What a Photo Can Say to You
You should know from the very beginning that photos may be deceiving. Some people look stunning beauties on photos while in real life they would attract nobody's eyes. Others are not so photogenic, however one would find them quite pretty on close acquaintance. Still it is practically impossible to make the final choice without a photo. To avoid disappointment send and ask for many photos.
Perhaps it is not worth scrutinizing every separate feature in case you don't place exacting demands upon her, for example, blue eyes and long fair hair. You'd better stick to a general impression of a woman's face. Listen attentively to your heart. I'm sure it will help you make the right choice. Study not only the photo but also the description given by the woman herself. Does it correspond to the photo? A beautiful and rather confident in herself woman may send a rather bold photo.
What should be your attitude towards this? If she looks sex-appealing it doesn't reveal her character. She may have felt your desire and responded in such way. A photo is the first timid step towards getting really acquainted and choosing a life partner. If there arise any questions while analyzing the photo you may ask them the woman tactfully and cautiously.
In What Cases the Correspondence Should Be Discontinued
It depends on your intentions a great deal whether to stop the correspondence or to go on with it. One often has a feeling that a company of a certain person has become a nuisance. Why has it happened? It almost impossible to give a definite answer. Most likely the rupture of relations and consequently the correspondence has resulted from a number of reasons. My opinion may be considered subjective , but still I do advise to discontinue the correspondence if:
- you cannot make a compromise over your plans for the future;
- her set of values is not acceptable to you;
- you have felt that her stimulus behind her letters is mercenary spirit or a desire to leave Russia by any means and not her fancy for you;
- you repeatedly catch her in a lie;
- all topics have been exhausted and you continue to write letters just for the sake of writing letters.
You should encourage the correspondence with the woman whom you've got interested in, even if you discover deep dissention on some questions between you. In future you will be able to overcome it. It is also worth going on:
- if you feel her interest towards yourself and your life isn't artificial;
- if you feel like sharing your fondest dreams and wishes with her;
- if she is not only an interesting person to talk to but also a sympathetic responsive friend;
- if you are eager to meet her;
- if you feel like proposing her.
Meeting a Russian Woman
A face-to-face date is logically emerging from your correspondence, and that means your are not complete strangers to each other. Therefore your major task at this stage of your relations will be to overcome:
- natural restraint;
- fear to be disappointed;
- fear to meet disappointment.
Be your own self, behave as you would have behaved in other similar situations. Do not put on airs. It is better to laugh together at your shyness and perplexity than to pretend being at ease.
You should get ready as carefully as possible for the first date. Think over everything up to details: your first phrase, intonation, topics to talk of to avoid confusing silence. There are several points for you to bear in mind.
Your appearance and clothes. Russians have a proverb, according to which 'You are met by your clothes and seen off by your mind'. Much depends on the impression you make in the very first minute of your date. A Russian woman usually pays her attention to whether a man's shoes are polished bright. I don't need to remind that she will take your dirty shirt and crumpled trousers as a sign of disrespect. You should be dressed neatly and stylishly but not motley colored. Shorts, perhaps, are very comfortable to wear on a hot summer day but they would hardly suit such an occasion as the first date. There are no rigid rules on what to wear. So your clothes should suit your age and the setting of the date.
Presents. A Russian woman will expect flowers from a man she is having a date with. Mind that Russians give only an odd number of flowers as a present, because an even number of flowers is used in burial ceremonies. The range of flowers that may be presented is variable. If you have already learnt what flowers your woman prefers, buy them. Choosing flowers may also provide you an opportunity to show your aesthetic instinct. The bouquet may be extravagant and not necessarily expensive. Remember that red roses symbolize love. Besides Russians usually do not present yellow flowers, as they are a symbol of separation.
A Russian woman will be embarrassed to receive expensive presents. At the beginning of your acquaintance you may give her flowers, wine or champagne, chocolates, cakes, perfume (of a well-known trade mark) or books. You mustn't give the woman underwear or money as present.
Punctuality. Russian women cannot forgive a man being late, though a woman can afford to be several minutes late. Do not be annoyed by that and show your patience. Punctuality has never been an integral per of the Russian character, especially that of Russian women.
