Hello all, Ekagra logging in for the first time here.
Yes, I have been there done that with a Ukrainian girlfriend and now thinking about going for round two. Most of the chat on these forums seems to be strictly in the good for a few laughs category but there is the occasional nugget or two to mine out. I am all for a few laughs anyway. So I thought I'd jabber on for a piece about my experience with round 1 and see what sort of comments it generates.
2003 it was and had a hankering for travel to the FSU: I set my destination as old Piter. It's not much more than Nyet and Da for me and so I thought it would be fine to have a bit of Russian companionship while abroad. For fun I had been chatting up a gal in Donetsk and asked her if she would meet me. Da it was. I got set up by a Russian lady at work in the home of one of her friends. Nice option for travel as I got to see how the average Russian lives. Yes it was in one of those dreary Soviet era apartment blocks, not far from the Optova station in the Metro.
Some Impression of Travel:
The international Terminal in Moscow was not bad, better than Kennedy in NY but way worse than the San Fran. or Seattle airport. Lots of agitation in the air in Moscow. I tested the attractiveness of American men on the girls who work the shops and staff the airline, I flew Aeroflot. Yep, those eyes lit up at my approach and it seemed as if they liked chatting. The airport in Piter reminded me of Paris, a calm ambiance that was very reassuring. Piter is a cultural center primarily. Moscow used to be the intellectual and ideological capital. Russians have told me that all the smarties left at the fall of the Soviet system. Now Moscow is mostly a place of business.
Some Impressions of Piter:
The apartment block reminded me of those old Cabrini Green housing projects in Chicago. I was concerned for my safety but apparently had nothing to worry about. It was generally bleak, dusty, landscaping was all torn up. The transport to the Metro seemed to be well designed but in bad shape. Stray cats lived in the halls of the apartment block and the stairwells were rank with poop & urine. I accompanied my host on some errands, we ent to the grocer, the post office and the bank, all on foot. The grocer was a joke -- never have seen such a miserable store in my life. The post office was a joke, tiles on the floor were all smashed up. The bank was a joke: long lines to speak with a teller. Interactions were tense, outright yelling and screaming at full throttle some times, other patrons acting as if nothing was out of place. Walked through a children's playground: open manhole in the middle that I almost stepped into. Nice safe place for the kids. Walked through an open air market, bought some apricots to munch on. Upon discovering my identity as an American the fellow's face brightened and he wanted to shake my hand. Bright spots on this landscape? The little kiosks selling booze. I peered inside, lots of high priced stuff on display, imported spirits. Yep, Russians like their alcohol. And now into the old city: The Piter metro is best so far in my experience, clean, efficient, tasteful stations, crowded but the people acted in a civilized way: Much better than Chicago or NY. So I went to pick up my girl at the train station. Her train came in at the same time as 2 others and as I could could not read the signs nor understand the language had to wing it, running from one train the the next to look for her. Luck was not with me and by the time I got to her train she was on the platform with a bit of a scowl on her face. Strike two: I brought no flowers. But there she was, 27, hot-hot, 5'7", 121, sea green-eyes, dark long hair - score! Not the best looking woman I have ever dated but definitely on the short list. The little storm blew over quickly enough and we were on jolly terms, joking in up, 15 minutes after some uncomfortable silences.
I was not thinking about an international relationship but thought that if we got on, well why not. My test for her sincerity? I agreed to provide all costs in Piter but whe would have to front the money for her travel to Piter and back: a 30 hour train ride in cattle class. $75 for the trip, about 1 month's salary for her. At the end of my tour I reimbursed her for the cost.
