Thursday, June 27, 2013

Return to Vodkaberg, Bonus Materials: Ballroom Dancer and ETX Discuss Relationships and Marriage

The last time I saw Ballroom Dancer was in 2009, but we do keep in touch occasionally on Facebook. I realized we hadn't talked for more than 6 months, so the other day, I sent her a message, and we had a lively conversation about relationships (mostly mine) and marriage.

This will serve as an update about my relationship and life as well as hers. I present it in its entirety. 

Ballroom Dancer and ETX at embankment in 2005; her finer points on display. 



English Teacher X
hello, how's it going?

9:42am
Ballroom Dancer
hello, dear) im fine. in moscow. you?

9:43am
English Teacher X
well, life has been a little bumpy recently
returning to Saudi Arabia for new job soon
are you married and all that?

Tuesday
3:38pm
Ballroom Dancer
Well I'm married and all that)) my life did not change actually: lots of work and sometimes home)))
Are you married finally?)

3:38pm
English Teacher X
no, it seems it won't work out
I met the one Russian girl who doesn't want to live abroad

3:39pm
Ballroom Dancer
That one who I have seen on the pics?

3:39pm
English Teacher X
yeah
I tried to bring her here on student visa, they didn't give it
I offered to take her to Cyprus to live, she didn't want, too afraid

3:40pm
Ballroom Dancer
And? You don't want to stay in Russia?
Oh really?
Cyprus is next door what is the problem???

3:41pm
English Teacher X
yeah I know
it's absolute easiest place for RUssian to live
more than 30,000 russians living there
beautiful, sunny, not expensive
but she was afraid

3:41pm
Ballroom Dancer
It's the easiest way

3:42pm
English Teacher X
she's very shy, nervous person

3:42pm
Ballroom Dancer
Of what???

3:42pm
English Teacher X
of everything
visas
renting flats
working in foreign country

3:42pm
Ballroom Dancer
I'm sure you can manage it
You are experienced person

3:42pm
English Teacher X
i waited all year, tried to convince her

3:42pm
Ballroom Dancer
In all this questions

3:42pm
English Teacher X
she didn't want it
i can do all those things, I invited, she said "I don't know" for 6 months, then took new job in Vodkaberg

3:43pm
Ballroom Dancer
(((((
Stupid woman
(((

3:43pm
English Teacher X
but all the girls I know who want to live abroad, married boys from the village!
it's typical human nature, I suppose
well, not all of them

3:44pm
Ballroom Dancer
Agree

3:44pm
English Teacher X
married boys from the village in Turkey, sometimes

3:44pm
Ballroom Dancer
)))
It's Vodkaberg style I guess
I have no friends here like this
In fact Vodkaberg is village. So what to expect from them?

3:45pm
English Teacher X
well, you can introduce me to somebody

3:45pm
Ballroom Dancer
))
Come here

Ballroom Dancer in my kitchen early 2006


3:45pm
English Teacher X
but I have to move around a lot in my job, I'm world's richest homeless guy
that's other problem
if I had house in Cyprus, maybe, she would like it
she doesn't like idea of moving around a lot

3:46pm
Ballroom Dancer
Buy the house then
)))
Or apartment

3:46pm
English Teacher X
even if I buy a house there, I can't stay there all the time
only place I can make a lot of money is the middle east
and have to go back to America to see parents, things like that

3:47pm
Ballroom Dancer
By this moment I don't see anything owful

3:48pm
English Teacher X
well, every person says the same thing
except this girl!
but she doesn't want to break up, also

3:48pm
Ballroom Dancer
Oh

3:48pm
English Teacher X
she's having nervous breakdown from fear of it, though

3:49pm
Ballroom Dancer
Maybe alcohol can fix the problem. Make her drunk and take to the plane!)

3:49pm
English Teacher X
But main thing, I'm asking her what she wants to do, and Russian girls hate that
i need to tell her, we do this, or we finish
but when I try, she just cries and asks if we can talk about it later

3:51pm
Ballroom Dancer
Usually men do things like this with girls (without cries). It's strange that you give everything to her and having this as the answer...

