Can happiness – this rare value in today’s world – be a discount offer?
Come ye bravest readers, praiseworthy for reckoning with East / West differences. Let’s find the common denominator for appreciating Dear Ones.
(Approved by my Western friend and business partner Joseph, whose Russian chapter of marital history dates back into the last century, – called on for competent male judgement on behalf of the successful and the thrifty.)
How would you estimate the value of years that a marriage reportedly adds to man’s lifespan?
Probably depends on the quality of life. What can a woman contribute to it?
OK, let’s factor out sex and its fruits (hopefully presuming that love and satisfaction should be mutual), and even the labor of “harvesting” (assuming the concept of Eve’s debt, and counting “pregnancy” as “distress”… though religious reasoning is far more like Western men than Russian women.)
Remaining boons could be defined as “maintenance” & “flavor” of life.
I won’t vex Gentlemen who Count with market price lists for cooking / cleaning / nursing / teaching / mending (plus value of the things revived) / management / supply / logistics / and the rest of services all provided by one little traditional wife.
There’s still something more about a good Russian or Ukrainian character…
In his bestseller “The Wellness Revolution”, Paul Zane Pilzer identifies the complex of measures aimed at helping people gain & maintain physical standards and psychological comfort – “wellness” – as the world’s “next trillion-dollar industry”. Must be something important!
Weary of the Western atmosphere, polluted by the health & spiritual crisis and deplete of genuine feelings? A Slavic Sorceress, with her perennial heritage of half-mystical skills and knowledge, can stand for a family physician, dietologist, psychoanalyst & therapist, an inspirer and success coach, a time-manager, an imagemaker, an environment designer, and your personal full-body SPA, massage & fitness combine. Full-time subscription.
(Joseph underscores: “And this is not the tripe sold at mail-order-bride sites. This is what a real woman can do.”)
This fascinating ability doesn’t come from nowhere. And still more of it is needed when she must turn from a single piece of wonder into an “engine” to the whole family. In other words, output requires investment into her own well-being.
What’s the budget? That is the question.
It definitely varies from family to family and territory-wise. Nevertheless, with knowledge of national specifics, a predictive “feasibility study” can be sketched (and we shall soon bring it to your attention).
To strike a proper balance in any given case, let’s dwell on understanding the underlying psychologies.
- The Cultural Collision
Such is human nature: offering least tolerance to people’s drawbacks similar to ours. It is particularly noticeable, how the grabbier ones turn the more defensive against the slightest sight of self-interest in others. )
May I reassure: Eastern tenacity would always lag far behind Western.
How do you call something of exceptional quality-to-price ratio? “What a bargain!” Where Russians say, “What a gift!” This reflects a significant difference between the Bargain Mentality and the Gift Mentality, i.e. between getting more for less and repaying with interest. A still more dramatic example: What all people fear and loathe, is being “ab-used” – in the Russian understanding, and “taken advantage of” – in the English active vocabulary. So what is more selfish? To simply spare oneself, or to condemn another’s gain? ;)
I already touched upon Russian People and Materialism, and dedicated №8 of “10 Advanced Dating Rules” to the meaning of gifts in courtship and of generosity in marriage: “Not the gift is that I value, but the giver’s love by you”.
More linguistics. A single Russian word дорог(-ой / -ая), in different contexts, can have a range of meanings: “dear”, “valuable”, “costly”, or “Sweetheart”. “Expensive”, translated by the very same word, has got a positive connotation of quality or prestige, or still implies some attraction if “unaffordable”. To turn down a purchase, recommended term is “overpriced“, “not worth the price“. (You might have seen superior!)
A giver in the Russian tradition manifests valuing the other person’s pleasure above the cost and effort spent, and takes care not to offend the receiver with presumable “buying” intentions, as well as with the price itself (doesn’t matter, high or low). It is quality, accordance with the receiver’s taste, usefulness and promptness of a gift that speak attitude, and of course something meaningful is told from the heart to turn a “stuff” into a symbol.
Likewise, when some loss happens… “What the fu[ss], it is just money!”
