Sex in Georgia

*****************************************************
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the confusion generated by this entry over the last month, I am adding this introduction to clarify what is meant in this post.

When we got to Georgia in early September, we were given some information by the TLG staff. That information is summarized in the first part of this entry – the part that starts with “At orientation, the TLG staff gave us a bunch of info about dating and gender relations in Georgia.” and ends with “So that’s the situation we were presented with upon arrival in the country.” That information is not my opinion, nor is it based on my observation. It is simply what we were told when we got here.

The second part of this entry – the part that begins with “According to the Georgians that I have spoken to since,” – summarizes the information that I gathered between the time that I left TLG orientation and the time that I wrote this entry. This is based on talking to a much wider sample of Georgian people as well as on my own personal observations.

The purpose of presenting two different accounts of Georgian culture in this entry is to draw a contrast between what TLG told us to expect and what I am experiencing myself as a resident of Tbilisi. I am well aware – as is clear from this entry – that not every Georgian marches in lock step, that TLG exaggerated some things, that there is a generation gap, that cities are different than villages, and that you personally probably have numerous anecdotes that run counter to the generalizations presented here.

With that in mind, please enjoy the infamous Sex in Georgia blog post.

– Neal (not Neil) Zupancic, 9 Nov. 2010
*****************************************************

Georgia has decided to import 10,000 english teachers in the coming years to teach English to every Georgian student. Most of these 10,000 teachers are in their twenties. Many are just coming from college. Many will be here for a year. Let’s just say that with this demographic, one can reasonably expect sex and dating to be on people’s minds.

At orientation, the TLG staff gave us a bunch of info about dating and gender relations in Georgia. The breakdown is familiar: men are expected to be sexually experienced when they get married and women are expected to be virgins. Of course, this system cannot work without some third factor, because how are men to get experience when women are not allowed to have sex? So there must exist – or so we can theorize – some group of women who are violating the traditional rules. Speculation as to who this group might be is rampant, but to the mind of the Georgian man, Western women seem like a reasonable set of candidates.

“Dating” in Georgia is vanishingly rare. Instead, there is courtship. A man and a woman get together, they date for about two months, and then the expectation is that the man will either “do the right thing” or stop fooling around and move on. In theory every woman has a “patroni,” or male guardian, whose job it is to make sure that the men in these women’s lives “do the right thing” – in other words, propose marriage within an acceptable period of time, or leave the woman alone.

It is considered strange for men and women to be friends. In general, a group of colleagues can hang out together – even a mixed-gender group – but a man and a woman cannot hang out alone together in a platonic capacity. If a man and a woman are seen alone together in public it is presumed that they are on the road to marriage.

The female TLG volunteers were warned how to act with Georgian men. According to TLG, Western women will have to field marriage proposals unless they are, or say they are, engaged or married. Female volunteers were encouraged to procure a cheap ring and wear it on the ring finger to ward off proposals of marriage. Apparently, Georgian men do not understand the concept of a single woman who is not interested in marrying the first random stranger to approach her, and can become insistent and/or dangerous if not rejected properly – and properly generally means adamantly, unequivocally, and in a group of friends who will back up the refusal. Western women were warned not to travel alone. According to the Georgians, “bridenapping” is no longer practiced, but better safe than sorry. “Bridenapping” was the practice of kidnapping a young woman and forcing her to spend a night in the household of a particular man, after which the woman was assumed to have had sex even if no sex occurred, and was thus no longer marriage material, and thus was essentially forced to marry the man who had kidnapped her.

The male TLG volunteers were warned how to act with Georgian women. Our warning consisted of the following message, repeated many times: do not have sex with any Georgian woman who you do not plan to marry. If you do, you might have an angry patroni – a father, or brother – backed up by an army of uncles and cousins who will wish to do you harm.

So that’s the situation we were presented with upon arrival in the country.

According to the Georgians that I have spoken to since, pre- and extra-marital sex does happen. Although no Georgian I have met will admit to actually having extramarital sex, I am told that 70% of Georgian men cheat on their wives, and to many this is considered normal. I have also met very few Georgians who have admitted to having had premarital sex. On the other hand, according to one Georgian, there exist hotels that can be used for pre- or extra-marital sex, and there are prostitutes, although prostitution exists in a sort of quasi-legal state that even Georgian law enforcement personnel couldn’t explain to me. So basically, what I am saying is that there is sex going on, but in a super down-low hush-hush sort of way.

So, what happens when you throw a bunch of Western, English-speaking, modern liberated 20-somethings into the mix? In my group there were 92 of us, and maybe ten or fifteen of those were over 30.

Some people paired off right away. Some people became couples, other people had a few random hookups, others had a few random drunken hookups. But basically, what you had was essentially what you would expect from having a dorm situation for seven to ten days in which a bunch of young people were thrown together and warned to stay the heck away from the local population. Some did, some didn’t. There were incidents. I heard of at least two cases that could have turned really ugly if not for a little bit of luck, and as a result the TLG women were told over and over again to beware of the Georgian men in the neighborhood. So, women, if you are coming here, be very careful about going out and drinking in Georgia. Go in groups, preferably with guys that you trust. Seriously.

I’d say the most striking thing about this situation is the fact that the women who come to Georgia with TLG are basically seen by many men in Georgia – Georgians and TLG men included – as the only potential sexual outlet in the entire country. I can personally attest to the fact that I think that the idea of getting married just so you can have sex is totally crazy – in fact, I’m not so hot on marriage as an institution at all, but perhaps that topic is better left alone – but I think that most of the Western guys here are on the same page. Most of us understand that the Georgians take the whole sex/marriage thing seriously enough that we’re better off just not messing with it at all, which means that for many of us, unless we want to be celibate for our entire stay in Georgia, our only options are the women who came into the country with us.

Now, it’s a little different for those of us who live in Tbilisi. Tbilisi is an international city with lots of people from less “traditional” countries, and it’s the most Western city in the country which means there actually is at least some number of Georgian women who flout tradition and do whatever or whoever they want. I took part in a very illuminating game of “Never have I ever” last week in which I drank with at least one Georgian and one Ukrainian woman with active sex lives. So if I were so inclined, I could easily hang out at international bars and try to pick up women without risking the wrath of someone’s patroni. But the people who live in the more rural areas obviously have it harder.

But I think the point is this: if you are thinking of coming here for a long time, it’s not just the attitude of the Georgians you have to take into account. It’s also the attitude of the other TLGers. If you’re a woman, you have to be careful not only of overzealous Georgians who think all Western women are loose Paris Hilton types, but also of desperate TLG guys who are trying too hard because they are terrified of being forced into celibacy by the patroni system’s stranglehold on Georgian women. If you are a dude, you have to come to terms with the possibility that you might not get laid for a year and try to be a human being despite such earthshakingly bad news.

However, there is some good news in all of this. All of the TLG volunteers are asked to submit the results of recent STD tests, and failing one means you are not allowed into the country. These things are never 100%, and I am not encouraging unsafe sex – so bring condoms when you come here, for fuck’s sake! – but you are certainly much safer sleeping with other TLG volunteers than you would be with the general population at large.

Finally, a note about talking about sex in Georgia. The subject seems to be a lot more taboo than it is in the US. Even when you talk to Georgians about dating, they are generally taken aback by the idea that anyone would talk publicly about any kind of romantic interactions between men and women. It’s pretty strange.

On the other hand, my roommate and I went to a cafe the other day and this was on TV, so, go figure:

About these ads
This entry was posted in Sex and Gender. Bookmark the permalink.

475 Responses to Sex in Georgia

  1. 2kija says:

    I think it all depends on the area you live in, in urban areas it’s mostly not true or the above described is too bold.

    • keti antadze says:

      nothing is bold in this article. I am Georgian girl, 21. I have live sin village and there was an american volunteer teacher too. the situattion was absolutely true for her as it is written in the article. i was always asheamed of my countries mentality. fortunately I have Dutch boyfriend)husband’ and i survived from being ignored by my georgian husband.
      be able to admit is also talent:)

      • davide says:

        You don’t know if you are married or boyfriend means husband?

        • mariami says:

          it’s cool davide

        • Anonymous says:

          So-called Western living culture is not relevant for all countries in the World. Almoust all young people in Western countries are amoral.

        • Anonymous says:

          better be amoral in your early 20s rather than be mentally injured for the rest of your life because of abnormal sexual life

        • Gia says:

          In past centuries people lived their lives following moral norms and at the same time staying mentally healthy. It does not necessarilly follow that being amoral or having numerous sexual partners during your 20ies leads to healthy living, on the contrary, such lifestyle generally leads to sexual obsession and related mental breakdowns from which western man suffers so much these days

        • Keti says:

          may be you should try to understand what people mean with their sentences, not be focused so anxiously about the word “boyfriend”…:)

  2. natia says:

    I think this post is simply too far from reality. Assertions like men and women don’t date in Georgia, all girls are obssessed with marriage, no one engages in pre-marital sex etc. are nothing close to truth, at least in the urban part of Georgia. I’m sure that the author will change her/his mind soon :) Just give her/him some free time to be more competent about Georgia :)

    • panoptical says:

      I didn’t make any of those assertions.

      I’m perfectly willing to change my mind. In fact, if you pointed out something that I actually did say and gave me a specific reason why you thought I was wrong, I’d be very willing to consider an alternate point of view. Accusing me of being far from reality and incompetent about Georgia, however, is just rude.

      • hiiii says:

        your article is so polite that, yeah, we are rude to you, after all the comliments…

        Come on for “Fuck’s sake” :D

      • Tama13 says:

        You asked for an example of your incompetency, and I decided to come up with the first one that came to my mind. For example, you claim that if man and woman are found alone in private setting, they’re considered to be dating right away, because “It is considered strange for men and women to be friends.”(so you claim). However, that is absolutely untrue. Although, I do give you some credit for the article, since you managed to have fair amount of insight into the culture that is so different from what people in other countries are used to. That being said, I would advise people who want to write about specific issues on a certain ‘unique’ culture, to stick to the context and don’t study the issue taken out of the historical and cultural background.

        • panoptical says:

          I think that actually you are the one who is missing the context. As I said in the article, and then several times in the comments section, the information presented after the sentence “At orientation, the TLG staff gave us a bunch of info about dating and gender relations in Georgia” and before the sentence “So that’s the situation we were presented with upon arrival in the country” was information given to us by the TLG staff, all of whom are Georgian, upon our arrival in the country.

          Also, Georgian culture is not at all unique or unfamiliar when if comes to gender relations, nor is it the strictest or most traditional I have experienced. I have met actual Americans who believed in remaining virgins until marriage, and corresponding Americans who believed that they would be unwilling to marry a non-virgin. I have met actual Americans who were born and raised in communities in New York City in which males and females were literally not allowed to touch each other – not kiss, not hug, not hold hands – unless they were married or family members. So I wish people would stop acting like Georgian culture is some kind of mystery that takes years of deep study to unlock, when, as I said, it actually looks more or less like any other traditional patriarchal culture, including the ones we have in America.

        • Tama13 says:

          Regarding the first part of your comment, sorry for misinterpreting your point. Question: did you find lot of information presented by your TLG staff to be inaccurate (based on your experience)?

          Second part of your comment… I have met many americans who want to remain virgins as well. In fact, they live right next to me in the residence hall of my university, and I have close interaction with them. However, the simple similarity in gender relations between Georgia and some parts of America (or any western other culture), does not imply the similar origin and cause for those patterns. The reason why I stress the importance of context is not because Georgia is special, but because it is very different from America or any other western country, and that poses a difficulty for a Westerner to grasp the beauty of Georgian culture which is being tarnished due to so many political and social problems. As for the mystery, yes, no Georgian can stop acting as if Georgian culture has some mystery to it, because it has. And I do not blame you for not feeling or experiencing it, because it REALLY is very hard to pick up, especially for an American. Don’t take it as an offense, but I have been exposed to American ‘culture’ (if it can be called culture…), and I do see it clearly why it is so hard for an American to grasp something that transcends pragmatic and material values (and here I do not mean that you lack the capacity to understand why women choose to stay virgins. Rather, you fail to see the whole picture, which is definitely not limited to Georgian society).

        • kate says:

          I was born and grew up in georgia and i never chose to be a virgin , i do not value virginity in any way,some cultures do but to mind mind its all about control, male domination, in most of similar cultures its women who are supposed to be virgins and if they are not they are treated seriousely bad. In 2000 I was dating this boy in georgia and we were both very young he was undewr big pressure from friends and family to stop seeing me because i wasnot a virgin! Looking back now Im glad I made my choices in life but it was really hard and Im not from a small town. Thw worst thing is really is when people deny these problems , saying we dont descriminate women here and its mostly girls who say that, unfortunately there is still bridekidnapping and people who are bit different and do not feet in in these “traditional” life struggle, there are alot of things georgian should be proud of, comedy,drinking songs, humour, Rezo Gabriadze, georgian avontgard and many other things and hopefully grow up and stop building up cultural values on sex discrimination in women or deny that such thing exists.

        • Keti says:

          this is pure truth! Well done Kate! it is very brave of you

        • Dato says:

          ;) magari nasha xar

        • Mariam says:

          Come on, there is no such thing on earth as ‘the beauty of the Georgian culture’, especially when it comes to gender and sexuality! In fact, it is horribly ugly, that culture! And in its ugliness, it is no way different from any other patriarchal cultures that controls women’s bodies and sexuality. I think the guy is right in many things and it is not without a good reason why TLG staff gives these instructions to newcomers. Having said that, I do admit that many things taught are ridiculously absurd, but I’m coming from a very specific context of a progressive and alternative youth community in Tbilisi whose lifestyle is very different from the one described above. However, because of the work I do, I have a fairly good understanding of what’s going on in the remote areas of Georgia and that’s why I think that some of the instructions given in the blog post are accurate, even though a bit exaggerated.

        • Gia says:

          It is precisely your own narrow worldview that prevents you from seeing a beauty in Georgian culture, such “progressive” liberal youth will bring nothing but devastation to Georgia and its values. It is a shame that we have such alienated young people, alienated from their cultural background

        • Anonymous says:

          good point

        • kate says:

          errm, I don’t think It’s as unique as you think it is. It’s very similar to Asian culture and mentality.

    • He didn’t make those assertions and he also said Tbilisi was an exception. I’m assuming you’re a Georgian from Tbilisi, who probably knows nothing about life in the villages, where much of this IS true. And only made worse because it’s all a big sarafanoe radio down here.

      • Laila says:

        YESS? i totally agrre with u guy and the author, the life in villages(away from TB, Batumi ) is JUST THE WAY author described!!!I stayed in small town northwards from Bat, and saw all this with my own eyes!! not allowed to go with a man somewhere out, when my hostfamily spinsters desided at the last moment not to go to planned picnic, imagine how i felt, i said, ok, to the neighbor, the old friend of my family,who plannd to take us with the car,ok, lets just go and see some city around here cause we both were ready , but he refused, spinstrers looked at me like to insane person., so i had once great dissapointment fron nicely planned picnic. The popular issue of doublefaced and unrelieable ppl from particular regions of georgia is another sensitive issue, but the country girls obsession of marriage is absolute truth!!!
        But i dont blame girls only, its the whole ancient system still thriving in geo, where woman is only for KKK but tge man is the king! Ha!!

  3. Natosha says:

    It’s bold, but not so much far away from truth. I think TLG staff just made it bold, to scare newcomers, for their own safety :D In urban area everything is not so bad and mostly depends on person.. But what about villages?

    • Tamara says:

      Nato, and some of the girls are indeed in villages and small towns…..

      • Katie says:

        Not so bad is still bad, and as you said girls some circles are better then others but on a bigger scale it’s pretty horrible. I can never forget one guy saying to another ” rats ar sheudzlia imas ki ara vtkhov!” meaning of course he could demand a sex from that girl because knowing that she wasn’t a virgin there was no problem of her sleeping with anyone. Honest to God that was not even in a village or a small town. Its easier of course for girls from wealthy families as everywhere else in the world you can afford soem libberties:) But Im so glad that many people speak out when i was young it wasnt that easy. How about Gays lesbians or Bisexuals? I think they need , how safe, welcome or understood they gonna be?

  4. linguistuss says:

    Welcome to Georgia :)

  5. Dodka says:

    Oh my they scared you a lot : )) This is true for the villages, but not for Tbilisi. So be glad if you happen to live in the city.

    • Georgian says:

      not only in tbilisi but in most of Georgia this is not true… only in underdeveloped villages in high mountains, there might be some elements from this story but certainly not kidnapping or harasment or forced marriges…

      • I’ve met people IN Tbilisi who’ve been bridenapped. Though only two, I’ll admit. And it is generally frowned upon, true.

        • Mariam says:

          True. And another problem in Tbilisi very often overlooked – early marriages! Of course, the reason is again the ‘institute of virginity’ and the desire or urge to have sexual intercourse with a partner. So, Tbilisi and other big towns in Georgia are not in any way free from the gender stereotypes and virginity cult described in the post, but unlike in remote areas and villages, there is just a bigger diversity of lifestyles and you can find all kids of manifestations of the ‘beautiful Georgian culture’ which in fact is nothing but a classic version of patriarchy and male domination.

      • Natalie says:

        What villages you are talking about, tell me in which village in “high mountains” do we have any kind of young people??? the rural part of the country is almost empty, people!
        Honestly I see no harm in being cautious about pre-marital relationships.But Im also very far from the idea of getting married just for sake of sex…I have many examples when 14, 15 YO gilrs and boys got marries bcs of hormons and then got separated having a baby of 1 Year…this is horrible!

  6. GL says:

    Well, true for parts – Tbilisi isn’t everything there is, guys, and I reckon at least half of the teachers will be in rural areas and some unfortunate even on poky holes of a kind where not only traditions but religion will come into play too.

    So better safe than sorry is correct motto surely

    On a side note: admiring the following sentence:

    “So basically, what I am saying is that there is sex going on, but in a super down-low hush-hush sort of way” – funny :D

    Cheers and good luck

    P.S. – Ring finger here is on the right hand, so mark that
    P.P.S – No need to bring condoms, these are cheaper in local pharmacies and to be found in abundance

  7. Mishka says:

    I am Georgian and this post is bull shit . thats not true what it is said. as for sex, it is true that it is hard to get laid comparing to US and other countries, but people can still get laid. and other thing about kidnapping is total lie. bay be sometimes it happened but very very rarely.

    • panoptical says:

      First of all, I have heard about Georgian bridenapping from a number of reliable sources both here and in the US. And if it’s a “total lie” then why do you feel the need to say that maybe it actually did happen? Maybe it’s a part of your history that you would like to forget or gloss over, but denying or downplaying it – especially when you contradict yourself – just makes you look foolish.

      Second, would you like to be more specific about what you think is untrue? Do you think that I am lying about what the TLG staff told me? Or maybe you think that I’m not really in Georgia at all and am just making up this whole blog? And considering that most of what I talked about was how Westerners were reacting to what we were being told about Georgia, I don’t really see how you as a Georgian can agree or disagree from an informed perspective.

      Also, please try to be more respectful if you comment again.

      • Tornike Tatishvili says:

        you aask us to be respectful when your article is filled with irony. and the most embarrasing thing is that some of foreign visitors like you say “georgians are wild, they have no culture, it is unsafe to be in georgia, bridenapping and else… when every single georgian especially village people are happy seeing you and try their best to comfort and please you: . then you say ooh georgian people are great khachapuri is great, khinkali was delicious , georgian wine had a great pakhmelia . :)) and returning home inspite advising your society to visit GEorgia only thing you do is telling them that going here is dangerous… that is your gratitude for everything… SO WE CAN SAY ONLY ONE THING DONT YOU LIKE US????? FUCK OFF… millions of other people just loving our country and in our reply we are just glad to be their host

        about whos culture you can talk i have a mukha in my ezo that has same age as your country :D:D:D

        • Natalie says:

          Hey, mind your language! there is nothing wrong in expressing own oppinion, specially the one that has at least 14% of truth, ok?
          Ilia Chavchavadze tried to criticise Georgian reality of his period and got furious reaction from “patriots”, so be an adult and take critics with a positive notion!
          madloba

        • Georgian Male says:

          good answer Natalia

        • Laila says:

          Id say at least 70 per cent truth is disclosed there!
          Having spent enough time there, now i can frankly say that Georgians are known not only for their inabilitity 1) to say thank you when someone has helped them, 2) to ask help even when they are baaaaadly in need, but also for nr 3) to admit the truth!

        • kate says:

          Good answer Natalie, the fella could be proud of his ancient mukha and the way we feed our guest if he likes as he probably got nothing else to be proud of. Im very sad that young people in Georgia deny that there is a problem and there is a sex descrimination or try to make it look smaller then it is. Loads of lives were ruined and saddened by this virginity institute or whatever it is called and its always ok for men to have sex b4 marriage adn dont tell me that in Tbilisi there is no problem at all, Tbilisi is a very diverse community, how one could think that there will be no problem at all. But at least people speak out and try to change and this forum is amazing cause it gives us all voice.Imagine if soemone says about gays or lesbians! i dont even want to go there, Scary

        • If he’s saying those things, aren’t you kind of proving his point? Where’s the Georgian hospitality, eh? You should try to show him Georgians are not crazy instead of running off to load your gun.

        • nokamige says:

          I am with you Tornike!!!!!!!

        • loe says:

          ii, la magari xar :)

          tkven tavebs ar atkvilebdet mainc
          motaceba ar gagigiat xo ra aris jer?

        • pasumonok says:

          So go and sit by your Mukha and watch it while our whole country is slowly degrading. I keep failing to understand what does that have to do with anything? Yes, we have ancient history. But so does Peria, Armenia, most of the middle East, Egypt and so on. And I bet if they said that we suck because they have pyramids that are older than our Mukhas, we’d be offended!

        • bluekittie says:

          I spent a year in the US as an exchange student when I was in high school and after coming back I found it so difficult reason with people here – a lot of people around me (not so much in younger generation, though) have the same perceptions and mentality as that guy talking about the Mukha… And I loved your answer to that :D

          And most of the things you say is true regarding sex… I have a boyfriend right now and we have to sneak around to have sex – it’s something I hate about this country – what’s wrong with living the life you wanna live? It’s supposed to be nobody’s business… And my boyfriend can’t even tell his friends that we are having sex because they will think I’m a bitch… :| What’s wrong with having sex with someone you love?
          I hate to break this to all the Georgians who object to the article here, but there is nothing to be proud of in our country in that regard.

        • Maxime says:

          Your country discourages premarital sex because it is a huge risk that usually only serves to do people harm. Most people who engage in premarital sex “because they are in wuv” do not end up getting married. Then, there is some degree or another of psychological damage. There is also always some chance you are making another life. I would hope that is clear. Love is a feeling. Sex is an action.

          Addressing other people: discouraging premarital sex has little to nothing to do with patriarchy. What is patriarchical is the system whereby women should all be virgins but men be experienced. That is not what you have with evangelical Christians in the US, where young men are ideally expected to be virgins as much as young women. I would imagine, though, that many Georgians want their sons to be married before having sex. In general, in the Caucasus, parts of Greece, and parts of the Middle East, you have a mixture of Orthodox Christian and pre-Christian tribal views of sexual relations.

          I do not see any benefit to Georgia in adopting secular liberal views of sexual relations. Yes, more people will not be judged unfairly, but there is a larger social cost to being permissive.

        • Katie says:

          nice one pasumonok !

        • Luka says:

          Great reply about pyramids – I haven’t thought of that :)

      • Gee says:

        Dude if you do not like this country, please feel free to leave… no one is ever going to hold you here forcefully…

        When you came in Georgia, I doubt people were disrespectful to you, so may be it would be more polite of you, if not sarcasticaly critisizing Georgians and teaching them about how they should behave in terms of sex…

        From your post there is an impression that you discriminate between weterners (cool peole) and Georgians (ugly red necks + in this case you put almost every Georgian in one pot)…

        I do respect your freedom of speach but how would you like if someone comes in your countries and starts publicaly and sarcasticaly critising your population, providing exagurated and false info from “reliable sources”.

        Even if you are in Georgia busy by researching Georgian sex habit, why are you trying to see only bad in this nation. Do you think all westerners are perfect?…

        Sorry, if you expected to fuck every Georgian girl around but they just did not like you. Well it certainly is possible, here are some suggestions: Try to look well, be kind to women you want to have sex with, be patient, do not be scared and angry, and everything is going to be fine…

        Good Luck dude, don’t be so angry and nervous, this is not good for you ;)

        • panoptical says:

          Where are you getting this stuff?

          I never said I didn’t like the country. I never said anything about how Georgians “should” behave in terms of sex. I never said anything about ugly rednecks. I never even criticized Georgian dating, sex, or marriage practices.

          I don’t know what article you read, but obviously you didn’t read anything that I said. Either that or you have an overactive imagination.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dude…
          I read this blog every day. I am also an American. I understand the tone that the writer uses. I understand every peice of slang that is written… I can almost Hear the writer speaking as I read the words.
          Now that we have established my level of competence… read this next sentence carefully:
          The author of this blog has never once written or even implied that he does not like this country.

        • (rofl)
          The fact that he did not say that he is madly in love with this country and there’s nothing about this country that does not cause him tears of happiness and that he does not want to stay here forever, and that this is the best country in the GALAXY is already a reason to blame him that he hates this country and BURN HIM ALIVE (devil) (rofl) (rofl)

        • Katie says:

          Cant you see that It’s not about who is better Westerner’s or Georgians, It’s only fair to worn and explain that there is sexual discrimination In Georgia and Its positive to talk about it. look how many georgian women and even guys spoke up. Its healthy to critisize . If you live in denyal nothing ever gonna change.

    • sis says:

      Which part is bull shit?
      I believe the author said that “According to the Georgians, “bridenapping” is no longer practiced”
      Is that the part you believe is bullshit? Are you saying that bridenapping DOES happen? Or do you just need to read more carefully?

    • Lado says:

      No one is going to kidnap westerner as a bride, c’mon people!

      • sis says:

        Let me repeat:
        The author said that bridenapping is NO LONGER practiced. That means it does Not happen now… but perhaps may have been common some time in the PAST.
        Why are people becoming so defensive and denying something the author is telling you does not happen?

        I think the main issue here is a language barrier.
        Georgians reading this blog must be missing the undertones that the native English writer is using, therefore taking many many things he says the wrong way. This is causing people to be offended about something that is not even being said.
        How can we improve the lines of communication??

        • It could be it.. Or it could be that Georgians are physically unable to undertake ANY critique at all.

        • Levan says:

          It’s both. Georgians are generally very sensitive to critique by foreigners, but I believe most of negative comments left here (especially those not really containing any comprehendible points) are triggered by language barrier rather than by anything else. Most Georgian readers of this blog, even those who are fluent in English, mishear the author’s tone and misinterpret it as being rude, ignorant and disrespectful. Perhaps this is because the author’s style of writing is aimed at american audience and georgian readers are not used to it.

  8. Rezo says:

    ohhh, come one…
    Yes, GeorgianS are more conservative regarding their approach to sexual relation then westerners, but still this post is too much exaggerated..

    • sis says:

      The author was relating what he had Heard. It seems that he is eager to learn what the truth is, so maybe you should try and explain what you think really is true.

  9. ---> says:

    The most interesting (apart the post itself) this following – in comments ladies (or girls if term ‘lady’ sounds way too old for them) claim that description of the situation way too exaggerated and bold. At the same time of them in her blog states – ‘last several weeks I’m living with my boyfriend, or to say in Georgian – I got married’. She apparently lives in Tbilisi… go figure….

    As far as the subject itself – it is truly tragicomic situation. The stereotype of Western women is based on movies and inheritance of Soviet times when Georgian men were flying to Moscow just to have sex with Russian women (ask about 37 ruble Natashas to your students, they’ll tell you a lot) and other way around – Georgia was favorite destination for Slavic women for short sex trips/vacation. Now soviet times are gone, but stereotype is still living and urban folklore puts Western women in place of Russians/Slaves.

    Eventually everything will settle down, but it probably will take generation or two.

    • Natosha says:

      At the same time of them in her blog states – ‘last several weeks I’m living with my boyfriend, or to say in Georgian – I got married’. She apparently lives in Tbilisi… go figure….

      Well, hello there :) As i understood, you are talking about my post :) And well, yeah, in Georgian public, living together with man, is considered as marriage, no matter have you “legalized” it or not :) ( To be honest, I can’t see a big actual difference between cohabitation and marriage also.. What is difference, paper with seal and signatures?) But still, it doesn’t mean, that you must propose marriage for girl, if you are dating for two month :)

      After all, i didn’t say that author is telling lies. I said that information is bit exaggerated. Not by author, but by TLG staff.

      • ---> says:

        > As i understood, you are talking about my post
        Yep. Sorry. :-)

        Regarding the topic itself, I’d love to see Neil’s comment about the same subject after one year. However, I think that most important his opinion about the in this two posts was following:

        —————————————-
        Young Georgian men treat single Western women WAY much worse then they treat Georgian women.
        —————————————-

        He was not talking about treatment of Georgian woman by Georgian man, his main point (if I understood him correctly) was the above.

        And for a country which claims to have hospitality as one of its main (if not the most) cultural treasure such kind of treatment of a foreign woman is a shame for its citizens.

        What it is happening and why Neil got into such kind of conclusion is another story. Important is that within few weeks into the country he (and he IS NOT alone) got such an opinion. And this should be quite alarming for people who are responsible for country’s image.

        Just my 2c.

        • Natosha says:

          Yep. Sorry. :-)

          no problem. I’m not offended or upset :)

          What about topic. I agree that big part 0f Georgian men, treat non-Georgian women worse then Georgian ones. And it’s mostly because of these guys brainlessness and misconception, that every woman would be deadly happy to get laid with him.

          The thing, i told that was bold is all that “there can be no friendship between man and woman” stuff :)

          Though, mainly i agree that we have great problems with gender issues. And yes, i am ashamed of those jerks, who can’t show respect to any woman, because of hormones swirling in his brains.

        • ---> says:

          See, we can easily come to an agreement.

          See, all that screaming started because of few exaggerated statements, but most people failed to notice a forest behind trees. Neil’s article would not happen if Western woman would be treated the same way as Georgians.

          So… something needs to be done.

        • Natosha says:

          See, we can easily come to an agreement.

          were we arguing? :)

          Something surely must to be done.. But i think, throwing nuclear bomb will be easier :D

          Seriously, this is very complex problem. We need kinda years of some western influence to change it. And remember, that lots of our people, are still sure, that this situation is pretty normal. Some of them would say that this happens everywhere :D (I think, i’ve seen some comments like this here too).

          What can we do now, it’s to wish lots of patience for TLG teachers and try to show, that, not everyone of us act like this )

        • ---> says:

          (shaking hands) good one.

          I would personally wish Neil not to jump to guns in his posts, but remembering myself in his age – well, most of us in our 20ies were quick to comment and making conclusions. Experience ans wisdom comes later.

          >Seriously, this is very complex problem.

          Yes it is, but as we already see – something is going to change and people like Neil are catalyst. When you bring fresh, new and provocative ideas into old society where people to not question way of things are done because they used to it or they simply never being exposed to alternative ideas – things will start to change after some time.

          If you are one of these who thinks that there is a problem AND at the same time want to do something to fix the problem (rather that expect someone else to do it) why do not use Neil and his colleagues as a tool (especially when they volunteered to do it with their posts) ?

          With other influential bloggers invite him to discussion clubs/events and face2face meetings – social media can make things happen. After some time a traditional media will catch up if there will be enough interest.

          You can do it.

          just my 2c.

      • Maxime says:

        Cohabiting is obviously not the same as being married. Why is that? Because if you are cohabiting, one person can easily walk away. There is a starker contrast between a proper church wedding and cohabitation than between signing your civil marriage papers/ЗАГС and cohabitation, granted, but it means more to make a promise for life in social context, in front of God and/or the State.

        Why don’t you move to Scandinavia. Here, people treat marriage and cohabitation the same. The problem is that…eventually then marriage is disrespected and most children are born out of wedlock and family relationships are seen as led by two independent individuals rather than being one coherent unit.

        And you want Georgia influenced by “the West”, meaning some places that have abandoned their own traditions and have declining societies?

  10. temo says:

    50% of the story is true, I’d say but cut the bullcrap. Otherwise, this is a back up for the male TLG to get the female TLG-s once they come here as they do not have a chance of getting one otherwise u threaten them with the boooobooooo stories about Georgian men viewing westerners as the sex machines. I would some up this as WTF!

    • panoptical says:

      Why don’t you go read the blogs of some of my female TLG friends who are constantly groped and manhandled and proposed to by Georgian men and then come and tell me that I’m “threatening” women with fake stories? When the men in your country learn how to keep their hands to themselves and take no for an answer, then you can come back and tell me to cut the bullcrap.

      • ---> says:

        Neil, do you have URLs of TLG folks’ blogs? It would be very interesting to read more stories.

