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How to Spot a Russian...


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...


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!


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.
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!!!!?
Jul. 21st, 2015 08:54 pm (UTC)
I don't know about "proper Russians" but the other day at the airport I was passing by the gate that was boarding people traveling to Tel Aviv. They were as loud as the entire terminal, including passengers waiting for their flight to Moscow, combined. I am not implying anything and it did not disturb me. I guess, this is just one of those cultural differences.
Jul. 21st, 2015 11:23 pm (UTC)
Как пел Высоцкий, "Ведь там на четверть бывший наш народ"(ц):) Я думаю, наш, еврейский шум не представляется со стороны агрессивным,- просто громким:)
(no subject) - logofilka - Jul. 22nd, 2015 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 22nd, 2015 01:10 am (UTC)
Israeli are noisy, no question about it, they readily and humorously admit it. Our immigrants simply join the crowd. I can't agree with the statement that Russians, Ukrainians and Jews with a similar cultural background behave radically different.
(no subject) - logofilka - Jul. 22nd, 2015 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:12 pm (UTC)
You know what I mean. Yes, traditions of loud haggling is not inherent to Russians except Muscovites.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 04:31 pm (UTC)
This is an unsubstantiated statement.
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:07 pm (UTC)
I never thought about the fact that sunshine and summer in Russia are in such limited supply, so it now makes perfect sense why so many people wear limited clothing at the beach and pool. They are desperate to absorb every ounce of sun before it disappears!! :) About whether they are Jews or not, I have no clue.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 05:13 am (UTC)
There're also many proletarian guys in russian provincial towns who walk topless while in warm and sunny wheather. As for me, it's too indecently)
Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:15 pm (UTC)
Just ask them. You may actually scare them to think you are CIA agent or worse... 8-)
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, I've never thought about the connection between a woman's size/shape and bikini. It's just so normal in Russia to wear bikini to the beach (to soak in more sun) and the other type of swimwear (what do you call it in English? monokini?) to the indoor pool. Damn, I'm a fat Russian lady, now I'll be thinking about what people think about me when they see me in my bikini on the beach :(
And yeah, our men mostly wear Speedos - I guess for the same reason. And likewise, it has never occured to me that there's something wrong with this :)

I was surprised to see what Americans wear to the beach - not just swimming trunks (like, say, Turkish men), but whole suits - you know, like a T-shirt and trunks, but it's one piece! At least all the kids did back in 2006 on Nantucket, when I went there. Must be extremely uncomfortable.
Jul. 21st, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
You should not be concerned what others think of you in your bikini! If you like it, and are comfortable in this type of swimwear, wear it! :) I doubt anyone is judging you, because it's normal attire for older women in Russia to wear this type of bathing suit at the sea. We call it a "one piece", not a monokini. :) This is what I always wear. Most young women at my apartment complex wear bikinis, but they are in very good shape.
Jul. 21st, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC)
I'm not one of the "older women" yet (or at least I hope so - I'm 30 :))), but my shape leaves oh so much to be desired. Here in Russia nobody cares - I mean, lots of people tell me I should lose weight (like my mom and my firends' mothers)), but nobody is surpised to see me in a bikini :)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 21st, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - baby_rhino - Jul. 21st, 2015 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:10 pm (UTC)
In US, Speedos were hijacked by homosexsuals. It is badge of distinction and invitation to connect with other homosexuals on the beach. So, straight mens were forced into this variety of "semeiniki" to keep unwanted attention out.

I know what you are talking about on Nantucket. This is new healthy craziness - sun is now declared bad for you, so you should not expose yourself and your kids to it. If your kid is exposed - you are bad parent. Peer pressure is extremely high in places like Nantucket.

Another thing, a lot of people in this country very prudish. This is one of the mysteries of US for me. From one hand there are things like Folsom street festival (do not google it from work). From another, all that HazMat suits which are sold here as bathing suits. Just do not understand how it is connected and coexist.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:12 pm (UTC)
Hijacked by gays? :)) Not really. Some straight old, American wear them also, but it's rare.
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Jul. 23rd, 2015 02:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 23rd, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand


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