Oh, yes one other thing about the Soviet era Piter. Just at the threshold of the old city stood an old concrete bunker from WWII, painted black with a big "1941" written atop. Seeing that monument just chilled me to the bone, it was in the air -- that city had experienced some rough times. But as one makes it into the old city it is a whole different world, the bleak Soviet architecture gives way to low-rise apartment buildings with gracious balconies and elegant courtyards. As one makes one's way into the city the 19th century architecture gives way to that from the 18th century, Piter being founded in 1703. Gwelp, Russians will tell you that Piter is unlike any other Russian city. Peter the great poured the wealth of the country into building his city to make a statement to the rest of Europe that Russia had arrived. 1000's died from malaria while filling in the marshes with timber on the gulf of Finland to make the city. Hence the city built on bones. What does this tell you about Russians? That Russians have had a chip on their shoulder for forever. Some of the Russian tzars spoke only French for example. Russia has stood in the shadow of Europe until the 19th century and in the shadow of America in the 20th. Chip away at Russian pride a little and what you find is Russian insecurity -- that is a key thing to understand in dealing with Russians I have found. They will put up all kinds of fuss, and rightly, about their education, their Dostoyevsky, Science & Math, Shostakovitch, ballet, Pushkin, etc. It comes out differently with the less high-brow, in arguments over nothing for example or quick criticism over America. In their heart of hearts, the mentality in Russia is a catch-up mentality and they know they have not made it yet.
Installment 3, in which Ekagra discloses his attitude towards the men he saw in Piter
Before getting on with a discussion of the women let's bring focus to the men. Alas, I have not much to report regarding Russian men. Despite the reputation and the booze kiosks all over I did not see much evidence of alcoholism. My suspicion is that alcoholism is definitely there but exaggerated in the minds of most Americans. Alcohol is part of the Russian culture, from the top down. One of Peter the Great's punishments for transgressors at Peterhof was to down a liter of Vodka. Gal I sat next to on the plane coming back was a MOB, married to some fello in the hinterlands in Montana. Said she knew of drunks in Russia who sold their wife's clothing to get a drunk on, drank antifreeze and perfume -- totally gross. But that is anecdotal. More interesting to me than the Russian men were the American men I saw in Piter. Who are these fellows on the MOB quest? Fellow I sat next to on the way over had a Russian wife - said he pissed off everyone he knew because of it. His American men friends hated him for having a better looking wife than was due to him at his station on the socio-economic scale. The American women hated him for getting a younger wife and one that was hotter then they were in their prime. But the MOB questing Americans were pretty easy to spot. Just look for the obviously mis-matched couples. There is some dufus from Dubuque: Frumpy dockers slacks, White tennies, unironed shirt, bad posture, little or large paunch. A Homer-Simpson in training. There she was, statuesque, elegant attire with that look on her face, searching for something in the joker she was with to like and at the same time feeling that it was a choice between some tedious and banal fellow or a unfaithful buffoon with little or no prospects in the world. Crikey! Oksana said 5 "Western gentlemen" had come to her before me, all obvious rejects from the first 15 minutes. One tried to force himself on her, but she managed to escape. I overheard a conversation from a couple on another trip to Kiev -- sex tourists they were, planning their strategy. They were going the route of flashing but little cash but instead displaying tokens of power: the BMW key ring, Prada label on the sweater, an exalted station in work, tales of nice digs. Eh, when one thinks of all the losers in love and mean-spirited assholes that come to up their game in Russia the whole specter of the scammer seems like poetic justice to me. But that is just it between men and women mostly: Bitches and jerks, Security traded for instinctive satisfaction. As Nietzsche says: "Generally two animals alight". Well, there has to be a higher ground in all of this. And what of Ekagra? I'll bear witness about myself next time.
guy,your history lesson not really impressive.
as an ex-russian i could talk much more to make point but past do not define future.
what does define future is social structure and,yes,in Russia nothing changed over last 200 years.
yes,you can visit Russia freely/visa cost me 200$/ and thats about all.
i remember i was homeless in Russia and considered it normal and when i moved to USA i had exactly 30$ in
my pocket and US government paid for my ticket.
as you guess it right i am not homeless anymore and live pretty good.
why?because social structure in US favor people who want live good.
yes,i have to work 2 jobs maybe to live good but its not the point.
and,as you may not realize,crime rate is the same for Russia and USA.
//and,yes,women are about same too//
have a nice day
I disagree with much that Ekagra says, but one point he has right on the money.
TWICE I have had trouble with FSU guys (once it was a police officer, another time two guys in a bar) because they resented an older guy being with a younger Russian woman. The gist was that I was stealing from their flock. A typical guy (supposedly) didn't have much chance when local girls were being courted by "rich foreign men". (I am far from rich incidently. And I don't pretend.)
In this country (the US), in the last week alone, I have been given an ear-full by local women who are slightly younger than I am, and single. They tell me that there aren't any good local men available to them and asked why it was that I needed to go abroad when there are plenty of good and avaialble women in my own country.