3:51pm
English Teacher X
all other girls I know are married, is the problem

3:51pm
Ballroom Dancer
Does she love you?

3:51pm
English Teacher X
I can't leave her for someone else,
don't know anybody else
hard to meet girls in Saudi!

3:52pm
Ballroom Dancer
(((

3:52pm
English Teacher X
there's love, but we are very different people, don't like same things
I don't think we'd be happy together, why I wanted to take her to Cyprus first
some girls I know geting divorced now, maybe something will happen

3:54pm
Ballroom Dancer
Sad story
Do you feel like you waisting time?

3:55pm
English Teacher X
Well, this year bumpy
as I said
both parents ill

3:55pm
Ballroom Dancer
((


3:55pm
English Teacher X
so after I left Saudi, was helping them
waiting for girlfriend to make decision

3:55pm
Ballroom Dancer
Of course

3:56pm
English Teacher X
I took some nice holidays and did some cool stuff, but it was sort of a wasted year

3:56pm
Ballroom Dancer
(((

3:56pm
English Teacher X
then this year, waiting for job interview,
then documents for new job
they offered me job in March, it takes 2-3 months to do documents
I was in Russia recently
then Greece, took another girl who was 25, that didn't work out very well
came back here
found out today, somebody in Ukraine stole money from my "bankomat" card

3:57pm
Ballroom Dancer
Oh!
How could it happen?

3:58pm
English Teacher X
probably a hacked bankomat in Kiev
they do it different ways

3:58pm
Ballroom Dancer
Did you call to bank?

3:58pm
English Teacher X
yeah, bank said they will give me money back (probably)
waiting

3:58pm
Ballroom Dancer
They need to decide it

3:59pm
English Teacher X
or somebody at bank in Ukraine stole information
or somebody who works on bankomat
look at youtube, they show how it's possible

3:59pm
Ballroom Dancer
What did you do in Ukraine?

3:59pm
English Teacher X
Went there to get Russian visa. I heard Ukrainian women are good
but not better than Vodkaberg, I think
mostly just did sightseeing

4:00pm
Ballroom Dancer
Ukrainian woman are more focused on rich guys I guess))))))

4:00pm
English Teacher X
yeah, I don't know
they don't have nice skin, most of the ones I saw
heard they had biggest breasts
but of course, I know you, so I already know Russian girls have biggest breasts

4:02pm
Ballroom Dancer
Look, what if you arrange simple base human material values in life? And stop to propose homeless style? May be this lady will change the answer?)
)))))))
You are very tolerant as usual)))))))
To me espesially ))))$)

4:03pm
English Teacher X
well, I would have to change my job
I don't really want to
I like this life, it's why I made it!
If I wanted normal life, I would have done it twenty years ago
but I think of buying house in the country and growing my own food
maybe in my 50s
I could save enough money to retire, if I work 5 more years in Saudi
and I make money off internet, writing books, I will continue to do that

4:04pm
Ballroom Dancer
Look at Beckham's life. He always change the countries, houses atc. But he never propose himself as homeless))))

4:05pm
English Teacher X
well, yeah, obviously his wife likes that stuff

4:05pm
Ballroom Dancer
))

4:05pm
English Teacher X
I know one guy who married Vodkaberg girl, they move around, take different jobs in different countries
they're pretty happy
as teachers

4:06pm
Ballroom Dancer
So you see! It can work. Pr is the main thing)

4:06pm
English Teacher X
Obviously I have a lot of anti-social habits, though

4:08pm
Ballroom Dancer
1) You are adult 2) you have brains enough 3) you can make any strategy of life you want. And everything you say it's just an excuse. I think you don't desire it so much. And it means that your desire is different. And you don't tell me your real desire)))

4:09pm
English Teacher X
hmm, well, I knew what I wanted to do in my 20s and 30s, I never thought much about my 40s
maybe I thought I would be dead
saw movie the other day, guy said, about marriage, "If you feel like you can't live without her, marry her. If you don't feel like that, you drop her now."
I don't feel like that.
But she's nice, sweet, honest,
would be good wife, except for fact she doesn't like my life!