- A Miscommunication
Sometimes Western Men’s fairy tales on Russian Women’s “patented” Outstanding Modesty correspond with Russian Women’s horror stories on Western Men’s “patented” Outstanding Meanness.
The most notorious anecdote is probably this. One Russian Bride borrowed money from all around to treat her Groom Guest from France to the abundance and regales of Russian cuisine; took a leave from work and delivered him a well-prepared, better-than-professional program of sightseeing and entertainment 24/7; tumbled over herself in bed; and his only “gratitude” was a broached (!) tube of French toothpaste.
I used to perceive it as an urban legend. Until there came one extremely romantic British guy. Who tried to thrust me a book he had read and no longer needed, and couldn’t understand why I was refusing it. It probably seemed a good gift, such a brick of paper one would uneagerly pack into his luggage again.
Never dash Russians (Ukrainians) a second-hand thing! Unless that’s something unique, hygienically uncompromised, of accurate condition, and only if evidently wanted. (The latter case is rather about the Caucasus and Middle Asia, where a guest’s compliment to a thing is regarded as a request that is unhospitable to refuse… so if you travel that far, be careful admiring the surrounding tangibles.)
Books – proverbial “best gifts” in the “most reading nation” - can be exchanged, lent, given and regiven till they crumble to dust. But if they play the role of hansels, souvenirs or like, they should be brand-new.
As a rule, giving used things is… as if a hostess of the party advertised: “Help yourselves, dear friends! Lest I have to throw all that food away or what!”)) Even the package of a gift must be intact (except if working order should be checked).
Sure, this does not relate to art, antiques and collectibles, if they may be the case. )
Such mishaps only make us laugh in the end. But the following story knocked me out…
- Lifemate or Livestock?
An American man (commenting on a blog on WM/RW connections) boasts his successful crusade for a Russian Wife and how lucky he is feeling now with “the beautiful soft woman sleeping near”. No description of her virtues is shared, yet he provides the audience with the entire statement of his expenses: travel, dating, wedding, diamond ring (“a good and stylish one!”), and the total acquisition cost “less than I’ve paid for my American ex-wife’s engagement ring”.
(…I just love how Joseph snorts and snarls at the sight of “bastards”.)
Pray this girl does not browse her hubby’s Internet favorites. If she read that confession, she would weep her heart away into the pillow: “Is this All He finds me Worth?”
Honestly: What is that warms your heart more, – the real soft LIVING WOMAN by your side, or the smart deal?
Where is your (let’s not say conscience) – where is your logic, man? You gave all to what you would call “nasty, ugly, stupid, worthless etc. American female” and cut a deserving woman off what she deserves?
The Russian women’s audience made quite definite conclusions of the story. My English skills fall flat before the bandwidth of their comments, demonstrating the unfathomable power and abundance of the “Great’n'Mighty” Russian Language. Well, one word which would probably sound familiar was Kalashnikoff. :)
Too many men turn out yearning for a compensation of Western women’s wrongs at the cost of Non-Western women’s rights.
The truth is that a Russian woman is worth just as much as that American, French, German, British one minus obnoxious character, misandry and infidelity plus Beauty, Values, Wisdom, Common Sense, Heart, Comfort, Sensuality, Compassion, Nurturing, Support, Respect, Responsibility etc. etc. etc.
Placed in convenient and secure conditions, she emits so much blissful warmth, love and care that you feel attended by an angel, and absolved of all your troubles.
But if she finds herself deprived of what other women – her equals or, the more so, no-rivals! – have for granted, then unjustice hurts like hell. And it may also hurt you as a connected and apparently guilty party.
Russia has lots of “black humor”. Here’s a piece. A retarded little kid finds a Magic Flower. It takes the Flower much patience to get the kid understand that tearing off the Flower’s three pellets makes whatever – whatever! – three wishes come true. “Could I has a nose thiiis looong?” the poor kid wonders. – “Here you are.” – “Nooo, bent upwards?” – “Here you are.” – “Could I has a lollipop… two lollipops?” – “Here you are. But why didn’t you ask for being intelligent, good-looking and rich?” – “COULD I ?!!”
