I was standing on a dirt path in a Russian country village, holding my boyfriend Anton’s torn, bloodstained T-shirt.
All that could be heard in the darkness was my friends and I shouting his name, and the thuds and grunts of Anton wrestling with another guy.
Only a few minutes ago, we’d been standing together drinking beer, when the other guy made the dubious and drunken decision to put his arm around me.
But I’m not going to lie: Part of me was turned on.
Here was a guy protecting my honor, placing himself into bodily harm on my behalf.
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.
It is no secret that many come to Russia with hopes ranging from spicing up their sex lives to bringing home an "ideal wife" - someone warm, caring, feminine, and family-oriented.
In our estimate one-third to one-half of independent travellers (i.e.
non-package tour, non-business) to this part of the world come here with sex, love or marriage in mind. While our position on what I'll broadly call "dating" tends to be on the sceptical side, we recognize and accept that many of our guests come to Russia with that objective in mind.
As a sociologist, I understand some of the reasons that make successful dating difficult for many North Americans and West Europeans.
These include gender disbalance, flux and transition of social values and norms, and all-encompassing fragmentation and alienation so typical of modern societies that forces men to look at women of "traditional" cultures.
At the same time one needs to be realistic about trans-cultural relations and, in particular, those between North American men and Russian women...