Every time I meet another Armenian, I’m filled with a sense of familiarity. Familiarity because we Armenians have an immediate and everlasting communion with one another the moment we meet. “You’re Armenian? So am I! Let’s be best friends.” Maybe because there are so few of us (well…unless you’re in Glendale, California. If you’re not Armenian there, you’re in the minority).
I am always a little embarrassed when I meet someone who tries to speak with me in Armenian and I have to admit I barely know any. To my credit, I know a smattering of words – Good morning, good night, how are you, I’m fine, yes, butt, and naughty. (The last two sound like they belong together in a dirty sentence but it’s just because we got yelled at a lot by our aunties and grandmother for misbehaving as kids and…we like to talk about butts…what? C’mon, that’s NOT anywhere near the weirdest thing you’ve heard about my family.)
Every time I encounter another Armenian, there’s a little transfer of energy between us. Within that spark, the following unspoken dialogue occurs:
Hello, brother or sister. You and I are connected by blood to a proud heritage of people who were almost wiped off the face of this earth. Our ancestors were merchants, artists, surgeons, poets, scientists, teachers and philosophers. Our people have been around since 4,000 B.C. We invented wine (no shit, look it up!). We share a heritage with Cher, Andre Agassi, and Dr. Kevorkian…and that ding dong whose last name also ends with K and is only famous because she has a huge butt and made a grotesque sex tape. I guess we have to include her in our line up, as much as it pains us. We are warm, industrious, family-oriented, funny as hell, and excellent cooks. Our parents and grandparents survived a genocide. They left everything they knew, just so we, their progeny, could be safe, secure, and prosperous. They gave up everything for us. We pledge to honor them with our diligence, honesty, and unabashed positivity.
When my husband and I first met, he told a good friend who was also Armenian about me. His friend said the following:
“Here’s what you need to know about dating an Armenian girl. She will treat you well, and be a loving wife and mother. Most importantly, I’ve never met this girl before, but I need you to understand that she is my sister. If you hurt her, I will kill you.” My husband laughed nervously. His friend did not.
Luckily for my hubby, he’s behaved himself and stayed on my good side. So no need to call in the reinforcements.