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Myths Russians have about foreign men
Myth 1 - Foreigners are stupid
This is mainly caused by the forced creativity Russian people have acquired over time. Living in the conditions that they live in, Russian people have to get creative in managing everyday things. For example, disposable plastic bags people get in the store abroad are not perceived as anything of extra value and can easily be thrown away; in Russia, on the other hand, these bags used to be washed and dried, to use them again. The same goes for other things – if most foreigners will go to buy a certain thing or service, lack of money for Russian people causes them to look for ways to make up such things or find their way around it.
Another factor is the difference in the sense of humor. Many American shows and movies that have made it to Russia are not always the best ones and often feature trivial humor, which creates a perception that Americans laugh at stupid things. Some Russian comics have taken full advantage of this and have contributed by further inflating this idea through poking fun at American culture (i.e. strange laws, habits, etc).
Myth 2 – You can recognize a foreigner by a smile that is always on his face, even without reason.
Most people in Russia think you must have a reason to smile, otherwise you are up to something or you are making fun of somebody. It is also a foreign concept to them to greet cashiers, people in lime, store clerks, etc. – it is not a part of their culture. That is why seeing foreigners who smile to everyone they meet looks very odd to Russian people.
Another reason is that hardships of life leave Russian people little room to find positive aspects of it. When a person is bogged down by constantly thinking of how to feed the family, how to make the most of the meager salary, he/she is not very likely to look at the brighter side of things.
Myth 3 – Americans are arrogant and cocky.
Unfortunately, many visitors from the US were the ones that created this stereotype. Many US citizens have often expressed harsh criticism of the way things in Russia are, as well as have made a point of claiming that the US is the only nation that has it right. Russians are very sensitive when it comes to criticism of their home: they know very well it is a mess, but it is theirs and no one from abroad has room to criticize. As a result, Russian people have grown to resent Americans for such attitude, and often carry this stereotype to everyone who comes from US, even if the person does not share such views.
Of course, things you find in Russia many often seem unusual or even strange to you, but the best thing you can do is ask about it and smile politely. Under no circumstances you should compare it to the way it is done better in your country, as this will most likely offend your hosts or native friends.
It is also important to know that Russia does not have a very high level of service. If you are used to client always being right when you enter a store in your home country, in Russia it is usually the store clerk, who is always right. So, if you come across unsatisfactory or rude service, it will not do any good to scream at the server/clerk and call for the manager – concept of customer service is present in very few places, and you will only risk looking as if you are arrogant and too good for the place you are at.
Myth 4 – If a man is using online dating service to look for a wife (especially if he has never been married), there has to be something wrong with him.
OF course, there is little logic behind such thinking since hundreds of thousands of Russian women are using the same way to look for a husband abroad, but, on the other hand, it is completely justified as Russian women know there is nothing wrong with them, but who knows about those foreigners? After all, many men from overseas wonder the same thing – why beautiful, smart women are unable to find a partner at their home country?
Negative publicity has significantly contributed to women fearing that a guy from the profile will turn out to be a maniac, be looking for a housekeeper or a babysitter for his kids, etc. So, when you are corresponding with Russian women, be frank in explaining why you are still single, that there is nothing physically or mentally wrong with you, do not bring up sex or intimate subjects until you and your lady are comfortable with your relationship, etc.
Myth 5 – Living abroad is a fairy tale and foreign men are stable, honest, kind, etc.
While this has also been dampened some by negative stories, Russian women still believe that settling their life abroad will be a step above their life in Russia, and that foreign men appreciate women more than men at home. However, do not think that Russian women expect something extraordinary from men, they simply want normal, regular relationship. They want for their mate to have stable employment, education, to be capable of taking care of his family, to be attentive, and not be a drunkard.
So, whenever you communicate with someone from Russia, knowing these prominent myths can explain why people react funny when you smile at them, or why they are shocked you haven’t been married by the age of 30. If you explain why you are the way you are, how things work in your country, and what you think/feel, you will avoid being locked in a stereotype of a “typical” foreigner and will be able to have a much more solid communication with women in Russia.
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