        • panoptical says:

          I have started collecting them in my blogroll – if you refresh and look on the right side of the page, there are about ten blogs linked and I’m adding more as I find them.

      • :D :D :D
        Ok, i get it. We do have stupid men:D A lot of them, i’d say :D But, guys.. SO DO YOU :D :D
        stupid people are everywhere :D And though the article is hilarious i have to admit that everything is described too dramatically:D
        Everything is not that bad :D

        and anyways, guys :D I for instance was born here and have no choice but to bear people i don’t like :D
        Who forced you? :D :D

      • temo says:

        Aholes are everywhere, as well as in US btw, that’s why the term sexual harassment was introduced in US laws, and is campaigned throughout, starting from the high schools. Thing is while I am far from the idea that “sex situation” is just perfect in Georgia, it is no different from what it is in other countries, even though it has its own “cultural differences”. And this kind of attitude will lead nowhere, as I have seen some of your kind (nothing against you, just stating male foreigners who came on similar programmes), who asked my friends which are girls by the way and I am not supposed to marry them, as stated in your article, how much would they ask for the sex with them, because they were friendly to them and they thought because of that they were prostitutes. The generalizations like in your article and painting everything in drastic colours is an exaggeration and one must have balls to admit that.

      • Georgian says:

        Hey… they are probably going to the places “in the middle of nowhere” and that’s why they are “threatened” (I would even doubt that is possible)…

        red necks are in every country… I was shut several times in U.S. on my reasearch about poverty but I love Americans so much and would never say that American man are gangsters…

        So why would not you be a bit respectful to us, most of Georgian man are gentlmen and if there are some red necks who don;t behave well, go to the police…

  11. anina says:

    you guys, keep away from georgian village girls and do not be scared of city ones : ))

    • Natalie says:

      Hey Anina,
      Village girls do not bite I guess… But unfortunately here in this blog one can not controll who tries to defend the reputation of the country. Basically you just reminded me about of origins of the problem: mire specifically, city boys look at village girls as stupid ones who can be fooled, the village boys see city girls as ‘whores’ bcs they are different. Further: some foreigner boys see georgian girsl as stupid who can be folled and georgian girld see foereigner girls as not my term-”sluts” so all this goes and goes around. So basic provincial discrimination so well expressed by you is the cause of all we are discussing now.
      Grow up girl!

  12. hahahahaha.. i don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard :D :D :D
    I’ve been thinking about this for a while though :D
    I can’t really imagine what kind of hmm “not very clever” people agreed to come to live in Georgia :D But somehow i get this feeling that they will realize their mistakes soon enough :D
    Anyways GREAT article :D LOVED IT :D

    • Georgian says:

      Haha…

      You are so funny :D…

      We are guest loving nation, but don’t warry noone will make you to live here :D…

  13. Pingback: My first controversy | Georgia On My Mind

  14. Alex says:

    To author:

    Georgian people need sexual life the same way as other people do. We are also human beings :))

    As for kidnapping: it’s quite old tradition from ancient times. However, it does not happen now. In most rare cases, it happens in rural areas in the middle of nothing. Actually, it’s punished by law and one can be imprisoned for that kind behavior.

    As for friendship: it’s not true that in Georgian culture guy and girl can not be friends. It is nonsense. Guys have female friends and vice versus and it is quite usual thing here in Georgia. And especially it works in urban areas. They can drink coffee together, play bowling, hang around, etc and no one will say a word about their pseudo romantic relationship unless someone has some ugly intention to spread some rumors. But it happens everywhere. In US, in Europe, Australia, etc.

    People do have sex in Georgia and it is quite usual thing. Maybe its not advertised in the same way as in the Western culture, but it certainly does happen. Yes, there are lots of virgins, prostitutes, etc. But there is healthy sexual life as well and especially in urban areas. We have quite diverse situation here :))

    Nobody is going to force you to get married to your local sexual partner in urban area and nobody is going publicize sexual life in rural area (I mean fems). So, term “patroni” does not work here. It is really bullshit.

    I really do not have statistics about the percentage of cheaters here in Georgia, but I can admit that this kind behavior exists. However, it has its own social roots and reasons that will bring us to off topic. Also, I can add that cheating exists everywhere. I can recall popular (or maybe not) TV show in US called “cheaters”. It was shown in Georgia couple of years ago. Come on guys, cheating happens everywhere. It is cosmopolitan stuff :))

    It is quite strange for me to hear that Georgians look at western females as sexual objects. Well, maybe it does happen with some part, but it is not considered as a fact in general. For sure, western culture is quite open in terms of sexual life, but the same tendency can be observed in Georgia as well.

    Guys, you should understand that rural and urban parts of Georgia differ tremendously. Things that are assumed to be shame in some small villages might be common in Tbilisi, Batumi, etc. In reality, there is a huge gap between rural and urban social cultures. That is why one cannot judge about Georgia only based on rural experience and knowledge.

    Those of you guys, who are in Tbilisi, visit old Tbilisi territory (especially on weekends), meet some local people, communicate with foreigners that live here for a longer period and your attitude will change. I can not say the same for people that are being sent in rural areas. It is totally different story.

    Only advice I can give to guys: do not mess up with Georgian girls that are engaged in a romantic relationship with Georgian guys. It might bring you into a trouble.

    For girls: hang around with educated/intelligent Georgians. They are less harmful :))))

    And you can walk alone in the streets of Tbilisi. It is safe!!!

    PS sorry for my pure English.

    Regards,

    • Why do Georgian people have to quarrel when they are told the truth about themselves? :D
      This time you guys won’t be able to hide it :D They actually live here, it;s not like having foreigner guests, tasking them sightseeing, showing churches, drawn in wine and let go so that they all remember time spent here like a a dream? :D :D

      When Georgians are told, “you are not having sex” they start screaming “yes we do yes we do!” When they are told “you ARE having sex” they can torn your head off for insulting them :D

      this is really funny.. and not funny at the same time :D

      Aaannd, one more thing, for those who demand that cheating happens everywhere and Georgians have no abnormalities in this field :D Let me politely remind you, that NO normally and fully developed open minded person IN THE UNIVERSE thinks that cheating on their wives is obligatory, and if one does not, he is not a man :D As our lovely Georgian men do :D

      Soo, when we are in a deep shit, i would highly recommend that we don’t start complaining about people noticing our smell :D :D

      that is all :D

      • Georgian says:

        No real man would think that cheating is obligatory or even good… so if somebody told you that they eaither joked on you or were not normall…

        We have sex whenever we want freely and privately but my sex life is not you damn business… You foriegners are probably angry, that no one asks you out… Sorry, probably you need to dress better or take care of your appearance… ;)

      • Georgian :D
        You mean me? :D :D I am not Foreigner, I am Georgian, and I pretty attractive :D no problems with dating, at least :D
        If you don’t think cheating is obligatory, good for you, i am really glad :D But keep in mind that you are a representative you a minority.
        about 85-90% of Georgian men DO think that cheating is part of a normal marriage, from their side, of course :D :D

      • Georgian
        OMG, so many mistakes:D I’ll post again :D
        Georgian, You meant me? I am not foreigner, I am Georgian, and pretty attractive. No problems with dating, at least .
        If you don’t think cheating is obligatory, good for you, i am really glad! But keep in mind that you are a representative of a minority.
        about 85-90% of Georgian men DO think that cheating is part of a normal marriage, from their side, of course

        • geoskeptic says:

          “I am Georgian, and pretty attractive. No problems with dating, at least”

          send me your contact info immediately! I have something very serious to discuss.. privately :P

        • :D :D :D good humor is always appreciated :D

        • geoskeptic says:

          in other words you’re not going to date me :(

        • temo says:

          pssst … author will think that u are harassing her :D lol

        • It is true. Most of the men my age who I’ve drank with in the villages will almost always ask me to go to a prostitute with them in Tbilisi after the supra. A third of them are married. And this isn’t like a “hospitality” thing. I took one up one time just to see what happened. We all went to Tbilisi and it turned out these guys were regulars, toasting to how wonderful their wives were and how wonderful their lovers were. That was the last time I hung out with them.

          Now, I do know a few honest husbands as well, so it’s not that they don’t exist. But cheating here seems to be much more culturally accepted than back in the States. Namely because, in the village, if a woman gets a divorce, then she’s screwed, so she has to tolerate this retarded and juvenile behavior.

        • When I used to tell my male friends I would not bear a husband who cheats and would get a divorce if such thing would ever happen they would start laughing at me.. To them it was just hilarious that wife could possibly leave her husband for cheating, because cheating was the most natural part of marriage.
          No not one of them was yet married.
          Just think of it, they are risen as cheaters. They are told it is natural. “BECAUSE MEN HAVE NEEDS”
          EW. Disgusting. Really.

        • What needs to happen is that people need to acknowledge that WOMEN have needs too. And the only people that can do this are Georgian women, like you, who demand men and not children as husbands. So don’t settle, there are good men out there somewhere. :)

        • :D :D Lol
          You made me feel like a normal guy hunter worrier :D :D

        • Haha, I usually have that affect on women. :)

      • Anonymous says:

        I am Georgian and can’t agree whith you more. cheating for a georgian men is like having a cigaret ))))

    • panoptical says:

      Your English is quite good – better than many Americans :)

    • Natalie says:

      Like this one:))) For girls: hang around with educated/intelligent Georgians. They are less harmful )))

      With whom, again? man, you are limiting choice very very mich:))

  15. gijmaj says:

    Hi there. it’s a good post to get a good traffic here :))) now you’ll have a lot of readers :))) congratulations :)))

    I think you had think more before you decided to come to Georgia. You had to know more about its traditions and habits, so you’d not find so many surprises there :))) one is what someone tells you, and another thing is your experience.

    It is normal that you will find huge differences in the other country. Here, in the United States, I found out that people think more about food and money; and they have more cats and dogs, than children, because kids are expensive. Is not it shocking? :)))) Is it human? :))))) Last week I called to taxi here, and the driver saw that had heavy luggage. He even did not move from his sit. That will never happen in Georgia cos any taxi driver, even the worst of them, will help a young woman. But things like this does not sound tragic for me :)))

    Although when I write about my American experience, I choose positive things. Because I think that it is not ethical to make negative image of the country where you live. Besides, negative perception of the environment grows in character and leads to depression, i.e. causes many psychological problems. Once you are in the foreign country which is very different from your original one, you should not test your patience :)))) enjoy everything around you :)))

    I think you guys are not so willing to integrate in the local society. That is kind of syndrome of “Big Brother”, coming from more “developed” country and think that things are “wrong” on the new location. Georgia has 3000 years of state history, and even older culture; diversity of characters, habits, ethnicities, cultures. That is totally different reality from the one you’re used to live in.

    So If you want to stay with your countrymates, write about their deeds, and leave Georgians. But if you are really interested in Georgian culture ask more, travel more, interact more with local people and appreciate the best things that can offer.

    p.s. here is my new blog: synnergy.wordpress.com
    The blog is about intercultural communication. So you are welcome to share your POSITIVE impressions about Georgia :)

    • panoptical says:

      Wow, so I’m only allowed to talk about good things? Isn’t that a very soviet attitude?

      In America, citizens are encouraged to criticize society. We have a constitutional guarantee that we can say anything we want about our country and still be protected. If I want to say that America is the worst country that has ever existed, no one can silence or punish me. If I want to march down Main Street and burn the American flag I have to be allowed to do so. We believe that without strong, honest, and fair criticism, nothing can ever improve.

      I’ll tell you another thing: some Americans still believe in the medieval practice of chivalry, in which men are obliged to help women with heavy bags because we believe that women should be kept weaker than men to emphasize their inferiority and make sure that they remain docile and easy to subjugate. Men hold open doors for women and carry their bags as symbolic acts to make sure that women know their place. If I see someone in need of help – a man or a woman – I will gladly help them. However, to me, it is barbaric and insulting to assume that a woman can’t manage her own luggage just because she is female.

      • :) panoptical, right?:) I get your point, I get it really well.. Sometimes I agree with you, sometimes I don’t:)
        The thing which you need to realize, is that this is the third world. Hell, yeah. It is. Also it is the Soviet Union member country, and yeas this is Asia, though on map it is marked as Europe :) This is the truth, a fact and nobody argues about it :)
        People here are different in some ways, overall situation also differs vastly.
        But, my dears, WHAT ON THE EARTH WERE YOU EXPECTING when you came here? :D
        You thought it was The US here? Or Europe?
        I understand that you are a bit ahemm.. amazed with all the differences , but.. This still is not a reason to be so negative:)
        It is not Georgian’s fault they cannot live up to your high expectations:D :)
        And once again, not everybody is the same. And even in people who are most different from you, you can find something you will like :) And maybe, even something you can learn :)
        So, stay positive :)
        P.S. I am NOT telling you not to notice all the negative things that happen here, just suggesting that maybe you should concentrate on seeing some good things as well, so that you will integrate sooner:)

        • panoptical says:

          I’m glad to have you here commenting, and I’d like to point out that this is not the only entry in this blog. I have twenty-something other entries where I talk about all my good experiences in Georgia and how well I’m integrating here.

          I don’t know why everyone is assuming that I’m not enjoying my time in Georgia just because I pointed out that the typical Georgian sex life is vastly different from the typical American sex life. I am actually enjoying my time here just fine.

          I’m writing this blog to inform people in America what to expect when they get here. No one told me what to expect from Georgian society, and so when you write something like “well what on earth were you expecting,” my answer is, nothing. I didn’t have any expectations. But hopefully other Americans will read this blog and they will know what it is like here and not have such a big surprise when they show up and discover the situation.

        • OK. This is more understandable :)
          P.S. If I had no idea what to expect, I would have never stepped in that country :D Maybe we eat people here :D

        • panoptical says:

          Well I’m sure if you did eat people here, I would get yelled at for being culturally insensitive if I talked about it on the internet.

        • Eating people is also very respectful tradition :D :D
          In some places :D
          Neil, right? Just do not take it to close to heart :D If it was Georgian saying all of that stuff, nobody would scream. But for a lot of People here it is somehow critical how foreigners see us :)

        • It’s because Georgians are paranoid about how guests view them. Guests must always enjoy everything and have a wonderful awesome time, or they are personally insulted. This is the base of the tradition of “chame chame chame!” “Dalie dalie dalie!” until said guest is dead from chame-ing and dalie-ing too much.

        • T says:

          not true for east Georgia, kaxetu region, in imereTi maybe, but if you really want to find out real story behind the guest-host tradition i would recommend some reading of Vaja Fshavela poems with same title, which mite give you the picture of how much cultivated roots this tradition has in Caucasian culture and been abused for over the time in any possible way, however, there is the theory about causes of fascism upbringing, which is connected to abandonment of guest-host traditions by most of European societies.

        • Where I live, in Kvemo-Kartli, it’s true. Granted, almost everyone is from the East in my village, that is, Svaneti, Samegrelo and Imereti.

        • It’s only marked as Europe on maps made in Georgia. :P

        • T says:

          u have the right be cynical about the map :), but still this argument has the right to exist, however if u ever decide to overlook your knowledge about the region history from geopolitical point of view i am sure you’ll get the picture :)
          secondly the part of “Europe” :) u live meaning svaneTi, imereTi ext. is the western Georgia, and i know what u mite going through with there exaggerated and most of the times kissing ass policy treatment for the guests, exclusively for foreigners, so do not get too exited about it :) they can send u to hell without any problem and that is what east Georgians never shy to express :) so take it, or live it :) grace is the useful feeling every were and anytime :)

        • Actually, the kissing ass treatment of guests is what I hate most about Georgian culture, so believe me, after living here for a year, I’m never excited about that. There are many things I love about Georgian culture, but the whole, “Gogo! yava unda exla!” bit isn’t the finest.

      • Joseph says:

        panoptical,

        Hey, I am an American male. I have enjoyed your postings very much, regardless of whether or not I am in agreeance with the issue at hand.
        That being said, I think you’re missing something in regards to ‘chivalry.’ You may choose to trace its roots to Medieval Europe, but really, this idea dates back to the birth of civilizations. Women have always been known as life-givers, as only they can become pregnant and give birth to a child. Even when they choose not to exercise the right to marry and have a child, women should be viewed on a higher plateau. Women, on average, have more self discipline and naturally have more compassion towards others (as nurturers). Personally, I much prefer working for women. They take time to listen and have the patience and understanding to work through problems.

        Men, when acting with pure intentions (I realize this doesn’t happen much of the time), help women to show their respect for their natural differences, and as a way to pass on respect for the opposite sex in honor of their own mothers.

        I always hold the door for women, give them my umbrella, etc. I believe women should be treated with the utmost respect, along with elders–inside the family and out. Women nowadays, on average, make more money than men. Women usually mature more quickly and are often more driven to succeed. But I am not intimidated by this–I usually only date women with high ambitions. Call me traditional, but I hold doors not to subjugate, but to show them a small dose of respect for having to deal with the many challenges women have faced in the past, and often still face today by ignorant men who act with their hormones. I think men owe them that. And, Women hold the door for me, too :) To me, it’s just a case of common decorum. Life’s much more fun when lived politely.

        I would never hold a door to show women their place. Maybe I was raised differently, but that has never even occurred to me. Women deserve respect. They have to deal with more crap in the course of their lives. Period (pun intended).

        Keep posting and I hope you enjoy your time in Georgia. I will be over there in due time.

        • panoptical says:

          Joseph,

          Thanks for your comment. I feel like your heart is definitely in the right place, but I also think that you might not realize the effect that this “higher plateau” you mention actually has on women.

          There’s a famous quotation from an old California Supreme Court case – Sail’er Inn v Kirby – in which a bar sued the state for revoking its license after it hired female bartenders. At the time, there were laws banning women from working in bars because it was felt that the environment of a bar was not suitable for women, who had to be protected from the cursing and smoking and other men stuff. The quotation is this: “The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”

          I think you would agree that laws “protecting” women from working in factories, bars, or other rough enviornments are outdated and sexist, and cannot be justified. However, women still face social discrimination when it comes to work in traditionally male fields, often by people who don’t intend women harm, but are simply too paternalistic.

          And the problem is that even if you say that you would not stop a woman from working in a factory, or as a soldier, or as a firefighter, the pedestal on which you put women and the daily interactions you have with them add up. If women are constantly told that they need or deserve extra help in society, and told that the reason is that they have a special status as potential mothers, what message do you think that sends to little girls?

          Meanwhile, despite these gestures of respect, when it comes to genuinely respecting women – as human beings, not as mothers – society is woefully deficient. Women are still discriminated against in the workforce – many making much less money than their male counterparts, and being promoted less overall. Where are all the women CEOs? And then when we ask why women aren’t getting promoted to the highest levels or getting raises on par with men, the answer we get is always the same – it’s because women choose to focus on their family rather than their career. Well, if we have so much “respect” for women as life-givers, why don’t we demonstrate that respect by rewarding women who balance their careers with their family life, rather than punishing that choice? Why do we rush to open doors for women but then refuse to help women when it comes to non-trivial things?

          Furthermore, one in four American women have been sexually assaulted, which means that in public, American men might be opening doors and helping with bags, but in private, a large number of them aren’t being quite so respectful.

          So look – I hold open doors for people behind me too, regardless of their gender. And in Georgia, since I am the guest, Georgians always hold the door open for me, even Georgian women. It’s fine to show respect for your fellow human beings, but it’s not okay to gender-grade the practice or to claim that women deserve respect because they are potential mothers. Women deserve respect because they are human, not because they can have children. A woman is not a uterus.

          Anyway, I hope this gives you something to think about, and maybe when you get here we can talk about it over a beer.

      • Gin says:

        You have such right in Georgia too, and we also have the right to express our opinion about the way you excersize your freedom of speach…

        As for women’s rights, dude we had two queens rulling Georgia in 12th and 13th centure, we have faiir amount of politicians, or leaders in every field, who are women, so regarding Gender, Georgia is doing fine…

        If you think that critisizing and disciplining “wild Georgians” is a right thing to do, then go ahead but I really doubt you are more inteligent than avarage Georgian… What is your IQ BTW???

        Also your attitude, tells me that you have never been anywhere else except your neighborhood in U.S. because otherwise you would have been less naive and more tolerant to cultural differances…

        Even if Georgian women do not have sex before marrage (which is a funny joke), what is your damn problem? that is their life, they view things differently than you do Big Boy…

        From you article all I see is a disapointment that you could not get a Georgian girl for fuck but I certainly do not see, “strong, honest, and fair criticism” to improve Georgian society…

        But if you want to improve someone improve your pamby mamby attitude… :D

        • panoptical says:

          Okay, I’m going to say it again: Georgia is not “doing fine” when it comes to gender. If you think that it is, you are either ignorant, or you like the way things are, which makes you a sexist.

          If you honestly think that it’s okay for men to grope and harass foreign women on a daily basis, to the point where they are not allowed to travel without escorts, that makes you a bad person, and hiding behind “cultural differences” isn’t going to change that.

          Finally, at no point did I say that I had a problem with Georgian women not having sex before marriage. So before you ask about my IQ you might want to work on your reading comprehension.

      • Natalie says:

        Go on man, criticise please. I see no harm really, only use in what u write. Even if it is not right at leats will give some food for thoughts…really mean it.

        About opening doors and such things: well i worked in a hospitality property( american by the way) and when my colleague opened the door for English lady, she got mad, because was offended, she said that that gesture expressed doubts of my colleague of her ability to open the door herself:)))
        Another funny thing: I once made a mistake to stand and give my seat to an elderly woman on a bus in Holland, and she looked very offended, did not even think to sit there:))
        All this depends on perceptions, people. BUT, I still appreciate when man open the door for me:)

        • ---> says:

          > when my colleague opened the door for English lady,
          > she got mad, because was offended

          Fruitcakes (and assholes) are everywhere. I’ve witnessed quite an entertaining conversation during one meeting when one woman said that she does not like men opening door for her because she thinks that they do it to look at her ass. Another woman who was sitting behind her commented that based on what she sees right now she seriously doubts that this is the case.

          Conversation is happening in States on premises of the #1 (or #2) private university in the world.

    • xozo says:

      great speech :)) you avoided me to suffer by typing here :)thanks :)

  16. gijmaj says:

    traditions and habits – they are not so simple to explain. They had certain premises. They were created as protection mechanisms, to preserve national identity during centuries. Does it sound clear? They worked in the certain social and political environment. Now some of them are still actual, others disappeared. As for Bridnapping, it was part of our culture, indeed, but not in the barbarian way, as you write. In the most cases it was a means to live with a beloved person. When young man and woman loved each other, and their families were against their marriage, “Bridenapping” was the only way for them. It was agreement. Now it is a crime and is followed by 6-years imprisonment. How about USA?

  17. Levan says:

    Just came from Georgia and it is nothing but the truth! Im Georgian and i was set upon by up to 5 men telling me to move on and to “make out” somewhere else not in public .. i was quiet shocked, so was the Swiss girl i was “making out with”..

    • Georgian says:

      Come on, in Every park or restaurant or cafe-bars all what people does is making out and noone is having a problem…

      probably you were making out in fron of kider-garden or something :D

  18. Archil says:

    There is no sex in Georgia

    :))))))))))

    do you believe? ;) I don’t

    I agree it’s harder to get girl than US or EU, it’s need different approach.

  19. Georg says:

    I think this is a completely wrong attitude: “stay away from the local population”!

    It is a pity that they told you this soviet era fairy tales. Pity because we expect Americans to understand Georgia a bit better than did Russians, who disseminated this kidnapping legends. An American teacher kidnapped by local savages to be forced into marriage? You have a wild fantasy.

    The important thing is one needs when abroad, is to learn to distinguish people, who is trustworthy and who is not. It is not easy, takes time: I have seen American, Ukrainian girls here with Georgian boys who are just idiots. Is this because these girls think all Georgians are like this and don’t bother for looking for decent partners? So if you want to have fun without angry Georgian uncles knocking on your door, learn to pick the right partner.

    I have spent some time in the US and Europe and believe me, the chances of finding nice company in Tbilisi is often much higher, than finding nice people in some American or European cities.

    I wish all a pleasant stay in Georgia! It will be hard sometimes but this year will be something to remember. I’m sure about this. :))))))

  20. Georgian says:

    Hey Dude, you are either stupid or somebody has badly joyked and frightened you or you live somewhere in pre-historic Georgia (in high mountinous or under developed village)… because neither in Urban Areas nor in most of the villages I have been people are so fucked as you described…

    Where did you find the data that 70% of Georgian men cheat their wifes (did you do official survey :D)? Most of the friends I have are Georgian girls and many of them are not even from Tbilisi and they openly talk about any issue including sex.

    I agree there is some percentage of population who act the way you described, but such kind of people are everywhere including in the U.S. (I lived there for a long time and travelled more than you did probably)…

    My suggestion is the following:
    you can fuck with anybody who consents and noone will force you to get married neither anyone will harm you;

  21. Gio says:

    This article is over stereotyping, if this is the information what al TLG Volunteers are given, obviously its very sad and requires more attention from our side. Article unfortunately has some truth in it, but its largely stereotypes. Its georgia and its 21st century what are we talking about. One needs to live in Tbilisi for some time to undertand and see how people live there. I wont be surprised if afterwards you see Tbilisi as more liberal compared to other capitals of Europe. Its perfect place if you make yourself part of it.

    • panoptical says:

      I agree, the matter requires more attention from your side. You should look into the reasons why the TLG staff are giving these warnings to foreigners. You might be surprised at what you learn.

      • Gio says:

        Panoptical,

        I’m Georgian myself and trust me I know my country better. I know its ups and downs. I think you have good point of view and I appreciate what you wrote, it does certainly open dialogue about the issue which really does exist and I guess that was one of your goas when you wrote this. But, same time when I read the blog, I get a sense where you are getting little aggressive when you are criticized by Georgians who read your blog and same time you mention 1st Amendment. Tell me if I’m wrong but this is the feeling I got.

        I have lots of TLG volunteer friends, not only in Georgia but in other countries as well, what i find interesting is everywhere those people go, before they start to work, at their orientations and trainings they get Over exaggerated instructions about culture and traditions. I can see it happening because of being over cautious about your safety from the staff which is ok but if it causes what I see in your article its not so good.

        At the end of the day, its your ideas and thoughts, you can say and think whatever you want ( and if remembering 1st Amendment of Bill of Rights make you more self satisfied its ok, but keep in mind its US constitution and you are in different jurisdiction) but I appreciate what you wrote in this article, it clearly shows that there’s a problem and we need to deal with it.

        Anyways, good job and if you want here is my recommendation: live happy life in Georgia, enjoy it and make it enjoyable for others, and try to be more respectful.

        • panoptical says:

          I only mentioned the US constitution because someone suggested that it was unethical for me to write “negative” things about Georgia, and I responded that I have a different set of ethics.

          I am trying to be patient but I consider it offensive for people to read a post like this and then attack me for things that I didn’t even say.

      • Alex says:

        panoptical,

        Check what advices and warnings do foreign embassies give to their citizens regarding travel in Georgia (British, Austalian, etc). Check info update dates as well. After that google criminal statistics of this country and compare it to warnings. Maybe you will get your answer of why do they give that kind warnings to you guys.

        And the answer is that either they have completely no idea about what’s going on here (which I highly doubt), or they do not give a shit for what’s going on here. It does not matter for them. They simply have to follow required standard procedures…

        • Criminal statistics? Ah, come on. You’re more likely to get kidnapped and forced to drink and dance for a night than anything necessarily criminal. I mean, if you’re a foreigner. :)

        • Natalie says:

          Oh, come on people, these institutions should warn their citizens about the worst things might occure visiting other countries. I used to have guests from eastern/western europe, us etc, who were repeatidly asking whether there was a danger of being kidnapped and raped by Bedduins in Egypt. But have lived there 6 years and never heard of such a story to be real. Come on already, its just human phsycology you are better protected when stronger scared:)) Doi you think that it is safe to tell 20+ american or whoever girls to go and hang around with guys and risk their safety or better to scare them to death that they would not dare to cross the street…..
          On the other hand, this kind of posts give food to think and maybe improve some things.

        • Nato, personally i am scared to death every time I try to cross the street here. Especially in Tbilisi!

        • Tamara says:

          ” i am scared to death every time I try to cross the street here. Especially in Tbilisi!”

          You SHOULD be scared. Traffic and the way drivers behave is outrageous in Tbilisi. :((((((((((((

  22. geoskeptic says:

    Gosh. I was terrified by the gloomy post.
    Some of it is certainly true. Especially for rural areas and provincial towns.
    There are still many conservative families in Tbilisi as well. And the general attitude is still “I completely approve of sex before marriage…. BUT my wife has to be a virgin”.. what else do you expect from a population so into orthodox christian churche? This is a sad reality. But it’s not as hopeless as described in the post.

    Situation is changing gradually. I get to know more and more young people who think (and act) differently.

    So my conclusion is that you can get laid in Georgia.. you can have sex with locals without getting killed or (maybe worse) married.. but – very true – it’s not as easy as in western europe. You have to work harder. And the first and the most important you can do is probably find the right people to hang out with.

    • Population “so into orthodox christian churche ” dear friend, would have required for men to stay virgins until the marriage as well. WHICH as we all can see is NOT the case :D
      The case though is abnormal, prehistorical, ugly traditions and stereotypes :)

      I am not arguing about the “this is not complete truth” part though. The situation is not as dramatic, as described in the article. It just is not :) The proof is for instance -me.. and many others as well, who think differently :)

      So, dear Americans, just look around and chose people who have more in common with you to hang out with.

      P.S. And one more thing, even people who may not have that much in common with you, may possess some unknown hidden qualities you might enjoy to explore:) If you did not want to see something different, you might as well stayed at home, make out wherever you want, have sex in in public , in walmart for instance ,or in front of white house :D :P

    • Natalie says:

      I agree with idea that its double standardised to expect from wife to be a virgin while approving pre-marital sex…but I see no connection with orthodox churc at all. There is no church approving pre-marital sex for either men or women, so dnt go wrong, pls.

      • Natalie, I did not say church approves men having sex before marriage (though I did see a video once, where a priest says that it is more necessary that women remain virgins until marriage, than men, because they are future mothers :D I understand that was just one priest and this is not the official opinion church approves:D)
        What I meant was that Here, In Georgia religion is often used as a weapon against women by means of mistranslating it. See? Not religion approves double standards but some people do, who use religion against women BUT do not use it against themselves :)
        You disagree? :)

  23. ka890 says:

    If 97% of Georgian girls, doesn’t want to date and fu*ck foreigners, it doesn’t mean that they don’t do it with Georgian boys.

  24. Hello,

    First of all, welcome to Georgia :)

    I read the post and 50% of the comments. The truth is that you’re new in Georgia, so, before you see everything by your eyes (and it’ss take several months), you simply have to rely on TLG staff, I understand it.

    Ok, Georgia is very conservative, still extremely patriarchal country, women’s role is still a bit ignored in social or family activities, but time goes on and everything changes.

    “Institute of virginity” (as some people call it) is still here, but as weak as ever. I don’t know what happens in the high mountains and small villages, but generally, in the big cities sex before marriage became more and more acceptable. Sometimes I think that this fucking “Institute of virginity” and foolish myths about Georgian womens’ innocence comes from our soviet-past. Soviet leaders were convincing people that the “west” was home for all debauchery and the “east” was more innocent. During the one famous live TV programme one American woman asked Russian one, if what was their favorite pose during the sex… The confused Russian “innocent lady” answered that there was NO sex in the Soviet Union. haha :)))

    Such ridiculous myths are being destroyed in the modern Georgian society, which realized that sex is something that everyone (both women and man) wants, loves and needs.

    I don’t know where you live currently, but if you come to Tbilisi or other bigger cities, you’ll see that sex before marriage became common and virginity in the age of 18-20 and upper is kind of shameful now.

    Another amusing thing is that big part of the girls who have sex generally say: “I’m Georgian woman, I’m innocent, I’m virgin”. But they DO have sex actually… then, before the marriage they go, restore the membrane of virginity and their husbends are happy that they got married with a virgin (who had vaginal, oral and anal sex all the time)….

    That’s a freak tradition, which is going to become less and less popular.

    So, fell free, there definitely IS a sex in Georgia :)

    • Now the mantle that the Soviets once had has been replaced by the Church. Every time they talk about the West, they cry out about our debauchery and lack of morals, and advise people not to go out there to our wild lands or you might lose faith!

      • Tamara says:

        Wow so it seems you’ve already had your share of spiritual enlightenment Georgian Orthodox Church way :D

        • I didn’t realize rock and roll was evil until I was lectured on it at the birja by some girl. Granted, I later got her to read Dracula, so we’ll see how long she doesn’t listen to rock and roll. Or care if it’s evil. haha.

        • Tamara says:

          “I didn’t realize rock and roll was evil until I was lectured on it at the birja by some girl. Granted, I later got her to read Dracula, so we’ll see how long she doesn’t listen to rock and roll. Or care if it’s evil. haha.”

