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Women Talk: Russian men don't exist any more

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Russia, Ukraine, or the former Soviet Republics.

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Women Talk: Russian men don't exist any more

Postby momopi » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:16 am

http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20101019/161007355.html

Columnists
Women Talk: Russian men don't exist any more
11:11 19/10/2010
Weekly column by Svetlana Kolchik

Whoops, I didn't say that because I feel bad already. Still, rumor has it. I've been hearing lately about the declining quality of our men from a growing number of women. A number so significant that it seems to me at least a trend, if not an epidemic. The nasty talk ranges from the girls' lazy complaints about the local men to mere panic. And I don't mean perspective mail-order brides striving to be rescued from the harsh reality of Russia — to some women, the grass does seem greener on the other side of the ocean. I am talking about the females who feel quite okay and accomplished at home, just somehow not as okay with “homegrownâ€￾ guys. So the dating and marriage spectrum of these bright and pretty twenty-thirty somethings is gradually shifting towards foreigners — especially those in their league, fairly successful and open-minded.

I have to confess I can relate to this trend. The three years I had spent in the States in my early twenties did something to me — perhaps the CIA had secretly implanted a microchip into my brain when I was sleeping in my tiny room in the shared Columbia University housing in New York. But when I came back to Moscow, I immediately felt I had lost the beat with most guys there. On dates with what I call "typical" (not so well-traveled, don't speak languages, sporting a macho veneer) Russian men, I often felt like an alien. Or rather, like an amateur actress, a Legally Blonde-type character, who had to pretend (for free!) she didn't boast much more than an attractive face and a cool body. Many of my dates tried to entertain me bragging about the drinking contests in which they engaged while spending money across the globe (I must admit, some of my suitors happened to be avid travelers, just hopelessly narrow-minded). I wasn't entertained even though I did my best. Our perspectives differed, conversations stuck, it seemed I had more cultural differences with my countrymen than with my Manhattan pals. This was the case until I met my type of Russian — a Vladivostok-born self-made Cambridge grad who worked for an English bank and had previously spent about seven years outside Russia.

So when I start noticing that more and more of my female peers are choosing expats or Russians with a "Western implant" - a solid experience abroad, I kind of felt relieved. At least I was not the only one. "Boring, simply boring," sighed Maria, a 27-year-old PR specialist as she sipped a cappuccino in a quaint cafe located in the downtown Moscow neighborhood where she shares an apartment with her 30-year-old husband, an entrepreneur from Vienna. She was implying Russian men, apparently a vague memory of her early youth. Since then, this good-looking flirtatious brunette, a graduate of Moscow's Tourism Academy, told me she had never fallen for the locals, and neither did most of her girlfriends. "When you learn languages and start traveling — especially to the West, your mindset shifts," she said. "You start looking for a partner in a man, an equal. And it's hardly possible to find one here in Russia."

"Our men are so insecure," Maria added, wistfully. "They often feel intimidated when they meet a strong successful woman. So for me, it has always been easier with a foreigner."

Easier? Is it really? The varied marital statistics show that divorce rates tend to be at least 30% higher among international couples. The challenges include money issues, religion, other cultural differences and lately — the grueling legal battles over children. Even so, it appears that many Moscow-based females are brave enough to take the risk. My former classmate Anya, who, as a 32-year-old history teacher in college, leads a completely different lifestyle from mine — introvert, no globe-trotting, met her fiancé, a marketing consultant from San Francisco, online. They are expecting their first child this fall. She insists she wasn't looking specifically for a foreign guy and still has no intentions to move abroad as she feels quite happy in Moscow. "But most Russians I've been with, including my ex-husband, have either been chauvinistic or spoiled or just irresponsible," Anya complained. The Soviet upbringing is one of the reasons to blame, she believes. "In a typical Soviet family, a woman, no matter how hard she worked, would do everything about the house, and that's what most males still expect from their other half," she said. "In Russia, many men grew up with single mothers who spoiled them badly. And then there are the teachers who are mostly female in this country — women are used to trying to accommodate men in every shape or form." Whereas, with her American, who had left home at the age of 18, Anya said she feels "safe and secure." "We share the chores and he even cooks," she added, her face beaming with pride.