(The quotation in question is at about 2:30)

4:10pm
Ballroom Dancer
So this is her real reason

4:11pm
English Teacher X
yeah, she can't understand my life at all
and i can't understand her life
work, work, boring life, live in same place
but she can't understand why anybody would want to live alone, change countries often, etc.

4:12pm
Ballroom Dancer
I know that if you will want her so much you will do something for her.))) all men have this power. If men really want woman - it's simple) but you need to change for her))))

4:13pm
English Teacher X
i changed!

4:13pm
Ballroom Dancer
Really?!!!

4:13pm
English Teacher X
I took her on holidays, spent summers in Russia
was faithful, stopped drinking
mostly
although it was easy to stop, in Saudi
4:13pm
Ballroom Dancer
WOW)

4:13pm
English Teacher X
told her I would take her anywhere she wanted!

4:13pm
Ballroom Dancer
Impressed!

4:13pm
English Teacher X
we had holiday every 3 months, you can see photos

4:13pm
Ballroom Dancer
Yes I saw

4:14pm
English Teacher X
but she didn't want to go anywhere, she wanted house, car, baby
i didn't think it would work out
i want those things AFTER I know marriage is happy, not before

4:15pm
Ballroom Dancer
You see woman are different from man

4:15pm
English Teacher X
well, I undestand it, yeah

4:15pm
Ballroom Dancer
But I'm on your side))))))

4:15pm
English Teacher X
I"m a grasshopper, she's an ant
everybody says she is wrong here, so I feel like I did everything I could

4:15pm
Ballroom Dancer
I'm not married officially still)))))))
It looks like

4:16pm
English Teacher X
why, is it new style in Moscow?

4:16pm
Ballroom Dancer
I'm not a woman maybe)))))
Did you notice anything strange in me?))))
I'm happy without marriage. And I'm not joking)

4:17pm
English Teacher X
it's not about happy, marriage

4:17pm
Ballroom Dancer
Yes!

4:18pm
English Teacher X
people in Vodkaberg marry because they are 25
not because they want to be happy

4:18pm
Ballroom Dancer
Stupid way to spend money)))))

4:18pm
English Teacher X
but I suppose you have a reason, probably connected to money

4:18pm
Ballroom Dancer
No)))
I know the reason
I'm event planner)))))

4:18pm
English Teacher X
probably you want to have huge expensive wedding

4:19pm
Ballroom Dancer
Nooooooo))))))
I don't care about weddings
I don't want to entertain people

4:19pm
English Teacher X
I never really thought about it much at all

4:19pm
Ballroom Dancer
I'm happy with my life))))

4:19pm
English Teacher X
it just always seemed to me something not going to happen to me
something for other people

4:19pm
Ballroom Dancer
Kidding?

4:20pm
English Teacher X
just never thought about marraige much

4:20pm
Ballroom Dancer
))))

4:20pm
English Teacher X
don't know why, but it was never my dream

4:20pm
Ballroom Dancer
Look it's not so important

4:20pm
English Teacher X
I thought it would be nice to have girl who is comfortable with me

4:20pm
Ballroom Dancer
Do you want baby?

4:21pm
English Teacher X
again, just never thought aobut it much
but I like children, generally
most married guys tell me not to get married

4:22pm
Ballroom Dancer
Really?))))))))
They choose wrong woman.
My husband is dreaming to marry me))))))))
Ahaha
)))))

4:23pm
English Teacher X
yeah, until you marry him
maybe that's why you don't
I'm sure you've seen as many 2-year marriages as I have
it seems to be the rule for first marraiges in Vodkaberg
two years only

4:23pm
Ballroom Dancer
I live with him 7 years)) what can be worse?))))

4:23pm
English Teacher X
i hear that story again and again "Everything was fine until we got married!"

