“Armenian girls are different than American girls,” says Armen.
“It’s true,” confirms Sarkis.
It’s an age old topic, the courtship dance between men and women. I’m the only woman in the group as the men explain the illusive differences between the two genders while Vic silently listens to our discussion.
“They [American girls] are more open. They enjoy their life. But Armenian girls are all about showing off,” says Armen trying to explain the differences. “They look at the car [a guy is driving]. Some girls know all the models of cars, whether it’s expensive or not.” He is surprised at the wealth of knowledge the girls posses about cars, sometimes even surpassing his own. “I go out with Latinos and others and they don’t know the difference between a Porsche and a Mercedes. They don’t care. They want to go, enjoy themselves and their time.”
“They value…,” Sarkis begins to explain his perception of the differences.
“Which restaurant you go to,” Armen interrupts. “Whether it’s expensive or not, they [non-Armenian girls] don’t judge you.”
“The sad part is that we [Armenian men] also have a lot of flaws. We’re not that upstanding either, but …,” Sarkis tapers off, implying that despite the men’s flaws it doesn’t reach the proportions they’ve observed in women.
“We’re not perfect of course,” agrees Armen.
“Armenian girls, when they go out with us, have a higher expectation then when they go out with an American or a black guy,” says Sarkis.
“Do you have a higher expectation from Armenian girls versus an American girl?” I ask.
“No,” says Armen.
“No,” says Sarkis.
“Yes,” says Vic, giving his input. He refuses to offer any more insight, preferring to listen to others.
“The new generation feels like they have to outdo each other,” says Armen. “They say Latino girls are wild but Armenian girls outdo them. Go to any club and look around. Every girl with a black guy is Armenian.” He makes this statement as an extreme example of how far he feels Armenian women have strayed from the norms of our society.
Armen doesn’t shirk his ethnicity. “I love Armenians. I’m proud I’m Armenian,” he stresses. “But this is what I see.” What he sees is a new generation of women, much different than the ones with which he grew up, and wonders if he can find a future with one of them. “Especially if you’re older. Once your reach 38 to 40 [years old], no way,” concurs Sarkis.
This new generation of women they refer to is between 25 to 30 years old, by their assessment, and too young for them to take into serious consideration.
“But you see it [the wild behavior]. This is it, the Armenian generation,” says Sarkis with a resigned air.
“Even with the older ones there is another type of problem,” begins Armen, “first they ask you what you do then if you have a house or what kind of car you drive. This is not an important thing.” He thinks it’s rude to ask these types of personal financial questions when out on a date. “I never ask a girl ‘how much you make?’ or ‘what you do?’ I don’t think it’s important but for them it’s important.” Armen believes that women place too much value on the material things and tells the story of a wealthy acquaintance of his who he says, “women like and respect because he’s rich.” “But,” he qualifies, “all the guys know he’s not a good guy.”
“Am I right?” he asks Sarkis for confirmation.
“When you see this kind of stuff you grow cold inside.”
“Would you go out with a girl without a job or a home or a car?” I ask, curious to know if they applied the same standards to themselves.
“Girls want above average. For us, average is ok. We don’t care,” says Armen with a shrug.
All three of these men are socially active in the community. They attend parties and events and their close friends are Armenian. They are most bothered by the double standard by which they feel Armenian women employ. They feel too pressured by the expectation women place on them while willing to settle for much less from their non-Armenian counterparts. “I went out the other night and the the first thing a girl asked me is ‘what do you do?'” Armen begins his story, “who cares what I do?”
“In the end you feel that everything is about money,” explains Sarkis.
“Maybe it’s a way of making conversation,” I say, offering an alternate intention for the question that seems to most bother Armen.
“Even if it is, it doesn’t feel right,” he says.
It seems Armenian men, or maybe men in general, have their own rules of etiquette. It would be wise to remember that topping the list of unacceptable questions, at least until they get to know a woman better, is asking about their profession or financial status.