I was born in Russia, but emigrated at a young age, so I was excited to return to the country of my birth as a single 22 year old. Little did I know that Russian dating culture differed signficiantly from that of New York, and that watching every episode of “Sex and the City” left me ill-equipped to deal with being chased down the streets of St. Petersburg by angry, unexpected girlfriends beating me with the bouquets of roses that had been given to them by their guilty beaus. So here are some tips to help you deal with the many perils of dating Russian men:
1. Russian Men Have A Different Take On Commitment
The woman wants to move in together, but the man doesn’t. Sound familiar? Not in Russia. I experienced this first-hand when a guy that I had been dating for three days asked me to move in with him. However, before you get too excited, be aware that the plunge into commitment is accompanied by a much weaker definition of what commitment entails. Moving in together and having several girlfriends is by no means contradictory to the Russian male mind.
2. Cheating Is Standard
While a potential relationship-breaker in the West, cheating in Russia is regarded as more of an annoying but inevitable habit. That is, for men. As a woman, you need permission from your boyfriend just to speak to another man.
3. Never EVER Pour Your Own wine
Femininity in Russia largely revolves around asserting male dominance. Pouring your own wine would not only look incredibly crass and unladylike, it would also indicate that you doubt your date’s ability to take care of you, and imply that you think he is inattentive. After all, it would be rude on HIS part to not notice your empty glass.
4. Expect To Be Walked Home, But Not In The Countryside
Well-mannered Russian men will typically walk you home or to the bus stop, even if they aren’t trying to sleep with you. After all, if you get sexually assaulted on your way back, it’s their fault. Bear in mind, however, that “provozhat” [walk home] means something much more suggestive in country towns where there are only ten houses and everyone knows where you live. I learned this the hard way. Two of my potential lovers were arguing over who would “walk me home,” and when I innocently said “Oh, it’s fine, I don’t mind who walks me home,” everyone grinned wryly and replied, “So that’s how they do it in America?
5. Get Used To Dubious Job Titles
Throughout my entire single life in Russia, I never once met someone with a clearly defined career. Most of them sell some type of electronics or are “engineers.” Some of them will just reply that they do “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.
Can you tell us 5 things we should know about dating in your City/Country?