The second thing you’ll notice is that Russian men are patriarchal alpha males, and, whatever your feminist textbook might have told you, this is initially a huge turn-on.
Having grown up in New York, I had taken for granted that people were always striving for something, or at least striving to be striving for something.
In Russia, most of the guys I met were engaged in some sort of dubious import/export business in electronics; the rest were involved in “business” (if you ask what kind of business, and there is a marked pause followed by the word “business,” you should refrain from asking any more questions).
I was standing on a dirt path in a Russian country village, holding my boyfriend Anton’s torn, bloodstained T-shirt.
All that could be heard in the darkness was my friends and I shouting his name, and the thuds and grunts of Anton wrestling with another guy.
You do not meet a Russian man, you are chosen by one.
You could be sitting in a banya, or at a café, and a man walks by, puts a fruit salad on your table, and gruffly says, “Enjoy.” If you eat the salad, it is a sign that you would like him to come talk to you.
When I met one of my Russian boyfriends, he had (as is customary) come by the house several times to take me on long walks and brought cake for me and my parents, never once making anything remotely resembling an advance.
One night, I was lying in my room fantasizing about him (he was sleeping downstairs), when I heard my bedroom door creak.
Petersburg in 1988, moved to New York when I was five, and then moved back into a different crumbling communal building in St.
Petersburg after graduating from my overpriced New York liberal arts college.
I’ve had male suitors who kept calling for years after I stopped picking up the phone.