Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Marta's Advice & My Advice

It is difficult to be Auntie to all the Singles in the World because the world is so different from place to place. Occasionally readers grumble that I generalize, but what can I do? This is a blog. For specifics, you must read scientific journals.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of truths in generalizations: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach," for example. And "A Single woman should never do housework for a Single man for free," which is not as well known, for I invented it, but for which I would go to the stake. Never, never, never do housework for a Single man for free unless you are not looking for a husband but a son because housework for free = either slave or Mother. (And, come to think of it, who says "What am I, your slave?" more often than a mother?)

My friend Lily and I have been fighting on-and-off for seven years about whether or not "The Rules" are cross-cultural. Lily maintains that they are because they address bedrock human male psychology. I am not so sure. I think "The Rules" work best with men who are traditionally masculine and easily bored and like challenges for the sake of challenge. If you prefer soft, tender, shy men who are dreamers more than doers, "The Rules" will probably not work for you.  

Occasionally I have the humility to admit that I cannot pronounce on every problem, and this is most likely to happen in Poland, as happened at the Cracow Book Fair, as I told you about. One of you Polish girls (I have forgotten your name again, like a confessor, but I know you are reading) asked me how to meet men in Poland, and my brain went absolutely blank. Only later did it occur to me that both of us had been completely surrounded by men in Poland, and that all she had to do was strike up a conversation with one, quite naturally, in a queue.

However, my reader revealed that in Poland young men look at you like you are crazy if you smile at them and make a pleasant remark. And when I told Marta, my hostess in Gdańsk, she said something like "Well, of course."

Marta's advice to Polish women in Poland regarding Polish men is not to smile and say nice things, as this is foreign and weird. What they must do is complain. Complaining is Polish and normal.  Therefore, if my reader and I went back in time to the Targi Książki w Krakowie, I would send her away to stand in a queue behind a handsome man and complain about the crowds, or the building, or the weather (it was raining and snowing).

This would never have occurred to me, as in English-speaking countries men look very nervously upon women who complain and sometimes you can see their shoulders start to hunch up around their ears as if they were thinking how horrible it would be to be married to a complaining woman. However, in Poland complaining is practically flirtation, as in the following conversation, heavily edited, in the outdoor amber market of Gdańsk's Mariacki Street:

Polish Lady: Does Sir have any rosaries for sale?
Polish Vendor: Ah, Madam, I had many rosaries, but they are all sold. A big crowd of [one of Poland's many historical enemies] came and bought them all.
Polish Lady: What! Sir will sell rosaries to [the historical enemies] but NOT TO ME!?
Bystander: Ah, Madam, the [historical enemies] need to pray more than we do.
Polish Lady: Ah! Yes, they SHOULD pray! Sir is quite right! I take back everything I have said.

If you think this conversation is hilarious, you should probably go to Poland and fish for Polish men, for if you marry one you will be diverted for the rest of your argumentative, PC-free life. And actually you non-Poles will have the edge over many Polish girls because of your romantic foreignness, especially your romantic Westernness, should you be Western. Being Western still has some caché in Poland, or so says Marta. Meanwhile, Polish men go to church in droves of their own free will and, Marta says, in general are faithful to their wives. I'm not saying they are better than other men; I'm just pointing out they tend to be Catholics, real Catholics (even ones who behave wickedly and are therefore best avoided), and attractive just for that.

This reminds me that being Single in Poland has special challenges. For one thing, there is not much precedent for Singleness. Until very recently, almost all Polish women were married or in convents or widows by age 30, and almost all Polish men were married or priests or monks. And when I say "until very recently" I mean before the Year 2000. Yeah. This is why Anielskie Single is doing so well in Poland: it is the first book about Catholic Single Life ever to be published in Polish. Before 2010, the need for such a book never really occurred to anyone.

In family-friendly Poland, Singleness is seen as a bad thing, and to be honest, if you terribly want to be married and have children and your parents terribly want you to be married and have children, it definitely feels like a bad thing. Heck, it feels like a bad thing in the West, and the West hates the family. It likes the individual. Individuals are alone and therefore easier to control.

