Professor Siegbert Wolfgang Schwarzenfuss is a non-existing scientist, traveler and writer of a complicated origin working as a guest professor at the most prestigious universities of the world. He is an expert in psychology, anthropology, gender and comparative philatelistics. His research on Bronislaw Malinowski’s relations with women and his erotic dreams dreamt at Borneo was published as Ph.D. and provoked a hot scientific discussion. The Professor’s current interest in gender appeared after a year spent within an Arabian polygamist family, where he managed to remain uncovered even by the family members. The following text consists of selected sections of professor Schwarzenfuss’ fieldnotes made during his journey to the exotic Sarmapato Land.
baba za kierownicą – ‘a female behind the wheel’
The Sarmapatos seem very friendly and hospitable at first sight. The next impression, which comes to my mind, is their gift to open their heart to a stranger. A kind question of how they feel is answered with unexpected precision and it turns to a story of their health and of weather conditions, mood, family problems, politics and love. The information given by a Sarmapato during the first half of an hour of the acquaintanceship obliges a stranger to uncover his deepest family secrets and tell fantastic stories to satisfy the interlocutor.
(…) The Sarmapatos react very emotionally while driving and talking about driving.
A creature called Babaza kierovnico determines their stories. [Editor’s note: the professor probably means the phrase: baba za kierownicą (sarm. ‘a female behind the wheel’).] The Sarmapatos describe this local demon as a terrible-looking witch appearing on the road in her vehicle and bringing disorder to the world of brave boys in their cars. Babaza kierovnico also has the power to infect Sarmapato wives, sisters and mothers with her bad driving manner. She causes most of the negative verbal comments of the drivers and accidents on the roads of the Sarmapato Land. I was not „lucky” enough to see her face, but I managed to notice the hairy shape of her head through the back window of her car while she was passing.
Highly respected and admired
The women of this country sitting anywhere but in the driver’s seat are highly respected and admired. Their high position is comparable to the bishop’s position as the Sarmapatos kiss them on the top of their hand. I was told this is an old custom of the land and I suppose it can be linked to a pre-Christian matriarchal tradition when women were carrying the most important temple functions.
(…) The Sarmapatos are lovely storytellers. Their talent is present not only at the numerous blog sites (the Sarmapato language is the 3rd most common blog language in the internet), but this becomes also noticeable in everyday life. The Sarmapatos’ favourite genre of stories is horror. I must say they are very convincing making terrified or disgusted faces, even when telling jokes. A good example of such stories is the Sarmapato description of a legendary sort of gothic movement called feministki.
The feministki’s curse
To avoid misunderstandings, the feministki in the Sarmapato Land have nothing to do with the West European feministic movement. According to the information of my interlocutors, both men and women, the feministki seem to be a group of noisy performers causing a roadblock on the March 8 (woman’s day) and provoking calm young bald citizens to behave aggressively. This performance can probably be linked to a possession cult including voodoo demons, present even here. It would be interesting to research this more thoroughly by interviewing the young bald Sarmapatos, who could have lost their hair because of the feministki’s curse.
Huge, hariy and dreadful monsters
As I did not manage to join the carnival of March 8 I had to trust the description given by my interlocutors. The feministki are described to be huge, hairy and dreadful monsters that want all these fragile ordinary women to work in steel factories. The feministki’s aim is to create a world in which strong and cruel women resembling King Kong humiliate weak housemen.
As already mentioned, the legendary feministki have nothing to do with the feministic movement elsewhere. All actions concerning women rights in the Sarmapato Land are carried out by ordinary people, not by the horrifying performers. As the Sarmapatos are also superstitious they do not dare to name themselves feminists. It is a kind of a national game: even if you are having a feminist point of view you have to say: „I am not a feministka, of course” at the end of each statement. It is a magic formula, making some feminist ideas come true. Note, you must say it with a stone face, as if you really believed it. The Sarmapatos are very convincing actors and you never know, whether they are serious or joking.
(…) the title “feministki” among women in the Sarmapato Land is determined by having or not having a boyfriend. The rule goes like this: those who are single must be a feministka, those who stay in a relationship cannot be one of those hairy Yetis. Theoretically, it looks easy, but considering particular cases and discussing them with my interlocutors I had to mitigate my inkling in the face of Sarmapatos’ intuition and knowledge in estimating somebody’s affiliation to the feministki.
Women in the Sarmapato Land are extremely beautiful and it is their main feature
(…) Women in the Sarmapato Land are extremely beautiful and it is their main feature. The beauty puts all other qualities, such as intellect, in a deep shadow. The Sarmapatos are fascinated with this overwhelming beauty to such an extent that it makes them unable to discuss any problem with women. Such a strong obsession has consequences for the course of an argument: when opinions are voiced by women, men can only helplessly confirm the beauty of the female body. Maybe that is the reason why so few women take part in political life here: it could be dangerous for the decision power of the authorities to be interrupted by constant comments on the female MPs’ beauty. Fortunately, even here, an ugly case does appear in parliament from time to time.
The Sarmapatos national sense of humor enables them to reconcile the stress caused by all this in a pacifistic way: by nice jokes on the doubtful beauty of the politicians’ wives. The Sarmapato Land is full of lovely women and joyful men. They love strange stories, legends and tales. They like to be frightened by witches and demons and overcome them with carnival and laughter.