Thursday, October 14, 2004

An article that compares Russian and American men

pointer from a friend:

Ridden with stereotypes, yet quite funny and well-written. I found it worth
a read.

Having just come back from St.Petersburg, I think the article is more insightful than seems at first. Life is different in Russia. Relationships are different. Culture is different. The very first comparison, hits a note of regret in me. I have tried to be more like my elders, even those only a decade older than me are infinitely better at hosting a table than I am. Spending a week with people "my own age" proved that the skill, and the attitude are still present:

Imagine a huge hall. On one side a table of seven American men, on the other seven Russians, all having a rousing good time, with piles of food and batteries of bottles. Which group would I join? I’d make a bee-line for the Russians. Why? It’s my sad experience that in such situations American men often revert to the bravura of the Frat House. They continue talking as if you weren’t there, they hoot at esoteric jokes that you don’t understand (“and then he said: “Home, Jeeves! And make it fast!” followed by howls of laughter). They make it clear that whatever they were talking about was so important that they simply don’t have the time or inclination to deal with you at all.

What would the Russians do? Seven men would fly up out of their chairs, set before me a plate full of food and glasses filled to the brim with wine, water and vodka. They would tell me how glad they were that I showed up to lighten an otherwise dull evening. They would compete with each other to get my attention, each out-doing the others in flattering toasts to my beauty, intelligence, kindness. Of course, it would all be perfect nonsense. They might, in fact, rather resent my presence, since before I arrived they were busy hammering out a deal to corner the market in precious metals or discussing the latest scam to get around—with dubious legality—the tax code. But they’ve been trained to be nice to women, and besides, they really like women. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which, from the point of view of single woman, the Fun Table is.

indeed. A toast to responsible and the fun.


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