Thursday, 20 September 2012

Peacocks, Georgians and the Real Reason for Banyas

Food>Peacock. Even with that 7ft of tail
The above is a perfect example of what does not happen in Russia. Yes? This is the exact opposite of what I'm going to write about. I say write about, this is mostly just captioned pictures. Relaaaax.

To put it delicately, Russian men are generally less attractive than their female compatriots. To put it more bluntly:
Okay, point made. But really, it's a strange phenomenon. The Russian student I lived with in Kazan' told me that Russian men are 'ugly and stupid' and that Russian girls love Georgians (who were apparently permanently clustered in one bar in that city, but I never investigated further).

As a point of reference, Georgians look like this:
Irakli Kakabadz
Some other guy
There is also a serious shortage of men here. Go into any school, shop, library or museum and a male worker will stand out like a sore thumb, unless they're one of the beefy security guards by the door. 

This explains Russian women's penchant for Western men with Western passports and dressing like this:
Annual high heel race, downtown Moscow
It's not at all unusual to see beautiful women with ugly men, Russian or Western. This was more remarkable in Kazan', but the lack of men means that women are the peacocks - even very attractive ones have to dress up all the time to compete for the rare men. In Russia, beautiful women chase you.

The general consensus among all the foreigners I know is that there is also a big discrepancy between attractive Russian girls and the remaining ones. On first impression, there seems to be no middle ground between:

However, once you've spent some time in Russia and more importantly around some actual Russians, you notice that there is a sliding scale of beauty just like there is in the West. 

As quite a few Russians are staring at us on the street and occasionally addressing us in English when we've been silent, my roommate and I have been trying to decipher what makes a person look Russian - and therefore, what is giving us away.

So far, we've come up with:
  • Large domed forehead
  • Small eyes
  • Flat cheekbones
  • Narrow, long nose
  • Long cleft
  • Big lips
  • Small chin

Some of which can be observed on this polite articleAnd there was me thinking banyas existed only to cure hangovers...

According to the Internet, these are the average faces of Russia:
Fairly accurate
Then again, I'm not sure about this lady...
Just to clarify, I don't spend all my time in Russia peering at the locals like they're some kind of anthropological exhibit. However, I do feel like I might be one and not just because I'm darker than them. 

It's definitely an entertaining pursuit if not a worthwhile one, closely examining the integral differences between our countries. And anyway, attractiveness is not a bad stereotype to have. Consider the first Google Image hit for 'English girls':

Okay. Maybe the staring does make sense.


  1. Just a disclaimer - this is a humorous post. If you read it properly, I'm trying to make fun of the stereotype, not Russians. It would help if all the pictures worked.

    Просто отказ - это юмористическое сообщение. Если вы прочитаете это правильно, я стараюсь, чтобы поиздеваться над стереотипом, а не русскими. Это поможет, если все фотографии работали.

  2. Who was the first ugly guy in the photo with the messed up face