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How to Spot a Russian...

tourists

Over the weekend, I was sitting at my apartment pool, relaxing in the hot sun when I was disturbed by very loud voices. Immediately I could tell that it was some of the Russian residents living in my building. For me, it's easy to spot Russians in the crowd, perhaps because I spend so much time communicating with them in my personal life and in this blog. They most often talk in a very loud tone, which sounds aggressive to my English trained ears. Why is this? This is not only at my apartment, but also a perception based on numerous personal encounters with Russians in the USA, on airplanes and throughout Russia. It's not an insult, just an observation. :) The topic of the conversation can be extremely friendly, with a loved one or friend, yet still sound like an argument to me because I barely understand any Russian words when they are spoken by natives.

Other signs that the person at my pool is Russian - older women almost always wear bikinis, despite their physical shape or appearance. Very old, overweight females stuff themselves into these types of bathing suits, and it's fine. About someone else's appearance, I have no opinion or say, and if they're comfortable in this type of clothing, more power to these ladies! :) However, it's not so common for old women in the States to wear bikinis, I very rarely see it. Similarly, Russian and European men at my pool almost always wear Speedos, or tightly constricted swimming trunks. It doesn't matter that they have huge bellies, I suppose it's just a cultural difference in swimwear attire. Something like this...

beach2

Photo credit nemihail.

What do I think about this type of swimwear? Horror! :)) I strongly dislike Speedos, even on extremely attractive guys. I guess I prefer modesty, and leaving some things to the imagination. It's for this same reason that I have never worn a bikini, even when I was younger and in much better shape. These are the two simplest ways for me to spot Russians at my pool, and there are a lot of them living in my new apartment complex! Of course, there are certain Slavic facial features in both men and women that also make the determination easy. How about you? Is it easy for you to spot your fellow compatriots when you're in a foreign country? Can you easily spot Americans in Russia? I can almost never pick out fellow Americans in a big crowd overseas!


Comments

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j1980
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
В последние годы российская молодёжь особо от зарубежной не отличается, (за рубежом) если это не откровенные гопники.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, you're right. The youth have become more "Westernized," but the older Soviet generation sticks to tradition. :)
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jenden_bm
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
I thought I saw a picture of that guy in Speedos as a reference to south Jersey.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC)
He could be from South Jersey, not sure! :)) I pulled the pic from Google images. How about you? Can you spot fellow immigrants from your homeland here in the States? It's very hard for me to tell that someone is "American" from afar.
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barabaan
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:42 pm (UTC)
funny, one day during the trip in Spain I finnally bought this bathing shorts. Well, for me it is like swimming in jeans. So i continued to wear our trraditional Speedos on the beach. Who cares!
About older women in bikini. Have you ever seen topless older women from Germany? Thats the hell on the earth;-) I had to drink two bottles of vodka to forget it!
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:46 pm (UTC)
Haha! :)) I don't really pay attention to people's bodies honestly, because there are so many different shapes and sizes on the planet. To each their own. :) I was at a nude beach only once, in California, and there were older ladies walking around with sagging, wilted breasts!! Bottles of vodka? Sure sign that you're a Russian!! :)))
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sineglazzka2301
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:43 pm (UTC)
I noticed that it becomes more and more difficult to spot young Russians abroad until they speak. Globalisation:)
And, speaking of Russian women, you should have mentioned make-up. Anywhere, any time of the day, any occasion:)
As for men, especially over 25-30, one of characteristics would be hairstyle. Most Russian men wear simplest hairstyles - no creativity. Especially in the Asian part of the country. Ah, and facial expression, of course: sooooo serious! As if they are constantly solving some vital problems.

Edited at 2015-07-21 06:46 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, make-up, you're right! :) But I've noticed the older Russian women at my pool are less made-up. Perhaps they've become too Westernized. :) I can't imagine taking time to put on make-up, fix my wild hair and worry about my outfit for simple tasks like going to the grocery store or to get gas. I simply don't have the patience or desire, when I could be doing a thousand other things.
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narcolog59
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, I can spot Russians, but as for me, I have no these signs to spot me. And of course, I really hate this habit to speak so loudly that all can hear you are speaking about.
There were some situations I felt shame, coz behaviour of men were so extremely terrible(
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
I feel the same in confined places like planes or public transport, when people are speaking loudly on their cell phones, etc., as if I want to hear about their problems or daily chores and plans! I think, in general, the Russian language is "hard," and I don't mean in difficulty level, but in pronunciation and the use of stressed syllables. It makes the language less pleasant to the ears.
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ambival
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
Well, in the second photo - a famous GIPSY "king". But who cares..., "Russians" is an antonim word to "awesome" in this blog.