Manners. It would be fine if you studied the behavior manners adopted by Russians. That would guarantee you favor and gratitude of any Russian woman. First of all I mean chivalrous actions showing respect for a woman:
- Russian women are not accustomed to pay their share at a cafe, bar, restaurant, public transport or taxi. The spending has been traditionally born by men;
- When you enter or go out of some building you should open the door for the woman and let her go first;
- You should be the first to get off the bus, trolley-bus, etc., and offer a woman your hand to help her out;
- If you are going by car, first let the woman in and only then take your seat;
- When you accompany the woman to the theatre or a museum, when you are walking along the street you should walk on her left holding her arm slightly;
- After the date you should see her to her home or the hotel she has put up at;
- If you have been invited to see the woman's parents you should bear in mind that Russian women attach great importance to having a man acquainted with her parents. If she does introduce you to them it means she looks upon you as being her perspective husband or at least consider the relations between you serious and worth-while. If you are not so sure about your feelings towards this woman or do not think your relations would last, you'd better find an excise and postpone the visit to her parents. But if you agree, take care of choosing a proper present. You may follow the advice given for choosing a present for your first date with the woman. If you can speak Russian, even a little bit, do not get confused of your bad pronunciation. Even if you know just a few phrases, for example, 'Zdravstvuite' ('How do you do') and 'Kak dela' ('How are things with you'), use them and it will please your woman. Try to feel at ease, but mind the Russian manners. If you need to visit the bathroom or the toilet, ask the hostess where it is instead of looking for it yourself. Do not drink too much alcohol: though Russians have traditionally been considered a nation that loves alcohol, they wouldn't like the prospective husband of their daughter to be so ill-bred as to get drunk at his first visit to her parents. Russians like to eat abundant and nutritious food but remember that the food is, as a rule, rich and high-calorie, therefore do not overrate your strength at dinner in order to have the evening spoilt by the stomach-ache.
- And at last, do not go to see a Russian woman without an invitation, especially at early stages of your acquaintance. Russians are very hospitable and try to receive guests properly, but if you haven't been invited you may take them unawares. This will create an embarrassing situation for the woman and would hardly be a pleasant surprise.
It would be only logical here whether you have to go to Russia at all. Won't it be easier for your woman to come to your country?
Perhaps it is not too important where your first date will take place - in her country, in your country or in any other country. And still we shall examine all the three options:
1. You have insisted on that the first meeting should be held in your country.
For: You are the master of the situation since you are at home.
Against: it is unlikely that you will get to know the woman well. In an unfamiliar country speaking an unfamiliar language she will feel tense with the constant fear to do something wrong. In other words, being a guest she will feel compelled to comply with the countries traditions.
2. The date is held in a neutral country. It seems to be an ideal variant for the first meeting. You are both in equal positions and you are not obliged to each other. The sense of being in equal position will allow the woman to be her own self, thus you'll get a possibility to know her better. Besides, if in the long run you will get married and your fist date will not turn to be the last one, then the impression from this trip, your conversations and walks around the town will constitute the basis for your shared dear remembrances.
3. The date is held in Russia.
For: You will be able to see the woman in her customary setting, how she gets on with the members of her family and what her circle of acquaintances is, what her life is composed of and how she deals with different matters, especially with running the house. Of course, the few days of your first meeting will hardly expose to you all the habits and ways of the woman, but still you will manage to correlate the image you have got from the letters with the real one. Russians have a reason for saying: "It is better to see once than to hear a thousand times."
Against: Now you are a guest and welcome to all the advantages of the position.
And still you should better make a journey to Russia. Let it be not the first but the second or the third meeting: you have to see the country the woman you have chosen lives in. And you'd better do it before you decide to register the marriage.
When and how you should say 'no' to a Russian woman
Most likely not one specific reason, but a whole pack of them will force you to say 'no' to her. Here belong the peculiarities of her character, the set of life values and principles of behavior which you failed to understand and accept and are quite sure you will never be able to.
Here are several typical situations when, in my opinion, it worth breaking off the relationship:
- You relations are strained and troubled (she is constantly staging rows with you at the slightest pretext);
- She is inordinately jealous;
- She tries to suppress your will;
- She can't bear your habits and she doesn't think twice on criticizing them, picking on every trifle;
- She ignores your opinion and shows disrespect towards you relatives;
- She is driven exclusively be the desire to improve her financial situation;
- She clearly belongs to one of the Russian women types to beware of (see 'Russian women to beware of')
If the relations with the woman have become a nuisance, you ought to inform her as soon as possible giving your reasons. Do not start fretting and stick to your decision if you are sure it is sound. You are a polite and civilized person, so don't start insulting and accusing her. Say you are sorry and grateful to her for the attention she has paid to you.
When a Russian Woman Can Say 'No' to You
A typical reason for the breach of relations is formally defined as 'incompatible characters'. This is what may be used to cover:
- The woman feels you try to manipulate her:
- She considers you a miser or, instead, a spendthrift;
- You do not suit her as a sexual partner;
- You are too jealous;
- You subject the woman, her parents and friends to unsparing and petty criticism;
- You are indifferent or hostile to her child (if she has one);
- The dissension between your life principles is very deep;
She is not sure that you are that only fairytale prince whom she has waited for all her life
The list could be extended. As a matter of fact very often the reasons have nothing to do with you. Perhaps the woman has not been able to understand her feelings towards you; perhaps she has changed her plans for the future, fell in love with another man, for instance; or she doesn't want to give up her successful career, or doesn't want to leave the country because of her parents, or unexpected illness, etc.
It would be better for both of you if she makes up her mind before you get married.