          Congrats, you practically reached out and touched faith! :D LOL was it Bram Stoker Dracula book? :D :D :D I just imagined the whole picture… at the birja :D get her a good playlist, just make sure “personal Jesus” is on it (preferably with lyrics) :D

        • Fantastic song, I love Depeche Mode. And of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula book. Next I’ll make her watch the Coppola movie of it.

  25. Mariam says:

    I think that its a really interesting blog-post. Probably you have experienced quite a cultural shock :)) (which is sad in a way). I think it will be very interesting to write about cultural differences and your experience in Georgia. How difficult is it, what were your expectations, etc. I am freelance writer for news magazine and it will be really great if we could exchange contacts. My editor has already shown interest towards this topic.

    Please, let me know what do you thing about it.

  26. Georg says:

    “It is considered strange for men and women to be friends. In general, a group of colleagues can hang out together – even a mixed-gender group – but a man and a woman cannot hang out alone together in a platonic capacity. If a man and a woman are seen alone together in public it is presumed that they are on the road to marriage,” – where did you hear this? :))))))))

    • Gio says:

      Thats something more than ridiculous.

    • panoptical says:

      That came from one of our intercultural learning classes at the TLG training center. In other words, it’s what every volunteer who came to Georgia is being taught.

      • Gio says:

        That is insane, TLG training center needs some directions I guess.

      • Tamara says:

        Actually that’s one of the things I strongly disagree with :D “a man and a woman cannot hang out alone together in a platonic capacity. If a man and a woman are seen alone together in public it is presumed that they are on the road to marriage” that’s a complete rubbish, really :D Either TLG training center is exaggerating to be on the safe side, or they have no clue whatsoever :)

  27. Ginger Girl says:

    The most part of the article is true, but it’s just wrong attitude, it’s not good to underline the dark side of the situation. Even though there might not be free sex in Georgia, people have lots of positive characters. And one thing anyone has problem to understand is, that life’s not only about basic instinct, common even animals have sex. So, it’s not about sex, people have to remember that they have values and so on. My point is that in Georgia sex is ordinary thing, people just don’t talk about it out loud. You will probably won’t hear from Georgian girl, that “I had sex last night”, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have it. But this is typical to urban areas, not in rural areas, because in those areas, youngsters are surrounded by parents or neighbors who value some traditional issues, thus when you are raised in such atmosphere, it’s hard to go against social values of majority.
    As for cheating problem, I admit that it’s really problematic situation in Georgia, but at least there are guys who think that cheating is so not normal. So it depends on the mentality of people with whom you hang out.
    So, it’s not the right point to say that there’s no sex in Georgia and people marry only for sexual reasons. It’s unbelievable to say that so temperament ed Georgian people don’t have sex. The problem is that the majority of boys and girls still live with their parents, so it’s hard to manage to spend time with your partner everyday. You live with your parent and still have to obey some rules, not spending every other night outside or somewhere. That’s way people get no chance to have sex that often. Plus I know lots of young Georgian couple, who are dating for several months/years and having normal sex life.

  28. Gio says:

    One more thing, did you say you live in GLDANI?

    That explains a lot.

  29. MAMONT says:

    it’s so very very funny :)) sounds like Afghanistan :))

  30. rezi says:

    The author seems to have visited only remote villages or Tbilisi in 60-ies….

    Most of the info tends to be quite exaggerated….

  31. Natia says:

    Dear Author,
    By no means i meant to seem rude when saying that impressions of your early stay in Georgia may not be accurate and might soon change. I apologize if they sounded that way.

    You said pointing out specific examples to change your perspectives would help. I’m just going to give you a couple. You say pre-marital sex is practically forbidden/not allowed for single women in Georgia. Among my friends, an absolute majority of whom are well educated and well established pre-marital sex for women is just as casual as for men, and we only laugh at the old-fashioned, “traditional” practices; I have lots of girlfriends in their late 20s, including myself and instead of “hunting” for husbands, we’re building our careers and life, focusing on education and professional growth, along with having fun and enjoying our best years of being single and indepedent.
    There were couple of examples only.
    Enjoy Georgia :)

    I’m perfectly willing to change my mind. In fact, if you pointed out something that I actually did say and gave me a specific reason why you thought I was wrong, I’d be very willing to consider an alternate point of view. Accusing me of being far from reality and incompetent about Georgia, however, is just rude.

  32. The Guy says:

    The author of this post doesn’t understand one particular thing that traditions which are different form those of his original country doesn’t mean that they are bad. I wouldn’t say that everything you described above are traditions but it’s kind of a result of Georgian political and social environment. Relations between human beings are different wherever You go so just don’t take it too serious. You can underline them as facts but saying that they are wrong or right means that you are not mature person. They are just logical outcome of long historical processes which took place in here. We just don’t talk about sex as much as Europeans or Americans do. It’s just not common in Georgian society and it’s kind of rude to ask people about their sexual life and it’s much more impolite to make fun of them if they don’t want to discuss their private life with you. nobody will harm you for mentioning word sex or for having it with anyone who would like to have sex with you, but one night affairs are not considered as usual and desirable thing among majority of Georgian girls….. that’s it.

  33. Selena says:

    LOL Welcome to Georgia. Never mind life without sex for a year, people survive for decades :))))))))))))))))))))) And besides there is something attractive enough to stay here for longer than a year!

  34. SEXODROME says:

    girls don’t listen to this young lady, come and have fun, here’s everything absolutely normal. guys are sometimes annoying and girls are not in the mood like everywhere , but normally there’s party everyday, so don’t be fool to listen to this post and go fuck around where ever you want or do whatever you want, nobody really cares. ))))) cheers……..

  35. Gio says:

    There is one golden rule everywhere :) Georgia, Italy, Spain, France, US, UK – Guys who know how to keep their mouth shut get and know how to treat ladies get ladies :)

    Guys who always talk what a great sex they had with so and so ;) probably are champions in …. ( no need for more details ), So dear author obey very simple rule and enjoy your life :) and let others do so too:)

  36. I think you hit this pretty well, as it holds true even after I’ve been here for a year with the Peace Corps. Another thing to note is how extreme Georgian principles tend to be, either their completely one way or completely the other. Those more “Western” girls in Tbilisi are often completely insane (saertod, Georgian ladies, saertod). I’ve met a few. Part of this is a reaction between the traditionalism of their own culture and their total misperception of western culture in addition to the complete lack of sexual education.

    Tbilisi though, isn’t that big of an escape. I’d say a good 90 percent of girls still live with their parents rather than alone (partially for economic reasons and partially it’s just a cultural thing). Many of those women are loose, but then either you need your own place to stay or a hotel, and they’ll most likely never visit you in your village, so for volunteers, it’s still a long shot.

    • *they’re

      And PS, not meant as anything necessarily negative towards Georgian traditions or mores. Insane to some is perfectly sane to others, and I imagine all of us Westerners seem quite a bit insane to Georgians, so simply because their shoe might not fit on our feet doesn’t mean our shoes fit on theirs.

  37. Georg says:

    I think, one of the main ideas of the TLG program is that Foreigners come here and we (Georgians) and they (Americans, British etc.) learn from each other (if the teachers are ready to do so. Lots of Georgina are unfortunately absolutely hostile to changes and new things). English language is just a part of what we can get from visitors. So it is really important that they share their impressions but also be ready to hear our opinion about them. This should be an exchange and not lessons for Georgians of “how to become more civilized”.

    Teachers who are not in Tbilisi will have hard times, but I hope there are enough mature people among them who will not make judgments based on “how many times per week an average Georgian has sex”.

  38. natia says:

    the article was fun to read !

  39. Deez Nutticus says:

    Dear Panoptical, Don’t take offense, mate. A lot of your readers seem to think you were saying things that in fact you had no intention of saying at all. You’ve only been in Georgia for a few months, so I am guessing that you have yet to grasp the most important point here… Georgia is really one of the most wonderful places in the world. And the Georgians are perhaps a top contender for the prize of the world’s most gracious hosts. But what the Georgians lack is modesty and the ability to accept any criticism or comment that is not full of praise. Their sensitivity to criticism, bravado and Georgia-is-the-center-of-world shtick are becoming for, well, just about five minutes before it all gets tremendously annoying. The Georgians put the French to shame, really. Although they will tell you otherwise, any remark that you will make that bestows upon Georgia’s society and culture — be it the women, the food, the wine, the theater, the music, the water, or the geography — any place but numero uno will be met with a scowl. My point is that any entry in your blog that doesn’t lavish praise on Georgia will be met with the same response. Nice post and a great read. Deez Nutticus

  40. kudishka says:

    Fantastic article! Well written! I laughted a lot. Sarcazm is not bad in this case bacause the theme deserves sarcasm perfectly. All is true, want to admit it or not! Some statements are a bit old fashioned, but in all it’s true and real! How many men here would like to have a non-virgin wife?? Not many; But they don’t want to admit as they want themslelves to be more Europeans, but are they?? And who said kidnapping happened only far far in the past? Not true!!! Those families exist and, sometimes even feel happy. Do not be ashamed to admit things!!!!!

  41. Tasi says:

    First of all, sorry for my poor English.

    Second, I dont think that author wants to say that Georgian traditions are bad or something like that.. rather he/she seems quite surprised and very much scared, which is partly because of the TLG staff over-tried to warn visitors about all the differences that exist among our cultures. Yes, we Georgians have to admit that there are lots of things are strange here, especially in terms of gender/sex issues.. and that we are full of inconsistencies – taboo on discussing sex, while porno content of TV. This is because of (1) mediocre geographic position between Europe and Asia and (2) transforming values from Soviet to Western mentality.

    However, i would like to give foreigners that live in Georgia one advice: Not western women, but western life style (!) is associated with open sexual relationships and that is what makes some rurals horny. I mean that even me (Georgian woman born in Tbilisi) traveling to Georgian villages – when i drive expensive car, look like a top model, dressed in the latest fashionable clothes – I feel that villagers look at me very rudely. But when they listen to my calm, not sexual, not vulgar voice, they regard me as a friend, not as an object of sexual relationships. So, if foreign teacher-women behave themselves conservative way, if they dress more conservative, if they dont drink with men late night, not swear etc (this makes them look like prostitutes even having a marriage ring) there will be no problems at all. Georgian men are not wild, but they simply never miss an opportunity to have free, unobliged sex. Whatever you call it -medieval traditions or whatever – you should behave yourself here in a conservative way, because rural areas in Georgia are conservative, and you have to respect it.

    I saw an American women in the night club in Tbilisi – she was about 65-70 years old (worked for USAID) – she was totally drunk, dancing very rudely, taking off her clothes, asking young Georgian men to f..k her, screaming etc. This was terrible!!! If any idiot would do anything offensive to her, they would say that “Georgian men are bad”. This would not be fair. So my point is that living in another country is not only an interesting experience, but a great challenge – to modify the lifestyle according to the culture you decided to live in for a while.

    Good luck to everyone. I hope you will enjoy staying here and experience the most pleasant side of Georgia.

    • Good comment here. The biggest thing about safety for women here is to not be afraid to be forceful about their nos. I mean, here, it’s not until about the 51st no that no actually means no. :)

      I loved when that kvelaperi kargia movie came out. Like, it’s such an insanely conservative culture (I mean, here in the village I live in) and yet everyone was playing this Georgian movie where every other scene was a full on sex scene right in front of children. They’d never even allow that movie on cable tv in the States! Talk about some irony (of course, that they wouldn’t show it in the States is also ironic).

      And Tasi, let me be the first to apologize for my countrymen. We’ve got a lot of idiots running around like chickens with their heads cut off (or up their ass). Like Georgians would ask us not to judge every Georgian as an adulterating pig, I ask the same regarding witnessing us. :)

  42. Katiee.Ge says:

    ” According to TLG, Western women will have to field marriage proposals unless they are, or say they are, engaged or married.”

    L O L
    a big LOL

    that’s really faar from reality, only drunk or very green-card-oriented guys can insist on marriage, or just kidding, never take it too serious :))

    and +
    I guess your orientation instructors had quite outdated information about Georgian reality and frightened you very much, and now you look at the reality with those big opened and scared eyes :)) at least in Tbilisi, the situation is really different :)

    have fun and good time here :)))

    • panoptical says:

      No, actually you are the one with unrealistic information. I personally know several TLG females who have experienced marriage proposals from complete strangers on a regular basis.

      • Katiee.Ge says:

        “only drunk or very green-card-oriented guys can insist on marriage, or just kidding, never take it too serious :)”

        + try to avoid frequent contact with non-educated people.

    • Yeah, I’ve NEVER met a drunk guy in Georgia.

      Seriously man, hang out with foreign females, especially in the village. I’ve stopped having single foreign female friends over here and hanging out with non-married Georgians. Every friggin’ time SOMEONE asks their hand in marriage. And I’ve got to hit my head against a wall. Of course, once I inform the guy that said girl is NOT a virgin, they usually back off. Haha. Then they just aim for sex.

  43. sophie says:

    Hello! where the hell in Georgia do you live? Maybe highest peak of Mount Shkhara, because whenever reading your note here, I thought you were describing some kind of Extremist Muslim country!
    First of all, being virgin or not that’s the personal choice and no one is forced to do anything they don’t like. I’ve been in the US as well and I’ve seen quite many girls at least in a high school who where virgins and what’s the problem with it? Our society might be little more conservative than yours but that doesn’t mean people here don’t have sex. If you did not get lucky so far to hook up with a Georgian girl don’t blame the traditions that’s probably because you are not food enough for them ;)
    Secondly, have you ever been in any of the night clubs, bars etc? I really doubt that you did, you would have found that Georgian teens are not any different than youth from all around the world…
    Third, we don’t date? OMG, seriously ? Have you ever walked on Rustaveli street in Tbilisi, or in any major places or cinemas, and did not notice hundreds of couples? I don’t know anyone among my friends or close relatives who got married just in 2 month after dating a guy and I have quite a lot of friends!
    Fourth, claiming that man and women can not be friends that like over the top, probably even in Iran and some extremist conservative societies people are friends with each other! Friendship has always been the most important for Georgians and of course you don’t know that because you have no idea of Georgian culture or traditions.. Some of my closest friends are males and I’ve never heard neither from them or from my parents I can’t be friends with them…
    Finlay, please just stop making all these false accusations.. We do have normal sexual life and maybe the fact that most of us do not like “one night stands” that our society has far mire morality than most of the US does. At least we do understand why we want to have sex and do it for the right reasons unlike most of American teens having sex only out of “fashion” or social pressure.

  44. kiki says:

    I see that u have become a serious victim of sterotypes…so sorry for you

  45. Naneee says:

    Kudishka,

    It seems like we are the only ones here to agree with this article :D I’m not surpised that many Georgians here protest against the truth stated in it. Its not easy to admit that you live in shit is it? :D and its even harder to admit it to a foreigner :D

  46. doryan says:

    Thanks for this wonderful article. Yeah it’s reality fucking awful reality. Probably in urban places like Tbilisi situation is not so difficult even though Georgians wanna be Europeans with Asian mentality. It’s quite impossible and I kindly ask my people to define where they wanna live and whom they wanna be in reality. European integration, implementation of American lifestyle is the fairy tale told by the politicians in daily news. Unfortunately, fucked and depressed soviet mentality made the same masks for all the people and they are trying to puck with this imaginary traditions. There is very famous Soviet dictum(Sex does not exist in USSR). I think everything is clear.Sexual revolution is so far from my motherland. Youth, please be more active and don’t break your health trying to abstain from the sex:)

  47. Georgian Male says:

    Hey dude,
    I am a Georgian and thank you for your account. I truly believe that positive criticism helps. Here I indicate in what I think u r wrong

    “It is considered strange for men and women to be friends.”
    Utterly wrong… I have many female friends and my firends have many female friends. Off course sometimes an idea of having sex with your female friends strikes u and if there is mutual consent, this happens… But do not say what u claim…

    “According to the Georgians that I have spoken to since, pre- and extra-marital sex does happen. Although no Georgian I have met will admit to actually having extramarital sex, I am told that 70% of Georgian men cheat on their wives, and to many this is considered normal.”

    Wrong. For men this rate is 99%. I guess the same happens in the US. I lived there for quite some time and worked in Georgia for Americans too much time to assert this. Maybe not 100% but men tend to cheat on their wives if circumstances permit. For women apparently rate is lower.

    “On the other hand, according to one Georgian, there exist hotels that can be used for pre- or extra-marital sex, and there are prostitutes, although prostitution exists in a sort of quasi-legal state that even Georgian law enforcement personnel couldn’t explain to me. So basically, what I am saying is that there is sex going on, but in a super down-low hush-hush sort of way.”

    There are many whore houses. However do not advise to go there … Quality sucks. And trust me I had quite a few GFs in Georgia and never married them thought what I agree it is harder to find than elsewhere.

    “I’d say the most striking thing about this situation is the fact that the women who come to Georgia with TLG are basically seen by many men in Georgia – Georgians and TLG men included – as the only potential sexual outlet in the entire country.”

    I try to be polite and tell u – this is wrong… Americans are not Russians – they are not so sexy to consider as the only potential sexual outlet…. But seriously u can find every type of people in the country and to generalize on everyone – it is wrong.

    “It’s also the attitude of the other TLGers. If you’re a woman, you have to be careful not only of overzealous Georgians who think all Western women are loose Paris Hilton types, but also of desperate TLG guys who are trying too hard because they are terrified of being forced into celibacy by the patroni system’s stranglehold on Georgian women. If you are a dude, you have to come to terms with the possibility that you might not get laid for a year and try to be a human being despite such earthshakingly bad news.”

    Wrong – depends on individuals…

  48. Pingback: Sex and Gender: the epilogue | Georgia On My Mind

  49. Tamo says:

    Welcome to Georgia. Interesting article. I enjoyed most of it, it’s written in such a witty way, I think you have a talent of a writer, seriously. We do have problems in terms of gender relationships, but, the information the article gives is stereotyped and exaggerated, to the extent that some things in it surprised me and I was thinking, what?! is he talking about Georgia? Lots of info is rather outdated, which must be because of the TLG staff trainings! They’ve scared the hell out of you, but I wonder why? as it’s been mentioned above, they might have done it for your safety’s sake, or it can be because of they themselves have outdated information. Yes, I totally agree that quite a few Georgians have great problems when it comes to values and what’s wrong and what’s right, and some Georgian “traditions” aren’t really traditions and are just distorted misperceptions of genuine Georgian traditions, imposed on us during Soviet period. But this is another topic and needs long discussion. Anyhow, I couldn’t believe my eyes when after having critisized Georgian men for harassing women, in one of your comments you said: “..one in four American women have been sexually assaulted, which means that in public, American men might be opening doors and helping with bags, but in private, a large number of them aren’t being quite so respectful.” Now, this is confusing! :S
    I’ll keep reading your blogs. Enjoy your stay in Georgia.
    Thanks.

  50. Tamo says:

    P.S. What surprised me especially in your atricle is that no friendship between a man and a woman in Georgia is acceptable. The situation far from the truth, male-female friendship has been rooted in our culture genuinely through centuries. Even in mountaneous regions. By the way, if you’re in a mountanous region now, you can try to inquire about it and I’m sure your perception of this subject will prove itself completely wrong. I can also advise you to read “Knight in a Panther’s Skin”, or poems by Vaja Pshavela. :)
    And yes, people within one country differ very much according to education, values, and general attitudes, so boiling everyone in the same pot is not a good idea.
    Thanks again.

    • They’re training for people who would be in villages. And this is somewhat true. Guys and girls can be friends in groups, but you’ll never see just a guy and just a girl hang out together, unless they’re lifelong childhood friends (and like “dzma da da”). Otherwise, the whole town would talk, and well, you know where the sarafanoe radio leads to, straight down the marriage isles. Haha. And god man, Knight in the Panther’s Skin will prove him RIGHT. All the damn rules of courtship and blah blah blah. But anyway, it’s written by an Armenian about Persians. :P just kidding.

      But actually, to the author of the article, Georgia is on a huge state of flux, reacting all at once against the old Communist ways, with a resurgence of old religious traditions and an influx of Western values as well, and it’s all hodge podged and many Georgians don’t even know what the hell is going (one guy Georgian guy said to me, “Georgian women should be free and live how they want! But fuck if I’d marry a non-virgin”. Some villages are a lot like this, others are better, and some they actually do still bridenap. It’s HUGELY diverse. My biggest advice would be to:

      Date outside your village, and take the girl to bigger cities in the area, safer zones (from the rumor mill) with bars or cafes to go to would be Batumi, Rustavi, Tbilisi, Telavi, Sighnaghi… and there are others within almost two hours of everywhere. Talk to them actively on Facebook and/or odnoklassniki, depending on what they have. And, most importantly, aim for divorcees! They’re not as hard to deal with as the virgins, and they certainly don’t expect marriage (many are actually actively opposed to it) and they know how great sex is already AND there’s no stigma on divorced women having sex. Follow this advice and you’ll be kissing within 2 months and, you know what they say here, any girl that’s willing to kiss you is willing to sleep with you. Ni puxa ni pera!

      • panoptical says:

        Hey dude, just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks for backing me up on some of these issues. It’s cool to hear from someone with a lot more experience in the country and with a sharp sense of humor. I look forward to hearing more from you!

        • My pleasure. I’ve been in your shoes. Especially when discussing this topic with Georgians. And it can be strange… many Georgians will agree with you and many will disagree with you. But they’ll all be willing to share a drink with you, so don’t get too worried by some responses. Where are you placed anyway? Will you be able to get to Tbilisi much?

        • panoptical says:

          I’m actually in Tbilisi, in the Gldani neighborhood on the north side of town (sort of near the US embassy and the Goodwill.)

        • Dude, you lucked out! Don’t worry about the women then. You’ll have plenty opportunities to meet more Western chicas. How’s your pad?

        • panoptical says:

          Rockin. I have internet, hot water, heat, electricity, and two persimmon trees outside that I can literally pick fruit off of whenever I want. Only thing I don’t have is an oven – no peanut butter fudge brownies for me… unless I can figure out how to make them on a stove. Also have plenty of room and a pretty chill roommate. And as I said in my post, I’ve already met plenty of women who lead a more Western lifestyle (which is why I am so perplexed at everyone who’s going batshit trying to convince me that Georgians are not all the same. I guess they just didn’t get to that paragraph?)

          So anyway, I’m pretty much set, and I’m already thinking of extending my contract beyond the first year. If I can get air conditioning, that is…

        • Yeah, the summers here are killers. But nobody does anything in the summer anyways but go to the beach, so it’s not too hard of a life, haha.

      • Alpha says:

        “there’s no stigma on divorced women having sex”

        This is simply not true. Divorced women ARE stigmatized. A group of psychologists from the Tbilisi State University even had a project some years ago about divorced women as a stigmatized class.

        Let aside that particular project, just look through various discussion forums (most written in Georgian) where there are countless discussions whether to marry a divorced woman or not.

        As for bridenapping, it is a history but in some rural areas still happening. I am familiar with German graduate students, working on a comparative study of the practice on the example of Georgia and Azerbaijan. So, it is not an imagined practice but a very real and problematic one. Even if the cities are safe, it does not exclude this criminal practice altogether.

        Potential victims of bridenapping are not foreign visitors but those local women who believe, they won’t get married (or even will be rejected by their own families) after they refuse to stay with their kidnapper. I guess, those women are under risk, who live in villages and do not have a chance of leaving their homes in order to support themselves alone. Under the today’s economic circumstances, that makes quite a large percent of rural women a risk-group.

        The fact that the practice is almost lost in larger cities does not make is safe for women in rural areas.

  51. dv0rsky says:

    great, great, great and wonderful post!
    even if the TLG staff was bit too “strong” in explaining situation, even if I somehow don’t get the “patroni” thing (i’ve heard it only when medics and doctors speak about their patient’s relatives), even if you see everything bit too dark – it’s still a great post.

    Our society needs a lot more of such kind of critics – thanks.
    BTW quoting your posts excepts and linking to you too.

    • The “patroni” thing is just a way to spell out the relations between who’s the respected big guy in town and how a lot of people are under his krish and you can fall back on him or his family to take care of problems. TLG relied on the Peace Corps placement policies in this regard, to make sure each family is well enough connected in the community so it’s not too hard for the volunteers.

      This isn’t to say the “patroni” is some sort of vojd or whatnot, just that he or she tends to be a more influential character in the community. Like my first placement in Kakheti during training was with this Spetznatz guy who seemed to run the town parallel to the gamgeoba, except when people had problems, they went to him and he listened and tried to take care of their problems, whereas the gamgeoba did nothing but Jack and shit, and Jack left town.

      • merry says:

        That’s sad, saint facetious, very sad. It just means we are still just one step away from good old mafia ruling context. :(

        • Sad, on the one hand, in that the rural village governments do almost nothing for their villages (and many of the gamgeoba staff actually live in Tbilisi on top, in villages closer to Tbilisi, so they don’t really know what’s going on anyway). But good on the hand that stuff IS getting done, just by someone else and without funding unless it’s done by NGO funding. Sadly, most of the tax money out in the villages (and here I speak of mine in specific), tends to be spent on supras for visiting Parliamentarians.

  52. probnoblem says:

    It’s SOOOOOOOOOOO TRUEEEE!!!
    And thanks for bringing the mirror!
    It is a therapy what you guys do here, and this country need such painful mirrors like medicine.

    You seem to have very sharp eye and honesty in expressing yourself. It’s a pleasure to read your blogs. Would be even better to record a video but blog is great!

    I wish I could know you and discuss these issues back and forth.
    Wish you rich experiences. You will see many illness of these society but you will also see a great warmth and love that these people will give to you.

    If you are in Tbilisi – will invite you for a beer and a nice talk :-)

    Andro

  53. Taa says:

    “patroni,” or male guardian, whose job it is to make sure that the men in these women’s lives “do the right thing” – in other words, propose marriage within an acceptable period of time, or leave the woman alone.

    xaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaaaaaaaaaaa,
    I just found it,
    PATRONI :D :D :D
    I never had him :( poor me :(
    :D :D :D :D :D

    • You must be a pretty cudi gogo without a man to tell you how to live!

      • Yes when you look at it this way , it IS funny. But for those who have no PATRONI living especially out of Tbilisi is very difficult. I spent my childhood in western Georgia, little town of Kutaisi which is famous for it’s mafia mentality and the institution of “QURDIs” which basically meant gangster. So there were 4 QURDIs living in our neighborhood. Officially they were TAKING CARE OF US so that nobody else would harm us, rob us, steal from us etc. There was this orphan girl 16 or 17 years old, living in the next block of flats, she had only a mother, which cannot be considered as PATRONI. So one day a brother of one of the QURDIs took her by force from her apartment, he basically knocked the door down and took her. Nobody apposed him. So he kept this girl at his place for 2 weeks or so, then brought back when he was bored. By the way that girl after the incident was treated like a whore by everyone, no matter how unfair that sounds :)
        NOW, can anybody tell me that it is funny?

        • Actually, that’s fairly common even in the western parts. And I had to do a research project for some trainings on AIDS and prostitution, and a good majority of the prostitutes come to that job due to:

          1. A girl is cudi once in her life, the village finds out about it and calls her a whore. Maybe she even has a child out of wedlock, so she flees to Tbilisi, can’t find work and becomes a prostitute.

          2. A woman is raped, the village finds out about it, accuses her of enticing the man, calls her a whore, she moves to Tbilisi, can’t find work, becomes a prostitute.

          Out of 90% of the prostitution population that was interviewed, this was the pattern.

          So, like in my first post on the patroni system, it’s not that bad. At least some protection is being offered, and if those girls had stronger patronebi, then they might not have ended up in the same situation.

  54. geoanamania says:

    Reading all these comments (of course after reading the post) makes me wanna share my humble observations:
    We, the Georgians, get oversensitive (just to be gentle, or I’d prefer to use the word ”aggressive”) towards all kinds of reproofs or whatever. Besides, we have some problems in differentiating between the actual/given circumstances and our ideas concerning those circumstances, that’s why we often misinterpret texts (or whatever) and attribute to their authors the ideas which they didn’t even mean (but we did). That’s why this particular post was perceived as a reproof or insult to Georgia’s sex issues.
    In similar cases – when displaying sensitivity towards foreigner’s (in general) remarks – we show our tiny xenophobic inclinations usually decently concealed by or well packed in our celebrated hospitality.
    And my last observation is that blogger- / web-surfer-part of Georgia adheres to gender equality and free sexual relationships without any plans for marriage or fear of ”patronis”. Which means quite a considerable amount of population reject the outdated sexual traditions ”for fuck’s sake.” : ) (I liked the way you used this phrase in certain context).

  55. V says:

    Come on people (I’m referring to those who are commenting), are you really that shocked with these posts? Isn’t that you who are constantly whining and struggling around the topic of the goddamn “qalishvilobis instituti” on every social website??? Come on, don’t tell me you don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about?
    Oh, I feel I have to define the term “qalishvilobis instituti” for those who don’t speak Georgian. The “wordly” translation sounds like “the phenomenon of virginity”, I don’t really know the exact English definition, but believe me, that’s still the hottest topic of discussion for the last decades here, in Georgia. And to tell you just in short what it is all about, that’s the tradition of keeping female virginity until marriage. Don’t matter whether it is still practiced or outdated, we all know, at least deep in our hearts, that this is the truth.
    So I’m wondering why do most of you tell that these people lie, or are exaggerating while expressing their opinions about us? Is it that strange what they are talking about? Don’t you know by yourself that these problems really exists in Georgia? You tell that it’s all different in Tbilisi, but you should notice that most of these people work and live in regions. And think globally, is it sufficient to have a different situation just in Tbilisi (in case if it is different at all) to change one’s mind about Georgian people and their attitudes towards gender and sex? I personally think it’s better to admit we’re underdeveloped in case of sexual relations rather than pretending it’s the first time you hear someone complaining about Georgians defending the female “kdema” (means female dignity in Georgian, which is usually equal to virginity).
    Haha, and I don’t understand you’re resentment towards the author’s expression “patroni”. Is it an unusual word to you? Don’t you all know the meaning of “upatrono” (this word describes someone that has no “patroni”, by elderly people is sometimes used to refer to a non-virgin single female).

    Hmm, I think it’s enough so far… I don’t really want to seem like opposing to you, guys, but you’re exaggerating a bit, too. So I just wanted to remind you some little things before you start arguing with these poor people still experiencing a cultural shock here…

    Good luck to TLG staff, I hope you get used to the little strange Georgian “things” quickly and enjoy your stay here :) after all, we’re not that weired as it seems at first sight.

  56. T says:

    *************************
    Editor’s warning: the following comment contains statements that are offensive to women. The comment has been left here only to be refuted. Please do not read if you are easily triggered.
    – panoptical
    *************************

    regards from NYC :)
    i am so glad that i have this opportunity to share my experiences too, in my previous comments i demanded from author to report all crimes against TLG stuff to police, because of importance of the crime meter, even advised to him to lecture this victims first about gender issues he seems so exiting to resolve with in Georgian society,we both had the good lough about “patroni” definition in its very twisted forms :) now i see one of last commenter tickles “virginity institution” , which is kind of tricky meter even , by my pretty liberal perception, because i still think it comes down to personal choice and preferences from both; male and female, u can’t just force someone to loose virginity, this looks to me kind of mental abuse and rape…
    however , i want to come to main point with my experience, which happen to me some time ago and it is very common in American society, i took my companion to doctors office the other day, or BTW… this is another thing Georgians mite have some shock too :) in USA there are specialties u never guess, foot doctor for example, they getting payed by insurance companies for cutting the toenails on patients and god forbid if someone not certifide would do the same, they could be sued for misconduct, it is not like i can’t wait to cut my companions toenails :) but going back to the story… i left him at doctors office, safe and sound, left my cellphone number with technician just in case of emergency and took permission stepping out for my errands , she was fine with that, because of common practice and we’ve done that not the first time…anyway, coming back pretty relaxed i am facing agitated young Latino technician allying at me, why i was so late and accusing me of harassing of my companion, giving me strait into my face the lessons about duties of mine, which was supposed to be, i assumed, staring into my companions ass, while doctor was cutting his toenails :) :) off the record i have to explain the main frustration of podiatrist technician personnel, they hate to help there patients with dressing after the procedure, which is putting the sucks and shoes back on them, i understood that long time ago from the first visit in podiatrist office , but never minded helping them out, by giving them break with my companion :) so during this yelling this girl technician decided to perform her duty without protesting about it, i guess she figured out after me confronting her in calm manner about lack of fault from my side and even was backed by the doctor himself, by apologizing for communication misconduct,there was little left for he, but perform her direct duty of dressing patient feet with attitude and anger thrown around back and force, right and left and suddenly i had epiphany :) :) of what sexual frustration mite look like :) it was written all over he forehead fuck me please :) but i was clever enough not mention about it :) i had no chance anyway, because she was exercising her anger with nonstop screaming about me harassing my companion, i had no choice left, but to ask my companion about my wrong doings, she never gave the chance to him to speak out, just got the new reason for accusing me now, taking the argument from her to him, than i had enough and called 911, BTW in the meanwhile doctor fired her, what happened after that was hilarious some way, two young policemen came, this girl ran out of the office and almost grabbed one of the policemen whom, i found during the conversation, she was familiar with and they spoke of something and the other one backed her too, i was left without any help, policemen insured me that everybody has the right to accuse anyone in anything and there is nothing i can do about it, so again i sucked it up and moved on, bought some nice drink from Ecuadorian guy’s vine store, who made my day by exhibiting unbelievable knowledge about Georgia, conflict with Russia by abkhaz and oss separatists, he knew names of all presidents of ours, even Nino Burjanadze :) Geography of Caucasus mountain and its inhabitants, i was left speechless from his intelligence and almost forgot how rudeness of human ignorance can hurt people, never mind xenophobic side of it.
    So, Neil again, i understand u coming from the same society were accusing people of anything encouraged out of proportion and i really like to think that u are reasonable person and intelligent enough to draw the line between contempt and admiration of people u surrounded now without exaggeration, attitude and hypocrisy.
    best of luck :)

    • panoptical says:

      This comment contains at least three very offensive statements.

