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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 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.
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! :)
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.


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