Thanks for your interest in this word, which is rapidly spreading throughout transitional and post-conflict countries, carried proudly by expatriates determined to achieve sustainable development and cross-sector linkages.
A "SADDIE" (and it must always be in all-caps) is easier to recognize than to define. The term has its origins in Chicago in the early 1990s, when a friend of a friend used to go to the gay sauna "Unicorn" (now "Steamworks") and observe particularly "sad" looking older men, waiting in private cabins with the doors open for someone to come in and "play" with them. This person began calling these guys SADDIES, and my friend took the term to Kiev, Ukraine in 1995 when he arrived there on a USAID technical assistance project. (I joined the same project in 1996, and my partner and I stayed there until 2002.)
Our friends and I began to notice a common phenomenon in Kiev: older, unattractive Western consultants hanging out with beautiful young Ukrainian women. You know the type -- bald head, pot belly, beet-red face from too much drinking over too many years -- who are suddenly hot commodities in these distant lands. It then goes to their heads. They carry the attitude of their being hot commodities into the workplace, where they are rude to the local staff, contemptuous of counterparts, and cutthroat with each other. We started calling them SADDIES (spoken in a loud whisper, with a "hissing" sound). .
But soon, it became apparent that SADDIE was not really a function of age, body type, national origin, presence or absence of alcoholism, or even sex. It was really dependent on the attitude. The attitudinal characteristics of SADDIES are the following:
1) Exaggerated sense of one's self-importance in a country, on a project, in a community, etc.
2) Condescension or a "colonial attitude" toward local residents of the country.
3) A viewpoint that more money entitles one to better and more frequent sex, and that the local residents should automatically be impressed by that. This is manifested by pretending to be interested in "friendship" with the locals, when sex is really the main object.
4) Extreme hypocrisy, such as praising locals in public but belittling them in private, or criticizing other expatriates for faults displayed by oneself.
5) Disinterest in the actual situation or peculiarities of the country in question -- "it's just another country and just another job."
6) And, most important, not recognizing SADDIE behavior in oneself, or thinking that there's nothing wrong with it.
It should be clear from this explanation that one can be a woman and still be a SADDIE; indeed, one can be young and attractive and intelligent and still be a SADDIE. My partner and I observed countless SADDIES in our almost 4 years in Kabul, Afghanistan and 6.5 years in Kiev, but they exist everywhere -- people can be SADDIES even in their own countries.
And since we all display SADDIE behavior from time to time, you get credit for recognizing it in yourself. In other words, the more you accuse yourself of being a SADDIE, the less you probably are.
That Bill Hitchcock is turning into a real SADDIE!!!
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