      The problem is, I suspect that you are so firmly rooted in a sexist worldview that even if I explain in great detail, you will still not be able to understand why I find your statements so offensive.

      Let me start, then, with the one that isn’t about gender issues at all. You tell this whole long, convoluted story about a podiatrist – and by the way, it is very obvious that you are being dishonest in how you tell the story, since podiatrists are not, in fact, paid nail-clippers – and the whole point of your story is that one time you met a Latina woman who accused you of harassing someone and so you have come to the conclusion based on that instance that all three hundred million of us Americans have a tendency to accuse people of things at the drop of a hat.

      As it turns out, I have been accused of all sorts of untrue things by Georgians right on this here comments page. Do I draw the conclusion that all Georgians are the same? Of course not, because that would be ridiculous.

      On the other hand, if Americans are regularly accusing you of harassment, maybe it’s because you are a sexist with no respect for the fundamental humanity of women. That brings me to the next two offensive statements.

      You have told me repeatedly that I shouldn’t be lecturing Georgians on gender relations, but should instead be lecturing the victims of sexual harassment. This is called victim-blaming – it’s putting the responsibility for preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence on the victims rather than on the proper social channels, like the police, media, parents, teachers, and other authorities and role models. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are not easy things to live through, and they are not easy things to talk about, and if victims don’t choose to dwell on or relive these crimes, that’s their personal choice. If it were up to me, every woman who was harassed would turn around and beat the living daylights out of her attacker, but it’s *not* up to me to dictate to women – especially women who have already been oppressed by men – how to behave or how to deal with their problems.

      On the other hand, the world is full of people who either think that sexual harassment and violence are not real problems or think that they are not really happening. The comments on these posts prove that conclusively. So what I can do, and have done, is start a dialog about these issues and raise awareness of them by being completely honest about what goes on here. The fact that you continue to insist that I am exaggerating despite numerous people backing me up with their own stories and experiences suggests that there is a great need for people like me who are going to tell the truth about this issue to the society at large. So thanks for your tips on how to deal with these issues, but I think I’ll ignore them since all they really do is highlight your unwillingness to see these issues from another perspective.

      And now the third, and most offensive, statement that you made in your comment: the statement that the technician had “fuck me please” written all over her forehead. I find this assertion so offensive that I almost deleted your comment because of it. In fact, it is very nearly an incitement to violence, since it echoes so closely the lines that men use when justifying sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. Her voice said no but her forehead said fuck me.

      I mean, there are just so many problems with it. Why is it that you feel the need to reduce a woman to a sexual object when clearly the issue at hand is completely non-sexual? Why do you dehumanize women and invalidate their opinions with an implied threat of violence? Why have so many commenters here suggested that various people just need to get laid? Why has any commenter who mentioned being a single woman received propositions?

      These things are all indicative of deeply rooted problems in the way that you look at women and at humanity as a whole. Obviously there are Americans who would agree with you that anyone who is angry just needs a good fuck, whether they consent to it or not, so I’m not blaming this on Georgia. Just because you are incapable of understanding women as anything other than sex objects, doesn’t mean all Georgians are.

      So let me just sum this up for you. You say that if a woman gets harassed she should report this to the police, but if a woman gets angry it is just because she needs to get fucked – and you honestly, really don’t see any connection between your attitude towards women and the prevalence of harassment of women? And then you turn around and call ME a hypocrite?

      I’m sure you’ll want to reply to this, but I am warning you that if you make any more statements that can be construed as sexually oppressive or encouraging sexual violence, I will edit them out of your comment. My readers don’t need to be subjected to that kind of thing.

      • T says:

        i am the women Neil, middle age women and u missed the point, this Latino girl arranged in front of me the date with policemen and this policemen was happy with this arrangement, u tell me now that my accusations are false and i am sure u would not have any problem with it, u are the boss here just the same way she felt xenophobic in front of me, but still i will continue my point of Americans getting hated most of there kind of “birthright” way of getting there way around, which u perfectly demonstrating here, but going back to your respond I’ll take my chances and will continue,why “Latino” sounded kind of offensive to u but “Ecuadorian” did not, i was discriminated there and it was so obvious, that doctor had no other choice, but fire her, what u think he would’ve taken that risk with crazy bitch like that? BTW i went back to office and patronized the girl from job loss, without success…oh, here we go u got it “PATRONI” comes from “PATRONESS”, u never gueseds about barbaric words, as the linguist u should have known better:)
        However, about the doctor, yes darling, did u ever looked at the doctors bill description, cutting the toenails they call the surgery and most of the time they put in the bill the procedure like swabbing the skin with iodine, special treatment cost around $50… depends :)
        So, it burns the skin is not it when it gets to your life stile description from the foreigner point of view is not it ? learn the lesson for your good if you really have honest motives about your visitation:)
        And about lecturing victims part; u accused me again of something i never had in mind, i meant lecturing victims about reporting not about gender relationships, u so full of your self i guaranty u not gonna last the winter over there never mind a year and forget finances from the donors for your lecturing projects about gender issue, be honest… get to the point… that is, what u hope to achieve in Georgia don’t u?
        and u need this blog as the record for presentation for the grant, Ha Ha Ha… i am learning with accusation parts pretty well :) why not, who’s gonna blame me, i had a such a great country as a super teacher so long:)
        adios amigo :)

        • It is funny. I’ve never been to a podiatrist myself. And here this Georgian girl goes to one and says how stupid the profession is. But why did you go to the podiatrist? How is it that this Georgian girl has gone and not this American guy? :)

  57. hom-hom says:

    “Georgia has decided to import 10,000 english teachers in the coming years to teach English to every Georgian student” – this is not true. Our president Saakashvili has decided abovementioned. As for me, this is absolutely stupid idea. Now, when I sow this blog and the articles of this blog, I am sure that this idea is not only apsolutely stupid.

    • panoptical says:

      Does this comment have a point?

      Obviously a country is not a sentient being and is thus axiomatically incapable of making a decision. Nevertheless, the fact remains that 10,000 teachers are going to be imported into Georgia to teach English to every Georgian student, regardless of your rather simplistic objections to said policy.

  58. anxiety says:

    Read the first article and laughed a lot. Only 3 % is true.
    First of all Georgia is a country of ancient religion Qristianity and people respect the religion. So to my mind it is a bit not our bussiness to discuss the traditions of religion. On the other hand you seem to be living in the village that is to far from cities of georgia, villages that are in high mountains live like u wrote but u haven’t Mentioned the positive sides of high mountain villages, the beautiful traditions of marriage and love, man love so romantically in Georgia and woman are so hot when they are in love. You even don’t know the mean of word ”stable family”.
    Sure there are a lot of negative histories, but such histories and bad people are everywhere. I can tell you that in your country some people gave 1000 sex partners and they are just 20 years old, they have sex with a ‘partner’ firstly and afterwards they get acquainted. So negative sides do exist in every part of the world and there are also positive sides.
    Do you know the Georgian dances, songs and how people can love here. Do u know that Tbilisi is very romantic city and man can sing songs to the girl they like. The tradition of virgins is just the business of Georgians and their religion. People do have premarital sex and they love each other. Do u know what is love? Georgian people know! The whole world goes crazy and In Georgia there is a lot to like and disgust. May be you are so incapable that your bosses decide to send u in poor village. And I’m so surprised that you haven’t mentioned the nice relationship between people, how that meet each other, how they respect woman, how great hosts they are and how good lovers they are.
    And one more thing intelligent people have intelligent relationship and narrow minded people have narrowed minded relationship. May be u are narrow minded? Because you know the narrow and not really true things about Georgia. Firstly study and then write ‘articles’

    • panoptical says:

      I am an English teacher, so don’t take this the wrong way, but you did not understand this article correctly.

      Unfortunately I am not allowed by my contract to give private lessons, but I can recommend a few very good English teachers that I work with who could help you improve your English reading comprehension if you want.

    • Tamara says:

      Qristianity…. Hm, hm, hmmmmm…… Did Alice found a mirror version of Christianity through the looking glass? :)))))

      • It’s the version where men don’t have to be virgins, I think. They’ve got a couple extra Pauline Epistles, like Paul’s Letter to the Sicilians, “Did you know that women are very fine as virgins, but men are not men until they have bed a woman or a prostitute? For a man is only one with a woman during sex if a baby is conceived, but a woman is one with a man during sex always.” This Letter, of course, is not found in Christian tradition, where men also are expected to be virgins until wed, but only Qristian tradition.

        • Tamara says:

          Oh and also don’t forget Georgians are the only human beings capable of true love according to Qristian Bible. It’s because of the ancient history and folk dances and songs. And if you didn’t know by now serenades are also exclusively Georgian thing (didn’t one of the disciples also write about that?).

        • Actually, that was mentioned in the Gospel of Giorgi. :)

        • Tamara says:

          Right, the Gospel of Giorgi! :D
          If you think about it (but not long enough), Qristianity might resemble a perverted version of Dudeism…….

        • I don’t even know why I complain about it. It’s almost a dreamland for men…

    • V says:

      “man love so romantically in Georgia and woman are so hot when they are in love.”

      LOL :D:D:D:D

      this post is written after reading the article about how stunned an American guy is by the infidelity of Georgian men :D:D

      “You even don’t know the mean of word ”stable family”.”
      :D:D:D how many Georgian “stable families” can you name? haven’t you heard about the high rate of divorce among young Georgian couples?

      Reading these kind of posts I wonder these people live in a different country than I do

      • The rate of divorces is rising dramatically in Georgia btw.

        And unfortunately a lot of “stable” families are stable thanks to (literally) HUMAN SACRIFICE. Because couples sacrifice themselves, bear unbearable just to keep family together, for their children. As a result children grow up in these ugly kinds of families, witness violence and grow up violent.
        That’s the secret about our lower divorce rate.
        We can be proud of it.

      • expertmwvadisti says:

        Shen bicho amerikuli ojaxi unda naxo!
        Believe me, Georgian kids grow up, on average, in a much more tight-knit and loving environment and with better friendships than American kids. Dzmao, I’ve lived in America long enough to know.

        • panoptical says:

          That must be why they turn into such happy, well-adjusted, and successful adults.

        • expertmwvadisti says:

          You don’t have any male Georgian friends. How do I know this? Because if you did, you wouldn’t talk such nonsense. We are some of the warmest, most hospitable people on the planet. You can visit Tbilisi and I guarantee that on the first day you went out, you’d run into a group of youngsters and make friends with them. By night of day 2 or 3, you’ll quite likely find yourself in one of their houses seated at a huge sufra and drinking toasts to each others’ health.

          Your narrow, very very limited experience of Georgia (which you’ve used to cast some strange divinations) is about the same as if I went to East Harlem, got mugged, some of my girl friends got harassed, and I came back home certain that Americans were horrible people.

        • panoptical says:

          “You don’t have any male Georgian friends.”

          Wrong.

          “How do I know this? Because if you did, you wouldn’t talk such nonsense.”

          Wrong.

          “We are some of the warmest, most hospitable people on the planet.”

          Perhaps, but not really relevant to the current topic.

          “You can visit Tbilisi and I guarantee that on the first day you went out, you’d run into a group of youngsters and make friends with them.”

          Wrong.

          “By night of day 2 or 3, you’ll quite likely find yourself in one of their houses seated at a huge sufra and drinking toasts to each others’ health.”

          Why do you think I’d be interested in spending two to three days drinking with a bunch of young Georgian men? What on earth would they have to offer me besides alcohol and misogyny?

        • expertmwvadisti says:

          “Misogyny and alcohol”: the words of an outsider who has NO IDEA of what Georgian culture is like. You don’t have any male Georgian friends at all… you have either acquaintainces only, or you’re lying outright. I’m sure these…friends… would love to hear that you think of them as misogynystic alcoholics.

          I’m starting to wonder if you’ve ever even talked to Georgians in Tbilisi.

        • panoptical says:

          I don’t know why you think you know me, but it’s getting obnoxious.

          As it happens, I don’t get along well in big crowds of strangers, and I don’t like cigarette smoke. I don’t have much in common with “youngsters” and I get along much better with people around my own age or older than me. I prefer quiet conversation to a “huge sufra” and if I do want to drink toasts I prefer to do it with people who I trust and respect, and random strangers don’t qualify.

          So no, I would not find myself at some stranger’s house drinking toasts after a few nights in Tbilisi, and I should know better than you because I lived there for two years.

          I think that your inability to envision a personality type that might not get along with the typical Georgian male is typical of the narcissism and conformity that Georgians are indoctrinated with. If you want to know why I have very few Georgian friends, look no further than your own personality.

  59. anxiety says:

    Oh u are so kind :D
    Most americans speak very poor english so you can teach them as well. And as for me it was not matter. My goal was to write a few nice things about georgia.for god’s sake you mentioned english lessons and why you don’t join the history classes in Georgia and study Georgian history which dates back in ancient time. Georgia was the graet country even before B.C You know both of you are so poor to me, because you couldn’t resist me. I wrote the true facts about Georgia. That the main thing!And I have one question why you are so ironical, may be you aren’t clever enough to discuss the posts with arguments.
    Tamara, thank you. christianity christianity christianity christianity christianity .

    Georgians can teach you what is real friendship, love, kindness, religion and faith. Seems you don’t have enough culture to respect this feelings

  60. anxiety says:

    panoptical , Tamara
    I made some mistakes in English but u can’t speak Georgian, and u can u spell simple sentence in georgian? And are you really English teachers? Most of americans and europeans like Georgia and their culture and you only disjust. It’s strange

    • Tamara says:

      Hello there Dear anxiety! You made my day with your comments! :D So there shall be no resistance from my side – please go on commenting! Rarely do I get my hands on such a wonderful source of inspiration :D

  61. Pingback: Sighnaghi | Georgia On My Mind

  62. Anna says:

    To the author:

    I find it astonishing that for someone who knows very little about Georgia dares to write something so far from the truth. I find it insulting. While Georgia is a country full of traditions (which I am very proud of ) we know where the line is. Our men are extremely respectful of women and I personally have many male friends with whom I simply hang out and DO NOT expect them to marry me at any point or “stop fooling around” if the don’t.

    I feel sorry for someone like you, you are very poorly educated, narrow minded wanna be blogger. Go back to school and start over, obviously you have a lot to learn.

  63. L says:

    sorry, i think u just have wrong impressions about Georgia..
    may u just had not enough time?

  64. Katie says:

    To Anna:

    Dear, Anna. I don’t know who you are, but sorry for the further sentence. I think person who posts such comment is the one who is narrow-minded and impolite. To show such a reaction to any kind of opinion is simply -showing disrespect to an opinion, whatever stupid or nonsense it seems to you and showing your disability to control yourself (not only for you, but some other comments here). What respect are you talking about?? when a woman is totally disrespected, when there is 80% of violence in families!! And in rural areas to talk about sex in a liberal way, come on! I agree that an author has exaggerated some parts but most of the said is true. Even in Tbilisi showing your “free” sexual status leads to prejudices and total destruction of persons reputation! I have experienced it on my skin, so please, Anna, “Go back to school and start over, obviously you have a lot to learn” or just dare to talk about your sexual life freely in Georgia (if you have one/most probably not) and then we can talk…

    • T says:

      ketie, who told u that sex talk is a good tone and refine manner, if u want to exercise exhibitionism with your what ever kind of life it is your business, i have no need to know, with what or whom u sleeping around what so ever , but if u throw it in to my face u are making it my business and do not be surprised about, what ever judgment i will have, because what ever u are left after is the right of taking it, or liven it :) so tolerate each others opinion, that is the problem and it goes the same for Georgia, America and this blog :)

    • jimmi says:

      good job katie..

  65. panoptical says:

    If you have nothing meaningful to contribute to the discussion then don’t say anything.

  66. Iva says:

    I agree with the author of this article. Some of traditions Georgian people are not following only few years, but in some parts of Georgia they still believe in such traditions and even in Tbilisi you can meet families where a husband kidnapped his own wife and now they are “family”.
    I’m Georgian girl and I’m not virgin and I’m not married too. But if my father will know that I’m not virgin he will turn me out of the house. And also Georgian boys every time are trying to have at least one night with me. And if you are not virgin they think that you are a prostitute. I really find difficult to have relationships with them. Of course there some guys who do not think in traditional way, but the problem is that other guys who want to have sex with me are telling lies, that they don’t think the same way like 99% of Georgians do, because if they tell the truth I will not have any desire to have with them any kind of relationship. And it is quite difficult to guess which of them is telling the truth.
    And I’m forced to lie to my family, that I’m virgin. I’m “real me” with my friends only. And it is even difficult to find friends in Georgia, (when you have sex with your partner on whom you aren’t married) because they think if they will be your friends other people will have same opinion about them, like they do have about you. My friends are girls who are in the same situation like I am and boys also who don’t follow traditions. We are not a lot, we are a few. And that’s why I agree with author of this article.
    And to all Georgians reading this, fu** your opinion guys, this is a realty in Georgia and stop telling tales about it.

    Very best of luck for the future.

  67. T says:

    Iva, u should be out of your fathers house and taking care of yourself without his patronization, it called been mature individual, responsible for it’s own actions in life and life is not fair, get used to it :)

    • Iva says:

      T
      That’s what I’m going to do in 17 days. But still I can’t tell the truth to my father, because he will have a heart attack. I love my father. He’s a conservative man, but he is my father. Everyone, I think loves their parents and don’t want to harm them.

      • T says:

        exactly Iva, love and little bit of respect comes together, so u should tolerate your fathers opinion and live your life the way u think u can effort first and like of cause too ,it is possible i am sure , good luck :)

      • Tamara says:

        I wanted to write about trust and respect for each others choices and that it’s what family is all about but I guess it’s useless in your situation :) Just live your life and try to avoid lies whenever possible, it’s a bad path that leads to many other problems later in life. Oh and parents don’t get heart attacks so easily, they are meant to be quite enduring species after all ;) :)

        • Iva says:

          You don’t know my parents and don’t teach me anything. Teach your child if you have one or in the future if you will have. My parents live in the other world, their own imagined one and generation gap between us is HUGE. Telling the truth to my dad is a bullet for him in the breast. And I said to all Georgians reading my comments, fu** your opinion and if you want I’ll repeat it for you.

        • T says:

          OK darling u got the right, on Fuck off part i mean, but usually Universe operates, what goes around comes around way , so be ready if you’ll be the only fucked up one left, so be safe:) However, trust is a good point, not the easy one, but it like taking the risks in business and i think u know what i am talking about :)

        • Tamara says:

          Hi Iva,
          In case you’re replying to my comment:
          It was neither meant to be offensive, nor mentoring. My apologies if it seemed any or the both to you. Just that you know, difference between me and my parents is 42 years. They have never interfered with my personal life, always respected my choices and I’d lived independently for quite a while before getting married (lucky me!). So actually there was no need to lie to them, personal and private matters stayed such for each of us. We had a lot of conflicts and fights and misunderstandings (because of obviously different interests, tastes and lifestyles) but we were also able to talk it through, so that we didn’t have to lie to one another.
          Many of my closest friends had situations very similar to yours though, some of them got married at the age of 16 to get away from overprotective parents, some at the age of 30+ continue to lead secret lives (changing partners quite so often) and share the roof with their families (back at 9:00 pm sharp so daddy does not worry). Some decided to break the rules and live independently (which they managed after a couple of fights and ambulance calls. No casualties mind you :)). The choice of scenarios is up to you. It’s just that I’ve heard this phrase “my mother/father will get a heart attack if he/she knows etc” far too often to disregard it. Generally speaking, parents often fail to view their children as independent and mature individuals which makes it a hell of a task to effectively communicate ones interests and needs to them (whether sex/gender related or not). This kind of communication is not hopeless though, provided one acts as a mature and responsible person, not as an unsure, troubled teenager (note: “teenager” here is a state of mind not a physical age :D). If this does not help… well, there’s always an option to get away for a year or two by volunteering or applying for a scholarship in another country :D.
          To put it short – in my humble opinion it’s easier to solve problems at the source and from the start before you find yourself buried under a pile of accusations, misunderstandings and regret that seem to grow exponentially, feeling desperate like the one who’ running from the avalanche but can never avoid it. Good to remember that respect is a mutual thing, implying that one respects oneself and his/her parents and so do they. This actually requires some maturity and experience from both sides :).
          And finally, just get over this hostile, infantile attitude – this is not a war zone after all :)

        • T says:

          excellent Tamara, thank you :)

        • That’s the one thing I hate most about dating in Georgia: the whole secret lives thing. I can’t date someone who’s keeping me a secret, it’s almost like she’s ashamed of me. And it seems so… like I’m in high school again. I mean, if one’s parents must know about one’s life and one can’t stand up and tell the truth, then maybe one should reassess the way one’s living one’s life. I’ve made many mistakes and done bad things in my life, but I’m willing to confess them to my mother. Why? Because I am a man and I must own my actions. Anyone who is an adult must own their actions. I think this is a universal truth, regardless of culture.

        • Tamara says:

          “Anyone who is an adult must own their actions. I think this is a universal truth, regardless of culture.” Exactly :)

          The “secret lives” thing gets especially wild, absurd and funny when a person becomes a friend’s “alibi” (so that parents are kept blissfully ignorant of their daughter’s “dating habits” :D). In order this little trick to work the “alibi” should always be informed of the couple’s actual whereabouts. No wonder this does not always happen… And there starts a high school nightmare – her parents start calling you at night, inquiring about their precious offspring (who’s well above 25) while you have no clue on the whereabouts of this naughty person. You imitate connection interruption, subway sounds, terrorist attack or even (as a last refuge) start to imitate your own late grandmother’s voice who suffered from multiple sclerosis – you go above and beyond to hang up the phone without letting down a friend and offending her parents. And all that trouble just to get a small text message next day “thx, I’m ok”…
          But deep in your heart…. you know…. someday your time will come….. AND SHE WILL HAVE TO BE YOUR ALIBI!@(*^$*^%#)$!

          Guess that’s one of the reasons why “That’s what friends are for” is so popular in Georgia :D

        • Hahahaa… you are awesome, you cudi gogo you. :P

  68. Georgian Girl says:

    Hi there… it’s was a very interesting article to me that’s why i have wish to comment here. Well.. but Mr.. “guy” i don’t know your name, Sorry..
    yeah! by some way you have right! i don’t against your article..” sex in Georgia” But you should know not everyone..Not everyone think so..
    We georgians! have a big history, you should read about our culture more better, about middle centeries, All those were tradition…that’s why we are different nation on the world and to be deferent you would have deference rules,thinks even those all for other maybe look weird. I see… i don’t discuss above it now..
    The traditions have stayed in middle centeries.. has come new time.. more moder, more Global not metter how we call this. Anyway, not like before was.. it’s okey…is good and is normal..
    we have take all this… If you good know Georgia you should know not eveyone think so like old period.. don’t you meet anyone here with whom you could guess this?!
    I’ve 22 years old,I’m Georgian and for me all are different…I’m one of them from Georgians who has bf…yea..that’s true many Georgian’s have bf, gf just isn’t time to publish all so easy..cos we thinking about old people,about familly, abaut parents..we carre them that’s why all are hide way( but i don’t hide for sure) It’s clear “institut of Virginity” isn’t anymore in Tbilisi.
    The time will comes and all will be more publish..it’s coming soon..

    Sorry (maybe my English isn’t so good for you)

    Welcome in Georgia

    • Tamara says:

      ქართულად დაწერე და მოკლე შინაარს ვთარგმნით, თორემ ესე ცოტა რთულია აზრის გამოტანა :)

  69. ana-xatia says:

    It was interesting reading your blog and I will continue to do it in the future.
    Very interesting to see ourselves from the side.
    the most, you’ve written is based on the stories you were told.
    today the situation is better, no (very rarely and only in the high mountain villages) kidnapping, no violent marriage, no sexual harassment (no more than in other countries). Girlfriend-boyfriend “institute” is actively working in Georgia, mainly in cities, of course, but it’s still very hard for Georgian parents to accept their child (even boys) living with girlfriend- boyfriend, without marriage.
    but dating isn’t problem at all. Nobody speaks, but almost everybody’s having sex with their bf or gf. Of course in the deepest part of the heart, every girl is dreaming to be married to the person, they love.
    Sex just for sex is also known among Georgian girls, but I’m afraid not in the district, you live.
    best

  70. najafsandal says:

    The fact that most of Georgian readers got so defensive after reading your post proves you right :) Most of the problems you mentioned, do exist (though some were exaggerated, admittedly), but we, Georgians find it hard to have them outlined by a foreigner. You see, we are quite paranoid about what people think about us, we are obsessed with our image as a country, and having the truth shoved right into our face is kinda painful. This grants us no right to leave insulting comments, and I was sorry to see some above.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and I’ve really liked your attitude. Despite everything, you’ve remained positive, and I just don’t get those people with advice like ‘u don’t like it, you can F off’. I’m not sure if they read the post at all.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is – keep posting! Cover every issue you consider worth writing about and enjoy every possibly enjoyable experience while staying with us :)

  71. Natalia says:

    I wonder what the hell is “patroni”?? :P

  72. Pegi says:

    I wonder who provided you with such informations? To tell you the truth , I’m not mad about Georgian traditions either, but you go too far, I think you too much exaggerate. I’ve just come back from Ukraine with my Ukrainian sister-in-law and her two friends, all of them follow modeling career, they are so beautiful, but we can walk in the street in Tbilisi without being chased by random strangers, on the contrary we’re not bothered by nobody at all. In my opinion, some groups of people spread on purpose only disadvantages of Georgia’s life style. All the posts by western volunteers I’ve read so far are filled only negative impressions. I’m so taken aback….

  73. dimitri says:

    As a Georgian, living now for 30 years in Paris (France) – and thus capable to compare – I witness there is no significant difference between Georgia and any other South European nation as far as premarital sex, dating etc.. is concerned.
    A big city is a big city anywhere, and social atmosphere in a small mountains village in Georgia might be very close to that in a small village in France’s, Italy’s or Portugal’s hinterland.
    I am very sorry for the author – the article is complete bullshit. How could you decide to write on such sensitive issue without knowing anything about the country ? Your are using unreliable data, unknown sources, strange arguments..

    As if I would write an article on, say, mormons – simply because I read something in Wikipedia and a friend from the U.S. told me a couple of stories about them….

  74. nino says:

    keep on blogging guys you got the point………

  75. Pegi says:

    I came back to Georgia from Paris a couple of years ago. I’d been living there for more three years and I advise you to stay in France for some days or for some months maybe in order to find out what happens there in fact. It was real bullshit. I couldn’t walk quiet, from every side random strangers shouted at me: “I wanna fuck U bitch” and so on. What could I do? I was not able to give up studying because of those shit fellows. I lived in a student accommodation and sometimes after midnight I was woken up by knocking at the door, I was so scared and I was in France and not in Georgia …. And U, is it for a long time you have learned to read and write?

    • ---> says:

      There is a difference between shouting to someone on a street and stalking (following someone on a street, touching them and keep doing this behavior despite being told not to do so).

      Don’t you agree?

      • Pegi says:

        I don’t understand , what is the difference between shouting at a stranger : “U bitch” or touching him/her? I’ll set another example too. One day I went to Barcelona with some friends of mine and stayed at a youth hostel, there were some students from England. In the night they had got drunk and tried to get into our room. They were attacking against the door. I can remember plenty of examples.

        • ---> says:

          > I don’t understand , what is the difference between
          > shouting at a stranger : “U bitch” or touching him/her?

          Pegi,

          Let me explain – apparently you have not stayed long enough in Western culture to understand concept of privacy and free speech the same way locals do.

          Western society is founded on one’s individual choice, ability to be responsible for one’s actions and respect of each others privacy. There is a concept of personal space which means that one should not intervene to strangers’ life and personal spaces without explicit approval of such actions

          Shouting to someone in a public place (street) is considered to a form of ‘self-expression’ and is the case of free speech – one person should not deny another person in their ability to express themselves verbally. As it is often said – ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ (the quote BTW is incorrectly attributed to Voltaire) – that ALSO includes shouting F-U on a street no matter how one may not like it.

          HOWEVER, following someone (stalking – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalking#Definitions_of_stalking) and especially touching someone (sexual harassment – unwanted physical contact) is a direct intrusion to a person’s personal space and privacy and in Western society is considered as a crime.

        • T says:

          Oh, now i got it :) American guy, kind of friend of mine i invited for Christmas, had no clue about privacy and personal space of others, when he grabbed my friend’s ankle in the middle of formal conversation, oh ye, she was very pretty and sexy in her red dress and high hill boots… sure :) which felt kind of odd, but we all went hysterically laughing and forgot the incident until he grabbed my shoulder little bit after and started massaging them, which made my brother anxiously wonder, what the hell was going on, but for the kind of non westernized Georgian guy like my brother, who’s been exposed to “WESTERN CULTURE” for just few month my explanation of my America friend’s habit of to much touching been innocent was enough to except it without any complications and poor American friend of mine of 45y so fortunate to been exposed to this great culture since his birth never learned a thing about others privacy and personal space, but always knew his own i guess, how convenient :)
          RIP dear J

        • Pegi says:

          Please, don’t explain to me what Western culture means because of my mixed blood ( I’m not going to speak about my origin and my ancestors, it always takes so much time :D ) . The opinion you agree with indicates a lack of logical thinking. You means that shouting at someone even offensive words is a form of”self-expression” and a form of free speech. What a bullshit idea! Sometimes words are more painful than hitting.

  76. Your article remembered me an article, which wrotten of American girl about dating in Azerbaijan: http://women-forum.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=81:sex-life&catid=37:taboo&Itemid=60&lang=en

    Greeting from Baku,
    N.

  77. Tamara says:

    Hi Nurlana,
    That was a really interesting article. I can trace some similarities with our local context in Georgia (although it almost never gets as bad as in this story). I dare assume these similarities are shared by many communities in the Caucasus regardless state borders and religions :). BTW I suppose the author was not living in Baku right?
    “If you’ve ever spent any time in an Azerbaijani mehle (apartment courtyard) , you know that nothing goes unaccounted for.”
    “he thought if I spread my legs for one man, I would do it for all”
    Typical :)

    P.S.
    {My two host sisters were both my age and as time passed, they continued to teach me more about the Azerbaijani “dating” customs – or lack thereof.. While there was no word for “dating” there were various words for “gossip.” Sitting out on the balcony of our tiny two bedroom apartment zdanie we’d watch young girls walking by. “That’s Aysel. She’s a whore,” my host sister Layla would say. “She meets with Ferid in the park in the center of the city and everyone knows it. Everyone knows that Ferid loves Sevinj and he would never take Aysel as a bride. Aysel is just a whore.”}
    დები ღლონტები :D

    • ---> says:

      > I dare assume these similarities are shared by many communities in the
      > Caucasus regardless state borders and religions

      What Neil has observed is not unique to Georgian society – it is property of Caucasus region. The situation is not as dare (from the Western standpoint) as in Muslim countries in Asia and Middle East, but from the historical prospective Georgian society gender roles might be loosely compared to British Victorian Era.