Actually I was getting into his story and wanted to see how it ended up. I like his "tune in next week for the next exciting chapter!" kind of thing he's got going on. It's not like waiting for the next episode of Lost or Heroes but it's still okay. :-)))
QC -- and who is the judgmental one now?
Jetmba -- My purpose in mentioning the tokens bit was to comment on the looser men who go to Russia. Would the tokens approach work? Think it would, lots of gals over there sport shopping bags with labels of Euro designers, you see cheap Chinese knock offs of Euro sunglasses for example. These girls can't afford the real thing, but the fact that they have the bags, etc. tells of their aspirations and if someone came along showing the promise of the 'real thing', ya, I think it would get their attention. I am glad you made the second comment. I have wondered how the locals viewed relatively rich foreigners coming and taking out some of the best specimens. I have read a variety of perspectives on this from, they don't care (unlikely), to what you have said (seems reasonable), to 'who would want the stupid girls who are on international sites anyway' (from reading profiles & letters, many do seem to be pretty stupid).
AlexFerd -- actually I mean no offense to Russia or Russians at all. You will see as the story unfolds that I think Russians do somethings better and others worse than Americans. It is just my perspective, however: disagreement is always welcome, and one of the reasons I am posting this little saga.
Globus -- A fan, YAY! OK, just for you I'll continue, if I do better then maybe I'll make it into a TV serial and score big $.
Ekagra.....your subject said 'fascinating life'...at what point will you begin....I see nothing fascinating about opinions. I don't mind the stories of what happened. You started that way then went off to start opinion-ating on many different things.
B18 - "I see nothing fascinating about opinions." Got the wrong thread then. What a fact means to a person is far more interesting than the fact itself. And what is often represented as a fact is most often nothing more than a perspective.
EK...facts are things that actually happened.....perspective is how you view those things..if you want to elaborate your perspective on facts ..I am all ears.........
Not much 'facinating' about your posts but I'll read and hope it gets better. That means I am giving you benefit of the doubt.
I see nothing fascinating about opinions."
Forgive me, I meant your opinions.
Installment 4 -- who is Ekagra? !!> Warning: contains opinions -- content may be unsuitable for MOBers <!!
Well, I seem to have polarized my readership. So it seems I am not destined for popularity here at fiance.com. But I think Mr. Apal hit is square on the head, and well said. I used to post on another site like this one, rwguide.com. They hated me over there too. They had this thing called the tablets of stone -- the 10 commandments listing what you must do to be with a E. European woman. One commandment was "to be the man", and so you have these MOB'ers trying to act the big man on the one hand and yet, deep down being quite insecure, afraid that their life will turn into another dreadful caricature, like that of the hapless fellow depicted in that film, "Russian Bride". I have been wondering about these MOB dudes. It is hard to work the percentages but I'd say these fellows fall into two categories mostly: first, the fellows who just never had much luck with the ladies -- they may have a degree and a nice job and, since they can't get a date, a few $$ in the bank to go off to the FSU. These fellows are generally delusional, thinking that because they have a platinum credit card and bring a present of Aveda shampoo that it will ensure them a lifetime of slavish devotion and hot sex from a centerfold-like girl. Some of these guys are real stinkers: angry, controlling and yet incapable of self-control, desperate and stupid; who gravitate towards fellows such as Tom Leykus or Howard Stern for mentoring in relationships. Others are soft-hearted fellows who would fall in love with a stripper because she said hello. Others like to blame their troubles on feminism & other b.s. excuses. The second group and the older fellows for whom the well of attractive women has simply dried up. Some are probably pretty good guys who were once attractive to attractive women but still who have never managed a stable relationship and now find the women in their age range to be unattractive. There are other smaller groups, the sex tourists, and finally the ones many imagine themselves to be; those rare connoisseurs of women who perhaps have the bevy of beauties at their disposal in the homeland but still are in want, these may go to the FSU but could just as easily go to Sweden or France.
Charitably speaking, the MOBers are like many others in the world who are just still trying to get the male/female project figured out. As for the MOB quest, it all seems jolly to me. Ekagra is in group 2. The FSU offers we in the post-40 set an opportunity. I think the girls would like someone closer to their age but, for a variety of reasons, are forced into a compromise. Each side gets something they want.
