Russia, August 10, 1998
When you go to the dacha, you come back a whole other person
|This past weekend, I went to my friend's dacha. It was nice
to get out of Moscow for the weekend. I spent the whole time reading,
writing letters, sleeping, and goofing off. Going to the dacha always
makes me reflective, and this time was no exception.
Ever since I arrived in Russia, over a year ago, I have had a personal rule about dating the locals. I abstained from the wonderful treats that were, literally, thrust upon me by the Russian women. I can' remember exactly why I had the rule. I think it had a bit to do with the other men here, my outlook on Russia, and my opinion of Russian women.
First, I saw so many expat men with Russian women, I was appalled. Some days it seems like every expat guy here has a Russian wife. Of all the single-when-arrived men, I am straining to remember one man who did not find a wife, or at least try to, while here. This mass union made me a bit skittish for two reasons. First, I hate following the crowd, no matter where it's going or what it's doing. As the crowd dived into the ladies, I looked for a more original approach. Then, as I saw why so many Russian women would attempt the cross-cultural union, the security (financial and emotional), the liberty (passport and family), and the future (her and her offspring), I started to question their true motives.
Second, when I first arrived, I was with 44 Americans, all in a bit of group think. We stuck together, and to a great extent, were quite aloof from the country we were to live in. Once my visa was questionable, and my tenure in Russia tenuous, I sure didn't want to entangle myself with a Russian girlfriend. Even after I started at PW, I was still quite unsure of my future here. I didn't have a real contract; I could be cut off with a three-month's notice, so I was a bit apprehensive. All this uncertainty kept me in the expat circles, where a quick departure could be understood.
Finally, and most revolting now, was my opinion of the ladies here. I subconsciously though of Russian women as inferior to Western women. Yes, I know, I am shocked too! I never realized I though this way until I was examining my life this past weekend. See, I though that since so many dorky men were landing amazing Russian women, I, as a non-dork, should do better. Who did I think was better (or more difficult to date, thereby proving my superiority)? Expat women. I was downgrading a segment of women, solely because they were not being as discriminatory as I would expect a woman to be. Like, who the hell did I think I was?
Ok, so here I sit thinking about all that I have written, and what it means. I do know why so many expat men and Russian women marry. The men want excitement and the mix of femininity and power a Russian woman has. I do admit that the mix excites me too. The Russian women want what an expat man can offer, not matter how dorky he is. Maybe they are morally above me, judging a man on his soul, not his looks. I also feel much better about my future prospects at PW. I am going to be there after the merger with Coopers finishes. I will be moving up, slowly but surely, and they do pay me enough to keep me interested. On top of all that, I cannot continue to think of any class of women as anything less than the mysterious, wondrous, amazing, sensuous beings I admire and desire so much.
What did I figure out after all that? I am going to cast aside my previous rule, and I shall try to enjoy the magnificent women this country has to offer, if they will even talk to me after reading this.
What a difference a weekend at the dacha makes!