  78. pasumonok says:

    god, i tried to read all of the comments, but that is beyond my abilities.
    what can i say? this is the list of stereotypes that sometimes they do explain different sex attitudes:
    1. depends on the location (city vs. regions)
    2. depends on the ubani in the city (the proverbial Vake vs. Varketili)
    3. depends on the age (the younger generation now is less inhibited than when I was a teenager)
    4. depends on the circle of friends
    5. depends on educational background (artistic people in general, and especially students of theatric and artistic academy are usually considered more open)
    6. depends on a family (a girl without a father is less controlled than a girl with a father than a girl with a father and an older brother).
    7. depends on whether youngsters have studied abroad
    8. depends on a couple
    I do want to add: kidnapping is less common, you can be seen with a man without getting labeled as a fiancée or a slut, kids make out on the street all the time, younger men cheat on their wives less than older, used-to-fuck-russians-coz-they-are-all-sluts kind of older men.
    having said that,
    georgian men who claim there is no harassment just don’t know what is going on. I’ve told many of them my stories and left them in shock. just to be clear, i am a georgian girl. so, here are some facts from my life:
    1. since i was 14, strange man on the streets have said, yelled and whispered things to me. for example: ” it is time u taste a sausage”, “dzudzuebi!” “let me give u a ride–no thank u—i just want to give u a ride wherever ur going, don’t think anything bad–no, thanx, my marshrutka is here–no, let me give u a ride”. “u have nice: legs, eyes, butt, etc”. Sick man has touched my butt while i was walking on Rustaveli avenue (!) when i yelled, he ran away.
    2. very often, when i’m on a bus some pervert tries to squeeze closer to me; I have felt perverts’ erections next to my legs many times. this is why i don’t get on a crowded bus anymore.
    3. just the other week i was in a padiezdi and some sick person showed me his dick. there are people masturbating in public all over tbilisi.
    4. my very traditional georgian friend has been exposed to male genitalia several times and was so shocked to tears. one time someone pocked her on the bus, one time there was a man sitting next to her in a marshrutka (poor girl thought he had a puppy or a bird and was petting his puppy until he stood up to get off and she realized there was no puppy) and the third time someone on marshrutka tried to rub her legs. it was very shocking to her because she is very traditional, conservative, church-going girl, who married her first boyfriend.
    I don’t believe that georgia is as conservative as it was even 5 years ago, i have female friends that have sex, i have female friends that don’t have sex, i have male friends that expect to have sex with their girls, i have male friends that don’t expect to have sex with their girls. it is hard to say what’s going on here. but i am much more clear on the subject of harassment–girls are ashamed and shocked and don’t talk about this things, but honestly, i just took a minute to think about my girl friends, and there is not one, not one! that hasn’t complained about this issue to me.
    p.s. as a fellow blogger, i’d like to tell u not to react to reader’s comments so emotionally. we georgians don’t take criticism easily, especially if it is from a foreigner. u can write whatever u want and they can comment whatever they want. don’t take it so close to ur heart. as a writer, u have to be ready 4 negative comments. and it is a bit upsetting when we are portrayed that way, maybe becoz truth hurts.

    • Ilyk Eyaj says:

      @ Pasumonok:

      I read your posted reply to this blog. All of those things that have happened to you are bad and I recommend you start taking a self-defense class and carry pepper spray and blunt weapons if need be. You have the right to defend yourself and no one has the right to do the things that you have mentioned in your post.
      I am American and I have beaten up 3 Georgian men since I have been here and I arrived on September 1st. I have no qualms about punching someone in the face or kicking them in the testicles if they will not be respectful and treat me like a woman. I have done the same thing to perverted men in the United States, so I will do the same thing to men in Georgia. If a man acts like a wild dog, he will be treated like a wild dog. Why? Because he has made the decision to stop being a human being. Animals should be treated like animals. I treat a man the way he treats me.

      • pasumonok says:

        thanx 4 ur compassion. usually yelling at them is enough–they don’t expect u 2 stand up 4 urself. please don’t feel bad 4 me: i am 25 and much more confident now. i don’t even need to hit anyone, just start loud talking–these men are very cowardly. but most of the stuff i wrote happened when i was a teenager. now imagine a georgian, never-been-kissed virgin teenager walking down the street and being exposed to perverts!
        and about animals…these men are not animals. animals, in general, deserve our love and respect. animals never attack u 4 no reason. these men are just sick.
        what makes me mad is that some man have an audacity to comment here and deny these facts!

  79. Mastroiani says:

    Usually when you encounter a foreign culture your impressions are at their peak and they are most vivid. But they are not balanced, because you’re not able to take into consideration many minutae details that can result in “an intelligent reading” of a culture. “Intelligent reading” requires knowing many things intuitively, things that are not readily seen on the surface. Tourists are usually the kind of observer’s that only see things that exist on the surface.

    I think it’s better to take a breath, relax and just observe for at least 6 months. Then you’d be slightly better qualified to voice your opinion.

    When you come to the United States and see a lot of fat people, do you assume that most Americans are fat or most of the Midwest lives in trailers? If you go to Egypt and see a lot of camels do you assume that most of them keep one as a pet? Do you assume that most of French have mustache? Do you assume that all Georgians propose and want to marry?

    Of course, you didn’t literally write that most of the Georgians behave in a certain way, you are way too smart to have written that. But you did definitely imply that. The tone of your article reeks of condescension and superiority. No wonder, I usually say I’m Canadian whenever I travel. If I say, I’m an American, people usually assume I must be dumb, arrogant, fat and un-cultured precisely of “impressions” like the one you had shared. When they see I’m none of the above they have their mouths agape.

    • panoptical says:

      I get your point, but I have to disagree.

      See, most Americans *are* fat. Or, at least, something like 70% of American adults are overweight or obese (source), but “fat” is a subjective term.

      And most Georgians believe that women should be virgins when they marry. Like weight problems in America, that’s a statistical reality. In 2009 there was a survey in which 77% of respondents believed that it was unacceptable for a woman to have sex before marriage (source). So no, I can’t say that most Georgians behave in a certain way, but you can’t just assume that the statements and implications that I made in this post are wrong, without doing any research to back up your assumption, because as it turns out, I’m actually *not* just talking out of my ass.

      Some of my Canadian friends really resent when Americans claim to be Canadian. They say it’s ruining the reputation of actual Canadians abroad. Something to think about.

  80. GeorgianFor Sex says:

    Excellent post! I am Georgian and I can agree almost on everything in it. Especially when it comes to Georgian women. But some of you still have a chance to change Neal’s and my minds by accepting having a group sex with us within these coming days and save our country’s dignity! Neal, you pay for drinks! Let’s be it my place. And also… how about oral or anal sex? Are you brave enough for it? This is a real test for you!;)

  81. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Georgia: Reflections on Teach and Learn

  82. Mac'Andrews says:

    Pretty much true.
    Big like for the article.
    @Georgian people not agreeing – Accept some critics, please.
    The guy likes it hear and obviously you need to make a research to find out certain things. It’s way more then a scratch on the surface.

  83. Tama13 says:

    Although I find many things said in the article close to reality, I still notice the dryness in the article due to lack of insight into the overall Georgian culture. Many issues that Georgian society faces might sound pretty ridiculous when discussed outside of the ‘Georgian context’. However, if one dedicated himself to studying all other factors intertwined with the issue instead of just looking solely into that subject matter, he would have much better understanding and slightly more respect towards the issue. Georgian culture is more than 20 centuries old, and issues such as relationship between men and women are far more complex- involving religious and political factors- than discussed in the article. But again, good job gathering information and pulling it all together.

  84. (yawn) same old, same old…
    Neil, how are you holding up? :) Don’t give up just yet :D

    P.S. Everything what could have been said about this matter was already said :) So No (more) Comments, from me at least :D

    P.P.S. Neil, write something about that Tom Fletcher guy, I am really interested in your opinion.

    • panoptical says:

      I’m good!

      I don’t know who Tom Fletcher is…

      • He is a teacher from UK, teaching in Zugdidi, Samegrelo, west Georgia . he added his pupils on facebook where he supposedly had some “erotic” pictures of himself. Apparently some pupils showed it top their parents and then press and opposition found out and now they are using this example to prove the government wrong for bringing you guys here, they are demanding your background informations, poofs that you are really professionals and not pedophiles and etc etc. It’s a big scandal.
        Heartbreaking story, really :) And pathetic hilarious and hilarious .. and i don’t know what not.

        • I just read about that! The TLG critics were saying the “erotic” pictures proved he was gay, so he should be kicked out of the country. But some gov’t official said it didn’t prove he was gay, so he can stay.

  85. Marie says:

    Absolutely true.^^ It was rather fascinating to read all of that from foreigners perspective, though I must say that younger generation isn’t as close-minded and “traditional” as people above 30. Those of us living in Tbilisi, at least.

    The unfortunate thing is that usually people here go to extremes, either they are all prim and proper or flaunt their ‘openness’ in a manner that is a bit..irritating to say the least.

    I’ll give you one advice. I’m guessing that you would have picked it up by now already or will one of these days..to avoid ‘persistent Georgian man’ it’s necessary to claim that you’re very religious, go to church at least once a week and have your own priest. I know it’s strange but for some unfathomable reason, most ‘traditional’ Georgians immediately respect women who are religious (as well as see irreligious ones as sex-material).

    Anyway, good luck to all of you. At least when you’re back to your home country, you’ll have a great essay material in case you’re asked about ‘the experience that taught you much or baffled you etc.’ xDD

    P.S. Oh and..yeah, you should be orthodox christian if you claim to be devoted believer, ‘cos hey, everyone who isn’t orthodox here is a spawn of satan.

  86. nata says:

    Dear Mr. X,

    your cynicism is not funny at all and what you write in this “article” is very far from reality.
    i don’t know where in Georgia you live and what kind of people you meet and have relations with, because for me as a usual Georgian who lives here your “inventions” are very strange.
    what you are talking about is very old fashioned and in most cases exaggerated things, that don’t happen in reality. but if you are very fascinated writing some “mystic” stories about “bed” men and “crazy” women that’s your fantasy, but please do not say that this is a truth , because you don’t know anything about our private life and please do not humiliate people and the whole nation.

    • panoptical says:

      It’s not Mr. X, it’s Mr. Z. And I really don’t know what you mean, because actually my cynicism is totally hilarious!

    • geoskeptic says:

      Dear Natia,

      of course everything he writes is a pack of lies!
      life is perfect in Georgia. there are absolutely no gender relation problems. no poverty, no crime, no “bed” men (wonder who/what they are), no sexually frustrated masses and discriminated and outcast minorities.
      life is just perfect in Georgia (according to our Great Leader Kim Jong-il, as he can’t be wrong) and this mr X is obviously an agent sent by CIA with a mission to discredit our glorious and proud nation of Kazakh.. erm.. Georgia! thanks for speaking out against this farce! : D

      Yakshemash!

      • Razha says:

        There is a great bit of truth in this article, really many things are spot-on, but ….

        1. People here quite often get defensive – because they feel that your comments transcend reasonable and reasoned criticism and sometimes enter the spiteful “white guy/girl in peril among the savages” territory. Don’t get me wrong – part of the things you wrote is absolutely true and another part is considered to be true.

        But you know, I’ve travelled a lot around US and Europe – and had many troubles there – indeed things happened to me there – that have never happened in Georgia – but I am not writing blogs about how bad this stupid westerners are. And you’d be surprised how many perverts and criminals one meets in “western” countries.

        Not that this justifies the bad things happening in Georgia – but it is definitely not unique in this case (and this is what most Georgians know and would like to hear from the objective person). A Georgian student was murdered in Paris last year –oh my god – France is a terrible place is not it? And don’t’ forget foreigners are always the most vulnerable in every country.

        2. If there is on thing you should know about Georgian culture – is that what is said is not necessarily what is meant . To put it simple, just like most of Georgian gays sit at the Supras, drink toasts for ancestors, friendship, homeland, etc and do their thing in secrecy, the same goes for the heterosexuals – if a guy or a girl is talking hours about virginity and traditional values, this does not necessarily mean that he/she really lives like that – it is just customary to talk like that.

        I have a friend – a girl from Tbilisi who had a very liberated sex life since age of 15 – now she is happily married (for the 2nd time already), goes to church from time to time, and can talk a lot about traditional values, I mean she can talk ages and sound extremely serious about that, but those who are smart can read between the lines, those who are not (including many Georgians) – take it all too seriously.

        Everything I said above is true for the villages too – only of course the smaller and the more isolated is the community – more complicated things may get. And less willing people are to discuss their real sex life and more they talk about the traditions.

        3. Another important point –many foreigners prefer not to acknowledge this, but Georgian society is very snobbish. Even though many foreigners here have extremely exaggerated notion of self-importance and prefer to imagine that they are superior to Georgians that surround them (I’ve been working with foreigners for years and I know what I am talking about) – the truth is that it is Georgian who often considers foreigner as an inferior. The attitude “if it were not for the crisis, if it were not for the war, of it were not for the collapse of USSR – I would not let a trash like you to come into my house” is very, very common. We could be very polite, hospitable and flattering, but just because “you” are a foreigner that does not mean that you are considered to be equal (unless you can prove it by your intellectual, cultural, financial or other capabilities). So generally most foreigners end up surrounded by a layer of trashy, poor, desperate local vampires that treat the foreigners as a source – a source of money, a source of promotion, a ticket to western country and a chance to get laid or even married !!!

        So now put yourself in the position of this poor desperate girl and her family that perceive you as a ticket to USA/Europe – of course the best way is to make you put a ring on her finger – and the best way to force you to do so is to claim the tradition, to bring the patron, cousins, uncles, etc… That is the price you pay for not being selective )) There are manyyyyyyyyyy sexually liberated, smart and independent girls in Georgia – the only thing is that they would never bother to have sex with a foreigner just because he is a foreigner – and if many foreigners here fail to make impression on “good girls” – don’t be surprised that you end up with trashy ones – and by trashy I mean not only “Desperate Natasha” types – that hang around Perovskaya and Shardeni but also “traditional virginal brides”.

        • panoptical says:

          Regarding your first item, I think that what you are missing here is that I have never said anything remotely like “Georgia is a terrible place” or even implied it. People may feel like my comments “transcend reasonable and reasoned criticism” but those feelings are completely baseless, which means that it’s not my responsibility to validate them.

          You aren’t the first person to suggest or imply that I ought not say anything bad or critical at all about Georgia or Georgians or anything that happens here at all. I cannot even begin to understand where that attitude comes from (someone told me that it comes from Persian culture, which makes no sense to me at all, but whatever) but I do not share it and will not abide by it. If you don’t feel the need to share your bad experiences of the Western world on the internet, that is your personal choice, but don’t hold yourself up as some kind of morally superior martyr for making that choice. Some people prefer to suffer in silence, while others prefer to draw attention to problems in the hopes of making them better. I am in the latter category.

        • Razha says:

          That’s a pity that you take criticism so badly
          As I mentioned in my post at least half of what you say is true, and another half is true as well if you ask some….

          I never said that you said that Georgia is a terrible place – but your criticism is sometimes quite opinionated and if there are people who feel that your comments “transcend reasonable and reasoned criticism” might have a reason for that. By going overboard with criticism you might harm the liberal case in Georgia instead of reinforcing it. As to Persian culture… try to say bad things about Sweden to Swedes or about Spain to Spaniards – you will see “Persian” culture.

          Instead of Iran I would suggest you to try Russian link – For 200 years Russians have been telling us that we are black , black-assed savages with no culture, no manners, who can tend to goats in the mountains and sell roses at the market – which is pretty insulting, don’t you think so?

          It is not your criticisms of nagative things that is upsetting – to me most of it is quite justified in fact! but the generalisation and the way it makes us look more bigoted than we are or unique in this bigotry.

          Stupid sexually frivolous blond stereotype exists even in US – so why get surprised that some man in Georgia have the same attitude?

          Or if a pretty and nicely dressed Georgian Girl will take a walk somewhere in Helrem, Queens or in some Atlanta neighbourhoods – she should be thankful to stay alive……..

          From your statements one might conclude that ALL Georgian men dream of raping-seducing -harassing poor women, particularly of western origin – that is Politically incorrect, opinionated, and biased opinion.

          Especially given the fact that next to fully reasonable, and realistic things you mention things that are not representative of the country at all and at best are completely misinterpreted– just like Patroni notion:

          You said that without patroni – “upatrono” is insulting for women – well my dear it is considered insulting to everyone regardless gender, as it refers to someone taking care of someone else – men, women, children , elderly, dogs and houses. when you put this notion out of context, or let’s say give only female related definition of it – it seems as a antifeminist notion, whilst to me for instance Patroni – apart from its direct meaning of owner or caretaker means the same as “angel” means in Italian slang – high ranking official and/or mafioso who takes care of you, settles your problems and helps with promotion. And even in that context – the exact term is really rarely used. Its like writing a novel about contemporary youth using the slang and expressions from 1920-ies- it makes the entire text look superficial and not well researched – thus undermining even the part that is true and fair.

          And yes, I do feel morally superior sometimes – “Do not judge, and you will not be judged”(Luke 6:37) plus, it is a bit awkward in my culture to go to somebody’s home and tell the host lady that her nose is too big – at least there are ways to put it in milder way and combine it with praising of her beautiful eyes and cherry lips, otherwise you risk should not be surprised that your hostess might feel an urge to pour the whole pot of hot Lobio on you head.

  87. {{{Levan}}} says:

    @ panoptical
    most of the parts in your post are either exaggeration or untrue, I usually don’t take such topics seriously. You were misinformed, so what? I don’t really care. Only thing I find disturbing is that you are saying females from foreign countries are being harassed by Georgian men and they need escorts to be protected. I never heard of such thing, but I also have no reason to think that you are making this up. I think someone has to explain to these guys that such behavior is not normal, its not civilized and they are insulting not only guests, but also their hosts. if that is not enough and they keep harassing people, you can always call the police.

  88. Salome says:

    After the post and 308 (!) comments, I don’t know what added-value will my comment have, but I just want to briefly : ) express my opinion.

    To my fellow Georgians:

    I think we should understand that to whatever we say and state there can be found many exceptions. Of course not everyone in Georgia is like ppl mentioned in the post, but the author had to generalize, had to focus on the average situation. If we take this into account, it makes the post mostly true and interesting. There are lots of sexually free ppl in Georgia and also, unfortunately, there are cases when one’s own family terrorizes you for a free sexual behavior which may lead to really tragic consequences. There are lots of cases that are less dramatic (or not at all dramatic) than the situation described in the post, and, unfortunately, there are some cases that are even more dramatic. So, the author tries to give a balanced opinion on the average situation in Georgia.

    The next thing, we should not ask the author, is to praise good things that he has seen and experienced in Georgia, cuz this very post is about “Sex in Georgia”, not about Georgian songs, or dances, or food or nature. Also, we should not ask him to give the comparative analysis of the situation in Georgia and countries all around the world, cuz now he is writing about Georgia. This is a description of the situation in Georgia, from the perspective of a USA citizen. If someone from Egypt (for ex.) was writing about “Sex in Georgia” I am sure focus and conclusions would be totally different.

    Third, we should not deprive anyone (local or foreigner) the right to express his/her opinion (positive or negative). Nothing in this world can be thought to be isolated. There is interaction, and as soon as there is interaction, it becomes his business too. On the contrary, we should be glad that we can see how is our country viewed by others, and what problems, others think, we face. It’s like a free of charge analysis, which is great.

    Fourth, I understand that it is very hard to see beyond your own experience (and this comment also applies to the author). No matter how intelligent or smart we are, we usually judge based on our experience. And no matter how rich our experience is, it cannot be universal. But of course, more we know, gives us more right to generalize. Having read all 308 comments, I found out that those, who have experienced the same problems, mostly tend to agree with the author and those who have not, tend to disagree. That’s perfectly normal. Cuz it is the common experience that we share or not. So, we should bear in mind, that Mr. Zupancic talks based on his and his colleagues experience, you try to tell him, that it’s not true?! The other question is whether (or how much) he should generalize his experience. So, now we come to the post.

    To Mr. Zupancic:

    Thank you very much for the interest you take in Georgia, for the analysis you give and the opinion you share.

    Of course its interesting and fun to read, especially that you write well, with good humor (with irony, if you wish) and with the overall positive attitude to Georgia.
    What is interesting about your post, is that it actually goes beyond describing YOUR EXPERIENCE, and claims to be depicting the actual picture of “Sex in Georgia”. You have divided your post in two parts: what you were told by TLG, and what you SAW. While, admitting that what TLG has told could have been an exaggeration, you assert that what you SAW (your OBSERVATION) is the actual picture. In this light, we could explain why some Georgians got irritated, especially those, whose idea, or experience of “Sex in Georgia” topic is different from yours.

    The second point is that, it’s hard to tell who was your target audience. Your fellow teachers, or Georgians. It is important, cuz in first case, the problem is your group oriented, and in the second case it’s Georgia-oriented. I think, actually, you mingle problems you guys are facing in Georgia and the general, overall socio-cultural problems Georgian society faces in terms of sexual life. Of course, those two are inter-related, cuz you are in Georgia and deal with Georgians, but still I think they should be separated to give a better picture. I will try to explain why: if there is a problem of family-driven or society driven constraints on person’s personal (including sexual) life in Georgia taking often severe forms (like forced marriages, bride napping, labeling someone as a prostitute, sexual harassment, etc.) it is dramatic, but it loses its dramatism as soon as you put in the context, that you or your friends cannot find easily sexual partners in Georgia, cuz that’s really hard to believe, no matter we are talking about cities or rural areas. It actually depends on what your needs and expectations are, if you just want sex, that’s so easy to have it (all around the world I guess, even in Iran, not to mention about Georgia), if you want the whole package, of a beautiful, well-educated, sexy, not shoddy partner, who wants sex whenever you like, and stays on the very same level of your understanding of the relationship (not wanting more (ex. marriage), nor less (ex. less sex, or less diverse sex), it’s so hard to find that all around the world. So, I think this explains the fact that some Georgians disagreed and did not understand really what your concerns were.

    Now, I would love to comment on some stuff from your post. Quoting you, so that you don’t say: I did not say that : )

    “I am well aware – as is clear from this entry – that not every Georgian marches in lock step, that TLG exaggerated some things, that there is a generation gap, that cities are different than villages, and that you personally probably have numerous anecdotes that run counter to the generalizations presented here.”

    Actually, living in Georgia, you have the theoretical chance of seeing another side of the picture, that in reality things are not so drastic, but focusing more on the dramatic side of the sexual life in Georgia, person who has never visited Georgia, will have the stereotyped view of it. That’s another thing, which I guess, most of the Georgians did not like.

    “The purpose of presenting two different accounts of Georgian culture in this entry is to draw a contrast between what TLG told us to expect and what I am experiencing myself as a resident of Tbilisi.”

    Actually your post does not really show the CONTRAST. In most cases, your OBSERVATIONS and OPINIONS you heard from the local residents you have been talked to, as well as EXPERIENCE of your fellow lady teachers, kinda prove right what you were told by TLG staff, only adding that: there is sex going on, but in a super down-low hush-hush sort of way. Big News! I bet sex is going on in every society, even the most conservative and fundamentalist ones. Moreover, I guess what TLG told ya was more socio-cultural specifics based, more “to be on the safe side” kind of thing, which is justified, and your own observations, most of the time, are too generalized and too bold. (see ex. below)

    As far as you separate TLG information from your information, I will do the same:
    On TLG part – actually, what they have told you is not at all far from reality, especially as their purpose was to be on the safe side:

    mostly true – men are expected to be sexually experienced when they get married and women are expected to be virgins; to the mind of the Georgian man, Western women seem like a reasonable set of candidates; the expectation is that the man will either “do the right thing” or stop fooling around and move on

    mostly wrong – It is considered strange for men and women to be friends; If a man and a woman are seen alone together in public it is presumed that they are on the road to marriage; Apparently, Georgian men do not understand the concept of a single woman who is not interested in marrying the first random stranger to approach her, and can become insistent and/or dangerous if not rejected properly – and properly generally means adamantly, unequivocally, and in a group of friends who will back up the refusal. Western women were warned not to travel alone. According to the Georgians, “bridenapping” is no longer practiced, but better safe than sorry; do not have sex with any Georgian woman who you do not plan to marry.

    Let’s talk a little bit about these issues. Generally speaking, society at large thinks that sexual life of the man may be more diverse than that of the woman, I assume it has mostly to deal with the long history of patriarchy (not only in Georgia), were man set the rules, made choices, had freedom of action. We are little by little recovering from this and moving towards the more balanced approach. It takes time. It took time anywhere else, including USA.

    As for the expectation that the man will “do the right thing”, unfortunately it has its own severe economic and social reasons. It is like a self-defense mechanism from women or from their families. Unfortunately, on average, women get more emotional and take break-offs more seriously than man do. I say on average. Also, there are more women single-parent families than man single parent families. So, “getting married” by many girls is viewed like a certain guarantee of their relationship. More economically independent women become, the more socially acceptable sexually active life of women becomes, the severity of the problem will diminish.

    On friendship between different genders. That’s mostly untrue. Actually, that’s one really positive thing in Georgia, that there is very good friendship between different genders (no matter with other ppl around, in public or in private). Actually, mostly, there are no friendships with benefits. If ppl are friends, they are friends, which I think is very good. If there is sex between friends (even occasional), I think it is not friendship any more (not only friendship I mean).

    As for the Georgian man viewing western women as potential sexual partners. I think it is not insulting at all, and is even justified, because before knowing someone in person, we judge about him/her based on the stereotypes we have about his/her country. Some girl from Iran may be very rude and sexually active, but if she comes to Georgia, walking around in chador, no Georgian man will think of her as a sexual partner, cuz she comes from Iran, and stereotypes (btw wrong) tell us, that the society is conservative there. The way of life in the west (which you yourself describe as such) is sexually much free. That’s what the Georgian men base their assumptions on. Besides, it is very important to give details about the problems TLG ladies have faced in regard with Georgian man. Sexual harassment is a serious accusation and it has its own characteristics. If there is sexual harassment, they should go to police (your post here won’t do any good), and if there is just culturally specific way of expressing themselves, than it should not be taken as insult. For example, when I was in Egypt, men approached me in the street, asking me to marry them. So what? I did not feel insulted at all. I had a perfect understanding, that they found me interesting cuz I was from different culture, which they thought was much free then theirs, and they thought they could have sex with me with no consequences. What’s the problem here? I should be insulted cuz these men were not intelligent enough or willing enough to know ME, to understand my character, to care about what kind of girl I was, know me really well? And judged me based on some stereotypes? Come on… I just smiled politely and said no, thank you. And all of them understood it. And I thought it was a cultural experience. Very interesting one. Asking someone to marry you, cannot be an insult, generally. And from my experience of dealing with foreigners, from west and east, I have learnt, that generally firm NO is NO everywhere, and NO with scent of YES, is YES everywhere, if ppl want to hear YES and NO, if they want to hear NO. Of course, the way of saying NO is country-based, it takes some time to adapt to the local way of dealing with ppl, but that’s what travelling is about. Line management is not that hard actually. It is country specific, but it’s not hard in any society. It may be challenging though. Thanks god it is challenging. If everywhere I went, there were only Georgian type of ppl, I would be sitting at home. What you said later, about NO being NO, seemed more theoretical, life (esp. sexual relationships), are not that black and white, there indeed may be the case, when the voice says no, and forehead says yes.

    As for the bride napping, as someone stated correctly, most of the times, it was based either on the mutual consent (to avoid some difficulties) or it was made based on the expectation that (the woman was assumed to have had sex even if no sex occurred, and was thus no longer marriage material, and thus was essentially forced to marry the man who had kidnapped her.) Quoting your own definition of bride napping, it is obvious, TLG ladies should not be afraid of being kidnapped, cuz they do not have the similar mind-set (to stay with the man, cuz they cannot get married not being (or assumed not to be) virgin any more. So, tell your friends not to be afraid at all. If they are kidnapped and raped, it is a crime and it is not a cultural characteristics of Georgia, on which you are writing.

    It is also important how strong, or how sever social constraints are. If someone does something “wrong” will the society gossip or will the society stone? Huge difference. Of course, if something is assumed to be “wrong” it puts pressure on you, but pressure differs, and the right of choice you have also differs. In Georgia, you pay price for doing something “wrong” but the price, most of the time, is not something you cannot deal with.

    Now, let’s have a look at your observations. Whenever I am travelling to a foreign country, the safety precautions are always exaggerated. One of the most interesting things when travelling is actually checking the perceptions you have had about the country.

    “Although no Georgian I have met will admit to actually having extramarital sex, I am told that 70% of Georgian men cheat on their wives, and to many this is considered normal.”

    You have not said that, but you seem to say it in negative context. As if, extramarital sex is something not fully acceptable. I had this sense from the actual post and the comments, you later posted. This is very interesting. Later, for example, the other American guy, great connoisseur of Georgia (no irony, was really impressed) said: But cheating here seems to be much more culturally accepted than back in the State. So? To me, as a liberal person generally, it sounds like double-standards, or, to put it more correctly, like limited, or better say, USA-tailored standards. Whatever you think is freedom is freedom (not more or less than that). What really matters here, is not having sex, it is freedom of action (which in this context, is about having free sex). So, for you not having sex before marriage is something unnatural (cuz it is a social constraint on the freedom of person); and what is not having extramarital sex? Is not it the same? Same social (or family, or spouse constraint on freedom of your action), or do you claim that after marriage men don’t want to have sex with any other woman than their wives? Hard to believe. So, what I actually get from this discourse, is that, you think that people should be free to do whatever they like, disregarding the opinion of his/her neighbor, or family member (even mom and dad) cuz it is interfering in once personal life. Perfectly true. But, it seems this freedom stops existing as soon as someone gets married. Why does a wife or a husband has the right to constrain someone’s personal freedom? Cuz it is more accepted in the USA, cuz it is more common, cuz it is common practice. Neighbor, or dad/mom is replaced by a spouse and you think its normal. So, if some Georgian girl respects her family’s choice is weird, and if some American guy respects his wife’s choice, is normal? Why? Cuz your attitude to what’s right or wrong, is based on the society you have lived in and not on some ideal perception of freedom of a person. Same is true about the attitude of Georgians. Here, some guy proposed group sex to you (does not matter he joked or not) and you said it is disgusting. Why? I don’t at all say that if you don’t support extra marriage affairs or group sex, you should not be writing about free sexual life in Georgia. Of course you should. You are further than we are in respecting personal choice and freedom, which is good.

    “There were incidents. I heard of at least two cases that could have turned really ugly if not for a little bit of luck”

    What kind of accidents?

    “So, women, if you are coming here, be very careful about going out and drinking in Georgia. Go in groups, preferably with guys that you trust. Seriously.”

    This is what you say, not what TLG told ya. And this a very generalized and very bold assumption, is not it?

    “So if I were so inclined, I could easily hang out at international bars and try to pick up women without risking the wrath of someone’s patroni.”

    Your perception of “foreigners” is TOTALLY same as Georgian men’s view of TLG ladies.

    “If you are a dude, you have to come to terms with the possibility that you might not get laid for a year and try to be a human being despite such earthshakingly bad news.”

    If your purpose was scaring other dudes away from Georgia (prospect of not getting laid for a year is not inviting at all) and TLG ladies from Georgian man (who are prone to sexual harassment and bride napping is common practice), and thus increasing your chances of getting around with TLG ladies, you have hit the point : ))) (joke)
    Even when you talk to Georgians about dating, they are generally taken aback by the idea that anyone would talk publicly about any kind of romantic interactions between men and women

    Another point. No matter how impartial you try to be, you are judging the situation (people) in Georgia based on your life and experience. Back in USA, you don’t hang out with everyone around, I am sure, you probably don’t go to “birja” (this refers to saint facetious), you have your circle of acquaintances, your friends, which you have chosen from many, many ppl you have met. This is not a discrimination, this is just getting around with ppl who are more like you, your type of ppl. But when you came in Georgia, you have to deal with people whom you meet randomly, and of course, you don’t find them as your-type as ppl from your circle back in the USA. That’s the trap we should avoid when travelling to another country. People we deal in our country are chosen by us, people whom we meet in a foreign country are not. There are thousands of your-type-of people in Georgia, whom you may have chance to meet, hang around, have sex and I don’t know, whatever you like. Even in USA, I guess you are not hanging with everyone around, you are trying to choose and pick the right partner. That’s the same here, it may be harder cuz Georgia is different and it may also be harder cuz you are a foreigner.

    Ok. Just few more words on gender equality in Georgia and I’m done : ) I have never in my life, (not for a single second) experienced any kind of discrimination for being a girl. Never have felt any constraint on my private (including sexual) life or have felt any kind of sexual harassment from any Georgian man (ok, I also met one pervert in the bus, but that’s a more medical problem than social). I don’t say my case may be generalized, but there are a lot of friends around me like me, who have never faced these kind of problems. I wonder why.

    so, go figure…

    • ---> says:

      Salome,

      Interesting and informative post. Regarding interaction with TLG ladies to local men here are two accounts of such interaction:

      http://infinitedreamernicole.blogspot.com/2010/11/seqsi-gindaa-ar-minda-when-men-stop.html
      http://storyshewrote.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/soso/

      • Salome says:

        Thank you.

        Have read the posts of the TLG ladies attentively. I am very sorry for what they have had to experience. Well… what I may say is that there are two parties in the described interactions: TLG ladies and the men who have tried to interact with them in a not very pleasant and polite way. No, not all Georgian men are like that. No, majority of Georgian men are not like that.

