This is a MyTake I've been considering writing for a while, and I think I finally have enough to fill it. For those who don't know I've had this GAG account for over a year now. I originally set it up because I wanted to stay in touch with someone I met here, and I deleted my previous account after getting catfished. After that I said, "No more! I'm finished! I'm only gonna use it to talk to this one person, and maybe post something anonymously occasionally." No one was even going to know this account exists. Yet, almost a year and a half later, I'm one of the most popular members on GAG. So, how did I get to this point, and what does it have to do with my theme for this MyTake?
As you guys know, this site can get pretty addicting. After a while, I began to use GAG more and more, and began coming across some really interesting people, many of them foreign. Learning about other cultures and talking to people from different backgrounds is one of my biggest passions. However, I only get the opportunity to do this a few times out of the year, but with today's technology, you can connect with people from across the globe, without having to leave your armchair. Eventually, I couldn't resist anymore. I HAD to talk to these people and get to know their stories and their culture.
I have learned SO much within my 1.5 year period on GAG, and I finally feel I have enough to share some of things I've learned. Unfortunately, due to a character limit, I had to shrink my list from 25 to 14, so I've decided to stick with the ones I thought would be the most interesting, and wouldn't cause controversy. Here are 14 interesting things I've Iearned from my fellow Gaggers.
French Dating Scene
Alice was the first person to follow me after I deannonymized my account, which was over a year ago. Throughout that time, she taught me SO many interesting things about her country, France. But in the end, I decided to share what I learned about the French dating scene.
We all know that France is synonymous with love and romance. Therefore, it's logical to think that one could simply arrive in the country a bachelor, and leave the country with a new French girlfriend. But as I learned from Alice, getting a significant other in France is much more complicated than that.
Firstly, French people are very reserved. What I mean by that is, they VERY RARELY befriend strangers. In fact, Alice even openly admitted to me that had we come across each other in person, we most likely never would have become friends. That's just the way French people are. The same thing goes for dating. A French man would NEVER ask a random girl he just met, out on a date like American men do. In the U.S., you basically have to make a move within the first two weeks, or you'll end up being stuck in the dreaded "friend zone". In France however, it is actually normal to be friends with someone for two years, before you start getting involved romantically. But wait, I just said French people don't like to befriend strangers. So you're probably wondering, how the entire French population hasn't gone extinct yet? In America, we sort of have this unofficial rule that says, "Don't date your co-workers." That's why most American couples meet in bars, school or public venues. In France however, it is the complete opposite. French people for the most part, only develop friendships and relationships with their classmates and co-workers. So if you want a French girlfriend, you either have to study abroad there, or get a job there.
Now, what do French girls look for in a man? According to my dear friend Alice, a man must be slim and completely hairless, aside from his head, if he plans to attract a French woman. The same goes for girls. To some people this may seem strange and emasculating, but this is simply the beauty standard in France. So yeah, all those stereotypes about hairy French girls are exactly that, stereotypes.
Bulgaria's Age Of Consent
I had known Anmari a.k.a. "Pug Girl" for almost as long as I've had this account. In fact, she was the third person I started talking to on GAG, and I immediately knew we would be good friends. Her home country of Bulgaria was one of the first things we talked about, and she could say that I knew even more about Bulgaria than her. However, one thing I did not know was that the age of consent in Bulgaria is 14. To Americans this may seem very strange and even repulsive, but if you think about it, it is actually quite logical, considering that many high schoolers are already having sex anyways. However, this also means that a 60 year old man can legally have sex with a 14 year old girl in Bulgaria. I think this is the concept that most Americans have a problem with, and I must admit that is pretty repulsive, but at least Bulgarians are smart enough to realize that 14 year olds are completely capable of sexual consent. So thanks for sharing that Anmari, as strange as it is.
No Kurd Left Behind
Busee is a young Turkish girl who joined GAG only a couple months ago, but we've already had some insightful conversations. Busee is currently studying to become a teacher, and just a couple days ago, she told me that after graduation, Turkish teachers are required to spend four years teaching in Kurdish cities. However, this only applies to public school teachers. Teachers who plan to teach in private schools, are not required to teach in Kurdish towns. We didn't get into a discussion as to why this is, but I thought it was an interesting concept. I'm guessing it has to do with the government wanting to integrate the Kurdish population.
This was without a doubt my hardest pick. ChocoLada is probably the smartest girl on GAG, and has taught me many things, not only about her country Montenegro, but about other countries as well. After a bit of thought, I decided to write about this one, since it is the most interesting.
As you guys may already know, I have Polish roots, and some of my favorite conversations with Lada, were the ones where she shared facts about Poland that I didn't even know. One day we were talking about the Cyrillic alphabet, and I told her, "It's strange that Poland doesn't use Cyrillic alphabet. That would be really cool." Well, it turns out, they did, a long time ago. Lada didn't tell me the actual time period, and I couldn't find much information on it aside from a chart showing the alphabet, but apparently, Poland did have a Cyrillic alphabet at one point. And it's by far the most interesting Cyrillic alphabet I've ever seen, with some very strange, unique and complex symbols, not found in other Cryllic alphabets. So thank you Lada, for sharing that with me.