May I post here some stereotypical images of Americans?
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Sure, but I doubt it will be anything new or creative. The common stereotypes about Americans: (1) we're all fat; (2) we're all stupid! :))
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alice_lisina
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
Hi, Shannon, first question you answered by self: "...sounds aggressive to my English trained ears." Yes, Russian language is not that soft and polite like English. Nature of the language and taking manner...
Bikini and Speedos are also sculptural thing for the pools or beaches. We like to get as much sun as possible! And speaking of american women - I saw more and more of older of fat women in bikini lately at the pools... Style is changing.

But, older women in Russia never where shorts and short skirts/dresses. American's do! :)

BTW, Americans can be very loud in public places too. :(

Edited at 2015-07-21 06:52 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:57 pm (UTC)
Sure, there are loud, obnoxious people everywhere, including the USA! :) In the States, we also have a stereotype that blacks talk loud, esp. while watching movies at the cinema! :)) Hmm..it's an interesting point you make about older Russian women never wearing shorts. It's true, even at my pool! They usually have a sundress over their bathing suits.
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kovaliv
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC)
Adidas - russian national clothes ))


peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:05 pm (UTC)
Only for gopniks! :))
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seadevil001
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:54 pm (UTC)
I am willing to bet that "Russians" in your apartment buildings are in fact Jews or Ukrainians. Russian speaking for sure, but still. Proper Russians speak quietly. I have problem with this in US. Some people think if you speak quietly and without putting accent of words, you are threaten them.
About bathing suits - as you know summer is short in Russia, so people try to soak as much sun as they can. So they expose themselves. A lot of Europeans do the same, somebody mention Germans, Spaniards not too far behind.
genka8
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:01 pm (UTC)
Are you implying that (formerely Russian) Jews and Ukrainians share a cultural trait missing in ethnic Russians?
Who are the "proper Russians"? Тагиииил!!!!?
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justadreamer
Jul. 21st, 2015 06:59 pm (UTC)
На нижнем фото цыгане из Румынии, вообще-то.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:08 pm (UTC)
Okay! Now many people are commenting on that photo, informing me the person is Romanian, so I will change it! :)) I was just using the image to show how unpleasant Speedos can be!
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maksipes
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC)
The man on the picture isn't Russian. It's Romanian or greek gypsy. I don't remember exactly.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:07 pm (UTC)
It was just an example of a horrible Speedo! :)
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sun_jr
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC)
Some facial feature that my wife called "Eastern-European unibrow." :)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, very bushy, dark and thick eyebrows! :)) I've noticed this also.
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Пьер Безухоff
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC)
The last photo is not Russian, it's Romanians. This picture has long been known in Russia and the history of this photo too.

Edited at 2015-07-21 07:07 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I changed the photo, because everyone ran to the comments to tell me the person is Romanian! It's the best and most crazy photo that appears when you do a search for "Russians in speedos" in google images. :) That's why I used it, only to show how unattractive this swimwear is for me.
Пьер Безухоff
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
Shannon, you need to go to the Crimea. I'm sure you would have made an excellent report.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:28 pm (UTC)
I would love to visit! The nature there looks amazing, but there is no money for a trip there. :( Maybe some Russian tourism or travel company will send me there someday to make a report.
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leo_sosnine
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:16 pm (UTC)
That's right, I also can spot Russians easily in the US. In addition to what you've described they usually have grumpy, suspicious "mind-your-own-business" faces.

BTW, do you live in appartments? Why if so, I thought that you can afford a house as a working professional.

peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, I live in apartments, but it is not cheap! In my area, rent for a one bedroom apartment is over $2,000 in a nice complex. I own a home in my native town, but I don't live there because the commute to work is too long. So, I rent the property to relatives.
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