Thursday, July 22, 2010

Over the Hill

I have a secret confession I have to share. By Russian standards I am over the hill. Maybe not in Moscow, maybe not in Saint Petersburg, but by small town Russian standards I am well past my prime. The women here get married young, they have babies young. I stand out like--well a big redheaded sore thumb. From America.

The questions are always the same.

"How old are you?"


"Are you married?"


"But you have a boyfriend?"


And then they will eye me up as if trying to figure out what exactly my fatal flaw is. "Oh." They will say, "Well there are have been three people at the American House who have married Russians. We can make you the fourth."

The Russian around me feel they can fix this (or at least badger me into finding a Russian husband). So far I've enjoyed the attention. It's the right combination of flattering and exasperating.

When I went to Suzdal and was telling my teacher about the trip she asked if we had a guide. When I replied yes, she got all excited and asked if we hit it off. I replied that he was probably sixty & no hitting of any kind would be going on there.

Later, when I didn't know the Russian word for "to lean on" my teacher countered that If I had a man in your life to lean my head on during a movie I would know this word."

I admired her ability to work that into the conversation do deftly, I have to admit.

My host mom is in on the action as well. Whenever my roommate and I go out for the night, the next morning she will look at me expectantly. "Any guys?" "Nope!"

A few nights ago as we were watching the news, there was a story on about women coming to Vladimir as part of a dating website. The women dressed up as brides & would be featured on the website for potential grooms. I felt the pit of dread in my stomach as my host mom called out my name, and motioned to the television.

"I'm not doing that."

"You're difficult," she responded.

"And that's why I don't have a husband."

You'll have to excuse the picture. I like posting with pictures, but I couldn't think of a good one for this entry. So it's just me in the office of the American House, and my sassy hat.

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