And this is what I always say to Poles if the subject of the West comes up. The West has a lot of cool stuff, and I am sure the West is very exotic if you were born east of the Oder, but Westerners are spiritually poor, just like Mother Teresa and Bł. Jan Pawel II said. When I see how crowded the churches are in Poland and see men, young men even, men in T-shirts and jeans, working men, ordinary tough guys, praying in front of icons or coming into the chapel for confession, I want to cry with happiness.

When I saw Jesteś Bogiem, I laughed at the director because he tried to underscore how poor and pinched these circa 1990 Polish rappers were, how crumbling their neighbourhoods, and how if their Walkmen broke, they couldn't get new ones: their fathers had to fix them. But unlike the great majority of American rappers, THEY HAD FATHERS. Fathers who protected their kids from bullies or who eventually got around to fixing Walkmen. Their fathers were married to their mothers, even after 20 years. And when the hippest rapper of them all got his girlfriend pregnant, they got married, as all their parents wanted them to do. There was no "Don't be tied down young, live your lives to 'the fullest', have you considered abortion" crap. As rappers go, these were the spiritually richest rappers on earth--not that they knew that, of course.

Now, as I have to remind North Americans, too, everyone is born into a family, and that family remains your family for the rest of your life. Although many North Americans like to shuck off their birth families like snakes shuck off their skins, that is not the Catholic way. When you are an adult Single in your family, you sometimes have to fight for your dignity as an adult, but you are still a valuable member of that family. You are a daughter and a sister and a niece and maybe an aunt and definitely a granddaughter. Which brings me to Babcia.

I can imagine how annoying it gets when Babcia feels a need to mention YET AGAIN that you are Single, but Babcia's worry does not have to be your worry. Possibly Babcia enjoys worrying about you; it may be a nice break from worrying about her hip or her heart or the sins of her children. And worrying is what grandmothers do. My own grandmother used to lie awake until two in the morning.

Seraphic: What were you doing? Reading trashy romances?
Grandma: No, I was worrying.
Seraphic: What were you worrying about?
Grandma: Everything.

So don't take Babcia's worries too much to heart, but feel free to complain in the combox.


hmea said...

I love Poland and some of my very good friends are Polish. But the complaining really does get to me (more than the French moaning, and I lived 8 years in France). Blessed and Beloved JP II seemed to have overcome that particular national trait, though. I wonder how he got cured? But the fact that he did gives me hope - maybe I'll find a Pole to marry one day...

Southern Catholic Girl said...

When you are an adult Single in your family, you sometimes have to fight for your dignity as an adult, but you are still a valuable member of that family. This sentence really resonated with me and brought to mind both a complaint and a funny anecdote. First, the complaint:

I am the eldest of 5 and the brother right next to me in age (2 years my junior) is married, while I am not. I also have moved back to the town where I grew up to be closer to my family, while married brother (MB) lives several hours away. It can be quite frustrating when MB & wife come to visit, because I feel like my parents have different rules for them; i.e., I'm supposed to help out with chores around the house more, even though I don't live with my parents either. A priest friend of mine is fond of telling me to be gentle with my parents, though, since they've never been parents of an adult before.

The funny story is that I am indeed a valuable member of the family, as I was reminded by my youngest brother & godson, who is 17 years my junior. I was recently at my parents' for supper, when he inquired as to why I wasn't married like MB. I explained that I just haven't found the right man yet and he, very concernedly, requested that if I don't find someone before I'm 30 (still several years off for me!), would I please invest in a Life Alert system like they make for old people so I won't die alone. He was so very serious in his concern for my safety that I had to laugh, rather than get offended.

J.M.C. said...

Your description: "the spiritually richest rappers on earth" made me laugh out loud! Very funny, but good point, too. :)

Seraphic said...

The best way to overcome impatience with Polish complaint is to pick up the nearest book about the Second World War and to read all the events in Germany and Poland from the last week of August to the last week of September. Then, when you are thoroughly depressed, look up "Western Betrayal" on Google. After that, I guarantee you will be able to put up with everyday Polish complaining.

