Petersburg in 1988, moved to New York when I was five, and then moved back into a different crumbling communal building in St.
Petersburg after graduating from my overpriced New York liberal arts college.
While all men like a challenge, the average American man tends to stop pursuit once you indicate that you are repulsed by his presence.
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.
But what I mistook for a smile was actually a grimace. But then Anton hugged me, heat and sweat rising from his torso, his arms wrapped around me in a promise of eternal protection, inhaling me in that way men do to show they’re grateful that you’re safe.
And in that strange and romantic moment I thought, “One day I’m going to put this in a story to explain my convoluted relationship with Russian men.”I should preface this story by saying that I am Russian.
I had female friends who had no idea they were apparently someone’s girlfriend.