Yes,it is that old black-guard Ekagra to serve up another installment of vituperative swill. But no, here I will discuss the ladies of the FSU! Before leaving the subject of MOBer bashing, however, I tell you all I just had to laugh. I live in the center core of one of the major US cities. In the city you get to see a lot of people and you know, the water does always find its own level. There the well coiffed, svelte lady was with a dashing and considerate gentleman, yonder we see the hipsters in the twain, here a plain faced gal has found love with that pierced and tattooed fellow. But wait: up ahead I do declare, a gal in well tailored black slacks, heels, pink leather jacket and a cute little blond bob matched with humpty-dumpty??? I had to investigate. There he was a blond Paul Giacometti type: Frumpy jeans and running shoes, with his North-Face jacket. Drawing closer and you guessed it, a heavy slavic accent from she, he giving her the lay of the land, apparently this MOBs first trip downtown. Passing them by I just had to turn to catch the faces. They were clearly both quite tentative, they held hands but I saw no spontaneous gestures or relaxed stance. This girl will clearly get much male attention in the US and my guess is that it is not going to take long before she understands that she can get better that the fellow who brought her over. So the fellow managed to bring the girl over. Well done and I hope they make it, who knows what their private life is like, but my guess is that in this MOB quest, especially for category 1 fellows above, winning only sets the stage for loosing sometime down the road.
As for the women in Piter, well, first off a liitle more on the cultural climate of Piter. I have been to Piter, Donestsk, Kiev and Yalta -- all very different kinds of cities. Piter is the old aristocratic capital and there is a certain reserved attitude among the people there. That sort of thing appeals to me. I think Piter, even more than Moscow, must be the center for Russian Pride. So many impressive figures hail from that city, and the old architecture, like the Hermitage itself is an amazing work of art. So the women in Piter all moved swiftly, held their head up, despite the often dismal conditions of their dwellings. Except for the babushkas who take currency in the toilets I saw few overweight women and most were dressed well. My city in the US is a health conscious city, it is certainly no super-sized Houston, but after returning from Piter everyone looked fat to me. Oksana said that even in these days that there are temporary food shortages. Also Piter is a pedestrian city. One does not drive hither and yon always in some dreadful Beemer until the fat spills over the seat so that you can't work that nice getrag gearbox anymore. Third, Piter takes its cues from Europe more than Russia in many ways and so they have the culture of clothing and you have to have the form to wear it. But often these girls do not have an extensive wardrobe. My hostess was a professor of English in one of the Universities and she had but one coat and, although 50s, still looked good. That is the think about Piter, there is none of the over-expressed styling that one sees on American girls, who have money but use it to buy every kitschy little thing.
Thankfully, though, I did not have much of a chance to check out the local feminine flora and fauna. Oksana was a very attractive girl and a great deal of fun to be with. I brought a suit to wear for the big night out at the Dvoryanskoe Gnezdo restaurant but otherwise felt part of the crowd in Piter in a pair of good jeans and a jacket. Ukraine is something else. In Kiev I stayed one night at The Hotel Rus, got eyes from several people, and it was clear that they did not appreciate my jeans in their nice hotel. And in dismal Donetsk I saw perfect tailoring and press. Oksana's Dad would not let her mother press his slacks for example because she couldn't get it to come out right. I was blown away when Oksana asked if I needed my shirt to be ironed: first girl since Mom to do that. I think that dress is the one expressive indulgence that the Ukrainians can afford and so they take pride in it, perhaps in the same way that Americans take pride in their houses. So I would second the lesson offered in other threads that emphasize the need for the MOBer to up their game if they are serious about someone, especially from Ukraine. And that goes for manners too. No slouching in the restaurant, you better open doors, Oksana even wanted me to leave the metro first and offer my hand to her to help her off, though she was perfectly capable herself. Part of that shades into the whole subject of male-female dynamics. When a woman in interested in you she begins her little tests to see if you will jump through the hoops. So, as always I think it is necessary to walk the line of a woman's demands with caution. The battle of the sexes is a funny game to be certain.
Fascinating? Talk about false advertising. Its all pretty shock standard observations about russian/ukraine. Whats fascinating is why some guys go out of their way to point out they are different and better than the rest.