Russians, on the other hand, aren’t going to let a little thing like your disinterest keep them from being your boyfriend.
You do not meet a Russian man, you are chosen by one.
You could be sitting in a banya, or at a café, and a man walks by, puts a fruit salad on your table, and gruffly says, “Enjoy.” If you eat the salad, it is a sign that you would like him to come talk to you.
Having grown up in New York, I had taken for granted that people were always striving for something, or at least striving to be striving for something.
In Russia, most of the guys I met were engaged in some sort of dubious import/export business in electronics; the rest were involved in “business” (if you ask what kind of business, and there is a marked pause followed by the word “business,” you should refrain from asking any more questions).
Moving through the darkness, he sat on the edge of my bed and stared at me for a few moments.
Then he gently fingered the strap of my silk nightgown and said, “This is a beautiful slip.” And then, with a sad sigh, “It’s going to be a shame to tear.” He said it the way you would look at your watch and say, “I’m not going to make it to my appointment,” like he knew what was going to happen, and there was nothing either one of us could do to stop it.
However -- and here’s where we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that the popularity of bodice-ripper romances and all the statistics about rape fantasies are not for nothing -- When I met one of my Russian boyfriends, he had (as is customary) come by the house several times to take me on long walks and brought cake for me and my parents, never once making anything remotely resembling an advance.
One night, I was lying in my room fantasizing about him (he was sleeping downstairs), when I heard my bedroom door creak.
Petersburg in 1988, moved to New York when I was five, and then moved back into a different crumbling communal building in St.