Another amusing thing to do is to plan a trip to Poland and tell your complaining Polish friends that you cannot wait to go to their amazing crime-free land of heroes and supermodels and excellent bread and Catholic devotion and, if they have a sense of humour, they may begin to admit that occasionally there is litter and a car theft or two and an eeny weeny bit of corruption in government and maybe all the women do not, in fact, look like supermodels and possibly some of the men tell lies.

Pearlmusic said...

Wow! A good overview of Polish reality and there must be something to it. Although, for a while, I wondered where all these “ordinary tough guys, praying in front of icon” were. Yes, perhaps they are all there, indeed, with golden rings on their fingers since age 23 to 25 – eeeeek! BTW, more and more 30-year-old Polish women, still good-looking and all that, tend to marry 20-something guys, because the guys of their age have already settled down or don’t seem to be interested in getting married.

And I must say, Marta’s point seems so true in my case. Unlike most Poles, I’m a witty type of person, smiling 90% of the time, if not, of course, occasionally bursting into tears. People I know often nickname me “Miss Sunshine”. I do have the tendency to say something nice when I meet a guy (believe me, I had virtually no idea anything was wrong with that! :D) and never thought of complaining as a flirt. And when men complain to me, I rather ignore them. But to my defense, I’m approximately 25% German and have a German family name. Never thought this could be a downside of it all, but is it that “da liegt ein Hund begraben” = “tu leży pies pogrzebany” = there’s the rub???? Perhaps I should find me a German husband then, LOL! :D

Antigone in NYC said...

I think "The Rules" work best with men who are traditionally masculine and easily bored and like challenges for the sake of challenge. If you prefer soft, tender, shy men who are dreamers more than doers, "The Rules" will probably not work for you.

Yes, I am beginning to agree. And yet I think I lost some men in my 20s by NOT following The Rules, yet I fear I may have lost someone else very recently by following The Rules too strictly (maybe? It was the Guy Who Crossed the Ocean. Still stuck on him.)

Argh. What to do, what to do? (*musing aloud*)

Renee said...

Interesting. A few weeks ago I went to Eucharistic Adoration. It was absolutely pouring outside. During the quick walk from my car to the church doors, the bottom half of my jeans (ok, I know, shouldn't be wearing jeans to Adoration) got completely soaked, as did my ballet flats.

I went into the bathroom to "dry" off (futile attempt). When I came out of the bathroom, I saw a youngish Polish man (to my surprise). I was holding a gigantic umbrella (I am very petite so this had to look funny) and my shoes were squeaking as I walked.

Polish Guy: "It's raining outside."
Me: "Yeah. My shoes are wet."
Him: *Huge Smile*

Then he just sort of disappeared. Considering my luck so far, he was probably a seminarian.

Anonymous said...

Why is it wrong to wear jeans to adoration? I do all the time because the adoration chapel is kept so freezing cold. . .


Seraphic said...

The Trad Catholic community is kind of having a civil war over women's trousers at the moment, so naturally some women are shy about admitting they wear jeans in church.

Most of the women I saw in churches in Gdansk were wearing trousers of one kind or another.

Personally I think it is fine to wear jeans in church as long as they don't show the world how cute your bottom is. The men behind you get distracted and then mad that they're distracted and they begin to see things from the Taliban's point of view, which is never good.

If I were the Queen of the World, I would pass an edict saying no cleavage and no highlighting cuteness of bottom at church. To give all the women of the world some credit, most of us wear trousers without thinking about how our bottoms look in them. On the other hand, this suggests that we are kind of thoughtless. If our trousers are too tight, we either look sexy or ridiculous, and neither look is worthy of church.

Seraphic said...

On the other hand, since people knock themselves to dress well for weddings, I think people should also dress well for Sunday Mass.

But on weekdays when you are just popping into church from school or work or the gym or wherever, it's perfectly understandable that you're jut wearing normal clothes. And if there are no men around or they're way up at the front, nobody can notice your bottom anyway.

That's a generic "you" by the way.

