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Travels in Russia

Russian Remonts
Stop Theif!
Almost Worth Staying For
Offshore Your Rubles in Swiss Accounts
Russian Women
You Can Buy Anything in a Russian Kiosk!
What Did Russians Eat Before Potaotes?
Nothing Like a Birch Branch Beating!
Anything Can Be Scrap Metal
Serious Soviet Pollution
Day-Tripping Around the Garden Ring
The Russian Poezd
Yeltsin's Family
Soviet Photography
Happy Times in HTML Hell
Road Runners Rule!
Piva is Good!
A Subaka Says What?
Soviet Swimming
Manly Russian Men
And Peter is a Distant Second
Invest in Russia?!
The Zen of the Line
But He Went by the Name of Lenin
That Looks Just Like My Dom
Russian Adoptions by the Dozen
Internet Cafes Are Everywhere
Going to See Mama Russia
Going to the Movies
Russian Visas
Eta Notebook Batteria, Durak!
Fidelity is Not a Brokerage
Soviet Suburban Living
Taking the tramvai
Cash Transfers Across Russia
Time to go...
Do Your Spring Cleaning Now!
Reclama Nation
Russians Do Tours
Going Local
Pecktopan = Restaurants
Yevgeniy Primakov, Who?
101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
Russians Blew up the US Embassy!
It's Dacha Time Again
I Love Me a Starlite Diner
Anything Goes at Night
Yesho Piedesat Gram Vodkoo
Shock Thearpy
IMF & Reform
Zoos Should Be for Politicans
There Was Giligan, And the Skipper Too
The Regions Exist?
Do You Believe the Media?
What is Russian Feminism?
Russian Music Rocks
Bye Bye Fast Food
Yest Klooch?
Addicts Are Addictive
Racism in Russia Too
An Education in Russian Politics
Orphans Are Lonely
Making Bliny
Nasty Newspapers
#51 If you get the jokes
Sick as a Dog
Those Crazy Russians
An Open Road Ahead
Iron Felix
You Can Buy (Almost) Anything in a Market
Education Makes Elections Happen
Ice Cream in Winter
Superstitions Are Sneaky
The Adventures of Flat Jon
Ice Fishing in Sibera
Death is Painful in Any Culture, Anywhere.
Lenin is Alive
Every Thing is Leaking
New Russians
Go Dollar!
Corruption is Endemic
The Joe-Cool Moscow Crew
Taxes Will Find You
I'm Driven Mad
Holidays Last and Last
It's All About Location
Taxies Take You Everywhere
Russian Religion Re-emerges


Russia, March 30, 1999

A State Secrect: Women's Ages

Not even the KGB knew a woman's age in Russia

grab some on the way home today!
Women always like flowers!
Go ahead and guess, I dare you!
Go ahead, guess!
Worldwide it is impolite to ask a woman's age, but up to a certain year, somewhere in the 40's, a woman will reveal her age to friends without shame. In Russia, a woman's age is a state secret, unknown to anyone but her husband and her closest female friends. Maybe it is because I am an American, or because women feel comfortable around me, but I am asked to guess a woman's age with startling regularity. As a gentleman, I politely refuse to do so, knowing that my answer will incriminate me, no matter how I respond, but as a curious man, I want to know their ages!

See, Russian women age differently than Western women. Life is hard here, and it requires maturity that is acquired quite young. The few women who's ages I know surprise me in their youth. When I first started at PW, I had a team of three working on an important project. All three women were very competent, professional, and mature in their actions and thoughts. All are also 21 or 22! I think of myself at 21, at 25, and I am amazed at how childish I am in comparison. Thursday night I was talking with an accomplished opera singer who works at PW, and while I thought she was in her early 20's, she was 18! My realtor, who negotiated the contract for my apartment, and amazes me in her assertiveness, is not 28 like I thought, but 20!

This maturity also accelerates the life cycle for women, they are usually married and expecting children by their early 20's, much younger than Western women. I still haven't decided if this is good or bad, but it does play havoc on my usual age assuming abilities. I never answer the query as to the age of a woman, because I am usually way off, in the wrong direction, and I also am regularly shocked at how young the women are that my friends date. A five year age difference is common, with a decade not that unusual.

So for now, I shall continue to demur when asked to guess a woman's age, out of courtesy and ignorance.

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