Entries in culture (3)

Wednesday
Apr172013

Four Steps to a Happy Relationship, According to Ethiopian Men

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher who focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, engaging in ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research she conducts. Recently, Michelle visited Ethiopia and attempted to find out the secrets to a good relationship.

On a recent trip to Ethiopia, I asked the same question of many men, some single and dating, some young and newly married, and some older men in committed relationships for many years: What makes a relationship successful?

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Thursday
Dec062012

Could You Be Loved, and Give Love? Cultural Differences in Pursuing a Partner

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher who focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, conducting ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research she conducts. Recently, Michelle visited 3 countries in 1 trip and did a cross-cultural comparison.

My last international romp spanned across 2 continents and 3 countries—Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Since I’ve written about each of these countries individually, this time I decided to do a cross-cultural comparison in my ethnographic fieldwork. In each country, I wanted to look at how men and women show their romantic interest in a potential partner.

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Monday
Apr302012

We're From Different Cultures...Can It Work?

I have had a most thrilling and indecipherable relationship with a girl (I am 26 years old, she is 24): she is pretty, very stylish-looking, and has a divine figure, it seems. I have fancied that I love her with my whole soul. That is a strange thing. From the time that one likes a woman one truly believes that he could not get along without her for the remaining of his life. I know that in order to spend my existence side by side with another there must be not a brusque, physical passion that soon dies out, but a concordance of soul, temperament and temper. She is endowed with this elegant silliness. She chatters, babbles, says nonsense remarks that seem spiritual by how funny they are uttered. When she raises her arms, when she bents, when she gets into a car, when she shake hands, her gestures are perfect for correctness and appropriateness.

She wants to marry me, but I think such a relationship is doomed to failure. She is very poor , from a third-world country, quit school at age 17, often hysterical (unstable)  and is of doubtful reputation. The only thing that prevents me from stopping contact with her is that I know she loves me and wants to build a common project for the future. According to her standards, I am rich, overeducated, and from the aristocracy; we are exactly the opposite. Our families wouldn't get along with each other, our values & principles are different. Our conversations only consist of trivialities and are very limited. I can't discuss with her about politics, culture, travelling, history...She is somehow materialistic, though surprisingly sincere in her emotions towards myself. Despite all of this, I can't get her out of my mind (I wish I could), and vice-versa.

My question is: if 2 people are attracted by each other, love each other (or at least believe to) and have the sincere intention to build (or at least try to) a strong relationship that would last, can they achieve their objective even if they are extremely different (both intrinsically and in what life has offered to them since their encounter)?

If two people are attracted to each other and in love, can they build a lasting relationship in spite of very different cultural and economic situations?

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