Sakhalin Island may be a frozen wasteland without much entertainment laid on, but the letters page of The Sakhalin Times seems lively enough (emphasis added):
Men are men wherever they are in the world and Russia definitely does have an unfair proportion of beautiful woman. However the “concerned Sakhaliner” should visit nightspots such as 777 where (I suspect) “she” will find large number of young, predatory girls eager to find a foreign boyfriend to improve their lives either on a temporary or even permanent basis. Predatory tactics include jumping into bed with “old foreigners” without much hesitation so it’s no wonder that there is indeed a significant group of foreign men who will take advantage of opportunity. If the “concerned Sakhaliner” has ever met any US or British wives, then the attraction should be obvious.
Ouch! I hope for his sake his wife doesn’t read the local paper, or at least is not from the US or UK.
Me, I think it’s all rather sad. For a start, the presence of beautiful young Russian girls eager to leap into bed with a foreigner is exaggerated massively. I heard stories of how in Yalta all you needed to do was flash your British passport and stunning women just throw themselves at your feet, begging to be dragged to your room and ravaged. When I went there for myself, I was somewhat disappointed but not altogether surprised to find that the only women who would be remotely interested in such activities were a handful of ropey old tarts who wore cheap clothes and too much makeup. Far from throwing themselves on foreigners, their sales pitch consisted of sitting round a table drinking heavily, chain smoking, and scowling at passers-by.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are the same. Tales abound of men arriving in a hotel to find themselves within five minutes being greeted in their room by a beautiful blonde who does whatever she is asked. And these tales are probably true, only the storyteller leaves out the annoying facts that he had to pay her a hundred bucks, she didn’t do half what he wanted her to, and she wasn’t as good looking as any of a random selection of girls riding the metro. I suppose it is possible, after a week or so of relentless purchasing of gifts and promises of marriage, for a visiting foreigner to persuade an ordinary Russian to sleep with him, but this is going to be pretty rare and in all likelihood he will find himself after a few days with a monster headache, an empty wallet, and the girl in question running rings around him. Just recently, I caused a look of awful disappointment when I informed an Arab gentleman that if he went to Russia looking to find a nice woman to keep him entertained for the week he was going to have to put his hand in his pocket, and it won’t be cheap. He genuinely thought that women in Moscow would be falling over themselves to sleep with him. Who tells them this crap? It’s easier to draw blood from a stone than to get a Muscovite woman to do what you want.
Things might be different in Sakhalin, though. Certainly, almost all the Russian working girls one encounters in Dubai are from the provinces, usually some village in the middle of nowhere. Not that they’ll admit this. They’ll tell you they’re from a place “near to Moscow”, which turns out to be Ufa. Having spent a fair bit of time in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, I never saw more than a handful of prostitutes, and they were standing in the street as opposed to hanging around the hotel lobbies. Now, I’m sure you could go to a few dodgy bars or expat haunts and find a working girl or two, but for the large part – at least from where I was standing – they are invisible. But Sakhalin being a pretty grim place by all accounts, the girls there might well be looking for a way out using a foreigner with not much hair but a lot of cash. Not that this will be an easy ride, if you excuse the pun. Any foreigner thinking he can go to a club and get involved with such a girl and emerge unscathed is going to get a nasty shock.
Take the chap writing the letter above, for instance. He says that the girls will jump into bed without hesitation, but in the course of fumbling with his buttons and taking off his spotty boxers his head is filled only with excitement about shagging somebody his daughter’s age, and hence he has missed the significance of the preceding conversation in which the girl has committed this chap to providing a lot more than a minute and a half of limp action. In short, he’s got sucked into something which he is going to struggle to get out of without causing an awful lot of distress and aggravation to himself. Give him a month living with a girl like this, and he’ll be wishing he could rid himself of this stroppy little siren and crawl back under the Paisley bedspread with his now ex-wife who, although having lost her looks fifteen years back, at least behaved in a manner which betrayed a sense of reason, sincerity, and respect. But by then it’s normally too late, and she’s fucked off with the house and kids. Must be bags of fun that, having your kids grow up knowing that you ditched their Ma for some tart from a club on Sakhalin Island.
Anyway, I seem to have been rambling somewhat. What was my point? Ah, that’s right. It’s about the last line in the excerpted passage above:
If the “concerned Sakhaliner” has ever met any US or British wives, then the attraction should be obvious.
Sure, there are Russian women out there who – for some – do stack up favourably when compared to western women, although I would seriously guard against making such comparisons. And in my case, the attraction of one particular Russian is indeed obvious. But one thing is certain: you aren’t going to meet such women hanging around dodgy bars in Sakhalin, and they sure as hell aren’t going to be leaping into bed without hesitation with anybody, foreigner or otherwise.