Yet Maria, who is currently studying for her MBA, talking about her marriage to her Austrian man, had often used the English word "empowerment." "I feel empowered by my husband," she said. "He believes in me and supports me in every way," she said. I tried to find a valid equivalent of "empowerment" in Russian but couldn't find any. But then I thought that perhaps many of our women have always been empowered anyway — but for some reasons may have been hiding it, at least from our men. Just like the old and a really popular Soviet song goes: "A woman's utter happiness is simply a man by her side." It seems that some newer generation Russian women are asking for more.

Russia has always been referred to as feminine and Russian women have been one of the most popular stereotypes of this nation, both positive and negative. But is this an all-male fantasy? Here is a hip, modern, professional and increasingly globalized Russian woman looking at the trends around her, both about her gender and the society at large. She talks and lets other women talk.

Svetlana Kolchik, 33, is deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire magazine. She holds degrees from the Moscow State University Journalism Department and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has worked for Argumenti i Facty weekly in Moscow and USA Today in Washington, D.C., and contributed to RussiaProfile.org, Russian editions of Vogue, Forbes and other publications.

Contact Svetlana Kolchik
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Postby momopi » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:17 am

http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20101012/160924453.html

Women Talk: Confusion in Options
13:55 12/10/2010
Weekly column by Svetlana Kolchik

Russia has always been referred to as feminine and Russian women have been one of the most popular stereotypes of this nation, both positive and negative. But is this an all-male fantasy? Here is a hip, modern, professional and increasingly globalized Russian woman looking at the trends around her, both about her gender and the society at large. She talks and lets other women talk.

Should I settle down or keep searching for better arrangements out of the numerous options coming my way these days? And If I do settle down would I then get a chance to have it all?

The latter question may seem somewhat rhetoric and not altogether new for a modern Western woman to ask, but we are no longer immune to this dilemma in Russia either. Many of my female peers, who are educated, well-traveled, smart and ambitious individuals in their late 20s and early 30s, have lately been struggling with the following predicament: the abundance of choices accompanied by a certain sense of confusion.

One of my closest friends, Julia, a 32-year old Moscow native, has been nagging me about this for at least three years now. She doesn't know where to live — or rather, where to settle down. There's Amsterdam, where Julia went to the university and now owns a lovely mortgage-paid apartment. And there's Moscow, where she's got a thriving marketing business.

“I can't stand Moscow for more than two weeks in a row. I get so stressed and exhausted that I just need to escape,â€￾ Julia often complains. And so she does, to the cozy traffic jam-free haven of Amsterdam, thanks to the freedom of travel her dual citizenship and a commitment-free status provide (Julia is single at the moment).

“But then again, after a short while, I begin to miss the intensity of my Moscow life and I hop on a plane and go back,â€￾ Julia says. “I love my two lives,â€￾ she adds. “It's a bit tiring to stick to both but I just don't know which one to choose.â€￾

My friend is not alone in not knowing exactly which road to take. Arguably the first post-Soviet generation free from the necessity to build our lives in a predetermined linear fashion (finish education, get a job, get married and have kids), we often find ourselves pulled in different exciting directions.

Start a family or apply for a scholarship to get another degree at a university abroad? Get a steady job or downshift in Bali or Costa Rica? Get a loan to buy an apartment or go traveling for a year? Get married or have kids first? The opportunities are plenty. The world's our playground. Crossing national borders becomes easier every year, connections - faster, life expectancies - longer, social pressures - less demanding. We can do so many things in one lifetime (or so many of us believe), two or three times more than the previous generations have managed to do.

Some sociologists call this a “several lives phenomenon,â€￾ which means that the amount of relationships, careers, degrees and travel a typical representative of a millennium generation (which is also sometimes called the Peter Pan Generation due to the often volatile nature of our endeavors) tends to have, could have previously filled up several lifetimes. Other trend-watchers talk about “the changing timetable for adulthoodâ€￾ and the spreading “thirty years is the new twenty and forty is the new thirtyâ€￾ attitude to life.