- The East Does Not Forgive Diminishment.
She has some routine habits which she feels just vitally natural, and finds restriction of them a ground for divorce. She feels unloved when missing “Proper Care for a Woman” (a Lovely Woman as she is). She has Great Goals for Children. And whatever actual / predicted difference in her current and future standing in “this” or “that” country, – the concept of the “Prince Outlandish” implies the core hope to Have No More Need to Painfully Count Pennies.
One shouldn’t haste to label this as “greedy selfish wasteful golddigging”.
Russian women’s perception of money is largely historical. On the one hand, there are Caution and Guilt based on the public belief that “honor and profit lie not in one sack”. On the other hand, there’s a primeval, deeply ingrained, genetic Fear of Poverty, revived by recent perturbations of her country.
To illustrate this, I’d recollect the movie “Gone with the Wind”, FSU women’s huuuge favourite. It was first broadcasted in the hardest time of economic transition, tantamount to a civil war, only without the front. When food was distributed by paper tickets, Scarlett brought our women courage to survive and carry out their families upon their shoulders. Shaking a lonely dirty bitter carrot into the sky, she pledged: “Not me, not my family will ever starve again!”
Telling that to Joseph, I – bolt from the blue – lost my voice amid the quote and couldn’t blink back tears. Gosh, I last cried can’t remember when! I even overlooked the times of trouble, being then a schoolgirl happily absorbed in studies, friendship, first romance and creativity. But that moment I remembered Mother’s silent tears she wept the day we bought my first Wrangler’s. On the way home, she only mentioned a young couple in that store, loading the cash desk with jeanswear they bought and the flowers they carried; and I only made a guileless utterance that “best flowers are vegetables”…
Can a Cinderella tread on her pillowbook dream? To a degree, below which, a compromise often turns out just a disguised “springboard” into Another Life, or may sometimes catapult her out of wedlock with the same compressed spring force.
For what your typical Russian bride knows about the Land of Opportunity (or the Noble Old World), and what she can observe as attainable at homeland (now assessed as another “tiger” economy), – she has to find the challenge of emigration – or that of adapting an alien husband into her rough environment where she has to be his guard through the most difficult initial period – worthwhile in all senses, moral and material.
‘Cause she still cherishes a belief that a marriage is NOT like a hairstyle that she could change if mismatching.
NoMarriage.com estimates: “Mortgage is $2-4K/month, supporting wife and children is another $2-4K/month.” A Russian marriage agency with proven success stories bars out “grooms” with annual incomes below $40,000.
Joseph reckoned that our prequalifier should be $70,000 tax-cleared.
Yes there are crowds of Devastated Russian Women too, especially in villages and small towns. Normally, you don’t see them, and if you wanted someone Doubtlessly Desperate, I would disclaim any advising responsibility. Could only remind that, to fulfil her oath, Scarlett O’Hara was ready to “lie, cheat, steal or kill…”
- “Why, Does It Mean Marry Her and Give Her All?”
LOL, the answer is, “It just goes without saying, dear!” (Just kidding.)
As Good Russian Fathers tell their Smartest Sons (yes, many men and women here have great Fathers to worship and remember dearly)… “Find a girl who doesn’t need a thing from you, and give her everything.”
In the Russian tradition, a “Real Man” ought to render all his earnings (save for the “sacred” Cacheaway) to the Family Treasury governed by the wife (poor to middle class families of any occupations). And if he was leaving the family, a half-jocular proverb limited his rightful share in property to a toothbrush. (To find out legal requirements, see this post.)
In terms of romance, those eternal boys would express feelings not by words but by extravagant gestures like heaps of flowers (even if the only source available is a gardenbed), precious gifts, entertainments, and – the most impressive category – inventive crazy deeds, like singing serenades of own composition regardless of the weather, or writing iloveyous on asphalt within the flame’s sight (billboards introduced a more “civilized” alternative). I suppose foreign nationals would sustain the rests of public order. )
Saying “the richer the broader” would be true, suffice to remember Russian tycoons’ weddings. But most legendary lovers were hardly making both ends meet.
