Do you know about the bald-headed blind man?
kohr-katchahl ghaboul yehss?
This is an ironic saying spoken at the time of the marriage ceremony. At the high point of the ceremony the bride and groom are crowned and their heads touch each other. The priest says to the groom “dehr ehss? – Are you the Lord or Master?” And to the bride he asks, “huhnazahnt ehss? – Are you obedient (to your husband)?” Obviously, they both answer yes.
The best man or anyone close to the bride and groom may say jokingly, “Do you know about the bald-headed blind man?” kohr-katchahl ghaboul yehss?” This is a Turkish saying that portrays the irony of a blind man who cannot see that he is bald. Similarly, the groom may not know that his bride will really be obedient to him in the future. At the marriage ceremony he can’t see into the future just as the bald man cannot see his bald head.
This was a humorous saying to evoke the fact that often the new bride is very obedient to her husband, but, as the years roll by she may use her wiles to make her husband obedient to her wishes.
The Armenian equivalent to the Turkish saying is “goueeyr jahghahdeen bahdmoutiounuh keedehss? – Do you know the story of the bald-headed blind man?”
I don’t like you, but I can’t live without you
kehz chem seerehr, ahratz kehzee chem uhlahr
Literally, this saying reads, “I don’t like you. Without you, I can’t exist.
Members of the same family or loved ones sometimes say this to each other. It implies that I may not like what you do or say, but I cannot live without you either because I love you or I need your material support.
The best pear was eaten by the bear
dahntzeen lahvuh ahrchuh goudeh
This saying is used to indicate that an unworthy person is getting married to a beautiful or desirable spouse.
I have four wives, One has a bad disposition…
I have four wives. One has a bad disposition, one has bad teeth, one’s leg is shorter than the other, one doesn’t know how to cook, and none of them have given birth to a son, therefore I am looking for another wife.
chohrss geen ounehm, ahratcheenuh vad puhnoutioun ounee, yehrgrrohtuh ahdahmnehr puhdatz ehn, yehroteen mehg dzounguh mouissehn gahrj eh, chohrotuh jahss ehpehl chee kidehr. votch megehl dughah yehrehkhah chee pehrahv. tahrtzyalh geen guh puhnduhrehm
The husband is no longer a young boy, nor the wife a young girl.
pehsahn dughah chee tahrnahr, hahrsuhn ahl aghcheek
Keep it (or him/her) to make pickles
bahheh vor tourshe (tuhtvadz) tuhnehs
This saying was used for parents who didn’t want to give their daughter to a suitable candidate or for a businessman who refused to sell his goods at a fair price. The Turkish word for pickle was tourshe. The correct Armenian word is tuhtvadz.
They are two halves of the same apple
Meg kntzoree ghes en
This proverb is used to show a remarkable resemblance between two persons.
May you grow old on the same pillow
Mehg partzee dzerahnak
When well wishing newlyweds one says, “May you grow old on the same pillow.” In other words, may you always remain together in affectionate intimacy. This is called a pari maghtahnk or good wish.
If you leave it up to your daughter, she will either marry the drummer or the zourna (a reed instrument) player.
Aghchuhgan gamkin vor toghouss, gam davouljin garneh gam zournahjin
Let the newly weds laugh, they don’t care what their crazy neighbor says or does
Hars ou pehsan togh khntahn, kev tuhrachtsheen kezi inch
First examine the mother before you marry the daughter
Arhrach moruh des, hedo aghchikuh ar
The mother will often give a hint what the daughter will become especially if the daughter is obedient to her mother.
During my stay in Paris I befriended an Armenian electrician named Arsene. He moved from Syria to France and developed a successful electrical repair business. He confided in me about his wife. She had tried to commit suicide several times and was nearly always forlorn. She had a drinking problem. Arsene had surprised her several times having affairs with strangers in his own house.
I asked him how it was that he married such a woman. Arsene related the story of his first encounter with her. He saw her sitting on a bar stool in a Parisian bar with a cigarette dangling from one corner of her lips. Her head was cocked toward the cigarette, whose smoke was rising into her eyes that were squinting from the smoke. Arsene said she reminded him of his dear grandmother who would sit at the kitchen table with her head cocked smoking a cigarette whose smoke made her eyes squint.
In amazement I said, “Is that the reason you married her?” Arsene replied that the image of her on the bar stool reminded him so much of his dear grandmother. He felt a natural attraction to her that led to marriage.
Arsene got all his signals scrambled that resulted in a tragedy. His poor wife finally did succeed in committing suicide. He later married his wife’s sister and the story continues. It is better to rely on the wisdom of the ancestors when it comes to choosing a wife.
“First examine the mother before you marry the daughter.”