Meanwhile, we have descended to talking about women's clothes, Catholic blogging kryptonite.

Anonymous said...

Marta's advice is absolutely hilarious.

I've never been to Poland, but from your description it sounds like it would work, too!


Domestic Diva said...

Hey Seraphic, have you seen this?

I know some of the sisters; this is reliable information.

Julia said...

Great post - I really liked it!

First things first:

THE WESTERN BETRAYAL!!!!!!!!!!! This is my Babcia's excuse for hating Frenchmen. She also hates Irishmen, but only because an Irishwoman was apparently condescending to her once. I've no idea whether or not she cares either way about Scotsmen or Welshmen. She has a soft spot for England, having lived there and having been married in London. She talks about England with a lot of fondness.

There are many other nationalities she has 'issues' with too, but I don't think she's as consistent about it in practise as she is in theory. For example, she settled in a migrant working class suburb in Melbourne where, at various times, there were many Poles, Greeks, Maltese, Czechs and UKRAINIANS. She seems to have got along well with them all, most lately her lovely Greek neighbours. The new wave of migration largely features South East Asians, Africans and African and Arab Muslims. And don't get her started on any of them. One of her favourite things to say is 'Australia was nothing before we came here'. Apparently the 162 years of British settlement prior to her arrival is totally immaterial.

My second observation/question is this: 'the historical enemies' of which you speak - you mean the Ukrainians, right? :P Who else would be buying Rosaries?

I do think that the conversation about the Rosaries is pretty bloody hilarious, but I'm not sure that I'd have the stamina for that sort of thing on a round-the-clock basis. So if I ever have such a choice, maybe I will choose my potential future Polish husband carefully!

Pearlmusic, I too thought that these pious young Polish men are probably all married already. And I think it is excellent that your nickname is 'Miss Sunshine'! Since you are a pretty woman who says nice things and smiles 90% of the time, you would probably not have a problem getting an Australian man to marry you!

I can't really comment too much on the Trad Catholic community because I've only been to one Latin Mass, and that was when I maybe 12-14 years old. Maybe I will go to one and see whether or not trousers are deemed acceptable in Australian Trad circles. I will wear a dress to be on the safe side. I'm nearly 100% sure the mantilla wouldn't be expected though.

'To give all the women of the world some credit, most of us wear trousers without thinking about how our bottoms look in them.' And honestly, most church-going women assume that their bottoms are not cute anyway. I doubt very many of them think to themselves, 'Well, I have a really cute backside, so I reckon I'll just show it off at Mass! What a great idea!' The truth is that most of them will assume that their bottoms are non-cute, and therefore a non-problem.

I agree that people should make more of an effort to dress well for Mass. At my parish, people dress rather casually, and it'd lift the tone a bit if people put a bit more thought into it, I guess.

Antigone, I think I naturally do 'The Rules' way too strictly. Maybe it's because I'm so introverted - my thoughts will frequently be two million miles away, rendering me oblivious to my surroundings. Sometimes after a long period of not having seen/spoken to anyone (which is frequent in my field of study), I feel like I need to consciously switch gears in my brain. 'Okay, this is another person. Now you have to say hello to this person. Try not to look too dazed. Stop thinking about that thing you're working on.' Some time ago, I was on the train reading something when a young man got on and sat opposite me. After awhile, I looked up, and he was grinning at me. I sort of half-smiled at him because he looked so like my friend Michael, and then I hid in my book again.

Julia said...

Sorry, I'm back. Can someone shed some light on this?

My Babcia has a tendency to be very blunt and tactless. Is this a Polish national characteristic as well? She says things that one keeps to oneself in Australian culture (the etiquette being based, I guess, on the British etiquette). I mean, look, Aussies say blunt and tactless things when joking with their mates. Keywords being JOKING and MATES. That is, don't point out something unflattering about a certain person to his face when you don't know him.

Eastern European grandmother thing?

Seraphic said...

Babcia wouldn't be from Lwów (Lviv) by any chance? Her generation of Poles got ethnically cleansed out of the Ukraine, where Poles had been for a zillion years, so that might be why Babcia has it in for the Ukrainians.

