by Milana Vuković Runjić


Now that we know each other a bit, I’ll quote you two popular Croatian songs. These are the songs that people on the Croatian coast like to listen to. The first one is older than me: every summer in coffee bars along the seafront I can enjoy this particular gem: “No matter what he’s like / hold on to him tight / because he’s a man.” The second song is slightly more recent; it’s sung by our most popular popstress, Severina, and it goes like this: “Even when you cheat on me I enjoy being with you.”

Why do I bring these up? For the simple reason that many Croatian women still create the image of their ideal husband based on them. A husband is this mysterious being and the most important thing is to get him to do the thing in front of a registrar and to create a marriage nest; after that, come what may. Even if a husband starts feeling a little restless we’ll let it pass because—he’s the husband. So under the motto “No matter what he’s like, hold on to him tight, because he’s a man,” Croatian women will put up with the strangest whims from their husbands, including the fact that the husbands in question stop coming home most evenings. When they feel their strength flagging, Croatian women listen to Severina’s “Even when you cheat on me I enjoy being with you,” and they wipe their tears and go on.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Milana Vuković Runjić writes a sex column for the Croatian newsweekly Globus. This month’s column, like last month’s, was written specifically for the Believer.

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