The next post will be on or before May 4th. If you want to read my new comic novel about online dating THE LAWLESS BOOK OF LOVE, you need to go to the January and February 2018 archive, see well below and to the right


A few years back, newly arrived in Kythnos, and being single and infinitely available, I took a look at a Greek dating site where approximately a quarter of the women put their profiles in English rather than Greek. The implication was that they were looking either for Greek men who were sophisticated English speakers (thus likely to have better jobs with their command of the universal language) or foreigners living in Greece for whom the lingua franca was invariably my native tongue. Early on I was struck by the touching photo of a homely-looking lady in her late 50s, an Athenian whose English profile name startlingly was ‘Puglady’. She was as I say homely, but looked nothing like a pug, and I was initially baffled until I read on and saw she was an animal lover and the light dawned (see below for more about dawns and about misunderstanding). From that I deduced she probably owned a pug dog, and paraded it proudly round the parks and plateias of Athens, but it proved once again the risks entailed in compound nouns, especially when misunderstood in translation. I had immediately thought Puglady meant ‘a woman who looked remarkably like a pug’ rather than she was a fan of the little flatnosed and occasionally buckteethed dogs, and if for argument’s sake she had had an adored pet rat called Sophocles and called herself ‘Ratlady’ would she, I wonder, have had a single approach from anyone either Greek or otherwise?

Puglady had elaborated her profile in English, while other women chose to attach a fancy English name, but with the rest of the CV in Greek. One such had herself down as ‘Lady Godiva’ and boldly declared in Greek that she was ‘tactile’. But being tactile and riding into town bare-arse naked on a handsome horse are arguably historically different scenarios, and I wondered what kind of salivating or other response she got from those Greeks and foreigners who knew the striking details of the legendary English story…

More startling than either of those, was a woman whose profile name was Greek and with the rest of her CV in her home tongue. She was a very attractive widow of 60, with vividly animated eyes and the kindest, friendliest face you could imagine, an obvious gem among all the confused and hopeful Pugladys, and those ‘I am very physical’ Hellenic Godivas. But her profile name suggested she was catastrophically dozy and worryingly slow on the uptake, and worse still that no one in their right mind would ever want her as a partner, as she had named herself Xrisiavyi meaning literally Golden Dawn. To be sure, she really did look as sweet and aureous as the tenderest Greek dawn, but Xrisiavyi is also the name of the brutal Greek Fascist party who specialise in beating up immigrants in Athens and even occasionally being caught on telly beating up their parliamentary opponents in Syndagma. I read her profile carefully, double checking with a dictionary, and very obviously she was no Fascist nor vaunting racist, but God love her, in another country and another era she might innocently have called herself StrictlyAngloSaxon or PureAryanLady, not having checked out exactly what Aryan meant (it is in fact Sanskrit for ‘noble victorious invader’, its opposite being ‘mleccha’ meaning ‘indigenous barbarian’, as encountered in Ancient India circa 1500 BC) …


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