Spending two months in Russia as a 30-year-old single woman is similar to what I envision military training being like. You come in terrified and weak; you leave tough and tempered and strengthened by the realization that nothing, ever, is going to seem difficult again. Having recently lived through said experience, I now present you a synthesis of key trends, reported directly from the line of duty.
I recently asked a 42-year-old man whether he thought I would ever get married. (What can I say? Four days with my brother had clearly traumatized me.) His answer? “Sure, just do yourself a favor and grow out that haircut. Men like long hair.”
I wish I could tell you that his words shocked me, or at least that I had some American feminism left in my system to battle him out for a woman’s right to a trendy overpriced bob. Alas, after spending the past two months in Russia and thereby being subjected to an unofficial local investigation into why I’m not currently 2.5 babies deep, his statement was mere icing on the sexist, antiquated cake I had grown all-too-good at metabolizing.
Truth be told, attempting to reshape some people’s inherent beliefs is a dire waste of time. After all, is there really any chance of convincing Babushka Nina that women are no longer ranked by their borsch cooking skills? Probably not, which means that it’s better to just smile and zip it. In predicaments that a – don’t involve fragile elderly relatives and b – call for real retaliation, I propose using a non-violent tactic entitled Revenge by Awkwardness, coined by yours truly. The goal: to yield your opponent to extreme levels of discomfort, causing them to quickly withdraw their statements.
Here are some examples.
Nota bene: This story initially appeared on Dbag Dating circa 2014 but was shortly removed due to the author’s fear of public scrutiny. It is now back, for she no longer has anything to lose. Just kidding! It’s back because it’s funny, ok? Also, because it has a new illustration by our resident Picasso, Kelcey Vossen!
I am a firm believer that there are two types of people in this world: those who bring out our best, most rational selves, and others who unleash our inner Girl, Interrupted, and I don’t mean that in a hot Angelina Jolie kind of way. If you have any desire to live to enjoy old age, I suggest that you stay away from the latter. This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
If you are anything like me (born before the ’90s, social media wary, technologically mediocre), you may occasionally feel a droning sense of fatigue while scrolling through Instagram and realizing that there is an entire meme jargon that reads more like Morse Code to your seasoned ears.
And yet, no matter how much we resent it, not understanding the language of the Internet is similar to not understanding the language of the country you live in – highly liberating, yet a surefire hazard for getting screwed over. Since I certainly don’t want you to get screwed over in the dating arena (leave that one to me!), I have compiled a handy little guide that will allow you to both decipher and chime into the wild jungle of Generation Hookup with a few gems of your own!
I have a confession to make: I have always been slightly intimidated by Moscow. A native of Saint Petersburg, i.e. Russia’s intelligentsia hub, I was practically raised to look down upon ‘Moskvichi’ for their (presumed) gaucheness and cultural deficience. And yet I always suspected that my closed-mindedness was partially driven by my own sense of inadequacy. In Moscow, an oasis of concentrated wealth, beauty and corruption, I always felt too lumpy, too naïve, too low on the totem pole.. And so, as God and human nature intended, I judged.
Alas, there comes a time when everybody has to face their fears. Mine came when my brother proposed for me to temporarily abandon family duty in Saint-Petersburg and hop onto his weekend trip to Moscow, a decision he later came to regret. Not only did I come, but I annoyed the living daylight out of him in the process, earning myself a firm placement into the “unmarriable” category. Marriable or not, I also used it as an opportunity to do some qualitative research into the curious world of Moscow men, which I chronicled for you, my dear readers! With pictures!
As a Russian woman, International Women’s Day has always had an important place in my heart. After all, it is a national holiday when school is out and the entire country turns into a floral greenhouse and guys are nice to you for a full day – think Valentine’s day sans reciprocation of effort!
It is only when I moved to the US that I realized that, for the majority of the Western World, International Women’s Day actually serves as a day to not only celebrate the contribution of women to society but also push for important and relevant agendas, aiming to drive change towards a more gender inclusive world. (Little known fact: while Russia is hardly an example of gender equality, Russian women have officially had equal rights since the October Revolution. So let’s forgive them for skipping their routine tribulations for just one day to – literally – smell the roses.)
With the 2017 agenda being BE BOLD FOR CHANGE, I decided to ask 8 phenomenal women (and a slightly more mediocre moi) the following question:
What changes would you like to see for women in this world? How are you planning on contributing?
Here’s what they had to say!