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It was what I had dreamt of all those years when I read of dueling pistols and men of great action and few words. ” Suddenly, I wished my women’s studies professor from Sarah Lawrence were there.After the punching finally stopped, Anton walked up to me shirtless and sweaty, caked with blood and dirt, his arms outstretched in an unmistakable gesture of victory. Pistols at dawn seemed a ludicrous symbol of male egotism, and I longed for men in tailored suits, who solved arguments with Woody Allen jokes and New Yorker references.

All of which is to say, I am dual in every way, and my plethora of multicolored passports is a worthy symbol of the cultural mish-mash of my personality. The first thing that you’ll notice when you get to Russia is that the women are astoundingly beautiful and immaculately presented.They will sashay past you with their wobbly stilettos (which are worn even over blocks of ice) and designer bags (which carry a full pharmacy complete with a mini shoe polish and handwipes) and, if you tell them you pluck your own eyebrows and only get a facial once a month, will look at you as though you have just clawed your way out of a swamp.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.I’ve had male suitors who kept calling for years after I stopped picking up the phone.

I’ve heard of guys crawling through windows and appearing naked in bedrooms.These insurmountable standards of beauty can largely be credited to the fact that there are more women than men.The disintegration of male hygiene and work ethic that occurs when there is (by some counts) a 3:1 female:male ratio should be noted by anthropologists worldwide.I had female friends who had no idea they were apparently someone’s girlfriend.The American teachers at my language school had a phrase to describe dating Russian men.While all men like a challenge, the average American man tends to stop pursuit once you indicate that you are repulsed by his presence.