Cultural misunderstandings with one’s agent

This past weekend my husband and I had one of our cultural misunderstandings. Saturday was his birthday and I came home on Sunday from BEA. He asked me if he should get a cake for his birthday when he went to the store and I nodded my head enthusiastically for any occasion where I am given birthday cake is awesome.

My husband is Dutch, and birthdays are weird over there. He came home with birthday PIE. PIIIIIEEEE! But it was his birthday so I shut up and pushed the pie around on my plate and pretended to like it. The next day however, being deprived of my 5 million calorie goodness I asked him about cake. He had no idea that pie was not an acceptable substitute and generally had pie at his birthdays. Talking about it fixed the problem. He drove to the store and came home with a cake and now we are both happy with our desserts.

Talking to your agent is kind of like talking to the Dutch. They say cake, you think pie, and then the deal comes or doesn’t come and there is confusion and hurt feelings. When these situations arise and the cake is a lie (nerd reference FTW) it is best to hash it out and talk. Bottling up your feelings and misunderstandings puts a wedge between you and your agent.

I know talking to your agent may be scary. I have an agent as well (and she’s also my boss!) and talking to her about my books and stuff is incredibly hard. But each time I reach out I am reaffirmed that I made the right decision and I have the best agent in the world and then I go buy myself some cake because hey, she can’t do everything.

8 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    Hmm…so talking with an agent is like talking to the Dutch? I’m a bit out of practice. It’s been years since I lived there and I failed at learning the language. Haha but I get what you mean. There are always those awkward moments when you forget you have to clarify things and when you do think you might have to, you don’t want to push it too hard in case it seems like you’re treating the person in question like they’re an idiot. I always forget my US friends don’t necessarily know UK slang and phrases (and often forget where specific references originate) so when I said “taking the piss” I was received with “ewwwww.” Ah, cultural boundaries. So stubborn, so awkward…so often hilarious.

  2. Gravatar

    It’s always good to ask questions. If you have them and don’t ask them, then you can only be mad at yourself when it doesn’t work out how you expected it to. A group project of any sort is so much easier if everyone is on the same page.

  3. Gravatar

    Well, if the USA is anything like England then you don’t have “proper” birthday cakes and your husband just made do with the next best thing. :-)

  4. Gravatar

    If the cake is a lie, does that make your husband a homicidal maniac robot?

  5. Gravatar

    I went biking in Holland once. I recall many unsatisfying breakfasts. But there was a really awesome falafal place in Gouda, so that kind of made up for the lack of pie.

    (Do you ever get the feeling you’ve missed the point of a blog post?)

  6. Gravatar

    Cecily, I’m from The Netherlands and I agree, the breakfasts you get in many small hotels are abominable (in international chains it’s food-heaven, normally speaking, but not small hotels).

    But are you saying you’d expect to eat pie for breakfast or did I understand that wrongly? Because that is… odd! :-)

  7. Gravatar

    Ceciy – I really like Dutch sausage. Other than that all the food sucks buahaha.

    Judith – Marco hates most Dutch things, including birthday foods. He doesn’t have Dutch Pride. ha.

  8. Gravatar

    That’s an awesome comparison! LOL

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