Meanwhile, Poland has a lot of other historical enemies, plus some lousy historical friends. I once asked a Polish student why Edinburgh, and he said something like, "We have nothing against the Scots." But I deliberately left the space blank because I have readers from all the Historical Enemy countries (except Sweden, I think) and don't want any to feel bad.

To know all (or, at very least, the history of Poland from between January 1939 to October 1939) is to forgive all, that's what I say.

The French generals did behave rather badly in September 1939, by the way, but I don't think this can be fairly blamed on the French in general, who were willing and ready to fight to save Danzig/Gdansk. But the fact is that September 1939 was just so awful.

Babcia's remark that "Australia was nothing until we came here" made me laugh because that's what too many children of immigrants to Canada have said to me. These were mostly Italian-Canadians, though. "Canada had no culture until we got here," blah blah blah.

In my experience European grannies have so much confidence that they just say whatever they want all the time.

But that said, Central Europeans (i.e. Poles AND Germans) do seem to me to be very blunt and honest about stuff British-type people would pretend not to notice. The bluntness has partly to do with the way the Polish language is structured. There was a British study on this which was deemed worthy of newspapers, perhaps because the British longed to know why their Polish colleagues say "Pass me sugar" instead of "I say, old chap, would you mind passing me the sugar? Ta very much."

Julia said...

Babcia is from Warsaw, and honestly, she doesn't talk about Ukrainians, I just knew there had been a long-standing feud going on there. My father says that when he was at primary school, a Ukrainian schoolboy regarded him with suspicion! He thinks that's pretty funny. :)

I know about the wars with Sweden, but that's soooo long ago, right? But I've heard that there are still many Polish artefacts etc. in Sweden.

Babcia was part of the people's resistance during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when she would have been about 18. She has various stories about WW2 but doesn't tend to tell them in linear order, so I'm still a little fuzzy on the details.

Her comments are more personal in nature - like comments about someone's appearance. I can tell when she's about to make one to someone, and in my mind I'm like, 'No, no, no, no, stop right now, don't say it...'

Pearlmusic said...

Julia, I don’t know if those comments on somebody’s looks are typically Polish, but my Babcia occasionally does the same, yet she does it with a smirk, like: Ooooh, hello sweetie, you have a spot over there! Your hair is going grey, perhaps you should go to hairdresser and dye it (to a MAN, okay?). She says that’s just her sense of humor, ahem.

But back to the complaining stuff of your Babcia: we Poles sort of have a national archetype of nostalgia for our homeland, whether it be during the loss-of-state-control-period or emigration or both. We have this model provided in literature and culture (if you happen to know the sentimental, romantic poetry of Adam Mickiewicz and the writings of Frederic Chopin, who left Poland for an European tournee shortly before November Uprising in 1830 and had an enormous trauma about it). That’s about our patriotic martyrdom, you know. And mind that we didn’t have a regular, politically independent state until 1989, so this archetype was up-to-date for some even until then. That’s why any trad Pole would feel simply guilty about the fact of living abroad and getting over & accustomed to it, let alone happy with it. So, for instance you’ll never hear your Babcia say: well, Australia is different than my home country but I enjoy a few things about being here – this would be a spiritual betrayal of her homeland!!! That’s so-oh pathetic but I remember feeling that way when I first went abroad not because I felt particularly bad there, but because I felt obliged to feel bad when being outside Poland. Uh-huh.

Seraphic said...

Just for the record, I got an email from a young Polish eavesdropper rebuking me for telling Julia ("a half-Pole") that she wasn't a Pole. He thinks this could be damaging to her.

The spirit of Babcia lives on to the next generation. Meanwhile, I think I should do a post about identity.

Julia said...

Pearlmusic, what a great comment! Thank you so much for it! I read it to my mother (an Anglo-Aussie) and we agree that it makes so much sense when applied to my Babcia! It explains so much, and helps me to understand dear old Babcia.

