sort of marriage and can respect the woman.
To be treated with respect and a fair division of the work in both sex roles are non negotiables in a marriage arrangement.
It pains me to see so many smart successful women who have so much going for them in their professions and social worlds compromise themselves in the most intimate of circles.
“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.
The stories of Greek heroes’ infidelity and hanky panky are the stuff of legend. Jason, married to Medea and whose charms without which he could not have survived, still betrayed her by marrying an Athenian princess, quite younger.
He knew full well that he was going against his vow that he would never cheat on her.Greek women and men enjoy a reputation for being warm, friendly and beautiful.Traditionally, young couples were introduced to one another by their families and their dates were chaperoned until they were married.And of course we all know the sexual exploits of the cunning Odysseus.If he had a sexual encounter on each of the islands on the way to Ithaca it is no wonder the return leg of the journey took him over ten years.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 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.It was important for me that my daughters grow up Greek, but with all the benefits of feeling like empowered American women.As women socialized in less patriarchal cultures, such as the US, this sort of double- standard becomes absolutely unacceptable. Therein lies the conflict for a Hellenic woman of the diaspora– how much does she sacrifice staying true to the traditions of her culture by marrying someone out of her cultural pool and how much does she sacrifice of her own dignity by conforming to the stereotype of the assumed Greek macho man?In other words, do you settle for a Greek s-o-b just to keep the balance and socially more acceptable harmony of a Greek home?