Bengali Tiger Moms
In case you haven't heard that term before, a "Tiger Mom" is a term commonly used to refer to mom of East/SE Asian origin who basically want their children to get straight As. Well, as I learned from my Bangladeshi friend CubsterShura, Tiger Moms are also found in Bangladesh, and Bangaldeshi moms are some of the most brutal. It is not unheard of for a Bangladeshi mom to physically abuse her child for getting a "low score" on an exam or course. And in Bangladesh, a "low score" can be anything below 100%. Bangladeshi students are pretty much expected to get perfect scores, in every single subject. This puts a lot of stress and pressure on the country's students, in extreme cases even leading to depression and suicide. On the bright side however, Bangladeshis can boast about having some of the smartest people on earth, and many of these students will enter into high end professions, which will hopefully benefit their country and their families.
Most people on GAG probably know who Genie23 is. She's one of the most popular and beloved members on GAG. I first started talking to Genie23 a few months ago. During one of our very first phone conversations, we some how ended up on the topic of marriage. That's when Genie told me about a very interesting Indian marriage custom. As you probably know, a lot of Indians, mainly Hindus and Buddhists believe in the concept of reincarnation. During Hindu weddings, the bride and groom recite their wedding vows 7 times. They're then tied together, and holding each other's pinky fingers, walk around a fire 7 times. Why 7? Because Hindus believe that a person's soul reincarnates 7 times, so this ritual is performed to ensure that the couple will always find each other in their next life. How romantic is that. Since we're on the subject of weddings......
Ukrainian Wedding Ransoms
Horilka was a Ukrainian Gagger I met only a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, she is no longer active on GAG, but we've remained in touch. Although I have only known her for a couple weeks, we already had some juicy conversations. Probably the most interesting thing she shared with me so far was the Ukrainian wedding custom of "Kidnapping the Bride." Basically the bride's father "kidnaps" her on the day of her wedding, and makes the groom pay a ransom for her. This ransom usually ranges between $1000 and $2000 USD. As you've probably guessed, the bride isn't actually in any danger, but even still, her father will not release her to the groom until the "ransom" is paid. Really, this is just a fun way to pay back the wedding expenses.
Topless Sunbathing In Tunisia
I only talked to this girl for a brief period a couple months ago, but I was able to learn a few things about Tunisia one of which really shocked me. We were having a discussion about Muslims' lack of assimilation and respect for Western culture, when Iman said to me, "Europeans want us to respect THEIR culture, but they don't respect OURS. Their women sunbath topless on our beaches." My initial reaction was, "Yeah right. They would get killed if they did that." At this point I was certain the person I was talking to wasn't a Tunisian girl, so I did my own research and it turns out that what Iman told me is true. At the large tourist resorts in Tunisia, it is not uncommon to see European women going topless. This is the LAST thing I expected in a Muslim country, but it is very much a thing. So now I kind of understand why she said what she said. This is not right, but at the same time, it's up to the local authorities to enforce these laws. But topless women in a Muslim country. Who knew?
Romania's Hungarian Minority
This is honestly one I should have known, because it seems pretty logical, but I actually didn't learn about it until a few months ago when started talking to Isten. For those of you who don't know, Isten is a Gagger who lives in Romania, but is ethnically Hungarian. One of several thousand actually. We never really disgusted the specific details of how Hunagrian enclaves came to exist in Romania. But the jist of the story is, the region which we now know as Transylvania was once part of Hungary. Then in some point in history, Romania acquired a large portion of Hungarian land, trapping thousands of ethnic Hungarians within its borders. Today, there are several thousands of them living in Transylvania, and along the Hungarian border. In order to avoid any sort of ethnic tension, the Romanian government has issued them dual citizenship, meaning they are free to move between Romania and Hungary as much as they wish. And it seems the majority of them would prefer to live in Hungary if given the opportunity.
2019 Algerian Revolution
Jane_anne is a young Algerian girl I met a few months ago. At first I was very surprised to find an Algerian girl on GAG, as I thought social media was heavily restricted in the country. It turns out I was wrong about that too. Anyways, Algeria is one of those obscure countries that have always fascinated me. Its existence isn't really a secret as it takes up a large chunk of the North African map. However, the country is very isolated from the rest of the world, and while incidents of terrorism and revolutions in other Muslim countries make international headlines, the Western media very rarely reports on anything happening in Algeria. Well, it turns out around the same time I started talking to Jane, there was a revolution taking place in Algeria to remove President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been ruling the country since 1999. Although the country was fairly stable, secular and prosperous during his reign, he was getting old and sick, and the young people of Algeria decided it was time for him to step down. Earlier this year, they hit the streets of Algiers in a peaceful protest known as the "Smile Revolution". Although protesting is officially illegal in Algeria, Bouteflika didn't try to suppress them, except in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace. I believe there was only one protester killed during the revolution, and only a handful of arrests. Even Algerians living abroad rallied in support of Bouteflika's removal. Then on April 2 on this year, Bouteflika peacefully stepped down as the country's president. Had I not met Jane, I would have never known that there was a peaceful revolution in Algeria. So thanks for sharing that.
