Photo: Dan Rocha

1. They are too beautiful for you.

The dedication that Russian women have to look beautiful is just scary. For the majority of them life is like a podium, and so they have to look sparkling even on the way to get a newspaper or walking the dog. My friend Sasha wears high heels every day and doesn’t worry about the lack of comfort as soon as it looks great. Also, during five years of teaching she has never appeared at school wearing the same outfit twice. When I asked her why she cares so much about her appearance, she looks surprised: “Why would I choose to not look beautiful? Beauty is power and respect. How is anyone going to notice your rich inner world if you don’t attract attention?”

The worst thing is that if you are going out with a Russian girl you will either have to dress up and put a lot of effort in looking nice, or everyone will be looking at you and wondering, how did a pretty lady like her end up with that slob?

2. Loyalty is not cool.

A Russian girl will be your most devoted friend, your best advisor, critic and even your doctor if you are sick. Ladies in Russia are caring and tender, and whatever happens, they will be by your shoulder ready to face any trouble together. The best example of loyalty of Russian women: in the 19th century there was a riot against the tsar, and the aristocrats who participated in that riot were sentenced for a lifelong exile and hard labor in Siberia. Their wives followed them voluntarily to cold deserted lands and shared the punishment.

A Russian woman truly believes that her partner is the best person on the planet, the most talented, the strongest, the smartest — and she is sincere about that, because she values herself highly too. And if she believes she is the queen, she’d only choose the king and treat him like the king – with the respect, care, love and support.

If you think loyalty is unnecessary and boring, don’t date Russians.

3. You might get Russian parents in law.

This is dangerous. Visiting your girlfriend’s house will be accompanied with feasts (soups, meat, soups with meat, salads consisting of 50% mayo, potatoes, potatoes, bliny with mince and more potatoes, and then a cake for dessert), and as it is not polite to not finish your meal in Russia, you will have to deal with all that amount of food. You’d expect help from your beloved, but when it comes to hospitality, all Russians tend to become unreasonable and overfeed their guests until it is hard to move. She will probably offer you another piece of pie. Is dating a Russian girl worth putting on a lot of weight?

And don’t forget the initiation: the dad will most likely test you at some point. You should prove that the family can trust you with their precious child. Tests are different in each family. For example, my boyfriend Jacques had to drink a full bottle of vodka with my dad. Otherwise he would be considered too weak to protect me in danger. Lucky for all of us, Jacques passed the test successfully, and we had to celebrate it with more cake.

4. They are too independent.

Nekrasov, a Russian 19th century poet said: “a Russian woman can stop a galloping horse and enter the burning house.” This is a powerful image of an independent woman who doesn’t really need any help or protection from men. Girls in Russia do not believe in ideal relationships and think that even if their Prince Charming finds them, they have to be able to live on their own. Building a career and getting a second degree often sounds more appealing than trying to find someone who will value their personality and freedom.

A Russian woman will be very independent in a relationship, and very stubborn, too. But on the other hand, expect bravery in danger and trouble, and the strength that will help both of you overcome the most difficult times.

5. Her high expectations.

Russian women are very demanding. They don’t want just a guy who will love them madly. They want the best man alive to love them madly. Good old manners are very important: you are expected to open doors, help to put on coats, bring flowers when you go on a date. If you are not a gentleman, it is not even worth trying.

But Russian women don’t only pay attention to what you do for them. Don’t forget the others, be a valiant knight! Offer your seat in transport to elderly people and save a kitten from stray dogs. Once I saw a man jump into sewage to save tiny ducklings that fell down a hatch – in the eyes of his girlfriend he was a real hero.

6. The challenge of breaking the ice.

Russians are reserved and try to keep the distance before you become close to them. Any Russian girl can create an impression of Ice Queen, even if she likes you (especially if she really likes you!). I met Paul at work on one of my tours, and he told me he came to Moscow to visit his girlfriend. “When we started dating, I was challenged with the wall of ice between us, as if she didn’t want to open up or let me closer. Slowly, step by step, I discover that underneath this ice there was the most loving and caring person in the world.”

7. All the Russian food.

For many Russian women cooking is a way to show their love, so be prepared for food experiments. At first the cuisine might seem absolutely normal and even a little boring. But when you get to eat Russian food more often than during occasional visit to her parents, you will have more and more questions. What is that weird purple salad? Beetroot with herring? Pancakes with caviar? Why is she putting cabbage in pies (and everywhere else)? How many variations of pickles are there on Earth? Fermented rye bread drink…well, that one is surprisingly decent! You might hate most of the meals, but occasionally there will be something great (e.g., my boyfriend loves Russian salad. He says it is because there is no cabbage there).

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