Personal: The reality of what happens when you are a transnational couple travelling.

This topic comes across to most of us as a certain taboo, as it leads to something no one likes to accept – that discrimination nowadays is not only reserved for women and minorities, but it spreads across to anything which seems somehow “unusual” or “different” to those looking at it.

As travelers and especially expats we are used to dealing with stereotypes, judgement and at the same time curiosity from many. By now I have managed to get used, but not tolerant to constantly being judged on my looks as a woman, and especially as Scandinavian appearance woman. In many Asian or Middle Eastern counties fair women are considered “easy” and “loose”, and most Europeans are taken as necessarily rich (and it doesn’t matter if you spent your last money for this holiday) which is what justifies everyone trying to loot them.

But at the same time, our social constructs teach us that once you are a couple – it should get easier. That, minding, you couple up with someone exactly like you.

And what can be more evidently “different” than a couple which is not from the same country, not from the same race or ethnic group. That’s what I call “a free prick show” where every time you step out on the street, you get a package, which varies depending on your location and/or nationalities you encounter.

Here’s a list of few things which will happen to you if you are a transnational couple travelling:

  • They may think you are not a couple – funnily, on occasion, people deny the possibility so much, that till the time they see absolutely evident signs of your togetherness, they will keep denying it, because it is easier for them than explaining such couple.
  • They ask “But how…?” implying one or the other side’s race/color. Both sides are judged by how they managed to get attracted to each other when they look so different.
  • Occasionally, the above point takes uglier development going even further than racial stereotypes. This is where the same nationality/race couple would have at the worst being discriminated or judged on the basis of race, a multinational one has to go through a character scan – the one that’s supposed to justify this “yin and yang” phenomenon for them.
  • On the bright side, sometimes, you will hear the reversed comments: “Oh you guys looks so great together. You look so different that you are perfect for each other”. Well…at least thanks for that.
  • You are judged by elders – that happens way too often. I will explain it with their much lower exposure to globalization and their probable lack of travel experience.
  • You get to be called “Ebony and Ivory” – and that is when world has come up with much better analogies! We wouldn’t mind being called “Sheridan’s” for a change.
  • You are terrorized with “baby questions”. They all wonder what your kids will look like. And if you dare say, you haven’t thought of kids yet, you should definitely reconsider, because…well, don’t be egoistic- world wants to know.
  • In the end, even when you are aware of all these encounter types, there is only one thing you have to remember and one thing that will keep you sane – you have each other, your Ivory has its ebony, your yin has its yang – and that’s all that matters. That, and Sheridan’s from duty free. Cheers!

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