Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Times They Are A Changin'

There was a quote in the 1996 edition LONELY PLANET of Russia that I had along the lines of "Socailly, in Russia, it's like the sixties -- a time of tremendous change, loosening of mores, and rebellion. The Summer of Love has just begun."

You'd see that sort of phrase pop up occasionally in articles about Russia -- "The Sexual Revolution" was frequently mentioned, and in fact there was a popular song of that name back in 2001 or 2002, the video of which featured lots of bondage and transvestism -- in fact a dominatrix riding on the back of a guy in a Lenin mask.

Cetainly I saw signs of this -- loads of lesbian chic, a distinct casualness regarding marital fidelity, gays acting more openly, etc.

(Peripherally, of course, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases skyrocketed, but I was fortunate not enough to experience that.)

A friend had come across that expression in a news article on Russia and asked if it was true that it was like the 60's there.

"Well," I considered. "More like 1978 - 1982. People still do it, and get a sleazy kick out of it, but nobody thinks there's anything particularly great about it anymore. It's Ron Jeremy and Traci Lords time."

Anyway, so we all fucked like bunnies for a while there.

Things seem to vaguely different now however -- with all the new shopping centers and health clubs, the high oil prices and all the new gloss and modernity, money seems to be the only aphrodesiac.

And it's now a well-known fact that English teachers have little money -- even less so now than a few years ago, thanks to inflation and the low dollar -- so no longer are we considered to be particuarly valuable partners -- only perhaps to the women most unlikely to find rich husbands here. (This is true here even in Vodkaberg, a city of 1.8 million, and has been true in Moscow and Petersberg for at least 10 years now.)

I get the impression that now it's considered to be a little embasrassing for women to have a foreign boyfriend -- like, "You desperate slut."

So let's say, spirutally and socially, it's now more like 1987 or 1988. American Psycho time. A kind of blase conservatism and shallowness. No longer are people excited about the great social changes -- they just want to spend the money.

Still and all, I suppose it's easier to get laid here than back in Bugtussle. And the girls are nicer looking by a long shot.

1 comment:

arius said...

A fantastic point of view. I was in Lithuania about three years ago, the first country to shake itself free of communist rule after the collapse, and I definitely got a sense of a nation trying to pull itself together. The gap between the rich and poor had a solid start, and was rather quickly developing itself.

That's just an economic observation. Being a mere 20 at the time, I couldn't quite gather any insight about the social situation, but your observations don't surprise me at all.

Anyway, thanks for reporting about your experiences, englishteacherx.com is a fantastic boon and anchor to anyone teaching abroad.

Sally forth!