4:26pm
Ballroom Dancer
I don't pay so much attention to someone's stories. It's one life)))

4:28pm
English Teacher X
I even offered to move to Moscow or Piter with her, she said, "I don't want to live in rented flat!"
she has clear idea of life, completely opposite of my ideas

4:29pm
Ballroom Dancer
Sounds bad(

4:30pm
English Teacher X
hmm, yeah

4:30pm
Ballroom Dancer
What have she done to live in her own flat??????
I moved from sweet life to moscow and worked hard. It's easy to stay on position: someone has to do my life better

4:31pm
English Teacher X
she still has mentality from 90s, I think
afraid of disasters
doesn't want to have money in the bank, etc
but I tell her, "Okay, then we should break up."

4:31pm
Ballroom Dancer
I call it : do not take any responsibility for your own life

4:32pm
English Teacher X
oh, she's responsible
she works hard

4:32pm
Ballroom Dancer
Leave her
)))
I deserve better)))

4:32pm
English Teacher X
one reason she idn't want to go to Cyprus, she didn't want to leave job


4:33pm
English Teacher X
well, we don't always get what we deserve in this life.
yeah, but you know, Russian girls are VERY difficult
I 'd like to try a new nationality ...

4:33pm
Ballroom Dancer
Look so many interesting free and smart ladies here

4:33pm
Ballroom Dancer
No. We always get exact what we deserve

4:33pm
English Teacher X
interesting, smart, completely dishonest, greedy, unfaithful ...
we all get death

4:33pm
Ballroom Dancer
True

4:33pm
English Teacher X
so we all deserve to die?

4:34pm
Ballroom Dancer
Ahahahaha)))))
Exactly)))) after interesting life

4:34pm
English Teacher X
beautiful, cultured, elegant, graceful, stubborn, violent,

4:34pm
Ballroom Dancer
Dreams)))

4:34pm
English Teacher X
cold-hearted, mercenary ...
practical

4:35pm
Ballroom Dancer
You know what?

4:35pm
English Teacher X
I need to try a new nationality

4:35pm
Ballroom Dancer
Miss you!)

4:35pm
English Teacher X 
you know I haven't been out with anybody except Russian girls in 15 years?

4:35pm
Ballroom Dancer
Miss of talking to you)))))
Ooooooooo!

4:35pm
English Teacher X 
well, I'm on internet at lot in Saudi, you can talk to me

4:35pm
Ballroom Dancer
Record!
)

4:35pm
English Teacher X 
no, wait,
13 years
definitely

4:35pm
Ballroom Dancer
))))
I come back tommorow) I need to sleep))))

4:36pm
English Teacher X 
2000 I lived in Prague, went out with some Czech girls
oh, right, it's late there
good night

4:36pm
Ballroom Dancer
Kiss you boy!

4:36pm
English Teacher X
ciao

Seen 4:36 PM

Ballroom Dancer, Another Girl, Uncle Cool, and ETX, in 2005 at the embankment

So all those years I was busting girls' chops that they only liked me because I was a foreigner? Turns out liking me because I'm a foreigner is actually a pretty necessary part of the arrangement.

Oh the irony!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Return to Vodkaberg, Part Six: The Ones I Didn't See

So if I said I never saw them again, in the book VODKABERG, I never did.

The Beauty Queen? Saw her for the last time in 2002 and that was that. Don't even have any pictures of her, don't know her last name so no chance to find her anywhere on line. Hope she's not locked in some Shiekh's basement.

Crazy Angel? Saw her last in 2005 at that motorcycle show, and as I said, somebody sent me a link in 2010 to a website about some reality show she was in. Didn't quite understand the rules, and I think she was only in a few episodes. It was something like, they put a bunch of girls together in a house with some guys, and you have to guess which ones have boyfriends already, and they get voted out according to their faithfulness. According to the reality show's website, she lives in Moscow with a boyfriend and works as a doctor.

I considered whether it was ethical to use this picture, but then I thought, well, what's she done for me lately ...

Brunetka and Willowy were both on Facebook for a while, posting the usual happy-face pictures, but both have disappeared from it. Both were still married and living in Turkey, last I saw them.