Did you know that, in the Soviet Union, art folks were commonly rewarded by the State, just barely less meagerly than all the working people, if at all? And that foreign clothes were gained and priced as hard as if they were imported from the Moon? So here’s the story…
Young Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya, whom he idolized even before they met, were roaming Prague (on tour, paid 4 bucks of allowance per day), and found themselves on top a wall they had to jump off. Her in evening shoes; him in a snow-white (Imported! ™) jacket, one of the design per whole country; and a puddle beneath the wall… He jumps down, so that to catch her jumping next. Puts off and fans down that jacket, telling he would toss his everything at her feet. Well, this was not a trick unknown before, nor outshining his wit at large which she found winning, but… On return home, Vishnevskaya divorced her husband and got married to Rostropovich. They lived happily ever after, surviving exile and international renown, in love, devotion and fidelity uncommon to modern celebrities, till death took Mstislav from Galina at his 82d year.
Another was a Georgian painter Pirosmani who fell in love with a visitant French actress, to an extent that he sold his workshop, only to blanket the square beneath her windows with roses. This story was later wrapped into a hit song (“Million, Million, Million Roses Red”), still broadcasted and crooned.
Happily, a Russian woman does NOT EVER want that her Man “into flowers convert all his life just for her”, like in that song.
All that she really wants, is a Comfortable Lifetime Together in a Gracious Home.
- Not That Awful
First a poll by a Russian women’s magazine – “What is Luxury to You?”
Men: 72% – “Having all my sexual desires fulfilled.”
69% – “Possibility of self-realization at work.”
51% – “A car that I truly like.”
48% – “Precious gifts for my fair one.”
47% – “Good health.”
21% – “No competition for my job.”
Women: 81% – “Having all my wishes read from my eyes.”
68% – “Receiving deserved recognition from the bosses.”
63% – “Always feeling the most beautiful and loved.”
51% – “Climaxing easily every time.”
49% – “Taking no thought for money and its quantity.”
32% – “Buying clothes of the favorite brand.”
Even a most demanding Russian woman is more reasonable than her Western counterpart. (I tried hard to over-argue but Joseph convinced me.))
She may want “THIS” and “THIS”. Whereas an American woman always wants “MORE” (evidently ignorant of the Fisherman and Goldfish tale by Pushkin or at least by Brothers Grimm.)
What “THIS” means in a Russian woman’s wish list?
Be it a home where you can play hide-and-seek like in those movies, – it’s one she considers for a lifetime, NOT for the current mood (sorry but the decorating fits appear to be something biological).
Be it a car, it’s a cute jewel-case for years, NOT a new shell annually.
Be it expensive cosmetics, it’s what she intends to use, NOT another new pack of flashy bottles. There may be a reserve of items she may not get to use in their shelf life, but such are few, sighed over with remorse before discarding… or demoting to solecream.) (Did you or your parents ever have to stockpile sugar, soap and matches “for the case of force majeure”?..)
Be it fancy clothes, it’s a collection of “favorite” rags that fit her style and make her look stunning, NOT a roomful of yesterday’s nec-plus-ultra’s she can’t even keep record of. (Lecturing on discount brand outlets, Joseph might earn a fortune on commissions only.)
Be it shopping, the fun is more about the process of selection (this is something like an excursion to a crafts bazaar) and trying things on (especially to pose to “Him” in different exciting images), rather than buying.
Next post (Part II): “Standard Version Russian Wife Material Requirements for a Happy Lasting Marriage”
Before summing up the specifics of RW ™ maintenance, let me underscore the two options:
1. To have the experience of your life feeling Prince Savior & King Generous, showered with admiration and gratitude of a sincere, emotionally stable Beauty, and find your married life filled with pleasure, success and health.
2. To see this image (beauty and stability inclusive) withering away, as her reliances go frustrated.
Sure there is a third option, but quitting the playground is never late. )
As a Russian greeting goes,
I wish everyone Health, Success, and Happiness in Personal Life!
© Comrade Natalia
(please link to this post when referring to it! ;)