When You Can Say 'Yes' to Each Other
You can say 'yes' to each other when you have got to know each other quite well and have realized you are ready to:
- meet your partner's wishes and interests halfway and, still, be able not to lose your identity;
- make concessions and at the same time teach your partner to take into account your authority as well;
- see common outlooks and allow for the difference in your plans and opinions;
- live together and not give up your independence;
- strive for unity and not be afraid of being alone;
- help and be ready to accept help in return;
- listen and expect to be listened.
In such atmosphere of equality and mutual understanding both a man and a woman will be able to develop into harmonious individuals and to enjoy each other. Specialists point out that in such atmosphere the woman will always attract the man's interest and the latter won't be a 'loving tyrant' to her. A good example of such relations is provided, in my opinion, by the family of the USSR ex-president Michael Gorbachov. In an interview after his wife's death answering 'when were your feelings especially strong, at the beginning of your relations or at the later stages' the ex-president said: "At all stages. At the beginning there was the passion of the young and later it was accompanied by friendship and cooperation when we could share everything with each other. We turned to have similar world outlooks."
You may say 'yes' when you trust each other (trust is a characteristic feature of the true friendship), when you believe that your frankness won't be used to hurt you, even in case of a quarrel, and when you have common outlooks on life, its development and its events and their meaning. And when, which is most important, you feel that this very person is dear to you, that she changed your life and you want to have her by your side not for a couple of days but for the whole life.
Russian Women and their views on Love
Is there a Russian girl who wouldn't dream of love and marriage to crown it? Brought up on fairytales she believes in love and waits for her prince to come. Sometimes, during her whole life. The Russian classics teach us that love is the most sublime of all human feelings. For example, the Russian writer Ivan Bunin contended in his works that love is the only means to attain happiness in earthly life. I daresay that love is still the major factor for a Russian woman in choosing her partner.
Any Russian woman would like to be the object of chivalrous admiration, to receive flowers and poems written especially for her. However the image of an ideal lover doesn't interfere with love for a real person, not always so positive as she would like. You can often come across such an explanation of the paradox: 'Somebody has to love him as well.' And she can forgive a lot to the person she loves: alcoholism, unfaithfulness, lies and non-chivalrous behavior. The reason for this self-sacrifice and artificially lowered requirements can be traced back to the historical consciousness that retained the awareness of the of the submissive role of women and to the fact the number of women in the country has always been considerably larger than that of men, due to the rough reality of the Russian life (the wars and totalitarian regime).
The situation hasn't changed a lot; as a line of a popular Soviet song goes: "According to the statistics there are nine boys for ten girls." Very often a Russian woman, denied the opportunity to choose, is prepared to love anybody just in order to experience the feelings and not to feel unwanted. "Love is ruthless, love you will even the toothless," as the folk wisdom tells it. Notwithstanding you shouldn't think that the Russian women are undiscriminating - they are just illogical in their love for men. One may be a tall, handsome and wealthy fellow and still fail to attract a Russian woman's attention. One may be crazy about her and still fail to arouse a response in her. However, that doesn't mean she needs a man with physical or spiritual shortcomings. The thing is that she must fall in love with You and Only You and then you may count on all-conquering forgiveness, on absolute devotion and on that she will undertake anything for your sake.
It is not clear why they contend that only the woman should have a piquancy, a spark. Bear in mind that a Russian woman is looking for a spark in a man as well: the way he adjusts his hair, his smile, the peculiarity of his speech, his absent-mindedness, his funny ways, etc. What you consider to be your defect may turn to be the thing to fire her with admiration.
Russian woman doesn't expect to profit by her love, she is genuinely selfless, and she often sacrifices her career and her interests to those of the beloved person. Devotion determines to a great extent the behavior of a Russian woman in love. For most Russian women the words of the church wedding rite 'I vow to stay with my husband in grief and joy until death separates us', are still the matter of current significance. A case in point is the behavior the wives and fiancées of the Decembrists (the aristocrats who staged a rebellion against the tsar in 1825), who gave up their high social circles and civil rights to follow the Decembrists in exile and in penal colonies in Siberia.
A Russian woman's love is patient, she is ready to forgive many things to her beloved, but you ought not to impose on this quality, because when the camel's back is broken you will experience the power of her jealousy, resentment and even hatred, which is, as it is well-known, only a step from love.
And one more remark: remember that it is in the mentality of every Russian woman that marriage should crown the relations with the beloved person, that is why she will subconsciously look upon herself as your wife. Do not be afraid of that, that is natural, you should bear it in mind.
So we may make a conclusion that a Russian woman in love is characterized by all-conquering forgiveness, a bent for self-sacrifice, passion, devotion, faithfulness, disinterestedness. Therewith she has a tendency to carry her feelings almost to the point of absurdity, to idealize her man, to give her identity, to view her lover as a prospective husband. But if you treat her with contempt, she is capable of ardent hatred.
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