Czechs love American soap operas and family sitcoms. But there is one thing many of them hate, whether they watch old reruns of Beverly Hills 90210, Step By Step or Dallas. Scenes where daughters hug their mothers (and to some extent, fathers, too) and say “I love you, mom” to which the parent replies “I love you too, honey”.
Let’s skip the fact that it is a translator’s hell. Czechs NEVER EVER say “I love you, mom” to their parents under such trivial circumstances like coming home from school one hour later and seeing an angry mother saying “I was worried sick”. Nope.
Many Czech men do something that sounds much worse, if you think about it.
They call their wives “mom”. Of course, the meaning is transferred and it is supposed to be affectionate. But it sounds primitive.
Most often the term “mom” would be used by middle-aged less educated and “rather simple” men. The origin of this form of addressing is said to be in the fact that the married couples use the “mom” and “dad” to address the spouse in front of their small children and when the kids grow up and go to college the couples retain this form of addressing one another for some reason…
My theory is that these middle-aged couples never experienced single life. The men went from their parents’ houses or apartments straight into marriage where the pre-1989 roles were strictly defined. Emancipation, career women, equality of sexes? Pleeease… Mom was mom and dad was dad. And a few decades later, they are fifty-something, the world has changed but they didn’t…
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