In general, I'm always amazed how often bloggers discuss women on LJ! Everything about them - appearance, age, mentality - dissecting every single component of their being. So many amusing comments in this recent post comparing German and Russian women. And where are all the stories analyzing men, their looks and their behaviors? I rarely see them. Today for the English speakers, I'll share an interesting discussion about Russian and American men.
I know a lot of Russian men, but I've never dated one. Could I? I guess it's possible, but he would have to be progressive with modern views about women and their roles in relationships. In general, I don't consider someone's ethnicity in the dating equation. Each person is an individual, with their own unique traits. I've dated Americans, Eastern Europeans (Slovak and Ukrainian) and two Jewish guys. The most important factor is finding someone with a similar mentality who shares my passions and life goals. Maybe he's Russian, maybe he's American, maybe he's African? I don't know because I haven't found any man who keeps me stimulated on the level I wish long-term.
Recently someone sent me a link to an article entitled "I Love (and Hate) Dating Russian Men." You can read the full text here. The author is a young Russian woman who grew up in St. Petersburg, moved to New York and is now back in Russia teaching English. She has dated both American and Russian men, and her observations on the differences are highly amusing. The article is very long, so I'll summarize the main points and offer my input on American men. Female readers, your input about Russian men is very important. :) Reveal the truth, because some of the observations made by this Russian woman are disturbing!
The story begins with a recap of a drunken party in some Russian village. She's hanging out with her Russian boyfriend and some other friends, when all of a sudden another guy puts his arm around her. Her boyfriend gets angry and starts punching him in the face. At first, she views this as a good thing, a man defending her honor. Then the boyfriend shifts the blame on her. "Did I tell you you could talk to him?!" And this leads to her first observation: Russian men are patriarchal alpha males, and feel obligated to look after women at all times. In her mind, this is a huge turn-on. Personally, I hate it. I can't stand overly aggressive men. Men who try to control every movement of my day or life - it will never work.
Here are some other observations:
Russian men are more aggressive, obvious and persistent when it comes to romantic intentions. In her words, "you don't meet a Russian man, you are chosen by one." In contrast, American men tend to stop sexual/romantic pursuits when a woman indicates they're repulsed by his presence.
Russian attitude toward rape is medieval. "It happens...that's life." Wandering penises are common and infidelity is widespread and acceptable from a male point of view.
Then, a very interesting discussion on sexual differences between Russian and American men. The Russian author portrays Western men as being completely passive and over-accommodating in bed, asking if we "need a pillow" or "a glass of water." I don't know who she slept with, but if any man asked me these questions during sex I'd kick him out of bed. It has never happened. But she correctly notes that most women want a man who's "a gentleman at dinner and an animal in bed." Well, I prefer a gentle animal. :))
"During sex, you want to completely transcend the cognitive prison and corporeal self in which we are always encased, becoming nothing but senses. This the Russian man understands. He leaves behind any semblance of propriety, responding only to primal urges, losing himself in you entirely. Of course, the major downside of this caveman treatment is that Russian men still follow the egotistical 'sex is a favor that women do for men' mentality...it's still not customary for Russian men to perform oral sex, although they will expect it."
I agree with the author's general thoughts on sex, but American men gladly perform oral sex. It's an absolute must for me, and I've never had a man hesitate. If a man refused, I couldn't have a sexual relationship with him. One more distinction on the sexual front - almost all American men are circumcised. Over the weekend, a straight Russian man on another blog decided to argue with me on this point. If you need a good laugh, read the comment thread starting here. I think the author exaggerates the sexual distinctions between Russian and American men. For me, it's irrelevant because I'm very vocal in bed. If a man is being too gentle or primal, I'll tell him. Most American men appreciate it, but I'm not sure how a Russian man would react if a woman started giving him directions in bed?
Next the author states that "love in a Russian man is expressed in a type of tender savagery. Russian men crush your body, not because they want to hurt you, but out of an excess of feeling. They squeeze you tightly because they want to possess you fully, and to possess always means, to some extent, to first destroy. They bite your neck and bruise your arms for the same reason that tigers claw on the trees to mark their spot: to show other beasts of the jungle that you are taken, that there is a man to whom you belong."
The word "possess" should not be used in human relationships. No person should be fully controlled. A couple is one unit, but each person should maintain individuality and interests, have outside friends and hobbies. A woman is not a piece of property to be "possessed," "controlled" or "fixed-up." Neither is a man.
Russian men always pay for everything and bring lots of flowers and gifts. They are willing to commit but not necessarily stay faithful. In contrast, American men want more casual relationships with multiple women and generally marry much later.
This is the most accurate statement in the article - American men don't want to commit and casual sex, even among friends, is very common. People move from one person to the next, screwing everyone in their path. Treating sex like a recreational sport rather than something meaningful. The concept of "friends with benefits" is mainstream. Personally, I don't care if people have casual sex but it's not for me. I can't just hop into bed with strangers and have any sense of fulfillment. It may feel good in the moment, but afterwards there's a complete sense of emptiness. I absolutely must know a man well and trust him before I have sex. It doesn't have to be love, but there must be some type of connection (intellectual, artistic or emotional).
What the author hates most about American men is that they're too passive, not defending her honor when other men look at her, etc. Yet she also complains that Russian men are too controlling and overbearing, checking in on her every move, needing to know every detail of her life. In my mind, the author is a typical 25 year old woman who doesn't know what she wants. She wants men to be aggressive and protective, but only when it benefits her.
In the end, it seems easier to know when a Russian man is romantically interested because they make it obvious. The same is NOT true for American men. Their intentions often are unclear - does he want to be friends or something more? Of course, you can just ask but I'll never do it. I'll never be the initial aggressor in a romantic relationship. A man will always have to make the first move physically to transition the relationship from friendship onto another level.
The fact that American men don't pay for things as often as their Russian counterparts is meaningless to me. In America, it's very common for couples to go "dutch," meaning they split dating and household costs equally. I never expect a man to pay for anything, and I don't understand the concept. I'm a grown woman, have a career and make my own money. I can afford to pay for my own meal and see no reason why a man should pay for it. Why do men want to pay? To convey they are "providers"? And why do women think men should pay for everything? Explain.
Just a reminder that these aren't MY views of Russian men. I'm only summarizing what the author of the article wrote. The Russian men I know don't behave in this manner, but I'm not in a romantic relationship with any of them.
In my life, there has to be a delicate balance where a man doesn't treat me like a kitten in a tree to be rescued, yet still serves as an emotional protector and rock. I don't want a man who simply craves a doll on his arm, with absolutely no intellect or opinion of her own. Mostly, I need a man to challenge me creatively and intellectually, provide emotional support and pleasant companionship through the journey we call life. To teach me things and stir my adventurous spirit. If a Russian man can do this, I'll welcome him with open arms. :)