Greek style negotiation


So my husband and I have recently moved into a new (old) apartment. Our landlord (a first generation Greek fellow who makes the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding look progressive) has been rather slow on getting things fixed up around the place. For instance, the electric wiring is so out-of-code that each time EITHER (you’ll see what I mean in a moment) of us runs the vacuum, with all other appliances turned off, the braker blows.

I’ve been asking him to fix this for over two months now. Yesterday, my husband calls him up to inquire about it and now it’s getting fixed (supposedly) tomorrow. How did this happen? He told the landlord the following (Disclaimer: my husband does not actually believe this, but only wanted to speak in language that would finally be understood)-

“When are you going to fix the wiring? My wife is getting mad at me because she cannot vaccuum.”

To which the landlord replied:

“Ah, yes. I understand. I’ll get someone out there this week.”




14 Responses to “Greek style negotiation”

  1. Nic Says:

    Sad to believe he thinks that way, but at least now you know how to go about getting things done in your rental.

    • Dude Says:

      What’s really sad is that the most convenient way to go on living there is to continue playing into this man’s sexist beliefs.

  2. H Says:

    We definitely found that with our landlord last year, and to an extent with the one this year too. As wary as I am of invoking some stereotypes when criticising others, last year my landlord was a slightly past middle-aged, very traditional Pakistani man. He would let himself in without warning (which was just him being personally an idiot, not culturally) and comment on the state of the house, asking why the ‘girls’ (i.e. the women living in the house, it was 3:4 women:men) weren’t cleaning it. When there were house issues to talk about, he would only discuss them with my male housemates, which meant I never knew what was going on. I’ve found this with my landlord this year, who is an elderly, traditional Northerner. If I ask a question with a male housemate there, they both answer to the male housemate, and maybe even share a joke. With my former landlord this was much worse – the sly male nudge-nudging that you had to use to get your landlord to do anything. In the end, when I had a complaint I’d have to get one of my male housemates to call him, because he’d never return any of the female housemates’ calls.

    Not that I have anything against these two groups of people, just these individuals and the fact that they live up to the negative stereotypes exactly. I hate landlords! Almost as much as I hate being made to look prejudiced by them being idiots!

    • Enoon Says:

      “Almost as much as I hate being made to look prejudiced by them being idiots!”

      Can you imagine the thread that would follow if you replaced “prejudiced” with “sexist?” I don’t understand why you or the OP felt it necessary to bring race into the equation at all.

      • sz Says:

        Let’s be a little bit honest here – elderly, traditional Pakistani men and elderly, traditional northerners ARE more likely to be sexist in just the way described.

        I remember my northerner uncle – who had children with his wife in the late 60s/70s – describing how he gave in to social pressure not to help his wife with so much as even changing a nappy when she was struggling with an illness at the time her children were young. He would rather sit and have to watch her suffer than help her out EVEN THOUGH HE WANTED TO because he believed it just wasn’t a man’s work and he was concerned what his friends would say. Likewise, my northerner dad prides himself on never having even changed a pair of his four children’s socks, but having left it all to my mum. Let’s not try to make people ashamed for bringing these very obvious things to the table in discussions here.

      • H Says:

        Thanks for the support sz. I’m sorry that your uncle and aunt suffered because of these pressures.

        I’m doing a masters in postcolonial literature so I’m probably one of the people most aware of the problems of stereotyping that you could meet. You weren’t to know this, but it means that I would never bring culture (it’s not race) into a discussion without having thought carefully about what I was doing. Part of challenging sexism is challenging its cultural roots – I don’t think Enoon would be so naive as to think that all cultures promote equal treatment of women. It seems a bit knee-jerk ‘oh look a racist BADBADBAD’ to condemn me and the OP for pointing this out.

      • H Says:

        Sorry, when I say ‘you’ in the second paragraph I mean Enoon.

    • Alibelle Says:

      Ok guys, what you’re doing here doesn’t make you a racist, but you are being very othering. It’s shitty and it should stop. You’re lumping every single person from these groups together and setting them off as other and different setting white male blah blah blah as the norm.

      You’re actually setting it up like these men based on their culture were completely unable to think for themselves and as if all men from the same background would behave the same because they aren’t like white american who are individuals they are “other.” Maybe you should look into othering online before you continue.

      “I’m doing a masters in postcolonial literature so I’m probably one of the people most aware of the problems of stereotyping that you could meet.”

      No you aren’t. People being stereotyped are.

      • sz Says:

        Thanks for your advice re looking up “othering” on the internet. I find your response simplistic but you’re welcome to it and thanks for voicing it. I actually have a PhD in Sociology so I probably don’t need to look up GCSE terminology. What we’re doing is talking about examples of people who’ve grown up in different cultures that have made them more likely to be sexist. I see absolutely no problem in this given that at no point are we talking about all northerners, all Pakistanis, etc. We’re not othering – in fact, we’re talking about very specific cases.

      • Alibelle Says:

        Yeah, if you were talking about very specific cases, there wouldn’t be any need at all to bring up race now would there?

      • Alibelle Says:

        Oh and thanks for the information about your PhD, which as absolutelyno influence on the conversation since PhD just like us stupid folk getting our lower degrees also can be racist, homophobic, sexist etc. Also knowing a term doesn’t actually mean that you understand the concept.

        “Let’s be a little bit honest here – elderly, traditional Pakistani men and elderly, traditional northerners ARE more likely to be sexist in just the way described.”

        And let’s be honest here, elderly, traditional men (of any race or ethnic group that traditionally had women doing housework, basically all developed nations) are more likely to be sexist in the way described. Hence the use of the word “traditional.”

  3. sz Says:

    This is all getting a bit silly. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I mentioned my PhD in Sociology to mention that maybe I know exactly what othering (a sociological concept) is. I’m not about to accept that my dad and my uncle weren’t influenced by the cultures they grew up in – which at the time had very different ideas to those that I grew up in.

  4. H Says:

    I don’t think AliBelle understands the different kinds of causation involved here. We’re talking about contributory causes of sexism, v. necessary and sufficient causes. sz and I have said that being brought up in a culture that discriminates against women can make you a sexist. ‘Can’ being the operative word because it’s not deterministic. AliBelle is misreading our arguments and claiming that we have said being brought up in a sexist culture will make you a sexist, with ‘will’ in this sentence being the important word, because it means that the outcome is inevitable. It’s just obvious that these are two different things, and that we’re talking about cultural conditions that affect individuals in different ways.

    Anyway, I have other things to do rather than bang my head against a brick wall, as I’m sure sz does too, I just saw all these updates in my inbox and couldn’t believe someone was still trying to wilfully misinterpret what we were saying.

  5. Ayla Says:

    If we can’t talk about how different cultures influence sexism and be honest about our experiences with sexism, then we may as well not talk about it at all. There is a difference between understanding culture as the backdrop to an encounter and being a racist.

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