Seraphic!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!Thanks to Polish Eavesdropper for his concern though! Don't worry, I'm not at all damaged by it! After all, it's true - I'm not a Pole, and if I am, I'm only a half-Pole! :)

Yeah, Australians morph identity when it suits us. If it suits me to be a full-on AUSSIE, then that's what I'll be (for example, my mother's great-grandfather was the mayor of Castlemaine - the man who sent the infamous explorers Burke and Wills on their ill-fated journey). Or if I need to connect with someone from Eastern or Central Europe, then the Polish cred comes out. Or if I meet a Brit, I can talk about my aunt in Oxford.

Other Aussies are like this too. They're Irish when they want to be, or Italian when they want to be, or Greek when they want to be, or Indian when they want to be. A question that never seems to be resolved to anyone's satisfaction is 'What does it mean to be Australian?' Because really, the only true Australians are the Aborigines.

All you Americans and Canadians and Kiwis would no doubt experience similar things.

Seraphic said...

"'What does it mean to be Australian?' Because really, the only true Australians are the Aborigines."

Oh heavens. So you Aussies get hit with that stick, too. I must find out if anyone in Canada ever trotted out that "The only true Canadians are the First Nations" rubbish before 1963. I sincerely doubt it.

What is the point of making the entire non-aboriginal population of a nation feel like they don't even belong there? I can tell you one country where nobody goes out of their way to stress that that only true Xs are the Ys, and that is England.

In fact, Europe is having an upheaval where migrants from African and Asia are pouring in by tens or hundreds of thousands and the intelligensia and politicians are telling native Europeans that if they don't like it, this means they are racist. The immigrants are the "New French", "New Scots", etc.

Amazingly, "only the aboriginals are the true, citizens first class of our country" is applied to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but not to the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, etc., etc.

Canadians knew who we were before 1963, and my guess is that Australians did too. For example, what does the word Gallipoli mean for you?

The book fair girl said...

Hi Seraphic!

you were right! I'm the girl you met at the book fair last year and I'm reading:-)

That's perhaps a good idea, I mean complaining in order to attract male attention and have a nice chat:-) If I had commented on something neutral or had made a pleasant remark, I'd have exchanged a few sentences with the man and nothing would have followed.

Over the last year I have been going out quite a lot and have even tried speed-dating (an absurd idea), but the men who theoreticalyy wanted to contact me didn't do that. I didn't contact them either, being perhaps too Rules-observant.

The result is that the only men I talked to more than once were Italian guys, most of them gay, others met at the Italian mass. Voila!

I'm getting used to the perspective of eventually becoming a Polish spinster.. Isn't it a nice piece of complaining?:-)

Seraphic said...

Hello! You really seem to be a magnet for gay men, which I find very puzzling, as gay men make up only 2% of the male population. (The 10% was a complete Kinsey-era fabrication.)

Well, two years after I decided to strive to be the happiest spinster I could be, I met my now-husband. So resignation does not in itself prevent a future marriage!

The book fair girl said...

It seems so and I find it puzzling too, given the fact that I'm a church-going catholic and have never been in a gay club in my whole life...

The situation became joke-provoking (if I can say so) in my family. There was a guy I had a crush on when I was younger. Now I notice some strong gay traits in him. I made this comment when my family urged me to get to know him and they only laughed and said that he would be my friend already if he were really gay:-)

As for your story with deciding to be a happy spinster and finding a husband instead: yes, life takes unexpected turns.

Julia said...

I promise this is it from me on this comment stream! I've never really minded the assertion that the Aborigines are the 'real Australians'. At any rate, they certainly are the 'first Australians'. The Aborigines being referred to as 'the real Australians' tends to be the peace-making conclusion that Aussies will end a discussion about Australian identity with.

You're probably right in thinking that in the '60s, most Australians wouldn't have been experiencing national identity angst. Aborigines were only granted citizenship status in 1967, and before that point I think it would have been pretty easy for other Australians (even recent European migrants) to, well, not really think about them much. Now there is a great sense of collective guilt about that.

I have noticed that ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is becoming more and more of a big deal, even among people my age. Not sure what it's like across the ditch in NZ. So I suppose Gallipoli means a lot to many, although honestly, I don't feel particularly patriotic or anything when it's mentioned.

