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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

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.
iamschik
Jul. 21st, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, it's not stereotype, it's truth. And, once again, conversation could be very friendly but loud voices and threatening gestures make it look very unsafe for passers-by. I think, we as Russians were not taught to moderate our voices anywhere but in official institutions. And children of all nations do the same thing: they scream from excitement during water activities.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 21st, 2015 11:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes! Most young children are loud, this includes my 7 year old nephew. I constantly have to tell him "inside voice," to try to quiet his tone. But it rarely works! :)
iamschik
Jul. 21st, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
Well, we always lie to our beloved children:( Pool is outside of apartment, so you can use your outside voice there, for sure?:) My point is, children are not capable of moderating the volume of their voices; in certain cultures, part of education and social adaptation is teaching kids this skill, and in other cultures it is not. Oh, and we also teach children not to "talk with their hands",- meaning, not using gestures; but once again, in certain culture it's a part of communication pattern. About swimming attire - I learned in California that people have as much right to look ugly, as they have to look nice; it is their choice, they did not come to swim in order to satisfy my need for beauty:) I am much stricter in theaters and museums about my need for beauty.
Svetlana Yakovleva
Jul. 22nd, 2015 09:08 am (UTC)
Русский язык может любым-и мягким, и вежливым, и каким угодно. Это советские стереотипы общения-"вас здесь не стояло" и "не баре". Хамство как бы подчеркивало, что нет "господ".
alice_lisina
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:31 pm (UTC)
Я говорю из своего личного примера. Когда мы с подругами разговариваем по русски - не спорим и не хамим друг другу, американцы нам говорят - что наша беседа выглядит как спор. Все же русский язык жесткий по сравнению с американский английским.
Svetlana Yakovleva
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
В общем, я согласна с Вами. Есть слои населения, речь которых и мне, например, кажется крайне скандальной, хотя это их обычный способ разговаривать.
alice_lisina
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:54 pm (UTC)
Это вы что на меня намекаете? "Есть слои населения, речь которых и мне, например, кажется крайне скандальной, хотя это их обычный способ разговаривать."
Svetlana Yakovleva
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:57 pm (UTC)
Я также как и Вы просто описываю свой опыт). Ни на что не намекаю.
alice_lisina
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:47 pm (UTC)
Я говорю из своего личного примера. Когда мы с подругами разговариваем по русски - не спорим и не хамим друг другу, американцы нам говорят - что наша беседа выглядит как спор. Все же русский язык жесткий по сравнению с американский английским.
Svetlana Yakovleva
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:54 pm (UTC)
Дв, я прочитала уже этот Ваш ответ. И ответила на него выше. Что русские значительно между собой отличаются, гораздо больще чем, например, американцы. И речь разных социальных групп может сильно отличаться. Я русская, но речь некоторых групп русских мне тоже кажется жесткой и грубой.
alice_lisina
Jul. 23rd, 2015 12:27 am (UTC)
Поняла. Конечно все зависит от разговорной манеры и применяемых словах. Если человек грубый, он говорит очень грубо. Я другая, но при этом моя речь американцам слышится как спор. :(

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