Once upon an Armenian dream. Marring an Armenian man is every Armenian mother’s dream and every daughters nightmare. Here in the land of water and nothing else, there is a collective social acceptance for cheating men. Yes ladies, cheating men!! It’s common practice for a young virgin to go as a bride to the groom’s parents home, begin an excruciating training process with a supervising mother-in-law, while her husband begins a primitive hunt for hookers and “turst enkads” girls. for those of you wondering; the term “Turs Enkads” refers to women over the age of marriage…25, who can order for herself from a menu, sit in a cafe with friends, go out with the girls every once in a while, make her own decisions on when to leave the house and god forbid uses her brain. All of which make American women… lord be hold “turs enkads”! :-). Back to topic, a few months ago I was approached by a business man who I assumed would be a good contact to network through. We exchanged phone numbers and went on our marry way with my silly American mind saying to its self “nice guy”. Oh no no no, for the next five months I was haunted by this man’s “unknown” phone calls. Married with two children, he continued to harass and follow me around Yerevan. I threatened to tell his wife. I explained it was not right for him to pursue other women while married. He just would not get it. His little brain saw me as “just a girl”, what could I do without a man? He understood, since he has provided a good home, children and food on the table for his wife, she did not have the right to complain about his extramarital activities. I changed my phone number, hid away and played dead for a while in hopes he would think me dead or find another prey. Thankfully, I haven’t seen this silly little man in a while. Don’t get me wrong, not all the men are to blame, most…no not most “ALL” local girls I know have dated or are still dating married men (yea you know who you are). As long as the man is paying, neither the girlfriend nor the wife has the right to complain to anyone. As an Armenian who grew up in America, I am astonished at the lever of social acceptance for such behavior. But should I look deeper to understand? Here is the sad truth; most women who have had premarital sex, are over 25, have been seen out with one or two men, have dated outside the race (dated Iranian or Indian etc.), come from divorced or broken homes don’t necessary have a choice. They are socially shunned, can not leave the country and the job market pay is such that they cannot provide for themselves even as doctor’s or high-ranking officials, at times they are single mothers. So, if a man comes along who can help with a few expenses in exchange for sex, married or not they take the offer. Local women are basically forced to sell their morals to eat or feed. I’ve come to name this backward phenomena Socially Forced Prostitution. Talk about self-genocide. As a descendant of the Turkish-Armenian genocide, I feel lucky, lucky to have had the unfortunate events of the past save me from being raised in today’s Armenia. It is exhausting to live two lives, on the one hand decorate a culture for the rest of the world as an exciting culture with strong values, while hiding the complex layers of dishonest and immoral social behavior within its walls.