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!