Urszula said...

I thought I would chime in as a 100% Pole living in the US as I find people's views of Poland to be fascinating!

I agree with the complaining (but having lived in France and Belgium don't necessarily think it is that bad - Poles have historically MUCH more to complain about than the French). Pearlmusic hits the nail on the head when she explains about Polish martyrology. Poles were constantly being invaded, partitioned, mass-slaughtered and so we have a sort of defense mechanism that entails glorifying/horrifying our past. It may perhaps surprise Western readers to know that at family gatherings with the 80+ age group, babcia and dziadek and their cousins STILL bring up WW2, it was such a trauma.

While I admit Poland has a rich and beautiful history, the 'martyrology' aspect is sometimes a bit too much, especially for the younger generation. It is especially frustrating when it is used in political discourse as an explanation of 'why we have no high-speed rail' ‘why we can’t talk civilly to other politicians” etc.

While I agree that there is sometimes enmity towards other unnamed countries, that is very frequently not that case for Polish emigrants. My very Polish family’s longstanding friends are German, they visited our family in Poland, went to monuments in the ghetto with us and there was never any bad feeling, contrariwise, we were touched that they were interested in our history enough to overcome reluctance to experience ‘guilt’.

As to the Catholic Polish men, I think they are also 95% “with gold rings on their fingers” by the time they reach 30. And most of them are somehow reluctant to marry foreigners, for reasons I cannot fathom. It is quite the opposite with Polish girls.

Seraphic said...

I wonder if Australia, like the UK, is feeling nostalgic for WW2 because back then neither Australia nor the UK had identity problems nor worries about imams down the road talking about cats eating uncovered meat.

But what I wanted to say that Gallipoli might be useful for a Australian talking to a Pole who wants to complain about Yalta, putting the blame squarely on Winston Churchill. Gallipoli mean that the Aussie can agree with the Pole completely and say WC also also betrayed the Aussies by putting them in such a dangerous campaign during WW1, and so you can companionably complain together.

As WC didn't do anything as spectacularly damaging to Canada, when stuck in an argument about Western Betrayal, I blame the French generals for Sept 1939 (which is pretty obvious, if you read the treaties) and Roosevelt for Yalta. Because, really, Churchill didn't trust Stalin, but FDR was all "We can trust Uncle Joe! Sign here."

Okay, I will stop talking about Poland now. But one reason why I love Poland is that the Poles have such a strong sense of identity. Long may that continue.

Seraphic said...

Urszula, there must be a way to find out online if 95% of Polish men are still married by 30. If they are, then it might follow that almost 95% of Polish women are also married by 30. And if Polish women are marrying foreigners, that leaves more Polish men for the Polish women who want them.

Although obviously it is distressing from a Single point of view if everyone else is married (a nun or a priest) at 30, it is so good for society and the Church if this is so. I just wish (as does the Bishop of Gdansk) they had more children. In fact, when my Polish is much better, I shall write an article saying "Leave your Single granddaughter alone. What's with your childless 30 year old married ones?" (Naturally this would elicit cries of, where are your children, then?, unless I added a satisfactorily humble explanation about my late marriage, etc.)

@The Lord God. Incidentally, Lord, my message to Singles would be a lot more hopeful if You would send me and B.A. a baby. You know perfectly well that they're thinking "Well, she waited and so found the perfect man for her, but it was too late for babies, and that terrifies us because we care even more for motherhood than for romance." If You sent a baby, just one eeny-weeny baby, that would make them even more hopeful and less in danger of doing silly things.)

Pearlmusic said...

Well, as far as I've read, there are approximately as many single men as women in the age group 25-40. More single men, though, live in small towns or in the country, whereas more single women choose to live in large cities after they have left home to study. That is, an average single woman in Poland, living in a large city, is very likely to find herself in a shortage of unmarried men of her age, living in her area. So much bare statistics :)

Seraphic said...

I'm sending all my readers to the Polish countryside to learn Polish! :-D Farm boys, yay!