The Caribbean's Darkside
Luvstoned4him is one of my newest followers on GAG, and although we're just getting to know each other, she has already shared some interesting facts about her country, St.Vincent and the Grenadines. I travel to the Caribbean frequently, and I always love getting away from the resort areas and learning about the "true" Caribbean. So when I found out there was a St. Vincent person on GAG, I knew I had to talk to her. We started talking about the "real" Caribbean, and she told me that St. Vincent once had 40 murders in one month. She then told me how a family of tourists ; a father, mother and their 3 daughters were attacked by local thugs, while hiking the island's volcano. The mother and daughters were raped and the father was knocked out. Afterwards, the gang robbed them. The incident caused a huge uproar, and hurt the island's tourism for a while.
Then I stumbled upon a question she had posted under "Sexuality". This was the LAST place on earth I expected to find cultural enlightenment, yet sure enough, the conversation quickly turned to sex culture and STDS in the Caribbean. It was here I learned that SVG has a high teen pregnancy rate, and girls as young as 11 and 12 years old are having children. In addition, the nation also has a really bad HIV problem. In fact, according to her, the tiny island of Canouan, which is home to just 1700 people, has the second highest HIV rate on earth. In addition, many fisherman clean their fish without gloves, and sometimes they cut their hand and their blood gets into the fish. And with third world food sanitation standards, you could be eating HIV contaminated fish. Maybe I'll think twice before ordering fish in the Caribbean again.
I know this is all very dark, but the world isn't always pretty. Sometimes, one needs to know about the bad shit too, so I am really happy that she shared this stuff about her country. Most Caribbean people try to hide it.
I've known PrincessGrail since back when she was QueenOfCups. And anyone who's seen her posts or talked to her in PM, knows what an intelligent girl she is, especially when it comes to history. However, what really peaked my interest in getting to know her, is when I found out she was a Wiccan. This very controversial and often misunderstood religion is one that has always fascinated me, but one that I knew very little about. I knew it involved spells, seances and a bunch of people dancing naked in the woods. I was curious to learn more about this fascinating religion. By far the most interesting thing I learned from PrincessGrail, was the existence of an old Pagan holiday called "Beltane", held on May 1. I knew May 1st was significant in many cultures, but this was the first time I had ever heard of Beltane, and when she started telling me the rituals involved with it, I was REALLY intrigued. The holiday marks the end of spring and the start of the harvest season. It is also a day associated with fertility. During Beltane, Wiccans dance naked around a large bon fire, and some may choose to engage in sexual intercourse or masturbation, although this is not required and many Wiccans actually condemn this. Nevertheless, sexual activities DO occasionally take place, which was by far the most fascinating aspect of this ritual for me. This is without a doubt the most interesting religious ritual I had ever heard of, and I never would've known about it had it not been for PrincessGrail. So thanks for sharing this with me.
You guys probably know SecretGardenBlood as the girl who wants a Scandinavian slave. I first started talking to her a few months ago, and honestly didn't think I would learn anything productive from her. Then one day, we were bored and started messing around, and I ended up sending her a voice recording of me speaking Kurdish. "What is this?" she asked me. "I don't understand this." "What do you mean you don't understand? You are Kurdish, aren't you?" "Yes, but this not MY Kurdish." That's when I learned that there are three different versions of the Kurdish language. I forgot which one I sent her, and which was the one spoken in HER region, but basically there is Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji), Central Kurdish (Sorani), and Southern Kurdish (Palewani or Kirmashani). You figure they would be able to understand each other, but it turns out they cannot. And it's basically the same situation we have with Spanish. They all think THEIR version of Kurdish is the proper Kurdish. Anyways, I'm really glad I learned that because I didn't know there were so many versions of Kurdish.
Sorgulayan_birey was another Kurdish Gagger I had interacted with frequently. Our conversations were quite something, and there are several things I could have chosen for this list, however I ended up going with Jinns. Firstly, for those of you who don't know, Jinns are basically evil mischievous entities in Islamic folklore, who try to hurt Muslims and get them to do bad things. Muslims truly believe in these beings, and fear them greatly. I actually knew about Jinns long before GAG, which to her was a surprise, but she shared with me some facts about them that I did not know.
First of all, I thought Jinns only live in wadis and toilets, yes toilets. But it turns out they can be ANYWHERE.
Secondly, I thought they're only found in the Middle East. But it turns out they can be ANYWHERE, including in non Muslim countries.
Thirdly, there are both male and female Jinns, and apparently they can haunt your house and even rape you, even if you have no affiliation with Islam.
Fourthly, I thought Jinns like Muslims. Turns out they hate them, so Islamaphobes, you're safe.
Fifthly, you can only see them when THEY want you to see them, or if you some how trick them.
Sixthly, and this is the strangest one all, apparently there are some conspiracy theories that major world governments including Syria, Russia, Israel and the U.S. are using Jinns for espionage and warfare. This one seems really far fetched, but nevertheless it was reassuring to know that Americans aren't the only ones who believe in crazy conspiracy theories. And from a cultural perspective, it's actually quite interesting.
But damn, this one gives me the chills.