        If our purpose is to assure the pleasant and comfortable stay of the TLG ladies in Georgia, we should not really rely on changing the mind-set of these men and developing the overall sex-life situation in Georgia during the short period of your stay in Georgia. So, what actually is left, though it may not sound very pleasant, is that the TLG ladies try their best to adjust their appearance (mainly clothing) and behavior so that it is not very catchy and provocative. If the purpose is to stay undisturbed. If the purpose is to reveal the faults of the social behavior of some horny men in Georgia, and act as a litmus test, than they may not try to adjust. Their choice. (no irony)

        I think the second story was more serious (esp. the hitting part, though it depends on what “hitting” really meant in that context) and in cases like that ladies should by all means refer to police. I even cannot imagine someone hitting me. Come on. That’s smth. much more serious than harassment.

        As for the first story, each and every of us, who goes to other country, must have the sense of the local situation. Something, which is thought to be normal in our own society, may mean something else in that society. Something, which may not imply anything else in our society, may imply something else in other. Something, which may be straightforward in our society may be symbolic in other. If we adjust, it does not mean we lose our individuality or someone constrains our freedoms. It just means that the environment has changed. We wear winter clothes in winter, right? And don’t think it is insulting, even if we want to be wearing summer clothes. Or we don’t go mountain-hiking in high heel shoes. It’s just the same. I don’t try to blame the girls at all, I just try to warn that they should not hope that the behavior of those men changes during this year.

        We, on our part, will try to do all we can to correct the faults of the sexual and socio-cultural character of the above-mentioned men.

        • ---> says:

          Salome,
          > TLG ladies try their best to adjust their appearance
          > (mainly clothing) and behavior
          Great minds think alike. ;-) I wrote the same in response to another Neil’s post (read that post if you have not done so, it is much harsher then the original post):

          http://peripateticpedagogue.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/sex-and-gender-in-georgia/#comment-199
          Great mind

          I do think that all this – TLGers blogs, their experiences and so on is really case for expression ‘whatever is happening, happening for good’ for both parties. Experience, like Entropy comes with only plus sign – it adds something new.

        • Salome says:

          Have read Neal’s post. Nothing new. Just seems he’s getting more and more angry, which is very sad, of course.

          Have read your comment. Well done. Was impressive, and to my mind, true.

          Thanks.

        • ---> says:

          Thanks for a complement. As for Neil, I think he already got used to the situation and discovering a lot of positive sides in it – in one of his comments he mentioned that he plans to extend his contract to another year.

          From the blogs I read I think TLGers (most of them) started to discover interesting aspects of life they’ve being missing, not being exposed or wanted to accomplish back in their home countries: one lost 20lb since arrival on Georgian diet (SIC!), second really enjoys slower pace of life and ‘doing nothing’ she never had in States, third really likes how close she if with her students so they can go out on weekend trips together, forth enjoys hiking in Svaneti and stories go on.

          They key is to be flexible – it is applicable not only to Georgia, but to any other country in general.

        • Salome says:

          Good news. Thanks : )

        • ---> says:

          > I even cannot imagine someone hitting me. Come on.
          There is the subject I wanted to touch separately. This is similar to dehumization concept during warfare: once one is convinced that opposite side are not humans they can allow themselves to do really ugly things to enemy, including war crimes.

          In parallel the the above mentioned concept – there is this weird and ugly concept in some (not major) part of young, mid 20iest Georgian males that ‘prostitutes are not women’. In other words prostitutes are not entitled to the same level of treatment compare to an ordinary, non-prostitute women – one can use hit, use physical force on them just because they are prostitutes. As you know

          Now let’s take above mentioned concept and apply to the situation when this type of guy sees a Western woman who goes in a bar with guys. Hey, what kind of normal woman would go in a bar with guys? She must be a prostitute, right?

        • Salome says:

          OK. Touching this issue separately.

          Agree. Also, I think there can be two additional factors with “dehumanization” that could explain the given situation.

          First, if someone approaches a lady with a proposal to have sex with him, most probably he assumes that this lady is used to having sex (not necessarily is a prostitute) and thus, her refusal to have sex with this particular man (while have agreed to other men) may be pejorative for him, his virility and his manly self-esteem. Thus, with an act of aggression (ex. hitting) he tries to exercise his manly power, to show his clout.

          Second, refusal of the lady is taken as a defiance, and while the lady has disregarded him as a man (he thinks so), the man tries to show the lady her place, to show that he controls the situation, again, with the act of aggression.

          I think frequent acts of aggression against prostitutes (another subject, don’t want to link it with TLG ladies) are these two, plus the reason you mentioned, and also understanding that she is inferior (cuz she provides a specific service to you) and you can be aggressive towards her, cuz you cannot be aggressive to those who are superior.

          Regarding entropy, yep, it is always positive, but what we need here is, I think, negentropy, so that things become more in order. : )

          As for going to the bar with guys. I don’t think this mere fact is enough for men (even such men we are talking about) to assume that someone is willing to have sex with them. I think it takes smth. more, needs some additional variables, which I cannot name, cuz I don’t know the ladies and have not been at the crime scene : ).

    • You have an amazing command of English, might I say.

      Let me chime in where I was brought up. I say cheating is wrong because it is. The Georgian traditions are bound with the Orthodox Church, and one of the 10 Commandments is a complete ban on adultery.

      Now, take the church out of it and why not have an open marriage? I’m not against people practicing that, that’s their right, but also it should be agreed on and available to both parties. I try to live by the Christian ethic of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I understand that not everyone follows that ethic, but for those that don’t, I think they’re hypocrites and bastards, no matter their cultural relativistic reasoning. And I preserve my right to label them as such. :)

      And yes, in some ways, Americans have less sexual freedoms. Like men are expected to be faithful, and prostitution is hugely frowned upon. Though I think there is a thing as too much sexual freedom, but I also think there is a thing as too little. And there’s a balance. But really, as long as it’s fair for both men and women, I can’t argue against the lifestyle.

      • Salome says:

        Thanks.

        I personally tend to agree with everything you said. I brought up an issue of “cheating” only to state that common practice, traditions, habits and customs are often more important, in practice, than the universal values (like freedom). Or, to say better, often these universal values fit to the existing common practice.

        Actually, Orthodox Church is not only about 10 Commandments, and it indeed is against pre-marital sex as well, but over the time, we have adjusted/adapted principles of the Church to our own comfort. Of course, you are free to choose how much “religious” you want to be. Someone may choose to follow only 5 Commandments out of 10. : )

        : ) i really agree with what you’ve said. Moreover, what makes pre-marital sex different from the extra-marital sex, also, is that your sexual life is not a business of your neighbors, your family, or the society at large, but it is a business of your spouse, cuz you agree to have this sphere in common and manage it together : )

        • I only brought up the 10 Commandments as it was relevant to adultery and to the Church, and I only brought up the Church in that you brought up a society’s standards, practices, etc. Adultery being a practice doesn’t qualify it as a good thing, especially when the standard of that society (ie Georgian tradition, the Georgian Church) deem it as a bad thing. Just explaining why I used that approach.

          And excellent point regarding pre-marital sex. I quite agree there too.

        • Salome says:

          You are an American? What do you think of Bukowski? Of Kerouac? Of Poe? Of Philip K Dick? Do you like indy music? Do you think how it’s funny that Georgians all love Pink Floyd?

        • Ah, hitting on me now, eh? :P

        • Salome says:

          I just tried to give an example of “right”, culture-based questions : )

          hitting on you? oh my, I hope you won’t hold me responsible for sexual harassment now and add me to the huge army of aggressive Georgian men. : )))

    • panoptical says:

      I think that our disagreements or misunderstandings come from our differences in perspective. I look at these issues with a feminist lens and a background in gender studies, whereas you seem – to put it bluntly – completely blind to instances of gender-based discrimination. I don’t think that you are anti-feminist, just that you honestly don’t see things in terms of gender difference.

      I’ll give you an example. I wrote about the issue of Georgian men cheating on their wives. You responded that I was applying a double-standard – that I was for personal freedom in other areas but against it in this particular case. That is not what I was saying at all. In fact, the only problem that I have with the fact that cheating is socially acceptable for Georgian men is that cheating is not socially acceptable for Georgian women. In other words, it is Georgian society that is imparting a double-standard – in this, and in many other cases – one for men, and one for women.

      And here’s another example:
      “So if I were so inclined, I could easily hang out at international bars and try to pick up women without risking the wrath of someone’s patroni.”

      Your perception of “foreigners” is TOTALLY same as Georgian men’s view of TLG ladies.

      Again, here you’re totally missing the point. The problem is not that Georgian men view foreign women as the only available sexual outlet. The problem is that Georgian men view foreign women only as a sexual outlet. I would never approach a complete stranger in a bar or club or taxi or on the street and propose sex or marriage or just go straight to groping, which is what Georgian men do to TLG women whenever they are so bold as to show up in a public place.

      Many Georgians have, in these comments, tried to justify the behavior of Georgian males on the basis that they are culturally used to making certain assumptions about non-Georgian women because of Russia or the US media or Hollywood or whatever. What you all seem to be missing is the fact that the woman herself also has a say in the matter – because women are human beings and human beings have personal preferences – and that even women who are highly sexually liberated and sexually active aren’t just going to fuck the first guy that comes along and asks.

      One more example, for right now:
      I have never in my life, (not for a single second) experienced any kind of discrimination for being a girl.

      You have been discriminated against your whole life for being female. Start with the clothes your parents bought you as a kid. The interests you were encouraged to pursue. The standards by which your behavior was judged. The way strangers respond to you. The expectations that your family has of you. The fact that you have to cover your head to go into church. Things you might not even notice because you consider them normal or harmless.

      And finally, I can look at your comments and find instances of you perpetuating the gender-based discrimination that you think you have never experienced. The most glaring was your implication that it is “rude” for a woman to be sexually active, but there’s also what you said in another comment about the fact that women should cover themselves up to avoid attracting attention from men here in Georgia. Maybe it’s true that women who are more conservatively dressed are safer here – or maybe it isn’t – but you don’t find it even a little bit discriminatory that women have to dress a certain way in order to feel safe in Georgia?

  89. Tamunaki says:

    Hi guys,

    Info for your consideration-
    This Saturday my friend was kidnapped (I mean the way Georgian men do when they are unable to make a girl marry them) and this happened in Tbilisi. The guy is 30 years old, educated etc

    Honestly, I am still having a shock, I sincerely thought that this stupid habit became a history, but apparently not…

  90. Salome says:

    I am not sure I will be able to soothe your spirit of contradiction, but at least I will try
    to explain my point of view.

    Let me just note, that now you have just done the same in which you blamed Georgians: You have argued some stuff, which I have not said, nor implied. (ex. below)

    “I think that our disagreements or misunderstandings come from our differences in perspective.”

    Generally disagreements and misunderstandings come from differences in perspective. Though, I think, notwithstanding our different perspectives in this very case, there is no major disagreement or misunderstanding.

    “I look at these issues with a feminist lens and a background in gender studies, whereas you seem – to put it bluntly – completely blind to instances of gender-based discrimination.”

    I don’t look at these issues with a feminist lens, cuz I (personally) am not a feminist, as I think feminism may be itself viewed as smth. discriminatory (it’s my subjective attitude) as if equal social, political, economic rights and equal opportunities were not something very natural, be it men, women, ppl of different race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual taste. To me, all this is so natural that I don’t feel the need to be a feminist. To me, behavior of impolite, narrow-minded men should not be generalized like that all men should (!) treat all women equally, cuz it’s even something more natural than (should!).

    Though, I think that of course not everyone thinks so and many not comply and many discriminate and harass, etc. and all these issues need to be addressed. No, I don’t hold Ph.D in gender studies, but does it deprive me right to express my opinion and share observations about gender issues in a country where I have spent 26 years and have dealt with thousands of people? I am not completely blind to instances of gender-based discrimination, but our perspective may differ on what is discrimination and what can be generalized and what not. Below, you prove my assumption right, that our understanding of discrimination indeed differs.

    “I don’t think that you are anti-feminist, just that you honestly don’t see things in terms of gender difference.”

    I really don’t see things in terms of gender difference. I think everobody is equal.

    “I’ll give you an example. I wrote about the issue of Georgian men cheating on their wives. You responded that I was applying a double-standard – that I was for personal freedom in other areas but against it in this particular case. That is not what I was saying at all. In fact, the only problem that I have with the fact that cheating is socially acceptable for Georgian men is that cheating is not socially acceptable for Georgian women. In other words, it is Georgian society that is imparting a double-standard – in this, and in many other cases – one for men, and one for women.”

    Absolutely true. I know why you brought up this subject and I know what was the context of saying this in your post. I did not contradict your original idea, did I? I did not say, that adultery from women’s side is equally acceptable in Georgia as from the men’s side. Of course it is not. Is it a discrimination? It is. And in my first post I also tried to explain some reasons of this discrimination. In my post, I used another side of your argument (that “cheating” is a negative concept generally) and I used it in totally different context not distorting your idea at all.

    “Again, here you’re totally missing the point. The problem is not that Georgian men view foreign women as the only available sexual outlet. The problem is that Georgian men view foreign women only as a sexual outlet. I would never approach a complete stranger in a bar or club or taxi or on the street and propose sex or marriage or just go straight to groping, which is what Georgian men do to TLG women whenever they are so bold as to show up in a public place.”

    My point was not that Georgian man (or you) view foreign women as the only available sexual outlet, but that they (and you) view them as potential sexual outlet, “easier” to pick up then Georgians, moreover, that they have no “patroni”.

    Quote: “So if I were so inclined, I could easily hang out at international bars and try to pick up women without risking the wrath of someone’s patroni. But the people who live in the more rural areas obviously have it harder.”

    I said that explains (does not justify at all) behavior of those Georgian men.

    “Many Georgians have, in these comments, tried to justify the behavior of Georgian males on the basis that they are culturally used to making certain assumptions about non-Georgian women because of Russia or the US media or Hollywood or whatever.”

    I have not said it and I have never justified aggressive behavior of anyone.

    “What you all seem to be missing is the fact that the woman herself also has a say in the matter – because women are human beings and human beings have personal preferences – and that even women who are highly sexually liberated and sexually active aren’t just going to fuck the first guy that comes along and asks.”

    Which part of any of my comments contradicts this very, very simple idea expressed by you in a way as if you have just discovered America?

    “I have never in my life, (not for a single second) experienced any kind of discrimination for being a girl.

    You have been discriminated against your whole life for being female. Start with the clothes your parents bought you as a kid. The interests you were encouraged to pursue. The standards by which your behavior was judged. The way strangers respond to you. The expectations that your family has of you. The fact that you have to cover your head to go into church. Things you might not even notice because you consider them normal or harmless.”

    Oops…this sounds to me, as a girl, very discriminatory. Someone telling me that whole my life has been a discrimination against me. To my mind, this is impolite. Shall we argue on that? : ) Ok. There may be some things that I do not notice cuz I consider them normal or harmless, but things you have enumerated ARE normal and harmless : ))) No, I have never felt discriminated for being a female. You, as a feminist should be happy for that, and not try to inspire me that I have been discriminated whole my life. : ))) I loved clothes my parents brought for me, cuz they fitted me more then any other clothes and were more comfortable then any other clothes. Now I can wear whatever I like. The only interest I remember my family wanted me to pursue, was my grandma wanting me to play the piano. (and it is a very sad story. My grandma wanted to play the piano as a kid, but back then, in Georgia between two World Wars, her family could not afford to buy her a piano or give her music lessons, so she could never take piano lessons), and when I was born, first thing she did, she bought me the piano and asked me to play. I tried to, actually, but gave up later : )) Is this discrimination? : D I don’t think so. Is this psychological pressure? It is, but there is no interaction without any kind of psychological influence. The only standard by which my behavior was ever judged by my family or me was not to harm others. And that’s a perfectly normal standard for me. What is the way strangers respond to me? They respond very well. Actually, funny enough, the first time I am talking about my life (as a life of a girl) is with you, a feminist. hehe. I am trying to convince you I have never been discriminated. : ))) My family expects me to be happy and I am not against it at all. I don’t cover my head when I go to church. But even if I did, it would be ok, cuz covering head to me seems much easier, then dressing up for Opera or a wedding : ))), which we usually do and nobody thinks it is discriminatory. Ok, you say women cover heads and men don’t. But men are not recommended to go to church in shorts either. Ok. all these things I have noticed and did not find discriminatory, what are others that I miss?

    “The most glaring was your implication that it is “rude” for a woman to be sexually active, but there’s also what you said in another comment about the fact that women should cover themselves up to avoid attracting attention from men here in Georgia.”

    Ok. As for the usage of “rude”, I did not mean “rude” as smth. coarse or vulgar, I used it as something natural, not refined, like syn. of active. I may have used the word incorrectly, because English is not my native language. So, I must disappoint you, no, I did not mean, sexually active behavior is necessarily rude.

    I did not say that women should cover themselves up to avoid attracting attention. I said, if our purpose is to assure pleasant and safe stay of your fellow TLGers, we should try our best not to provoke those rude men. It does not justify their actions at all, it is called precaution. I also said that there are problems, and we should deal those problems, but I don’t think the ladies should wait till these problems are totally solved in the society. I hate blame-shifting on victims, so, please don’t say I tried to do that. I said we should define clearly what our aims are in short-term perspective. Repeating, if you guys wanna be a litmus-test, you can walk around in swimming-suits, it will reveal more horny Georgian men, which may be good for Georgian society, but I doubt will be good for you : ). Also, this your comment kinda contradicts your assumption that I do not see gender-related problems in Georgia. If I did not see those, there would be no need for adjusting behavior.

    “Maybe it’s true that women who are more conservatively dressed are safer here – or maybe it isn’t – but you don’t find it even a little bit discriminatory that women have to dress a certain way in order to feel safe in Georgia?”

    I find it A LITTLE BIT discriminatory that everyone has to dress (and behave) a certain way in order to feel safe all around the world. Let’s work together to make WORLD a better place : ). Starting from Georgia, is our privilege. We are lucky.

    • ---> says:

      > Below, you prove my assumption right, that our understanding of
      > discrimination indeed differs.
      That because you and Neal (sorry to him for misspelling his name more then once) most likely have different bases/foundations your draw your conclusions from. If I correctly understand him – New Your raised liberal, his fundamental bases when discussing one’s rights comes from the following:

      ————————-
      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
      ————————-

      Now if we put above quotation as a foundation for defining discrimination then it is evident what is difference between these approaches: if one does not not think that human beings are equal then there most likely will be no compromises when discussing this situation with Neal and most if his fellow countrymen: for them above definition is axiom – it does not need a proof or exclusions/amendments like ‘all men are equal except women, negros, jews, you-name-it, and so on’. For them – all men are equal, PERIOD.

      I’m a little bit hesitant to call it as a dogma, but one can’t say that he or she accepts values of Western society without agreeing to above mentioned principle. So if one does not agree with that the discussion will (again) become another case of clash of civilizations (or religions, if you’d like to call it this way).

      • Salome says:

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
        ————————-
        “Now if we put above quotation as a foundation for defining discrimination then it is evident what is difference between these approaches: if one does not not think that human beings are equal then there most likely will be no compromises when discussing this situation with Neal and most if his fellow countrymen: for them above definition is axiom”

        I am very sorry if anything I said made you think that I don’t believe in the above quotation. For me it is absolutely self-evident too, an axiom, if you wish.

        What I meant by saying that our understanding differs, is, when Neal told me:

        “You have been discriminated against your whole life for being female. Start with the clothes your parents bought you as a kid. The interests you were encouraged to pursue. The standards by which your behavior was judged. The way strangers respond to you. The expectations that your family has of you. The fact that you have to cover your head to go into church. Things you might not even notice because you consider them normal or harmless.”

        I do not think Neal’s quotation is valid, though totally believe in the quotation from the Declaration of Independence. It is just I don’t think “equality” is a narrow concept so that everyone wears same clothes and I was discriminated when mom was buying me a skirt when I was a kid.

        • ---> says:

          Hm… seems everyone agrees with the principle, it is interpretations when the whole hell will break…

          ‘I have nothing again God, it is His fan club(s) I can not stand’… (C)

  91. Tamunaki says:

    Fortunately, the girl is safe and sound now, if you don’t take into consideration the terrible emotional shock she had. Unfortunately, nobody reported to the policy, again because of the mentality and existing attitude to such cases. I shared this info to once again show that we do have issues in society and we have to start recognizing them, I don’t believe that things can be changed in a day, but at least when you face the reality and acknowledge problems, thats already a huge step forward.

    • Salome says:

      I am sorry, but facing the reality and acknowledging problems, would be reporting to police about the crime. If we support crime by doing nothing, acknowledging won’t help much. If you want to change the society around, you should start from yourself. Acknowledging the problem in this case, is separating the issue of the guy wanting to marry her and the issue of kidnapping her. Neither the girl, nor her family, nor anyone around should think it to be romantic, or something that can be forgiven. Kidnapping a person is a crime!!! It’s not sexually-driven social behaviour, it is a crime! Why should a person not want to report about a crime?

  92. Tamunaki says:

    I completely agree with your arguments, but I personally wont make that decision neither for my friend nor for anyone, no matter how much I disagree with them.
    “Why should a person not want to report about a crime?” – Well there are many reasons, first and most important is cultural and mental context we have here, then again simply not seeing this fact as a “crime”, then “being sorry” for the guy and not wanting to ruin his life by sending him in a prison, although nobody thinks that actually the guy is the one trying to ruin other persons life, then I guess feeling ashamed of spreading the info…and being worried for what people would think and how that would affect your life…. families not wanting girls to be back..and these are the real facts… unfortunately…

    • Salome says:

      Of course, I understand your point and your arguments, cuz I also live in Georgia and know perfectly well what you are talking about. But still, what does “acknowledging” and “facing the reality” mean then? Blogging? Of course it also contributes to changing the situation, but it is not enough at all. Changing the outlook of those guys who kidnap girls to marry them, starts from changing the outlook of those girls and their families. Do you know why I focus more on their part? Cuz to me, he is a criminal (if he really kidnapped her, totally by force, totally against her will) and the girl and her family, are part of the “society” at large, mind-set of which is really important to me.

      You know, if they don’t see it as a crime, and if the guy is sorry and if the girl and her family forgives him and if the sentiments of the guy are important to the girl and her family, it means it is their rational choice to forgive him. So, nothing can be done there. They just have to cope with the inconvenience he has caused them. That’s also your personal choice. In theory, responsibility of course lies on you too for not punishing (stopping) the criminal/crime, but ok, it’s your choice by the end of the day.

      You know what I don’t like? Shifting responsibilities. If someone sees the crime and does not want to report to police, cuz is afraid, or wants to stay cool, etc. I understand that. But all these people then end by whining about criminals and high rate of crime in the country. So, they assume that someone else does what they think is not a behaviour “noble” enough. huh. btw, I may be among them, so this criticism also refers to me.

      • ---> says:

        > You know what I don’t like? Shifting responsibilities
        No surprise. Because whole generations were raised with the notion that it is not a good idea to take personal responsibility and being in charge, especially for a woman.

        • Salome says:

          Let me clarify a bit. What I was talking here about was more about the responsibility of a society as a whole. And namely, in this case, about reporting to police.

          It also has many historical, cultural and psychological reasons, I guess.

          Historically, women did not feel very much responsible for the overall social order, their input in a healthy society was mainly by bringing up the children. They did not much take part in social issues around them. It was true for most of the societies all around the world, I guess. And men thought it their own business to solve problems and clarify issues without help of others. It was a matter of their dignity. And there were no solid, well-established institutions of law enforcement. Later, there were Courts, but they did not deal with each and every crime and were not thought to be reliable as they were mainly in line with the King’s (Prince’s) policy.

          The petty crimes among the peasants were mostly solved by the noble-men on whose land they lived and on whom they worked. But of course they were not a very reliable source of justice either.

          In Georgia (mainly in the mountainous regions), there were Councils of the Eldest, where the eldest and the most prominent ppl of the community discussed the problems of their community and made decisions. Historically, they were thought to be just. For example, we have a story by Aleksandre Kazbegi, called “Khevisberi Gocha”, in this story, the head of such Council kills his own, only and beloved son Onise, because this latter has made a mistake which affected the life of community. So, this was given as an example how the Council members were just. But I guess there were a lot of exceptions, cuz there was no other institution that could check and balance the Council.

          Later, during the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, Georgians (on average, of course there were exceptions) did not feel comfortable reporting on their fellow countrymen to the foreign ruling power, to their courts, etc. During the Soviet Union, the quasi-formal institution of “Thieves in Law” was introduced by the Soviet law-enforcement bodies, to control the criminal world. These were quite influential ppl and little by little, those, who did not respect the criminal “authorities” were thought to be obsolete and were discriminated against. People were afraid to report to police. Many problems were solved directly by these criminal authorities.

          Also, in times of the Soviet Union, many saw that “reporting on your neighbor/friend/relative/co-worker” if he was thought to be doing something “wrong” that could be thought as a threat to the Soviet Authorities, was more than encouraged. And it took such disgusting forms that many people were against it.

          In the Soviet Union, and also, in the first years after re-gaining independence in 90s, the police and the court were not thought to be just. They were corrupt and it also discouraged people to apply to police or to court. Now the situation is better off, but still it is not good enough.

          There are other reasons too. Georgians love to show-off generally, among them, by being kind and noble. So, for them, “punishing” someone is not thought to be something they may be proud about. Also, we are mostly careless and do not really care much, so, our logic is that, if a thief leaves our house unpunished, he may never come back to our house and we do not care if he goes to rob another house. We do not think it is our responsibility. Also, we do not want to be worried. Go to police, report…We prefer to chat about it with our friends and acquaintances over the cup of coffee.

          Plus, as far as we want to show-off, we want to be good to everyone. So, when I said about shifting responsibilities, I meant that we think that criminal should be in prison, but we do not want to be responsible for sending him to prison. We want others to do it instead of us. I understand it, but I think it is neither right, nor noble. Punishment should not exceed the seriousness of crime of course, but if there is no punishment (at all, of some kind), it is very hard to persuade someone that he has done something wrong.

        • ---> says:

          > What I was talking here about was more
          > about the responsibility of a society as a
          > whole.
          > If there is no punishment (at all, of some
          > kind), it is very hard to persuade someone
          > that he has done something wrong
          Excellent outline. And that to happen an established and functional Civic Society needs to be existed which based on individual’s free will and carried responsibilities – when everyone will have sense of belonging and understanding that belonging also means to carry responsibilities for one’s actions and not acting as it is SEP:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Someone_else%27s_problem

          What Western guests sometimes fail to notice that (so far) there is no Civic Society in Georgia for the reasons you’ve perfectly described in your post.

  93. Tamunaki says:

    and again I agree what has been said, but… do you know what my friend said after the incident? that the hardest thing to realize was that somebody was making decision for her… and what difference I , or any other person would make, doing exactly the same and against her will reporting about it? and pushing doesn’t help, believe me, neither in this case nor in any other, my life experience showed me that people and society should be ready to make changes, cause if they are not, and if you do that instead of them…results are the same… it’s like one step forward and two steps backward… and here comes the question, then what, should we all sit and wait until that happens? definitely not, we all have our different means to act, for me it’s mainly about creating a space where people can see that alternative exits, that everything should be questioned and never be taken as granted and yes, I believe blogging is and can be a very good place for that, although I’ve never done that before, moreover, this is first time I actually comment on any blog, and I think Neal and people like him who have ability to write are doing very important job. I have been following his and others blogs and it’s amazing to see how it helps to open people’s mind… As to me, I have my own ways … :) hm, I think I start liking commenting

    • ---> says:

      All your points are very valid, especially the one about making decisions on behalf of others. And I do understand that you have to have a right target audience to get your point heard. But questions comes (sorry for using market terms) – what kind of ROI is acceptable for you if one decides to engage in such kind of enterprise?

      Let me explain – it is no question that your want to eradicate this stupid habit’ (as you describe bridenapping) . But questions are:

      a) how do you define the ‘return’ – the result of your actions
      b) what kind of effort are you going personally invest in it
      c) _when_ you want to see results?

      Because answering these questions would really define one’s actions. If you want for example to stop this practice once and for forever within next couple of years your actions would be different then if you’d glad to see it gradually phasing it out in next 20 years.

      One more question to ask to yourself is the following:
      are you ready to act and cause inconvenience and pain to your friend but knowing by your inaction someone else will do the same to another woman tomorrow or day after? This is because the guy who today did it to your friend walks on streets unpunished…

  94. Salome says:

    >and what difference I , or any other person would make, doing exactly the same and >against her will reporting about it?
    I did not mean you should go and report : ) I just generally described the problem of “reporting to police” in Georgia.

    >and pushing doesn’t help, believe me, neither in this case nor in any other, my life >experience showed me that people and society should be ready to make changes, >cause if they are not, and if you do that instead of them…results are the same…it’s >like one step forward and two steps backward…
    urm…I tend to agree. Ways of pushing should not be unnatural, too harsh, too quick or unadjusted. I also think that evolution is better than revolution, I don’t like revolutions, but sometimes I feel those are necessary. Yes, it could be one step forward and two steps backward, but that step forward may turn out to be very important. You know, I also thought that Georgians (and people generally) can not be pushed and they must come themselves to some point. But, if, again, the topic of pushing and the ways of pushing is not very unnatural, it may help. I mean, the initiative may sometimes be vertical, from top. Simple example. I never thought, people who were used to stopping “Marshutkas” wherever they wanted, often at the very entrance of their apartment : ), could obey the fact, that the bus stops only at the bus stop. I thought there would be shouting, like “stop there”, “stop here”, but when the bus drivers refused firmly and several times, shouting stopped. Same goes for the patrol reform. The corruption was such a severe problem and was thought so “normal” that I really doubted it would help. But it did a lot. People are really afraid to offer bribes. See? It did not happen by changing the outlook of people that bribes are bad, it happened by making them abide the law. And when it becomes a common practice, the outlook will also change.
    >we all have our different means to act, for me it’s mainly about creating a space >where people can see that alternative exits, that everything should be questioned >and never be taken as granted and yes, I believe blogging is and can be a very good >place for that
    Agree : )

  95. Tamunaki says:

    what is ROI?

    and I am so glad that discussions here became more issue based and not defensive- aggressive-offensive :)

    when it comes to my actions, well they are diverse taking into account the target audience, cause you should communicate same message differently with different people. In general, I believe more in prevention work than in post action responses… I am not sure if i should list all my “deeds” here to prove myself :) and I don’t think that would be interesting for most of the people reading this blog…. but I am ready to go in more detailed discussion in person or in other space :)

    • ---> says:

      ROI – Return On Investment, profit vs. resources invested.

      As for discussion – feel free to invite, unfortunately I’m 12 time zones away from GE currently. Hope to be there for a month around June next year.

  96. Tamunaki says:

    … what is ROI?

    and I am so glad that discussions here became more issue based and not defensive- aggressive-offensive :)

    when it comes to my actions, well they are diverse taking into account the target audience, cause you should communicate same message differently with different people. In general, I believe more in prevention work than in post action responses… I am not sure if i should list all my “deeds” here to prove myself :) and I don’t think that would be interesting for most of the people reading this blog…. but I am ready to go in more detailed discussion in person or in other space :)

  97. Tamunaki says:

    Salome, you have a very interesting examples, and actually working examples… but I personally dont believe in vertical decision-making and the results it creates…oki, I am a person who mostly looks in long term planing and needs to have a big picture.. but still… again this is just my personal experience… the questions “how fast you can make change and what are the best means for that”.. remains still as a an open end questions for me… I’ve tried that from civil society organizations perspective for years… now I have my “pilot project” to understand may be it works better from governmental side… but it is not :) so until now I tend to believe that at least this process should be reciprocal with more emphases on grass root work…

  98. Tamunaki says:

    ups, sorry I posted smth twice… I am still a learner in posting comments :)

  99. jasonizer says:

    And I thought I saw Georgia in the darkest colors…
    It really was a little bold… and I’m happy to be able to say this. Makes me feel better that the situation is not taken to such extremes.
    Let’s just say there’s this big number of people who cling to their traditions and do not tolerate ones who don’t. But that intolerance is usually expressed in hateful looks and gossip. Bad, of course but not dangerous as it seems from the first site of this post. (And whoever’s reading this keep in mind I’m talking specifically about the sex traditions, we can discuss the rest somewhere else)
    Then there’s another group of people which is a little smaller than the traditional one, they do go against such traditions and enjoy premarital sex, however they choose to hide it because of the above mentioned group.
    And there’s the smallest group, which breaks rules and isn’t ashamed or afraid of it. But that smallest group isn’t tiny and doesn’t only exist in Tbilisi.
    Do I agree that the TLG staff exaggerated? Yes, but I see the point why they did it, you see, that big intolerant group is more intolerant with foreigner’s who according to them threaten their culture and basically are more dangerous than that small rebel group. But again, that intolerance isn’t life threatening, they’ll just be madder at you than they are at others. Why? Well those haters are mostly old grannies who sit in a subway corner watching a cuddling couple and complain with a wrinkled nose to the person sitting next to her how bad and shameful that whole thing is.
    This post might have been perfect if written 8 or more years back, luckily the situation is changing; people are learning the meaning of personal freedoms and tolerance. Pretty much everyone around me has a boyfriend/girlfriend and people (parents) are ok with it, as long as there is no sex  but sure there is and lots of it.
    P.S those guys that keep hitting on you, I can’t agree that its only because of Georgian mentality, meaning, its not just because you’re American and it doens’t happen only in Georgia. I’m Georgian but I was in no different situation than you are in States or in other countries that I’ve been.
    Guys trying to have sex with foreign girls? Thats classic, anywhere in the world.

