Monday, May 24, 2010

Outside the Demographics

Spring came into its own this past week and, uncharacteristically, carried on through the weekend. It was a wonderfully sunny and warm day on Saturday, which proved quite a bonus as my wife and I were heading to Essex to meet up with some of my fellow countrymen.

We reconnected with NFAH, finally met a few other bloggers in person and enjoyed a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant in the charmingly twee village of Saffron Walden. And if it came to my attention during the meal that I was, once again, the lone male at a table full of women, I certainly didn’t think much of it. It’s just the way things are.

Saffron Walden

But at one point, the subject of blogging and the blogging community was brought up (at a table full of bloggers, go figure) and I did point out that I seemed to be the lone male voice (with the notable exception of Brit Out of Water) in the expat world. I don’t consider my situation very unique, so why am I an honorary member of the Mummy Blogger crowd?

The answer, it turns out, is screamingly obvious; I simply managed to avoid realizing it these past eight years: expat blogs tend to be written by the trailing spouse (stranger in a strange land and all that), and in every case I can think of (aside from myself and Dylan) that trailing spouse is female.

Up until the moment one of my blogging friends pointed this out, I had never thought of myself as a ‘trailing spouse.’ But there you have it. At least in the future, when I go to these sort of gatherings, I won’t have to wonder about being the only guy there.

And I always do enjoy meeting up with my fellow bloggers. We may be from different backgrounds in the States, with different experiences and different expectations, but when we meet up over here as expats, we bring with us so many shared experiences that the basis for a friendship is already present. The conversation, even from the initial introduction, is never awkward because we feel as if we know each other already.

That’s a good way to be, even if I am the odd one out.

We spent a relaxing few hours together in conversation, then parted, with promises to keep in touch. Then my wife and I took advantage of the commerce opportunities Saffron Walden afforded before heading home on the train.

And as we passed through London, I naturally I treated my wife to dinner at an exclusive restaurant.

Hey, I bought you dinner, what more do you want?

All in all a remarkable day: good weather, good conversation, good friends and good food. I’m already looking forward to the next time.


Married to an American Moment of the week:

While watching the television.
Me: What’s he eating?
Wife: It’s a Chupa Chup
Me: What’s that?
Wife: It’s a boiled sweet on a stick.
Me: You mean like a Tootsie Pop?
Wife: What’s that?
Me: It’s a hard candy on a stick, but with a piece of Tootsie Roll inside.
Wife: What’s a Tootsie Roll?


  1. I had such a great time meeting you and your wife. We will definitely have to do it again soon. I am working on a meet-up in Ely but I need to nail down a date (probably in early July).

  2. Kat: It was great meeting you and the others. Definitely need to do it again. Bring some Twizzlers next time ;)

  3. I resent being lumped in with the "mummy bloggers" category, as I am resolutely child-free by choice. Perhaps you and I are actually more part of the same demographic, regardless of biological sex? I'm very much a modern man in many ways....

    Great to see you again, waiting for my invitation to come and see you and the wife in Horsham...

  4. Love the Married To An American moment of the week. I just read it to my husband. He liked learning that we aren't the only ones who go round and round trying to figure out what the other person means with those pesky "new" words.

  5. If it makes you feel any better, I wouldn't have had a clue what she meant either. Southerners eh?

    Agh - my word verification is "expat". How did you do that?

  6. NFAH: As demographics go, I think you are in a class by yourself, though I would never mistake you for "one of the guys" ;) Looking forward to seeing you again and showing you around our lovely town.

    Jenny: For some reason, after 8 years here, a lot of new words are cropping up all of a sudden. In the above exchange: "boiled sweet" I didn't have to ask what that was because the context made it clear, but it was a new one on me.

    EPM: Spooky! It must know who you are ;)

  7. Don't leave me hanging in suspense..... what is a Tootsie Roll?

  8. Ooooohhhhh!! Another thing I forgot I missed! Tootsie Rolls! Although I have to say I prefer Charms to tootsie pops--I love the bubble gum inside. Watermelon Charms....mmmmmm!

    It was a fun day and I must admit it was only as I was writing my post about the day that I realised how well we all got on immediately. There weren't any silent awkward moments, and it was all just friendly and fun. Is that because we're American (Have a Nice Day!) or because we were all just a self selecting group of friendly people?

    Looking forward to the next one.

  9. Chip: It's a chocolate sort of candy. Like fudge but of a harder consistency, rolled into a cylinder. Sorta hard to explain:

    Good, though ;)

  10. It was great meeting you and your wife. As it was my first time meeting bloggers in the real world, I had a very positive first experience. Great conversation and relaxed atmosphere all around.

    I love tootsie pops and tootsie rolls. Michelloui, I completely forgot about Charms pops. What a blast from the past. I'm such a candy hound.

  11. Anonymous2:55 AM

    Damn, I just sent @michelloui a package with candy in it and ALMOST bought Tootsie Rolls for her. Blast! I knew the UK didn't have them when I was there but I thought surely....
    Ah well, I'll have to bring some in July.

  12. Michelle: I'd forgotten completely about them until my wife brought up the Chupa Chups or whatever the hell they are. But, yeah, a Tootsie Roll would not go amiss.

    NVH: Great meeting you, too. Glad your first experience was a good one.

    Smitten: Bring enough for all of us ;)