As with any culture, Greeks seem to carry their own set of stereotypes and common experiences, whether they be positive or negative. Try our hardest, we can't seem to escape the gossip-loving nature of our people. We are known for throwing huge, festive celebrations and always wanting to enjoy a good time, worrying about any possible consequences later. Greeks lay claim to a pretty delicious cuisine (Mediterranean diet, anyone?). And we are loud only because we know that the louder you are, the more right you are. #facts
If you grew up Greek or happen to have a Greek friend, then you will probably be familiar with some, if not all, of the following signs. How many can you relate to?
1. People will always ask you if My Big Fat Greek Wedding is an accurate representation of your culture.
And you have to admit that yes, indeed it is... but did you also happen to know that a lot of the film was shot at Ryerson, the Danforth, and Toronto's East York neighborhood?
2. While the rest of your friends were busy making squad plans to go hang out at Fairview Mall over the weekend, your Saturdays consisted of Greek School.
David and Mary Thomson Collegiate was the SPOT for every Greek kid in Scarborough for the first 798 Saturdays of their life.
3. Going away for university was an overly dramatic issue - if your parents let you move away at all, that is.
"But moooom, Western specializes in the exact program I want!"
"I don't care, moro mou, you can still choose between Ryerson, York, and U of T."
4. You've been shaving, waxing, or plucking since middle school.
Once you discovered the amazingness of Nair or at-home wax kits in seventh grade, you never went back - although now you might prefer to let a professional at Her Majesty's Pleasure or The Ten Spot take care of it instead because you can't be bothered to shave it yourself every. single. damn. day.
5. On the bright side, though, you have pretty great eyebrows.
And when your friends point this out to you, you wave it off with a humble, "Well, it's just 'cause I'm Greek, I guess." There are both pros and cons to this life, my friends.
6. You think Taste of the Danforth isn't the greatest representation of your culture, and insist to others every year that it can't compare to "real Greek food."
Your mom's homemade dolmades and pastitsio, obv.
7. You spent the Euro soccer tournament of summer 2004 proudly screaming and parading in the streets of the Danforth with every other obsessively patriotic Greek Torontonian.
Yes, we squeaked through games in overtime or last-minute corner kicks, but it was our once-in-a-lifetime golden moment, okay? Allow it, fam.
8. You absolutely cannot leave your salad at Messini or The Greek Grill until you've sopped up all the olive oil at the bottom with your pita bread.
One does not simply order a Greek salad and not scoop up every last morsel.
9. As a kid, you might've futilely attempted to sweet-talk your mom into buying a Happy Meal burger on the drive home from school...
... but she'd keep on driving right past the nearby Drive-Thru and make keftedes for dinner instead. I mean, keftedes are great and all, but... but your Happy Meal toy though...
10. Growing up, you could never go sleep over at a friend's house. Ever.
Sauga, Vaughan, Scarborough - it doesn't matter if your friend lived on the other side of the GTA or just down the street. If they weren't a Greek family friend, it wasn't happening.
11. Your non-Greek friends still learned to call your mom "theia" and your grandma "yiayia."
Every person older than you is an auntie or uncle in Greek culture, and my yiayia is now your yiayia, too. Even if you're not Greek yourself. I mean, anything else would just be straight up disrespect, y'know?
12. Your friends hoped you could supply the Smirnoff or Captain Morgan for that underage high school house party, but you could only manage to bring Ouzo instead.
"It's all I could find in my parent's liquor cabinet, guys... my bad."
13. It was always too much of a mission to sneak out to Sneaky Dee's (or your local bar, or any other late-night adventure).
And say what to my mom, exactly?! Hahahahaha no thanks, I value my life, bruh. You guys go ahead, I'll just be sitting here in my room at 11pm with an overwhelming but ever-familiar sense of FOMO.
14. Even though you grew up in a city as multicultural as Toronto, you know that your dating options are still pretty limited seeing as how your parents expect you to bring home a nice Greek boy (or girl) - no exceptions.
Well, you could always try, but you and I both know that bringing home anyone who isn't Greek is going to prove to be a bit of a long shot. Don't kid yourself, boo.
15. Your yiayia and pappou were always trying to slip you cash as if it was some kind of drug deal.
Sure, your parents might've denied you money, but then yiayia or pappou would pull you to the side anyway and subtly slip you that $10 you wanted to make a Tim's or Menchie's run. Plus, they probably gave you waaay more than necessary and vehemently insisted you keep the change.
16. Meeting another Greek and finding out they weren't Orthodox was a shock to your system.
"What do you mean, you're not Orthodox?! Are you sure you're really Greek???"
17. Likewise, if you're a Greek who wasn't raised Orthodox, you've come to expect the stares and confusion you receive when revealing this information.
We do indeed exist, people (albeit we're a small percentage). We may not light lambades at midnight on Easter but we still love mezedakia or a big slice of tsoureki, and competing at family gatherings to see whose dyed red egg will remain victoriously uncracked (bragging rights 'til next Easter, guys, it's a pretty big deal).
18. Everyone looooves getting a chance to use the phrase 'Opa!' around you.
It's your birthday? Opa! Someone accidentally broke a plate? Opa! Oh, you're Greek? Opaaaaa!
19. Reading #18 above suddenly kind of makes you crave saganaki now.
Mmmmm, saganaki. Fried cheesy goodness. Anybody down to hit up Pantheon, like, ASAP? I'll order the saganaki, you get the tirokafteri, and we'll split 'em between the two of us, deal? Deal.
20. Your mom force feeds all your friends.
Even if your friend is only dropping by for a quick minute to pick up something they accidentally left at your place last week, your mom will let 'em know that souvlaki is on the grill right now and would they like to stay and have some? Side note: your friend doesn't know what's good for 'em if they say no because a) souvlaki with tzatziki is the bomb, and b) declining an offer to let my parents feed you is, like, soooo rude, amirite?
21. You will probably have to "call when you get there" even if 'there' is just your friend's house a short walk away.
And of course you always forget to make the call, and of course you always get a call or text from your parents anyway just to make sure you got there safely.
22. Everybody in your family is way too intrusive about your love life (or lack thereof), way too gossip-y, and way too loud.
But they're still your family who will fiercely love, look out for, and take pride in their own, and you love 'em for it.
How many did you relate to? Don't forget to share this article with that one Greek friend who sprinkles feta cheese on everything and communicates at a higher decibel level than everyone else (they're just 'passionate,' okay?). ;)
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