  100. ...haha says:

    Sorry but everything is right :D

  101. Serenity says:

    Medieval way of thinking. Lack of relationship and too much of complexes is the reason, Sad but true..

  102. Yo says:

    What a bunch of fucking poindexters.

    TLG members are compromised primarily of nerds. Jesus no wonder I only hang with Georgian men and women.

    I hope the next few hundred that come in early 2011 are much more grown up about things.

    I remember I mentioned to other TLG’ers that I dated a few georgian women and some russians and they looked at me as if I violated the laws of physics. For fuck’s sake I can’t believe people believe everything they told us at the orientation.

    Sometimes I just want to whip out my dick and face slap most of my colleagues because their retardedness is on such a different level it’s mind boggling.

    Ah but what can I do?

    Everyone country has their horny bitches and their nice women. This country isn’t an exception to this general rule.

    I think your next blog post should be

    “Why American/Britsh/Canadian or any other western woman bitch so much about why there are so many beautiful Georgian women in Georgia and why they are taking western men away from them”

    Here let me answer that uh…because Georgian women don’t smell like dirt squirrels during sex or during foreplay and they have incredible bodies to but.

    I can’t wait to come back in January. I love this country.

    I just to legit to quit.

    • Hey too legit to quit!

      Even though you sound angry I found your post interesting and funny – but I disagree that anyone is taking anyone from anyone. Like you we’re all free.

      If you don’t like us American girls you’re free to choose whomever you like and so are we. To think someone is being taken away is sorta of a fallacy.

      I do understand dating people from other cultures. This has been going on since humans could walk. It helps us not inbreed, no? Which might explain why you think we stink. Haha!!

      Bygones!

  103. Anonymous says:

    As a female TLGer who has since returned to America after the Fall 2010 semester, I would like to add a personal statement about bridenapping in Georgia. Just like the author, my TLG group was told during orientation week that bridenapping does still exist in some parts of the country. However, it was described to my group in less graphic terms as a man “taking” a woman to a house out in the middle of nowhere, treating her nicely, and hoping that she decides to marry him (all while the doors are securely locked). If the girl or her family is totally against this notion of marriage, either may protest and the girl would be taken back – no harm no foul.

    While teaching in Tbilisi I started a relationship with a Georgian that is still going strong. I found myself to be very lucky to have him as a boyfriend because I could really clear up all of these ideas/threats that TLG bestowed upon us volunteers the first week. I asked him about bridenapping and gave him the same definition as the intercultural trainer provided. He was adamant in the fact that it does not exist in cities and that it only is in the villages on the outskirts of Georgia. I was satisfied with this answer for about three weeks. Until…

    I was introduced to one of my boyfriend’s male friends early in our relationship. He is tall, very handsome, and could not possibly have any difficulty getting attention from the fairer sex. One day my boyfriend and I were looking at pictures of the friend’s wife and baby on Facebook and I casually asked how the couple met. He proceeded to tell me a 10-step marriage recipe that goes a little something like this:
    1. Drive with groom and two other friends to girl’s house in Tbilisi
    2. Lie to girl and say there is a man in the car who says that she cheated on the groom with him
    3. Fluster/confuse girl to the point that she gets in the car to clear up ridiculousness
    4. Drive away with groom, friends, and girl locked inside the car
    5. Girl slowly realizes she does not have to defend herself against deceitful man
    6. Girl also realizes what is happening (i.e. bridenapping) (had she go through TLG training too?)
    7. Entire party reaches luxurious country home owned by an accompanying friend
    8. Girl and groom discuss marriage possibilities in private room (the most pressing issue being that she was sixteen at the time)
    9. Girl agrees to marriage, entire party celebrate with alcohol and shooting guns in the air
    10. The agreed-upon marriage was consummated that night

    I was confused a little by this last step. Apparently the couple left the house the next day as legitimate husband and wife. The verbal agreement and consummation were enough to join the two as one even though no legal/religious processes had occurred. I was also confused by the fact that this situation did not really seem to register in my boyfriend’s mind as a case of napping the bride. He says it doesn’t happen all the time but that it was accepted because the groom “knew the girl was going to say ‘yes’”.

    Again, this is just a personal statement that I am making on the subject of bridenapping. I am neither saying that all bridenapping cases are this way nor that I am the expert on these situations. I just want to add a warmer and more modern perspective on a topic that seems to cause a bit of disconnect between Georgians and Westerners.

  104. Pingback: The Saturday Profile: Defying Sexual Mores in Conservative Georgia | Il Neurone USA

  105. R says:

    Hey Neal– I saw pretty much the same situation when I lived in Georgia, in the regions. It got so that a lot of the foreign women took self-defence training to handle the sexual harassment (and more).

    I’m sorry people have been jumping on you for speaking about it. There’s so much that’s wonderful about Georgia too, and you obviously aren’t saying there isn’t.

    Here’s wishing you an awesome stay in Georgia :)

  106. Kai Oat says:

    It’s an awful culture with an aggressive predatory male mentality. Not limited to Georgia – it’d be similar in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Serbia or Albania. Or Afghanistan.

    Or southern Italy & Greece – I’ve seen swarms of locals traipsing after German or Swedish women, catcalling etc. Sexual harassment is normal, it’s the name of the game.

  107. Pingback: Virtual Reality « Experimenting in Happiness

  108. Sophie Metreveli - Betancourt says:

    Check this out:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/world/europe/19georgia.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1

    It’ll take some time, that’s all. There is nothing wrong to keep sex a little more intimate and something with deeper emotional bonds than just “let’s make out” after 15 minutes you met a guy in a bar. “1..2..let’s F!” is for me as extreme and stupid as not having sex when you love someone. So, as in everything, can we just avoid the extremes?

  109. Sophie Metreveli - Betancourt says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLP-8XJ19FI&feature=related

    An example of how unnatural restrictions and moral censorship fail. This is Georgia, pretty much the village teenagers, as I see and it is difficult to believe that having sex is (or will be) something tabooed for them.

  110. David says:

    I didn’t think that so many Georgians would be so in denial about their own culture. I just finished a short term stint in the Peace Corps in Georgia and I have been doing some travelling. A few days ago I went across the Black Sea into Ukraine and on the ferry I met a Georgian man who offered me a ride to Kiev, as he was also going there.

    On our way into Odessa, we stopped and picked up a girl who was hitchhiking. She was 19 years old, and my host (41 years old) almost immediately began hitting on her (he is married). He was aggressively persistent until the girl reluctantly gave him her number.

    After she got out of the girl the conversation went like this (verbatim, albeit in Russian):

    Georgian Driver: “You see? She wants sex. They all want sex.”

    Me: “really?”

    Georgian Driver: “Of course, this isn’t Georgia; they are all prostitutes here.”

    This man is from Tbilisi, he is well-off financially, he owns an internet business, and seemed quite educated.

    From my experience, this is a very typical Georgian-male attitude toward foreign/western women. It’s a sad generalization but it is, in many of our (foreigner’s/westerner’s) experience, an accurate one.

    I lived for two years in Azerbaijan and I found the cultures of the two countries very very similar, at least in terms of gender issues and sex.

    Someone in the comments said it will take a generation or two to get rid of these stigmas, and I’m pretty sure that is quite accurate. The youth are becoming more and more liberal. But if you want change you can’t be in denial about the existing problems of your own society; addressing them head-on is the only way to ensure that they change.

    This blog entry is very well-written, unbiased, and represents a well-informed perspective. Kudos.

    • Georg says:

      ok, but Kiev is also full of western men of all ages who come because they think Ukrainian girls are easy to have.

  111. Tymala says:

    “What needs to happen is that people need to acknowledge that WOMEN have needs too. And the only people that can do this are Georgian women, like you, who demand men and not children as husbands. So don’t settle, there are good men out there somewhere” I like this quote that was made about a few 100 comments back. With so many comments about this issue-isn’t it obvious that there is a problem in this country?

    Why should men be able to do as they please but women are not allowed the same liberties because they are not men? I am a woman who has been living in this country in Samegrello for almost 2 years. I have nothing to do with the TLG program and my friends and colleagues are all Georgian women and so I do believe to have more insight on this issue than the foreigner who is living in a more modern Tbilisi and hanging out with fellow TLG participates who have been here for such a short time. I have been immersed in this culture for almost 2 years in close contact with Georgian women (many who are IDP’s).

    My best friend is a victim of domestic abuse, you can clearly seen her broken nose at first site. She was a human punching bag for her ex-husband and endured 5 years of his abuse until she escaped- the police never helped her or punished her ex. She is still considered an outcast by many people because she is divorced. My other friends who are not married range from ages 23 to 45 and not a single one of them have even kissed a man. One of my friends is a 28 year old who has not kissed her boyfriend of 3 years. She is delaying marriage to him because she fears that she will have to give up her career.

    I have personally been attacked and groped by strangers twice so far and had two neighbors grab me and kiss me on the lips. One attack was my bum, the other my breasts- both incidents have been in broad daylight and I was completely covered wearing a coat and exposing no skin (not that the opposite attire would make it right either). I know two women who are victims of bridal kidnapping and I have rarely seen a smile on one of their faces. I also refuse to travel or do much alone, considering that the few times that I walk alone things have been bad! The man who grabbed my breasts did this at the shop that he owns while selling me lavash.

    I am not here for an adventure or to teach English, I am actually trying to help the IDP’s and so I am staying here a bit longer. I absolutely love this country and the people; but as a woman-do I have to bite my tongue and accept the gender inequalities? The blogger has had countless of articles emphasizing all the positive experiences and things that he loves about this country- is he supposed to gloss over the gender issues? I have no problems pointing out the negative aspects of my own country and can imagine the culture shock that a Georgian may have in Western countries and naturally they would discuss these issues to their friends and families and possibly even blog about it. It is not such a crime to stick up for women and be concerned about the injustices they have to endure.

    I adhere to the traditions, respect the religion, customs, ect.. and do my best to be culturally sensitive. But when it comes to the treatment of my sex- I am not going to sugar coat it and accept the injustice; especially after my personal experiences. The women have a voice and they need to be heard. It will take years or another century for things to improve, but silence will accomplish nothing.

  112. I like editor’s post. It all comes from reality. But in almost every field there are excepting ones :D

  113. yes Georgian men are overly aggressive, western women are disrespected here, and TLG's dirty laundry needs to be aired says:

    I was in georgia last fall as a volunteer with TLG. I am not here to stereotype or generalize. I can only share my own personal experience with the men I met in georgia & the events that occurred to myself and my colleagues. Never in my life have I experienced such aggressiveness by men. I had every unmarried man in my village introduced to me by my host family within my first week of arrival. It was thought of as a kind gesture because I am a single women; so of course I must want a man, right? I moved to Georgia to find a husband, not to teach English, right? Every where I walked I always had men staring at me. Yes, they all knew I was the the new volunteer in the village, but these stares extended outside my village. I’ll add that I don’t look american, I have dark hair, a big nose and square jaw, & look greek, which is where my father was born. The stares were creepy, long stares. Not smiles or whistles like countries I’ve been to in latin america, africa, or maybe passing by construction sites in usa. The men just looked so scary, like they were molesting me with their eyes. (Yes, that is just my opinion.)

    Everytime, without fail, when I’d meet a new male outside my village and would tell them I was “Amerikeli”, by the end of the conversation they were asking me for my phone #. I’d like to say it was flattering, but I know it’s because they right away were assuming that I must be “easy” and they could get laid. It happened enough times in my first month that I finally decided to just tell every guy that I was married and my husband was in tbilisi. I wore a fake wedding ring, like many other volunteers.
    This is really not why I wanted to leave the 376th comment though….
    I’m adding to these comments because now that I am not in georgia I want to share something that happened to me & to 3 of my colleagues on different occasions that directly relates to georgian men and their sexual aggression and attacks on western women.

    Story 1: I was at a bar in tbilisi where I met a georgian. He seemed charming & spoke great English. We were dancing and having a great time, at this point I’d only known him for 20 minutes and we hadn’t spoke much, we were dancing in a group with my friends. I excused myself to go to the restroom. He followed me to the restroom and pushed his way into the stall grabbed my behind and tried to kiss me. I punched him in the face, kneed him in the groin, screamed for help at the top of my lungs and thank God was able to push him out of my way and ran out of the restroom. I told my male friends, who then went and had a not so nice talk with their fists with the georgian guy outside.
    Yes this can happen anywhere, but in my lifetime, it’s only happened once… in georgia.

    Story 2: a fellow volunteer in a village told me how her host father grabbed her boobs and tried to kiss her. TLG apologized & tried to keep her here wanting to put her in a new host family & move her to tbilisi, but she felt unsafe. She returned home a week later.

    Story 3: another girl had her boobs grabbed by her host father in Tbilisi just a few weeks ago. TLG tried to put her in a new host family, but she felt unsafe so is now paying for her own flat. She does not want to leave because she loves her students and wants to finish the school year.

    Story 4: my friend’s host father tried to molest her one night when she had come home drunk. He was aggressive trying to take her shirt off while she was drunk and asleep on the sofa. She woke up yelled at him to stop and was able to leave the house in the middle of the night and called her friend in the next village over who came and picked her up.

    In my experience, georgian men are extremely aggressive and view women as only objects for their sexual pleasure. georgian men consider all western women to be easy and even host father’s will target volunteers in their homes (in the village or the city) because it’s common & expected for married men in this country to have lovers.

    My final thought: On so many levels I consider TLG a failure and hope it is shut down. In this post the reason I will focus on for why I consider TLG to be a failure is TLG’s lack to properly screen host families. The volunteers are required to submit criminal background checks, are the georgian host families? And if a georgian man has a history of sexual abuse, is that something that would ever be reported & shown on a criminal background check? I lived with 3 different host families in one semester. I know for a fact that TLG had never met them in person or visited their homes in person. How Comforting.

  114. zvigena says:

    there is no strange thing in the world, there is only cultural differences, where you grow up, for you this kinda things become normal

  115. David says:

    Dear “yes Georgian men are overly aggressive”,

    I’ve carefully read your stories. I truly believe in what you’ve said above (stories) is truth. I am honestly sorry for what happened to you, However, I fully disagree with your conclusive statements. I believe they are biased and therefore, will allow myself to respond to them by explaining my point here.

    I can understand the reasons inducing you to write about such issues in a manner you used. I also could understand your problems with TLG (most probably your employer), but your approach and generalized statements are abusive, insulting, racist and takes out all the “vitamins” from your stories! Again, pain is something that motivates you to write things you wrote here but being educated and intelligent means that you need to filter out those things before you make it public (at least not to hurt innocent people that have nothing to do with you situations).

    Probably, main problem there was that you had to go through well designed orientation sessions helping you in: (1) being informed and dealing efficiently with upcoming cultural shock, (2) addressing above described situations properly, (3)avoiding such situations not to say contributing to them etc.

    If such sessions are not offered, you are one who has to make decision! Because, I strongly believe that when/if someone makes serious decision on moving to another culture even (as a tourist), it is obvious to learn things (such as “dos and do not dos” as they call) prior to arrival to that place, because you take risk and you have to deal with that risk.

    You can’t expect Chinese food in Italian restaurant can you? You can’t expect same cultural values and rules in every country. That is simple and obvious, at least so far. However, there are common expectations that should be in place in every civilized country. There is a law regulating such issues in every country. For example if I were you, I would carefully review the employment/labor code of Georgia before I would consider the offer, did you?

    Honestly, the situations you described can happen anywhere. You name the country. By the way, did you inform police about those cases? If yes, what was their response?
    In addition, do you think that you (knowingly or unknowingly) may have contributed somehow to what happened to you? Maybe some of your “signals” were interpreted by local Georgian villager men in a wrong way?

    If I were you, one of my conclusions would be not to recommend women (regardless their origin) to drink (or getting drunk) in a company of villager men in Georgia and to keep distance by avoiding direct eye contact, touches, smiles etc. when they are drunk. Rather than this, your conclusion was” Georgian men are overly aggressive, western women are disrespected here”. I am sorry to say this, but you sound to be very wrong! It seems to me that partially your problem may be caused by your ignorance.

    Thanks and good luck!

    • panoptical says:

      David,

      Normally I would not approve this kind of comment. However, you went out of your way to be polite, so I will take the time to explain to you why I find your comment offensive.

      In short, it contains the implication that women should behave like inferior, second-class citizens, and that they should not complain about the treatment that they receive if they do not. That implication is insulting and demeaning and dehumanizing.

      Obviously when travelling, everyone needs to take precautions. In some places one gets vaccinated for tropical diseases. In some places one does not leave their hotel after dark. In some places, women “avoid direct eye contact” and try to refrain from sending the wrong “signals” to “local villager men.”

      However, just because it is sensible to take a precaution, does not mean that the thing that you are taking a precaution against is somehow acceptable. If I went to a country where I wouldn’t be safe on a city street after dark, I would be completely justified in going on the internet and saying that that country wasn’t safe. Other people should know, and in addition, I have a right to complain about my right to enjoy a public space being infringed by criminals.

      If I went out at night in one of those places, and got robbed, would it be my “fault” that I was robbed? What about the robber? I may have done something stupid, but he did something wrong. There are laws against robbery and not against stupidity because every society that has ever existed in the world has decided that it makes more sense to punish criminals than to punish their victims.

      Except, that is, when it comes to women. When it comes to crimes against women, the victims are punished, and blamed, and publicly ridiculed, and silenced, in every forum, public and private, that they can find to talk about what has happened to them. The Christian Bible says that if a woman is raped inside a city, she is to be taken outside the city and stoned to death.

      So yes – in Georgia, women absolutely have to take more precautions than they do in many of the places that we TLG volunteers come from. That doesn’t mean that the crimes that they are taking precautions against are justified. TLG absolutely needs to teach its female volunteers how to be safe from Georgian men. However, just because one can learn how to be safe from Georgian men, this does not mean that Georgian men are justified in behaving like animals, or that Georgian society is justified in condoning this behavior, or that you are justified in excusing it.

      If you don’t want people to generalize, why not provide a counterexample? Why not be the only Georgian man that any of us has ever encountered who was willing to unequivocally condemn the sort of behavior that we are complaining about? Every time you or someone like you makes excuses and apologies and tells us that we just need to be more culturally sensitive or aware, you are encouraging the aggressive and violent and criminal men to continue their behavior. You’re sending a clear message to them that nothing we Westerners say about harassment or violence against women will ever be taken seriously by a Georgian man and that they can do whatever they want and get away with it and you’ll have their back.

      Look – this comment has been made millions of times to millions of women. It’s boring to bother refuting it. A woman says that she was harassed or assaulted, and someone comes along and says “are you sure you weren’t sending out the wrong signals? Maybe you were too drunk? Maybe it was just a misunderstanding? And if it was so serious, why didn’t you call the police?” And not to drive this point into the ground, but when a man is the victim of a crime, it’s much rarer for people to ask him what he did to deserve it, or how he contributed to it, or whether he isn’t just making the whole thing up.

      When it comes to generalizations, though I agree with you – generalizing doesn’t help anyone. For example, instead of saying that Georgians are a hospitable people – because that’s a generalization – we should say that some Georgians value hospitality while others sexually assault their guests. Is that about right?

      • expertmwvadisti says:

        Here’s the problem, panoptical. Dato was suggesting that women take such precautions in Georgia because yes, like everywhere else on this planet, there is a risk that she’ll be seized or attacked here. Let me make an analogy: wherever I’ve lived permanently, I’ve always install locks. Why? Because I don’t want my house to get robbed. Now, obviously it would be the robbers’ fault if they decided to commit this crime. But in an urban place only an idiot would leave his doors unlocked, placing his trust in thousands of complete strangers. The same applies to women going out alone at night, anywhere.

        • panoptical says:

          Except that the risk in Georgia is much worse than the risk in America and several other Western countries, which is the whole point.

          It turns out that there are places in the world where women can walk around and feel safe, regardless of their attire or level of intoxication. It turns out that for many women, Georgia is not one of those places.

          You Georgians simultaneously claim that Georgia is as safe as anywhere else, but that women have to take extra precautions here. Which is it? They can’t both be true at once, but your chauvinism blinds you to the obvious contradiction.

          Face reality: women are much safer in Boston, Portland, Toronto – even New York – than they are in Tbilisi or Batumi. None of your hand-waving or victim blaming or moral relativism can change that.

          Another fact: your attitude – that people just have to live with danger rather than try to make the world a safer place – is what holds Georgia back from achieving anything meaningful. You and David are what is wrong with Georgia.

        • expertmwvadisti says:

          Of course it’s more dangerous for a woman to go outside at night on her own, compared to wealthy areas in America. I’m sure if you went to a poorer, densely-inhabited American city you’d see the same situation as in Georgian cities. We need to fix the corrupt police force here and improve our economy, that goes without saying. One could say a few choice words about the unemployment situation as well– these are all valid problems that contribute to ALL crime, not just sexual. The point I’m making here is that solving this problem is beyond the reach of any one person; it’ll take years if not decades at best. Until such a time, women should take precautions when coming here. And these precautions are as simple as walking about at night with people you trust.

          We are pissed that you keep blaming our mentality and culture because traditional Georgians treat women with gentlemanly respect. I make sure to keep my lady friends safe when there’s a risk. Keep in mind, if we looked at certain impoverished regions in America, we could conclude the exact same things about you Americans. Now consider that much of our country is either impoverished or not far from that, and you’ll see why crime is at this level– economic conditions. ECONOMIC CONDITIONS.

          So please shut the hell up about our culture.

        • panoptical says:

          “I’m sure if you went to a poorer, densely-inhabited American city you’d see the same situation as in Georgian cities.”

          I grew up in a poorer, densely-inhabited American city. You are wrong.

          “Until such a time, women should take precautions when coming here.”

          No one is saying otherwise. In fact, the entire point of my original post was to warn women what to expect in Georgia so they could take the proper precautions.

          The problem is that you Georgians take it as a personal insult when we Americans talk about the shit that happens to us here. You are the ones who feel it necessary to shift the blame onto the victims because you can’t fathom the idea that Georgian men aren’t perfect. That’s a pathology that you have to get rid of if your society is ever going to advance. But then, you don’t want Georgian society to advance.

          “We are pissed that you keep blaming our mentality and culture because traditional Georgians treat women with gentlemanly respect.”

          The definition of respect varies from culture to culture. The way “traditional” Georgians treat women disgusts me and many other Americans, who do not see treating women as second-class citizens whose only role is to serve, breed, or be raped as respectful. Clearly, you believe that the way American men treat women is disgusting and the way Georgian men treat women is ideal. You and I have a disagreement – and that disagreement stems from cultural difference.

          That’s why educated people who have studied and experienced various different cultures throughout our lives talk about Georgian culture when we talk about how women are treated here. On the other hand, I can understand why certain Georgians, who are constantly told by their beloved Patriarch that there is only one true culture and everyone else is an immoral foreigner, don’t understand even the most basic aspects of cultural difference.

          “So please shut the hell up about our culture.”

          No.

        • expertmwvadisti says:

          You know next to NOTHING about our culture you’re insulting. Second-class citizens?!?! We value our women, hell we value them even over our own lives, as we showed through our sacrifice over and over again in the 90′s. We cherish women as mothers to our children.

          You Americans value women? Go ask the players who seduce dozens of them a year for nothing but sex. Go ask plastic surgeons. Hell, many of you even import foreign wives instead of marrying your own women. Soon enough you’ll even send them to get slaughtered in war. And what kind of fool makes all these bold claims anyway (American inner cities = havens of safety compared with Georgia) with zero data? Everything you said is based in stories. Stories, which, incidentally, sound similar to the ones girls tell who visit practically anywhere in the world. My cousin went as exchange student to NY and was whistled at and propositioned constantly. One day a man turned around and stalked her for two blocks after she said no, until she cried help. Poor girl was crying when she called me.

          Once again, the key is: ECONOMIC CONDITIONS. Also things like population density, ineffective police… wherever in the world these things coincide, yes even in your holy, sacrosanct America, you see high rates of crimes.

          Anyway, continuing would be pointless. You don’t know any Georgians, much less our culture. Your wild claims and holier-than-thou nonsense are based on a flimsy anecdotal ‘base’ that crumbles the second a man pokes at it with an inquisitive stick. I suggest you do something more useful than go on feminist crusades to shove your culture down the world’s unwilling gullets.

        • panoptical says:

          First of all, I actually have looked at crime data for Georgia and New York. Have you? You comment on my blog and accuse me of making claims with no data, but what did you bring to the table? A whole lot of sound and fury and no substance.

          Second of all, I never said American inner cities are havens of safety compared with Georgia. I said that American inner cities were not the same as Georgia. Learn to read before you call someone else a fool, you fool.

          If you want to have some kind of reasonable discussion, I suggest you get your facts in order and respond to the points people are actually making rather than to some perceived slight against your national pride.

          I’ve written numerous times on this blog over the past two and a half years about exactly the ways that Georgians treat women that I do not personally approve of. Please feel free to browse through some of my posts on the subject that address exactly why I say that the Georgian concept of respect for women is disgusting to me: http://peripateticpedagogue.wordpress.com/category/sex-and-gender/

          Finally, because clearly you have no idea who I am or what I’m about, I just thought I should point out that my wife is Georgian and our son is half-Georgian. We intend to raise him to have more modern values, and I hope that when he grows up he’ll find plenty of peers who have been raised the same way.

  116. Tymala says:

    I love you Panoptical! It is good that you are keeping David’s comment on the board, it helps reinforce the attitude that many Georgian men have towards women. Blame the victim. This attitude was common about 100 years ago in the West. If we are assaulted, we must have asked for it; right! And of course he never made a comment that the behavior was uncalled for and seemed to defend these men.

    I guess I asked for it when my breasts were grabbed (very roughly) in broad daylight when I was simply buying lavash, and no-I was not wearing anything provocative or flirting in any manner. And walking down the street in my coat-not flaunting anything-I must have asked to get my bum grabbed. And being polite to my neighbors has landed me some aggressive kissing on my lips (left the neighborhood at least). And the TGL poster-”Yes Georgian Men are Aggressive”, pretty much described my biography of life here the past year and half. Unfortunately, I have to walk alone occasionally to get from A to B. I do my best to not have to walk alone, and of course when it is with my male friends I get plenty of gossip, but I can’t always get a female to accompany me at the spur of the moment. The stares and asking for my number, if I am married ect, is getting old. I try to be polite, but it seems that the only way to avoid aggressive behavior is to be very cold and to look at the ground-as was mentioned before-behaving like a second class/inferior citizen. But women are not seen as equal to men in this country after all.

    I do stand out quite a bit with my blond hair and fair skin so it is impossible to not get attention, or the constant clicking of the phone camera in front of my face. My other Swedish friend simply tried to relax in the park with her book and never read a page-she was approached by a multitude of men. So our lesson is to stay home or only leave the house with others. I came to this country to be able to enjoy it, see the sights, and not have to behave like a home prisoner.

    I wish I could smile and represent myself as a kind and friendly foreigner but the only way to be left alone is to flaunt the fake wedding ring and be very cold to men. Which is also another point-I have lived in 4 other countries before and traveled to 31 different countries-many as a solo female traveler and have been able to meet all of the locals, not just women-and make beautiful friendships. I never had such harrassment before in other countries-and many of them were developing. I have been flirted with in other countries, but not the creepy stare or harrassment that I have received here and was never touched (with the exception of an Egyptian who tried to hold my hand-but no harm done).

    It seems impossible to get to know any of the men without controversy in Georgia, but perhaps things are different in Tbilisi. I still know very little of Tbilisi life-I visit the city maybe 3 times per year. I firmly agree that women should not be placed in the villages-there is too much stress and problems for them to tackle. And these host fathers who are molesting the participants is sickening. It is clear that they need to screen these families and be more concerned about the safety of the TGL participants. And what does going to the police do? My friend who whose husband beat her on a daily basis had no help from the police, even after he hospitalized her two times.

    Unfortunately, the women who come over here and get assaulted to treated in such a bad manner are going to have a negative image of Georgian men and go home to our countries and report such behavior. I hope that the lax attitude towards sexual and physical assault will change someday in the future. If Georgians want to join the EU, they are going to have to follow many strict guidelines regarding human rights-and this will apply towards the treatment of women.

    • Now, now, to be fair, Georgians do the creepy stare thing to ALL foreigners, not just women. That’s just a cultural thing that you have to get used to and I will defend them on that, because the staring isn’t necessarily sexual. That’s just what they do. It’s like if a black dude walked into a bar in some small town in Wisconsin. Foreigners are just not commonly seen and are “different”.

  117. Tymala says:

    After a year and half of living here-I am quite used to being stared at as a foreigner and there is a huge difference between the stare of curiosity and the stare of eerie lust. I completely understand and have no problem being stared at and considered a novelty-it is normal for them to be curious or to even touch my hair-but to get groped and harassed-is unacceptable. One of the Finnish NGO’s was attacked a few years back, but she is actually a policewoman who performed some judo moves on him and kicked some arse! I wish I could have seen the look on his face!

  118. yes Georgian men are overly aggressive, western women are disrespected here, and TLG's dirty laundry needs to be aired says:

    Thanks David for responding. Your comment directly supports why I have my negative views of Georgian men. This is just one reason why Georgia is not considered part of Europe. The culture & mentality are far too different than western societies. I think a woman visiting this country should be educated & informed in the same measures as if she were visiting a country in the Middle East. When it comes to women’s rights & equality, Georgia takes a back seat.
    @saint facetious, you are right, those creepy long stares are generously extended to everyone who is not Georgian, lol. The stare a man/women gets though when it’s sexual is quite different than the creepy ‘who are you and where did you come’ from stare, lol.
    (side note: i really miss new york city. to look unique is embraced & expected. anonymity is easy because it’s a city welcome to everyone)

    David, if you happen to read this, let me just educate you a bit on women.
    If a women engages in conversation with you it does not mean she wants to have sex with you, simply because she has a VAGINA.

    • panoptical says:

      “I’m in the middle of Alabama
      and they stare at me whereever I go
      I don’t think they like my haircut
      I don’t think they like my clothes
      I can’t wait to get back to New York City
      Where at least when I walk down the street
      No one ever hesitates
      to tell me exactly what they think of me”

  119. Tymala says:

    This leads me to another question, who is in management of your program? Georgian men, or are foreigners involved as well? I think Canadians are involved on the recruiting end, but are they actually in Tbilisi also? Who are the big wigs? What is done after negative reports are made? It seems that host fathers who are molesting the participants are not even getting a slap on the wrist- the reaction is “don’t worry, you can go to another family and everything might be better”. In the West sexual assault on women is actually a crime. What is the aftermath of these situations? I hope they are paying for the flight home; I would be terrified to stay in another host family after such an event.

    For example in western countries if an aupair was sexually assaulted by the father in the house, the man would be in deep **** and would have a charge on his criminal record. His wife would probably leave him after such an event and definitely not consider this normal behavior. What is the follow up for the wives of these host fathers? I can’t imagine having to live a day to day life with such an animal-but maybe the women think it is normal behavior as well. I know that most Georgian women cannot get up and leave their husbands the way that western women can but there are many parents who will accept their daughters back in their homes if they are in a bad marriage. One western ideal that I am not ashamed to impose upon this country is the encouragement to leave abusive husbands. One Georgian woman told my friend that she has a good marriage because her husband does not beat her that often.

    But anyway, are there heart to heart discussions at your meetings about these matters? The program is in its infancy so we can cut them some slack on certain aspects and hope for improvement but sexual assault is a serious matter. Again, these host families need to take cultural lessons on foreigners as well. Idealistically, it would be nice for the families to sign a contract with certain guidelines, keep your hands to yourself or else….. but I know that is a ludicrous idea in this country. And such behavior is going unpunished, right? I hope that these girls have at least told the neighbors, villagers, ect… what these men have done and at least they can probably taint the man’s name a bit, but then again, it will hurt the children of the family. It just disturbs me that these men are probably not getting punished (maybe glorified by their buddies at the bar) meanwhile these young women are traumatized and going home with a bad image of Georgia or at least Georgian men. I hope that a future rape never occurs. This is something that I fear for these girls. So are there any future steps that this program is doing to help prevent such a matter? Or are they doing the typical response that I see here; “silence”.

  120. European says:

    After spendingover a year in GEO, and being a female I just have to share my experiences with the GEO male population.

    Note that I live in a fairly big city, but not Tbilisi.
    Most of the GEO men are nice and polite but what I find extremly annoying is that when you are on your own or evan in company of other non GEO females, you are never left alone. You get approced in the restaurant, on the street, in the park, well more or less everywhere. And most of the time its made in a really rude manor, no is not really excepted as an answer, mearly a start of a negotiation.