“It's like we've been somehow granted an extra ten years to hang out - people are taking this time to find themselves and figure out what they really want,â€￾ says Ekaterina Ignatova, a Moscow psychologist and a regular contributor to relationship sections of Russia's top women's magazines.

In a recent New York Times magazine article, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., explores the phenomenon of “emerging adulthoodâ€￾ which, according to him, tends to start somewhere in the early 20s and, if all goes well, should end in the early 30s when some of the milestone life decisions such as choosing a career and a partner are supposed to be made. The emerging adulthood may manifest itself in prolonged identity exploration, instability, self-focus and being both smitten by and lost in the myriad of opportunities today's world offers us.

This sounds like home to me. I myself have been living between Moscow and Rome for the last two and a half years tossing career and personal life like a street juggler. I delay settling down because to me it would mean letting go of other options. Settling down would mean finally having to grow up.

Being exposed to multiple options, we get to have full and stimulating lives. Our parents may call the emerging adulthood approach immature, but I call this getting the proper experience. Without the pressure of settling down, we can take our time to get to know ourselves and what we really want. Hopefully, this way we'll get to make more insightful choices. Or we don’t; but at least we can say, just as the old Sinatra song goes: I did it my way. And perhaps we’ll become the first generation of women who manage to have it all, just maybe not all together.

*

Svetlana Kolchik, 33, is deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire magazine. She holds degrees from the Moscow State University Journalism Department and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has worked for Argumenti i Facty weekly in Moscow and USA Today in Washington, D.C., and contributed to RussiaProfile.org, Russian editions of Vogue, Forbes and other publications.

Contact Svetlana Kolchik
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Postby ladislav » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:40 am

She is experiencing the reverse of what we would. She comes from a country of spoiled and crude men who are few and far between and who thus have an attitude and she went to a country of few women and many men where it is women who have an attitude. But of course she could not care less.

We feel the same way when we go back home after a long sojourn in E Europe, Asia and Latin America. It is all about supply and demand.

Now if it was a Russian guy going from Moscow to Rome and back, he would not feel the same way. Like heck would he want to go and live in Italy or date foreigners after that.
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Postby jamesbond » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:04 pm

ladislav wrote:She is experiencing the reverse of what we would. She comes from a country of spoiled and crude men who are few and far between and who thus have an attitude and she went to a country of few women and many men where it is women who have an attitude. But of course she could not care less.

We feel the same way when we go back home after a long sojourn in E Europe, Asia and Latin America. It is all about supply and demand.

Your right, is all about supply and demand. In the US, there are at least 3 million more single men than women in the 18 to 40 age group. Compare that to eastern europe and Russia where women outnumber men.

No wonder women in the US are spoiled and have no problems in the dating field, it's paradise for them! We American men need to visit or move to eastern europe or Russia where the numbers are in our favor (more single women than men).

It's really sad when I see good looking guys here in the US dating obese single mothers! :shock: Or, I meet guys who have good paying jobs and they either are dating ugly women, fat women or no women at all! Welcome to the dating scene in modern day America! :D
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Postby Repatriate » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:12 am

jamesbond wrote:It's really sad when I see good looking guys here in the US dating obese single mothers! :shock: Or, I meet guys who have good paying jobs and they either are dating ugly women, fat women or no women at all! Welcome to the dating scene in modern day America! :D


I used to feel sorry for these guys but if you ever talk with them usually they are stubbornly set on dating and marrying an American women because the media/culture/family has brainwashed them into a permanent USA #1 mentality so they won't ever entertain anything else. I've never criticized someone's dating choices openly but some guys really do make their own bed when they have all the advantages and right attributes to do so much more.
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Postby MrPeabody » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:33 am

The women you want to meet in a foreign country will be the same as the American men - that is, the ones who wouldn't think of leaving their country.
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