~Monday, November 22, 2010

Language Barrier

Friday night was spent with The Hungarian, Saturday night was spent at Government Mule's birthday party and Sunday night was spent on Date #6.

The Hungarian. Still unsure of the situation, but I think that's okay for now. He'll say one thing and in my head, I'm thinking, Nope. Not going to happen. And then he'll say something else within five mintues, to which I think, Well, maybe... There's a whole lot of gray going on with him. He's not completely bad and he's not completely good, and it's making things difficult for me to analyze.

I do think I was wrong when I wrote of him so harshly after the first time I met him. He is not, in fact, the type of guy who insults girls to get them into bed. He has never actually done this. Despite the teasing I got when I first met him, he has never done it again. The Hungarian is not the personality that went on that first awkward date.

My struggle with him is that he is so literal. This is not the American way. The American way is to act cool and aloof and humble and then expect the unspoken. For instance, my father tells me every year to not get him a Christmas gift/Father's Day gift/birthday gift. "I don't need anything. I just want a card," he assures. So one year, I showed up with a card and then was in trouble with him for the entire following year because I didn't get him a present because he told me not to. Do you know the number one lie women tell? It's "I'm fine." The American way is to say one thing, mean another, and—most importantly—know the difference.

But The Hungarian says what he means and means what he says and it's led to crossed wires because I'm living subtextually. He reminds me of a close male friend of mine from college whom I affectionately called The German. Until one night when we got drunk and started calling him Ze German.

Ze German was a nice guy and had a kind heart, but he was strange with his social relationships. He refused to pay for any of his dates at any time in the relationship. Ze German said that dating is about the company and he wasn't going to pay for it because then it's too close to prostitution, etc. If he and a woman mutually wanted to spend time together, they could pay their own ways. He had all these little rules like that.

He was also very literal. When he and Conor lived together, Conor accused Ze German of not picking up after himself. To prove that he did indeed pick up after himself, Ze German then went on a two-week rampage where he left every cereal bowl and every glass he used out. It turned into quite a mess and an epic stalemate. That kind of literal.

I guess there is solace in knowing someone is always going to be honest and upfront with you. I guess I'm just not quite used to that idea yet. My whole blog is built around analyzing the subtext.

***

Friday night The Hungarian was telling me about his day and how he just finished this "Avis" book and thought it was really good. Throughout the whole night, it was "Avis" this and "Avis" that. I just smiled and nodded, having no clue what he was talking about.

Until he picked up the book to read to me and I saw a picture of Elvis on the cover.

8 comments:

franzi said...

avis...elvis...whatever rocks your boat, lol

Bathwater said...

I'm not sure I could get past the cultural barrier, I've tried this before and the class doesn't seem to work for me. To much of who I am seems to be wrapped up in our culture.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is a mix of nationalities, and doesn't identify with any of them. But one is dominant and you can kind of see it in how he looks: Hungarian.

I call him the Hungarian for fun, annnnnnd he is very literal, though he is 100% American culture.

--- dont

bonda84 said...

Sounds like a busy weekend. I'm glad that the Hungarian doesn't seem as shallow as once thought, hopefully it stays that way. How on earth did you keep a straight face once you figured out he was talking about Elvis?

wanderingmenace said...

Sounds like things are getting interesting with the Hungarian....
I love intercultural dating. Can lead to greatness, can lead to disaster-but always comes packed with stories.
Nice on the Elvis book, that's awesome.

Les In Tex said...

Ha! Avis! That cracks me up!

Anonymous said...

I can so relate, the love of my life is a mix of nationalities, but has lived in the US for over 20 years. There is still a huge language barrier at times, and saying what he means is actually refreshing. He is the first man I trusted completely as I never had a reason to doubt anything he said, since he was always so honest,even when I didn't like it. It's a hard thing to get used to, when you are used to "reading" into everything that is said, but what a free feeling.
Good luck and enjoy it.

Lpeg said...

I agree - it is SO refreshing to get an honest answer for once - and I was so unprepared for it. I sometimes think he isn't quite telling me the truth, or he's full of it, but then I realize that they just don't play games.

My favorite language barrier was when we were discussing over the phone how I was going to introduce him to my coworkers.

I said "We'll call you my 'friend'... air quotes and all."

He was like "what?"

"Air quotes, you know...? Quotations?"

"Oh," he said. And I swear to god this is what I heard next:

"Well, you can call me your caucasian friend."

And all I thought was, 'wow, are we trying to be Michael Jackson now?'

What he ACTUALLY said was...

"Well, you can call me your quotations friend."

I nearly died laughing after he clarified what he had said. Although I don't think he really understood WHY I was laughing so hard.

 

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