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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Relationships: An Attractive Enigma

What do you write about when there's nothing to write about? The same thing you talk about when there's nothing to talk about, which in the case of me and virtually everyone I know is relationships. Oh, it's been done, I know, but there are days when no matter how long I ponder weighty issues like the loopiness of Russian handwriting or why you have to bend over and shout through tiny little windows to get just about anything done here, it's impossible to concentrate on anything beyond the birds and the bees.


It's not really the birds and the bees that interest us, though -- that's a little too gooey and natural. We're talking about the purely man-made contrivances that steer us clear of primal reproductive instincts as long as possible -- things like Tone of Voice, Willingness to Commit, Mutual Exclusivity and other things that can literally be debated ad nauseum.


These types of conversations are, to some, so irresistible and totally indulgent that they can be worth giving up for Lent. They become even more wonderful when you toss in the bi-cultural element. Being involved with a Russian is a whole new ball game, as it were. New reasons to swoon, and just as many new reasons to get annoyed or waste away in heartbreak. You could spend the rest of your life in analysis and never get to the bottom of it all, but you wouldn't be worse for wear. It's like the world's biggest but least significant mystery. There's no better way to pass the time.


Russians, as good as they are at talking, don't seem to share quite the appetite for endless, meaningless discussions of romantic relations that we Americans tend to have.


This is especially true of the men, who often seem to think, for some reason, that the intimate details of their personal lives are private. Getting them to tell you anything can be agonizing, and then when they do tell you, you're sorry you asked.


But in general, there are certain advantages to getting involved with Russians. They're attractive, they're romantic, and in many instances they can be extraordinarily clean and tidy. They like to cook, they love to dance, and they seem to spend most of their time being fairly cheerful. Your language skills will skyrocket, and even if they don't, the barrier can prove a real boon.


So much energy and effort goes into the communication of even the simplest of messages that virtually no time, or vocabulary, is left to get into the emotional nitpicking that can destroy the most basically agreeable of monolingual affairs. "I bought you some roses." "What?" "I said, I bought you some roses." "What???" After tender exchanges like that, who's got time to argue?