So, what the heck is a Koukla?

Well, I was always told it means ‘doll’ in Greek. My dad was Greek and when we would go visit family or friends, it was how they always referred to us girls [me and my sisters]. But, from traveling around Greece on some vacations with family, I noticed that it’s pretty much used for ALL women. Like when I was on a bus with my [then] 75 year old aunt and three old[er] ladies [also in their 70s] stared dancing up and down the aisle to some Greek songs that everyone knew the words to but me. My aunt cheered, “Bravo, Koulkes, Bravo” [plural of Koukla].

They bowed for us, doing a little curtsey and waving tissues like cloth handkerchiefs.

If I’m in Greece and I hear, “Ella! Koukla!” [Here! Doll!] I’m most likely to turn and look to make sure someone is not calling me. Whereas at home if someone yelled out, “Yo! Dollface!” I would mostly likely turn around to glare at them.

It’s not derogatory like you might think. It’s kind of a term of endearment or a more charming kind of way to call for someone. I certainly NEVER thought of it as sexist or… mean spirited in anyway. On the contrary, it makes me think of family and friends and just a general… camaraderie with the wold in general when I hear it.

So, any woman you know can be a koukla [except for my God-Sister Lynne, who my aunt refers to as The Koukla – you can hear the capitals. I’m not sure how Lynne got this honorific, but I do know that when Thea asks, “Tell me, how is The Koukla?” we all know to whom she is referring].

I find it all very… heart warming! I even have a shirt that says koukla on it and I forget that not everyone knows what it means!

Posted in: family, greek.
Last Modified: May 17, 2013

One comment on “Hey, Koukla!

  1. Lynne Checkley McLaughlin

    The Koukla considers herself sooooooooo very lucky to be an honourary part of this “koukla” category AT ALL. Goodness knows how your Irish/Croation god-sister got so lucky. But it is the favourite of all things I have ever been called.

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