Just as visiting a foreign country can highlight the cultural differences between two nations, dating can really hold a magnifying glass up to what makes people different.
Russian women, in particular, are a very different breed from their European sisters with history playing a large part in their attitudes towards relationships, dating and men.
In this guide, we wanted to take a look at how ‘devotchkas’ compare to women west of the border, what they look for in a man and how they like to be treated. We also take a look at some stats that show how Russian women compare to Western Women.
Russian Women: What Are They Like?
Russia is a unique nation spanning eleven time zones, some 6,000 miles and two continents (Europe and Asia). Populated by over 144 million people, the country is a diverse mix of people with more than 74% living in towns and cities. The ratio of men to women is 0.86 meaning there are many more women looking for love than guys.
Russians have a reputation for being flashy and with good reason.
When women get ready for a night out they go all out; glittery clothes, fur-coat, high heels, full make-up and more bling than you can shake a stick at. And even when not getting ready for a weekend, the order of the day is still more is more when it comes to high-fashion, particularly in the cities.
Russian women also have an international image of being very beautiful, though there are obviously exceptions to this rule.
What is true (see previous point) is that the female of the species certainly does more than many cultures to enhance their natural gifts. Whether this is by adopting the perfect outfit with matching accessories or simply by always being well made-up. The key to understanding this is to recognise that women in Russia know from experience that beauty equates to power and respect in their culture. In Europe it is common for women not to wear very much make-up, adopting a more ‘natural’ look but this is rare in Russia.
Women are also known for their strength and independence. Though traditional gender roles are prevalent in the country, women still want equality with plenty of chivalry thrown in. This strength can sometimes come across as stubbornness but may also manifest itself as loyalty and bravery.
When it comes to what a Russian woman looks like, the breadth of physical features is as enormous as the country itself. Bear in mind that to the East of the country, Russia borders Mongolia, China and North Korea whilst to the West there are similarities with Scandinavian cousins, Finland and the Eastern European nations of Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine.
Russians don’t have the same obesity issues as we find in Western Europe and it is more typical for the women to be lithe and healthy looking. Fair skinned with blue or green eyes, hair colour can be blonde or dark.
Russian Women: Some Working Guidelines
Chivalry Isn’t Dead
Though feminism is alive and well in the Russian home, women in Moscow like their men to be gentlemanly in the old-fashioned sense. Not only will your date expect you to pay the bill when you go anywhere but she will also appreciate the courtesy of good manners…holding doors open, carrying bags and shielding them from the rain. This compares well to Southern and Western Europe where women are still happy to except chivalry from their men. In Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden, their culture is more egalitarian and women would sooner walk away from a date than be treated with such acts of old-fashioned gallantry.
Most Russians are known for being serious and having a blunt way of talking to people. This isn’t considered rude but is part of a culture where small talk and (what we consider) the social niceties of asking after someone is just not tolerated. They prefer to get straight to the point and will certainly keep their emotions to themselves when in public.
This reserved character trait can make it difficult sometimes to get a real handle on whether dates are going well. She will not be effusive about how well you are getting on and may come across as a bit of an ice queen. Trust your instincts and take the lead and you might be rewarded with some defrosting in private.
Be Prepared to Wait
Russian women do not arrive early or on time for many things let alone a date. It’s just the way they’ve been raised. Apparently, a man who cannot wait for a woman is not worth having and all women will keep their dates waiting for at least 10-15 minutes, if not longer. Of course, she will have a good reason prepared but it will invariably be a load of balls.
Buy the Odd Flowers
When you consider how much chivalry is expected then it is no surprise that flowers go down well with Russian women, whether you are on a first date or your twenty first date. However, always buy your flowers in odd numbers as even numbered arrangements are only considered appropriate for funerals.
Young at Heart
Perhaps a truism of all women, Russian women do not like being referred to as old but this is particularly true in the former Soviet Union. Women over the age of forty will still want to be referred to as ‘devushka’ (or ‘miss’). Yes, even babushkas (the endearing stereotype of the Russian granny is alive and well in all areas of the country).
Superstitious by Nature
The Russian culture is riddled with superstitions that pervade much of modern life. We all have idiosyncrasies in our habits such as touching wood for good luck or throwing spilled salt over our shoulders but this is more prevalent in Russia.
Smoking and Drinking
Russia has one of the highest smoking rates per population in the world and the people also love their vodka. Whilst this does not mean that you are likely to end up with a chain-smoking alcoholic, it is something to be aware of.
To complement their own high standards in appearance and character, Russian women expect their men to dress smartly, be attentive and to demonstrate their good quality character. Be prepared to be her Prince Charming whilst allowing her the independence she needs to assert her own personality.
Russian Women: Mail Order Brides
Marriage is a huge part of the Russian culture and Russian women still consider those who are unmarried after 30 years of age to be ‘an old maid’. A prime motivating factor for women to look for husbands abroad is the hangover of the economic prospects for women in modern Russia. The country’s workforce is made up of more than 52% women but women earn around 43% of that of their male colleagues, often only being able to find work in menial positions.
Add to this the fact that there are almost 4.5 million more women than men in the country and you can see why seeking marriage overseas is so popular.
Mail order bride agencies still operate across Eastern Europe with Russian women offering their profiles to potential partners alongside those of other Post Soviet countries.
Russian Women: Sex Stats
In a survey carried out for the Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behaviour, sexual practices in Russia were detailed as follows:
- The average time spent having sexual intercourse in Russia is just 12 minutes which compares to 21 minutes in the UK, 17 minutes in Germany and 15 minutes in Spain. By contrast, Russians have sex over 130 times a year…comparable only to French couples. In Spain and Italy, couples are only having sex between 50 and 99 times a year.
- Infidelity is common in Russia with 75% of men and 60% of women admitting to being unfaithful to their partners. Compare this to the UK where just 11% of couples admit to infidelity and 8% in France. However, loyalty is considered a highly prized trait in a partner. Just because infidelity occurs doesn’t mean that this is expected!
- Contraception among women in Russia is quite low at just 68% when compared to European women (Norway 88.4%, UK 84.0%). Catholic country, Ireland, has a similar rate of 64.0%.
So, there you have it. Russian women compared to their Western sisters. There is little wonder why so many men look for love from ‘mail-order’ brides when you consider just what they have to offer.
Featured image via Flickr.