Greek Guys in Their 30s
February 14, 2005
This year for Valentine’s Day, we here at DCGreeks.com decided to tackle one of the communities least talked about but most fascinating phenomena – how do Greek guys in their mid to late 30s end up marrying Greek girls in their early 20s? The prevalence of large age differences between husbands and wives is a very old world practice that you would have thought would have ended as the Greek population gets more established here in the U.S. We predict that this trend will lessen and will more than likely disappear in places like DC in 10 to 15 years, but its fun to come up with a theory on why it still persists today. For all of you out there who are thinking that it’s simply a function of perpetual bachelors who have established themselves looking for a hot young wife, well keep reading.
Ever notice that you’ve never heard the story of the Greek high school sweethearts getting married. We’re not sure how often this happens these days in normal everyday life, but it virtually never happens in Greek-American circles. A combination of GOYA and strict parents gives Greek guys and girls a late start in dating. In an environment when they are either surrounded by all their first cousins, or they are so familiar with each other that they feel like their brother or sister anyway, Greek guys and girls seem virtually harmless to each other. Greeks-Americans high schoolers whose parents allow them to date in high school, will typically date non-Greeks.
The next place where most people meet the love of their life is college. It’s here where we see things turning around in the next decade or so, as Greek guys and girls start going to college and graduate school together. We’re not sure about other parts of the country, but here in the DC area, Greek guys and girls didn’t both start ending up at the same out-of-town college until the early to mid 90s. Greek girls were certainly to college before then, but more often than not, overprotective parents (fathers) would steer them towards traditional commuter schools, fine colleges in their own right, but advantageous to keeping them at home. Without going away to college, Greek girls would not be able to meet Greek guys in a less restrictive setting and meet new Greek guys that they didn’t find as harmless. And besides Greek-Americans need to get away from the scrutiny of the rest of the community for relationships to flourish. It’s much easier for two Greek-Americans to meet away at college and develop a relationship strong enough to survive the interrogations and interest of parents, their church, and everyone else.
Unfortunately often what prevents Greek-Americans who even do go to college together over an hour from home, is that as a result of classic over-protective Greek parenting, is both Greek guys and girls entering their “stupid” period – a time where many in both groups date those who aren’t right for them, or who they couldn’t possibly seeing themselves marrying. Greek guys more likely are the ones to break out of that phase earlier, setting up plenty of unrequited college relationships. Another thing that happens is that Greek guys and girls end up staying together in their high school relationships into college as well, allowing them to miss the boat on finding the Greek that a few years down the road will end up being the person with which they spend the rest of their lives.
If a Greek guy and girl don’t find themselves in college, the odds are greater that both of them are heading down the road to a 30s-20s marriage. They will either return home after college or move to an entirely new city. The guys that return home can’t compete with the Greek guys in their 30s who have already established themselves in their lives and careers, the same guys who didn’t have the opportunity to meet a lot of Greek girls when they themselves were young enough to be in college. (Many Greek girls would rather find someone safe and established than roll the dice on a younger guy with potential.) The newly graduated Greek guys are also too busy in their new careers and life after college that they often don’t have the time to find Greek girls, until they themselves become the over-30 bachelors that they swore they would never be like. The Greek girls who return home are also busy in their careers and have the added pressure from their parents to get married, to these perennial Greek over-30 bachelors who are under as much or even more pressure to settle down themselves. It is not surprising that many of these relationships are set-ups anyway. Those Greek-Americans who move to a different city are busy with their careers and trying to acclimate to a new environment. Unless they make a conscious effort to get involved in the Greek community in their new town, they may end up not marrying Greek at all. The alternative for those who do seek out the Greek community in their new town, is a greater likelihood of them marrying a Greek closer to their own age.
As a final thought, we wanted to add that this probably isn’t the only theory on why this phenomena exists, and also that we’re not making any judgments. Greek-American society really doesn’t have a standard as to what is the acceptable age difference between a husband and wife. American society has actually reduced it to a mathematical formula no more complex than a simple linear equation, but we may reveal that at another time. We’d be interested in seeing one for the Greek community that didn’t involve exponential functions.