    Im not saying that this dosent happen in other coutries, but a no is a no even in GEO. I have had a camera showed up in my face, my cell phone taken away in order to try to get my number. When asked my GEO friends if this is normal behaviour, they said no, its becasue you are western and they now that they migth get laid.
    Let me put it nicely, I rather stick a fork in my eye, then even consider engaging in a conversation with some one who has that kind of behaviour.

    I must say that I do agree with the author of the blog, there is a bog diffrent in the behaviour towards men and women concering sex in this country and there is also a big diffrence in the bevaiour towards foreing women and GEO women, but that, that is a diffrent topic all together.

  121. ugly casanova says:

    I think this article is pretty accurate. As a male in a small village I have heard and seen most of this first hand. Every time I leave to travel they always ask if I got laid while I was away. The truth is I have been able to find nice respectable Georgian women who are willing and even encourage getting together(but I don’t relay that information back to the village). I think it’s just like anywhere else, you need some skill and a little bit of luck to get what you want. Plus, I find that Georgian women who speak English find it cute when I try to speak Georgian to them. So if you’re reading this comment and want some pointers, pick up on your Georgian.

    P.s. No, the women I have met where not hookers

  122. Giorgi says:

    I knew there will be someone who will describe Georgia so it really is. I don’t know why Georgians are irritated when they hear the truth about their country, may be because we’re used to hearing what we want to. I like this post as well as it express the truth about gender relationship and Georgians’ useless traditions. I appreciate you as a analytic thinker and as a person who make us to see our defects.

  123. Eduard says:

    What are you writing Kartvelebo. I do not know from what you have families, but Georgians girls from this Georgian families has always complied and will comply with tradition!
    No self-respecting Georgian who has the honor will not accept a Georgian not a virgin touched by others!
    Georgian girls should not just be a virgin, she should not yet be kissing and not Fingered! Democratization does not mean to sleep right and left!
    No matter what 21, it has not anyone value! Walking girl is in every nation it means nothing!
    I appeal here to all foreigners who have respect for Georgia! I’m Orthodox Christian and Georgians! I’m proud of it all his heart and soul!
    Zamon genuine Georgian, but not all the litter and evropezirovannye type will not have not any sexual relations before marriage! Even more say it will seek to marry only for the Georgians! Do not think that I am a savage or a fanatic!
    Foreigners looking for more careful with our girls!
    Orthodox Christianity and Tradition – this is what makes the Georgian Georgian!
    Georgia has always been there, and God grant that was patriarchal system!

    • Giorgi says:

      Your views on tradition and on the Georgian women is similar to medieval prejudice and it’s ridiculous. Look out, outside the 21-th century, we all need progress and traditions which is not necessary any more we must get rid of useless traditions.

  124. Widespread Panic says:

    Great article!
    People who call it a lie have no or very limited comprehension of what they read. I would not spend time on replying to their comments, neither I would try to change their mind, cause they don`t have mind of their own. Even if they had it`s not typical of Georgians to speak their own mind. We only speak what our family, our neighbour, our society (major part of it) want to hear.

    • expertmwvadisti says:

      Speak for yourself. I’m born and raised in Georgia and online and with my close friends I say precisely what I’m thinking, for better or for worse. Some things we don’t talk about with elders and with girls, sure. But that applies to most of the planet I’m sure.

  125. anni says:

    Hi there (I am sorry I could not find ur name in the blog). Can you tell us about sex in the USA? You write about Sex in Georgia, but probably you know more about sex in the USA. My advice: don’t believe in what they tell you, explore yourself, more adventure, more fun ;)
    Cheers,
    anni

  126. Anonymous says:

    So… probably not much hope for a gay man then, huh?

    Ah well, that’s not too surprising. I assumed it’d be a celibate year.

    • panoptical says:

      Well, contrary to what some would have you believe there are gay people in Georgia and of course there are some among the TLG volunteers. My understanding is that Tbilisi has a gay bar and a smallish openly gay community with a much larger closeted group. Plus there are random NGO people and other expats from the West who may be gay.

      So I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much – and also, try to watch out if you’re meeting strangers – but I wouldn’t give up hope altogether, either. Expect the worst, hope for the best, right?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, I looked into it online a bit ago – they don’t really do gay clubs in Tbilisi like they do in the West (not that I expected them to, or anything). There used to be two that were apparently okay spots, but one closed down and the other’s been colonised by straight people. Which… actually sounds exactly like the situation in Vancouver, oddly enough.

        In any case, I might not even end up in Tbilisi, it sounds like that’s an unlikely area. But, again, that’s okay too, smaller towns and rural areas could offer something really new. From what I’ve been able to learn online, Georgia seems to have a pretty “cruisy” gay community, ala the 1980s: clandestine hookups in bathrooms, under bridges, or at parks at night. Sounds, uh, perfectly safe. I’m sure I can go without sex for however long I’m there (and without resorting to the seedy underworld), but it’ll be tough. Considering how traditional their views on sex and relationships are even for the straight world, I’m really not expecting much in that area. But like I said, I was prepared for that when signing up – these are the little things the majority of travelers don’t have to worry about, so count yourself lucky!

        I really do need to ask, though, how do the majority of Georgians feel about gay people? I’m by no means obvious (people tend to be surprised when I come out), and I have no trouble being discreet if need be, but it sounds like privacy means something different there than here. I guess I’m worried about the host family, and the possibility of them prying too deep into my personal life. I’m not exactly going to rub it in their faces – hell I don’t even need to tell them – but I don’t particularly cherish having to pretend I’m straight just to avoid awkwardness (or worse).

  127. Anonymous says:

    I am one of those who came upon this blog by googling something similar to “sex in Georgia”. Now I feel like leaving a comment.

    I am a Georgian guy who lives in the West. This year I went back to Georgia for the first time in like five years. My parents live in Tbilisi. I caught up with old friends and went to old places. Now that I’m away, thoughts about Georgia and sexuality there came to me for some reason. That’s why I googled that thing. There is one particular thing that came to my mind.

    I have a friend with who I went out quite often when I was in Georgia. Frequently, he would take two of his girl friends with us. I’m 27 and they all were around my age. The girls were virgins and the conversation was mostly about the friend of mine picking up on their sexual ignorance. It was quite weird for me to talk to women of my age without any sexual experience, with that considered a norm. In fact, the girls would be considered quite cool in Georgia. The guy actually liked one of them, and all these talks were probably part of his effort to approach her.

    I got many other weird impressions. TLG came up as one of the topics at a family supra marking my arrival. TLGers were harshly criticized for being immoral. Phrases like, literally, “would not let them in the family” were used. And I am from the very central district of Tbilisi, my family background being what can be described as a professionally educated class.

    Anyway, I was brought up thinking that Georgia is, in the end, more or less, quite close to the Western civilization. This is pretty much not true. The difference is not in sexual behavior alone of course. The West is individualistic, rational, permissive and democratic, however one understands these, and Georgia is not. I emphasize (being afraid of possible comments :) if anyone reads this anyway) that I have no negative attitude to Georgia or Georgian culture at all, or any other culture in fact (there are some things I don’t like though). I’m just pointing out that Georgia it is very different from the West.

  128. Anonymous says:

    its pitty that you undetstand nothig. the Georgian society is more liberal towards the men sexual life (I would say at higher extent than compare to those in western civilizations), than to women sexual life (I would say at a lower extent than compare to those in eastern civilizations). We are neither better or worse, but that approach has practical explanation: tabu its different thing to leave the children by the mothers, so when the men betrays, he can leave the family and georgian society is open and liberal to this, however when mother betrays then she is not allowed to leave the family and in equal terms the children shall stay in the family. For example in Russian culture, irrespective of how many times repeatitively the parts of couple were married the children stay with mother from family through family, in eastern societies like Chechens and others the children stay with fathers. But Georgian again selected the best version as you say to be safe than sorry, which from one side discriminates in gender terms to sex female compare to male, but the mother-children relationship is secured. From this also comes the cult of mother in our society. Now about you: you are representing a 20+ some average person egocentrically structured person. So I would say personally that I dont like you, I dont like all those who come to “teach” here and actually to spend good time on our cost (you also complain that you are not allowed to have sex with Georgians and hope that the situation will change). So I prefer the Russian culture instead of you, and I support studying of Russian. However you are of the same Slavic origin and its bullshiting that you are american, because you are american like I am Chinese. You are Slave, you are Russian. So that it is the actual state of facts. And I dont like your brain, which is limited to 1 cell.

  129. Anonymous says:

    its pitty that you undetstand nothig. the Georgian society is more liberal towards the men sexual life (I would say at higher extent than compare to those in western civilizations), than to women sexual life (I would say at a lower extent than compare to those in eastern civilizations). We are neither better or worse, but that approach has practical explanation: tabu its different thing to leave the children by the mothers, so when the men betrays, he can leave the family and georgian society is open and liberal to this, however when mother betrays then she is not allowed to leave the family and in equal terms the children shall stay in the family. For example in Russian culture, irrespective of how many times repeatitively the parts of couple were married the children stay with mother from family through family, in eastern societies like Chechens and others the children stay with fathers. But Georgian again selected the best version as you say to be safe than sorry, which from one side discriminates in gender terms to sex female compare to male, but the mother-children relationship is secured. From this also comes the cult of mother in our society. Now about you: you are representing a 20+ some average egocentrically structured person. So I would say personally that I dont like you, I dont like all those who come to “teach” here and actually to spend good time on our cost (you also complain that you are not allowed to have sex with Georgians and hope that the situation will change). So I prefer the Russian culture instead of you, and I support studying of Russian. However you are of the same Slavic origin and its bullshiting that you are american, because you are american like I am Chinese. You are Slave, you are Russian. So that it is the actual state of facts. And I dont like your brain, which is limited to 1 cell.

    • happilymarriedtoarealGeorgianmanwhoisnotaBarbarian says:

      Wow Anonymous, thanks for the laughs, your mind is completely closed off and sealed, you might better go join the Taliban in Afghanistan because you are a complete barbarian.Congrats, it’s 2011 and you are among the few remaining Neanderthals, and you seem very proud of it.
      Go screw a prostitute and enjoy, but remember this while you mechanically thrust, grunt and get your rocks off, she hates you completely and utterly. She only wants your money, she probably thinks about how vile and disgusting you are while she fakes her orgasm. You will never really understand the true sexual pleasure, and/or passion of actual consenting adults. Practical application (this was the funniest bit) , are you fucking talking about a science experiment or something…., obviously you don’t know the first thing sbout real sex.

  130. happilymarriedtoarealGeorgianmanwhoisnotaBarbarian says:

    Oh and basically you are representing Georgian men as completely uninterested intheir own children, as if they just dump them on all the women in their families whenever they need to get laid by some whore, what a crock of Shiiiiiiiit. Children need mothers and fathers both, I am not impressed with this attitude towards kids in America, Georgia, or anywhere, you freaking loser.

  131. Pingback: Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly | Georgia On My Mind

  132. Anonymous says:

    “Go screw a prostitute and enjoy, but remember this while you mechanically thrust, grunt and get your rocks off, she hates you completely and utterly. She only wants your money, she probably thinks about how vile and disgusting you are while she fakes her orgasm.”

    That was hilarious!

  133. Pingback: Sex in Georgia: The Anniversary | Georgia On My Mind

  134. tako says:

    sadly, most of the post is true. but i still have the impression that it’s exaggerated. i mean im 20 year old girl and i do have a sex life and i know lots of georgian girls like me, i know lot of boys who don’t care about girl’s virginity. well, it’s hidden from older generation, that’s true, but we DO talk about sex a LOT, we DO date and we don’t merry after 2 months of knowing someone.it’s true about villages, but don’t make impression about georgia from provinces, because tbilisi really is the intelectual centre of the country.not all of it thinks like me, but you can find groups of young people thinking like you. yes, this virginity thing really makes us sick. i personally wouldn’t be able to live in georgian village :D

  135. Why Georgians hate the TLG program!!!

    He is Slovenian American who grew up as a suburban nobody outside of NYC, and then he got Cs at City College NYC, a pretty easy university.

    He was one of the first TLC teachers here with Footprints. He started out to say snide things about Footprints, but within 6 weeks he was offered better teaching positions if he shut up, and was threatened to be let go if he continued in any diatribes. I think he shortly afterwards got recruited by some wing of USAID and now is a covert propagandist.

    He was recommended by somebody here to their best friend in New York Times editorial offices, so his now notorious sex in Georgia link got quoted. This shows he is clueless of the life and culture of Georgia.

    http://peripateticpedagogue.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/sex-in-georgia/

    • panoptical says:

      There isn’t a single true statement in this entire comment.

      I’m third generation American and only a quarter Slovene; I went to Hunter College, not City College; I got mostly As and finished with a 3.9 GPA; I have never said anything bad about Footprints either online or in person, because they are great; I have only changed teaching positions once since coming to Georgia, and it was after 6 months, not six weeks; I have never been warned against “diatribes;” neither I nor TLG nor Footprints has anything to do with USAID; and the New York Times didn’t quote me, they only linked to my blog in a post about a tangentially related issue.

      The sheer density of misinformation in your post is, frankly, impressive. You sound like the drunk homeless guys who hang out in public parks shouting about how the CIA is bugging their tinfoil hats.

      So – are you trying to say that Georgians hate the TLG program because they are misinformed and completely out of touch with reality?

  136. Bakur B says:

    in the first part of the article i felt a little insulted about how the TLG stereotyped the georgian guys about being dangerous and im sure that every girl has a “patroni” everywhere in the world. patroni means an owner and of course a father is going to protect his girl if a guy is trying to hurt her but no one is going to start any trouble if a guy friend doesnt marry a girl in a certain amount of time. i am a 18 year old georgian guy and i have been living in america for the past 9 years. im in georgia right now and sadly some of the things that were said in the blog are correct. i have a way different mentality then like 90% of the people here about sex and other topics. so it sucks for me that no girl is “putting out”. but anyway georgian guys arnt agressive when they get denied cuz they are used to it by georgian girls. i have noticed one thing where here though the girls are a tease. they act like they are the easy to get types but then when you try to do anything sexual they back right off. its not cuz they dont want in its because they are afraid of what everyone else will think of them. but anyways its a great article even thought some parts are ridiculously overexadurated. if you can pick up a georgian girl then its easy to pick up any other type of girl.

  137. :) says:

    I was born in Georgia, than i lived in US for 6 years, (most of my teen years) than i came back to Georgia and I really don’t know what are u all talking about. :D yea there were these exact problems before i went to US but when i came back, I have never heard of this kind of stuff any more. It depends what kind of friends u got and who u hang out with but i think that Georgia is not that miserable in terms of sex life. I see where some of these comments come from but I have sex and almost all of my friends do (not in the “Whore Houses”) with our GF’s that is :D.
    Georgia truly has some problems with the sex life(big ones), but not as big as said in the post. Post describes the most critical side of Georgian sex life. However it doesn’t describe how some 12-13 year old girls are not virgins and have many years of experience. I am 26 years old and 4-5 days ago i had 13 year old girl hitting on me. That is the sick part. As a Georgian, I think that we are extremists. Some people in Georgia are virgins, even though they are 56years old(“charchenilebi”, “komunistebi” that’s what they are usually called) and there are other extremists that have sex when they are 10-11-12 (pro-americans, cool people, svetskebi :D :D :D as they usually are called).

    The biggest problem in Georgia, which brings those other problems, is that people SHOULD MIND THEIR OWN Business. :) and not discriminate other people for having a diffrent opinion. :)

  138. Anonymous says:

    The biggest problem with most Georgians is that they don’t like reading embarrassing truth about themselves, especially written by foreigners. Everything that’s stated in post was true for entire Georgia 10 years ago, it is still an issue in small towns and villages and in older generation in Tbilisi. So that’s A LOT of Georgians! I’ve lived in West 10 years now but I visit Georgia every year and I see changes in Tbilisi. Unfortunately, sometimes the western life style is misinterpreted and as someone else stated above, sexual freedom is taken to other extremes. But anyways, I am so glad sexual revolution is happening in Georgia! It is hard for new generation and it will take a few more generations but I am hopeful to see Georgian mentality change before I die. It has started and there is no way of stopping it! We can be proud of many things but “traditional” Georgian views on sex and marriage are archaic and it’s about time to move on.
    And I could not agree more with ” :) ” , that people should mind their own business. This is the ONLY thing that bothers me when I think of going back to Georgia :(

    • John Bradford says:

      Where you here 10 years ago to make this statement, and if not, how then can you make it?

      • panoptical says:

        I think it’s pretty clear based on the comment that this person is in fact from Georgia, lived here until ten years ago, and visits regularly. Also, it’s a six-month old anonymous comment… not sure what the point is of taking issue with it.

  139. Ana says:

    You are supposed to come and teach not to fuck and rape the population!! Leave others culture alone I don’t think Georgians need a single mom culture living out of welfare like Americans do. Whatever Georgians are standing for is actually the good and the true thing to do. Promiscuous sex simply can destroy this little nation. You don’t have wise people anymore!

  140. maomadame says:

    I think foreign women should be aware of risk i. I went through hell.

  141. John Bradford says:

    Does not TLG and common sense give enough orientation to stay out of harms way. At least the Peace Corps screen applications carefully, provide cross cultural orientation courses and advise that Georgians have watch too many Western movies – and they have the wrong notions of Western values – and what may appear innocent – or heavy petting can get out of hand. There have been instances where the reaction on the part of the PC has gone too far – overreacted. Culture matters and if someone is not willing to understand this and that there are MAJOR differences, then they should not participate in such a program – or the age poll should be raised to screen our the naive and immature. I really think TLG is not culturally appropriate to Georgian conditions, culture, not withstanding cost effectiveness. There have been too many instances of people going through hell, no fault of their own, or even in some cases self-inflicted.

  142. maomadame says:

    Personally I wasn’t a member of any organisation, but anyway my suggestion for a women is just to be careful. Refusal of any contact can also bring enormous problems.

  143. Anonymous says:

    Georgian mentality will never change and that’s the sad part. I was born in Georgia and moved to the US when I was 5. 17 years later, and it just seems like marrying a georgian man would bring me headache. yes there are positives about georgian men vs. american men but I don’t know if those positive outweigh the heavy burdens and judgements put upon women by them.

  144. Pingback: City Guide: Tbilisi, Georgia | Naughty Nomad

  145. Iberokolxi says:

    Really now? You visit a country in Caucasus, a CAUCASIAN COUNTRY, with Caucasian culture and language and you wonder that one could have problems in the countryside to get laid? How about you study about the country a bit more before you visit it. Have you even looked at the map? We have neighbors like Chechnya, Dagestan, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Let me tell you that compared to this countries Georgia is place of sin (that’s how Turks call Batumi).
    So, do not be disappointed, when you visit the countryside of an East-european country and can’t get laid.

    P.S: About this TLG stuff. I think it was a stupid idea, brought by a stupid president.

    P.P.S: Kidnapping? Seriously, where were you living? Haven’t heard of such things since the 90ths.

    Sincerely a Georgian male.

    • panoptical says:

      I looked at several maps, but oddly enough, not a single one of them had data about how easy it was to get laid in the countries they showed. I guess we have different kinds of maps in the US.

      Sarcasm aside, I wrote this post because there was literally no information available in English about the sex life of a Westerner in Georgia. The research you mention? Yeah, I did it, and I came up empty-handed. But since I wrote this post, future visitors to Georgia will know what’s up. I’m doing a public service, and you’re shitting all over it for no reason.

      In conclusion, bite me.

      PPS: Kidnappings that happened in the 90′s mean that there are women alive today, all over Georgia, who are living with men who assaulted and raped them, and nobody seems to think that’s a problem. Meanwhile you Georgian males wax poetic about your fucking traditions. Systematic rape and assault are among your traditions, so maybe you should think about that next time your tamada raises a glass to his wife or his mother. Gaumarjos.

      • Iberokolxi says:

        Aww, did I rustle your jimmies? You sound to me more like a random hater from the internet, then a guy who like Georgia.
        You wrote this post to warn the future visitors, but your post is full of bullshit, that was what I was trying to explain to you. A lot was right but a lot was wrong and exaggerated. I tried to explain all this in a much more polite way then you in your answer.

        There’s no rape and assault in our traditions. I’ve no f*cking clue who told this to you, but I’ve spend 20 years in this country and I think I know it better then you.
        Kidnapping in 90′s does NOT mean that these women are still with their husbands. You have no idea what the 90′s was. Women and children were raped and burned or buried alive and nobody could help them because there was war in this country and I, with my 24 years, saw 3 ethnic wars and 1 civil war. In times like this, kidnapping a woman for marriage was one of the minor problems here, but at least this times are gone and we are trying to make everything better. So stop acting like a goddamn victim of our Sex ignorance and “cruel traditions”. Most of Georgian women are emancipated enough to protect themselves against redneck machos and if not, believe me, it’s their fault.

        I can only hope that you’ll never visit Georgia again. Really, I know people who lived 10 years in the most traditional (Boooo…) regions of Georgia, but none of them wrote a misunderstood article about how we torture our women. And don’t tell me that they did not care about the situation here. They did!

        Farewell.

        • panoptical says:

          > “How about you study about the country a bit more before you visit it. Have you even looked at the map?”

          This is not polite. This is insulting. If you start a conversation with insults, don’t be surprised when the person you are talking to gets insulted.

          > “A lot was right but a lot was wrong and exaggerated. I tried to explain all this in a much more polite way then you in your answer.”

          You didn’t explain anything. You insulted my intelligence without even having comprehended the words and sentences that prompted you to do so. In fact, your comment didn’t mention a single thing in my post that you actually disagreed with. So now instead of just lying about what *I* wrote, you’re also lying about what *you* wrote. Great job.

          >”There’s no rape and assault in our traditions.”

          Bullshit.

          >”Kidnapping in 90′s does NOT mean that these women are still with their husbands.”

          In fact, there are women in Georgia currently married to men who kidnapped them.

          >”In times like this, kidnapping a woman for marriage was one of the minor problems here”

          Easy for you to say; you’re not a woman.

          >”Most of Georgian women are emancipated enough to protect themselves against redneck machos and if not, believe me, it’s their fault.”

          This is disgusting. You are disgusting.

          >”I can only hope that you’ll never visit Georgia again.”

          Same to you, asshole.

    • Joni Simonishivli says:

      I really have a hard time understanding why you want to show your level and this is a new low “level” – I suspect you love Georgia since you can’t get laid in your home country for such rock bottom prices.

      • panoptical says:

        Thank you for helping me put my finger on what annoys me so much about the responses to this post. It’s the fact that when Georgian men read this, instead of forming a coherent counterargument, they just ham-fistedly attempt to insult my masculinity.

        • Iberokolxi says:

          Maybe it’s because you can’t take any critics when you write a post full of stereotypes. In this case you should just deactivate the comment section.

        • panoptical says:

          I can take critics, I just expect critiques that are substantive and relevant.

        • Joni Simonishivli says:

          I am not Georgian, only have a Georgian name – so much for your stereotypes – in fact I was born in the United States and have US and Georgian citizenship and both of my parents were also native born Americans. So you think Georgia is one big meat market – and the price is right. So what coherent counter argument can you offer in defense – and it has nothing to do with masculinity but supporting the low life pimps and Turkish brothel owners who take advantage of the acute economic conditions here with the help of so-called sex tourists (English teachers) who think they are getting “bang for the buck. Go to Ukraine or Russia– but there the price is higher and is the HIV/AIDS rate too!

        • panoptical says:

          I can’t offer a counterargument unless you make an argument for me to counter. All you have done is accuse me of being a sex tourist. Okay, here’s my defense: I’m not a sex tourist.

          Now if you have anything to say that isn’t pointless or spurious, please feel free. Otherwise, stfu.

      • Iberokolxi says:

        And I have a hard time understanding why you’re replying my comment instead of clicking on the “leave a comment” section.

  146. jimmi says:

    I have been to Georgia 5 years ago and lived in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi for 3 years. Whatever this article says I am completely agreed with the author. But I can understand you georgian people are not digesting these facts because of your own internal problems in country. No matter how modern you are becoming, you guys are still same. I am visiting georgia every year for 2 months and can see same consitions what I left there.
    I am Indian and now having georgian wife, one kid (finally the one whom I loved, respected her culture and traditions and bla bla).
    While my stay I have myself experienced such incidences.
    1. I had one girlfriend (maia, 23) who was divorced and having sex with me (ofcourse before my marriage). That girl was 23 only and got bridenapped by her husband from Kutaisi.
    2. I had one more girl (eka, 22) whom I was dating but we never did sex because of fear of patroni and I also had no intention to marry her. Dating means only talking on phone, chatting and sometimes meeting only with her group of friends. She was always saying that she can’t do sex without marriage and if you need so much, you can go and visit prostitute to have experience and pleasure. But yes we hugged, kissed, rubbed ;) lots of time whenever we got chance in private
    3. My one Indian male friend (flatmate) had georgian girlfriend who was from village but living and studying in Tbilisi (medical institute). This girl (tea, 20) used to stay at our flat in his room for few nights and no surprise they did sex lots of time. They never got married and now that girl is still unmarried (could be possible as everyone knows about her virginity) finally she moved to Italy to her mom.
    4. I had visited many night clubs and bars in rustaveli, marjanishvili, n so..where prostitutes are easily available for even 20 lari to 100 USD. No kidney thiefs or robbers, simply sexy white chicks from georgia, turkey, russia, armeria, azerbaijan and even ukraine ujbek. So sex is easily available.
    5. Tbilisi and I believe Georgia is very safe country in terms of women safety and young girls are working in night shifts in 24/7 supermarkets, bars, restaurants and so…

    But it is true I simly loved being there and I love georgia for its divine beauty and food and friendly people. Though they don’t like Asian ppl ;)

  147. Iberokolxi says:

    > This is not polite. This is insulting. If you start a conversation with insults, don’t be surprised when the person you are talking to gets insulted.

    Please tell me, which part of my post is not polite, the part that you should read more about Georgia or that you should look at the map?

    > “ You insulted my intelligence”

    lol :D

    >”Bullshit”

    If you mean bride kidnapping, this happened in Europe as well (In Sicily till XX century). I already told you that kidnapping in the 90′s was one of the minor problems, when there was war.

    >”In fact, there are women in Georgia currently married to men who kidnapped them”

    Yes there are some. I never said there aren’t any. But kidnapping them doesn’t mean that they all are still married with the kidnappers.

    >”Easy for you to say; you’re not a woman.”

    You have no idea what war is. You’ve never been in a war. I really wish you the same hell, we saw during the Civil war.

    >”This is disgusting. You are disgusting. Same to you, asshole.”

    And you are a… Never mind. Your not even worth it.

    Hard arguments. Keep hating.

  148. George says:

    Yea, this guys speaks the truth. There are some minor exaggerations, but nothing to really comment about. I would advise foreigners to live in the capital, or other major cities.

  149. rose says:

    come on, guys, the article is 100 % true. If a guy and a girl are seen somewhere alone, people start spreading rumours about their ‘marriage’. You can’t really date in Georgia, just marry the first guy you meet as if Georgians are all Mr Rights :D. The situation is changing now but we are still in a medieval era, it’s so disgusting.

  150. olala says:

    Interesting topic.
    Georgians, who consider themselves “conservative” in this respect, are missing an important point: nobody knows how traditional this traditions really are. Only thing we know for sure is that this kind of sexual abstention was considered characteristic of Georgia in Soviet times. But this might have been more of a colonial phenomenon, than something truly traditional. When it comes to actual traditions, at least some parts of Georgia used to have traditions (such as “Tsatsloba”) which might seem exceptionally open-minded even for modern western Europeans.
    Another aspect is that all this “beauty” of abstention becomes rather questionable, if we look at it closer: young boys visiting prostitutes and getting used to excessive masturbation: is that what one would call “beauty” or “purity”?

  151. olala says:

    However, I also have a couple of remarks for the author:
    One thing is, no matter how much we theorize about all that stuff, in the end you don’t necessarily have less or worse sex in Georgia, than in any western countries. I know many people, who lived in an “open” western society, and had no (or almost no) sex, especially during first months or even a year (these holds even for western Europeans moving from one EU country to another).
    The reasons are mostly different. But amount of contacts, social status and level of integration is probably what matters most.
    Another important nuance is that whatever is said openly doesn’t wholly reflect what’s going on: there’s a kind of hypocritical attitude in a large part of society — many are having affairs, but hiding it.
    Last but not least, when you say that it’s certainly safer to be with other TLGs than with Georgians, implying that Georgia is unsafe in terms of STDs: you should check data. In this respect, Georgia still is a safer place, than most of the world, including the west and Russia, let alone Africa and south or east Asia.

    • panoptical says:

      “Last but not least, when you say that it’s certainly safer to be with other TLGs than with Georgians, implying that Georgia is unsafe in terms of STDs: you should check data.”

      TLG volunteers undergo mandatory STD screening before being admitted into the program.

  152. Isa says:

    I really hope Georgian mentality will never be similar to American mentality.
    Though our sex life has to be changed, undoubtedly, but not radically.

  153. Henry Buell says:

    Thank you for the morning laughter. This post made my day.

    “Speculation as to who this group might be is rampant, but to the mind of the Georgian man, Western women seem like a reasonable set of candidates.”

  154. Nobody holds you to stay in Georgia says:

    Hei!!!! look after you mothers, wives, daughters…. in the West.
    Those Georgians who doesn’t like the lifestyle, please leave the Country and stay in your beloved countries in the West.
    Georgia will continue to develop as its community decides not as some pigs from the west or north dictate.
    Westerns like countries, as Georgia if they work here and get a good salary(15000$ and more per month), because in poor countries they can get everything in cheap including girls and plus they not paying any taxes for their countries and so they becoming reacher and reacher as kings, but as soon as they have a chance to express their pinion about the country, usually they start with words like “Fucking Tbilisi or Georgia” this is how mostly they assess the country’s hospitality, culture and so on.
    Believe me I worked so many projects in Georgia and abroad and they are almost the same.
    They think(English, Amers, Frenches, Australians…) they know everything and all others are stupid.

    P.S.
    Of course there was some exception but I only met few of them. Mostly they remind me machines or Robots they could say “HI or how doing” 100 times a day, but never interested how really you feel. Most of them even never bother about their mothers, daughters or grandsons. Mostly their selfish. they more like dogs, probably because it is a good gesture then human beings. They also talk too much about environment to show how human they are, but they do less to improve general situation in the world, because it is developed countries fault what is happening with it.
    Technically these countries are well developed, but metal I don’t think so specially majority of their society.

  155. 50ShadesGreyer says:

    In public, a gentleman never hints about sex and a lady never flaunts it. Everyone wants the same thing though. Like Khachapuri, there are a thousand ways to make it if you got game!…

    The post is pretty spot on. A writer sensationalizing, exaggerating or simply reporting facts to prove a point never happens? Those who have chosen to attack, hide behind culture, not remove blinders or victim blame need to seriously have their heads examined. Is it because of ego or ignorance? Most arguments to the contrary were tenuous at best to facts presented.

    I’ve lived in GE for 2 years off and on over 6. I’ve met liberal and conservative Georgians. But, sex is still a touchy subject among major-majority. Maybe good, maybe bad. As a guest it isn’t my place to judge, but work within the cultural norms.

    Westerners coming here would be better served not bitching about finding peanut butter, the Internet or getting laid and take some clues from locals like: dressing it up more conservatively, not looking like slobs, acting like guests and keeping to business. You’d be surprised how you’d be perceived (women), the people you’d meet and what could happen after awhile in the sack!…

    Georgians reread OP and my second paragraph and think please. Tbilisi is different, but just slightly. I’ve lived in capitol, seaside and villages. The friends point is a stretch in TBS and elsewhere, but can anyone tell me the Georgian words for boyfriend or girlfriend?…

    • panoptical says:

      The Georgian word for “boyfriend/girlfriend” would be “shequarebuli” (შეყვარებული) if you were being polite and “boiprendi/gurlprendi” if you wanted to imply that the couple is having sexual relations.

      • Anonymous says:

        Shekvarebuli is sweatheart , not boyfriend or girlfriend. There is no doubt that there are a lot of issues with sexual relationships in Georgia, Tbilisi is not that much different.

        • panoptical says:

          “Shekvarebuli is sweatheart , not boyfriend or girlfriend.”

          I know you think that, but I’m sorry to say it’s one of the many quirks that make fluent English speakers laugh at Georgians when they try to speak our language.

          Boyfriend/girlfriend essentially took over that meaning of “sweetheart” starting in the 1960s. By the mid-1990′s boyfriend and girlfriend each had more than double the frequency of “sweetheart”, even including uses of “sweetheart” unrelated to romantic relationships (which is most of them, sweetheart).

          It’s ironically appropriate that you continue to use an English word in its pre-sexual revolution, 1950′s sense. You’re entitled to that conceit, of course, but those of us who learned English in the better half of the 20th century are definitely going to laugh at you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s