Skinny? Last time I saw her was as I mentioned in VODKABERG. Also don't know her last name, but Red tells me that she doesn't like computers and social networks anyway.

Landlady's Daughter? Married with children, working in a bank, last time I talked to her was as described in Vodkaberg. Buh-bye.

The Kazakh? She's well, I talk to her fairly often on Vkontakte, she works part time as an English teacher and translator, and often wants to know the finer points of something.

She got married in early 2010, to husband number 2, and had her second child, a son, in 2010, also.

"2 kids at age 26, it's no joke!" she said, when I asked her if that was pretty stressful.

The one I referred to as Boobies? The last time mentioned in Vodkaberg was the last time I saw her. Here's a picture of her, anyway.



Young Marilyn friended me on Facebook and is still married to a football player, with a son who is now about 8 or 9 -- she's sort of the Vodkaberg version of Victoria Beckham and posts all sorts of goofy glam pics of their exotic holidays and nightclubbing.

The only problem? Most of her friends have duck lips, and I'm afraid that's the next big thing with those chicks. Yeek. Real Housewives of Vodkaberg.

Red, also known as the Cat Food Girl? Saw her in Moscow in 2010. She was working in a restaurant then. We're friends on Facebook, and she went back to university and has achieved whatever level of success allows you to at least post a lot of happy vacation pictures of yourself on Facebook. I wrote her the other day, and she replied:

Hi, darling)) I'm very well)
Waisting my summer in Moscow. Nothing interesting: work, university, home.


when I asked if she was married yet, she replied:

))) nice joke! I'm "forever alone", you probably forgot about it...)

Natasha Nevada is the girl mentioned in this entry, MOSCOW IS BURNING (and Red is the girl I met on the second day.)



Natasha Nevada is as always, difficult; we had a lot of online sex the first year I was in Saudi but then one day she just stopped answering emails. That's just how she rolled, she did that back in Vodkaberg, also. I know she was having all kinds of adventures with online dating, taking holidays to Europe to see various guys who would usually then threaten to kill her afterwards.

She's sent me a few emails since then, but usually not answered my responses, and been vague about her situation. She broke my no-response rule of three several times, but occasionally commented on pictures I posted on Facebook or whatever, so I wasn't sure what to do.

I sent her a text when I was in Vodkaberg this year, asking if she would be in town for the May holiday, and she said, yes, and that she would call me, but I gave her my number and she never called or wrote a message.

Yesterday, she posted something on Vkontakte about how she'd chosen a path that led to loneliness, so I think she just had a breakup.

I posted this song on there, saying "If you're having a bad day, here's a sad song for you."



She replied, "You're my soulmate, X."

"Except for the times you don't answer me," I said, and she never responded.

She's not married, anyway. Maybe we are soulmates -- Lost Soulmates.



Ballroom Dancer? I haven't seen her since 2009, but I talked to her for quite a while on Facebok the other day, so next week:

RETURN TO VODKABERG, SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE: BALLROOM DANCER AND ETX DISCUSS RELATIONSHIPS AND MARRIAGE


Monday, June 17, 2013

Return to Vodkaberg, Part Five: Little Valya

She always smells so nice, Little Valya. That's the main thing I remember about her; she always smelled, and smells,  nice and fresh and clean and sort of ... fruity.

Now of course we know that most Russian girls are terribly feminine; however, they tend to bathe themselves in perfumes and skin creams and such, which I generally don't enjoy the smell of, and cultural laxness about dental visits mean a lot of them have bad breath.

Little Valya was 16 when we met in 2002, so we started adding that prefix "Little" despite the fact that's she's not especially little.

She loved foreigners. It was one of the African students who introduced me to her.

Souvenir American flag bandanna from a Stuckey's in America

Stomach hickey. And that's all, honest!


2004. When I was 35, it was a very good year ...

She joined the Putin Youth, Nashe, about 2006, however. This didn't much affect my interaction with her; other than occasional criticisms of Bush or NATO expansion or whatever, which I didn't ever much want to defend anyway. She was a born-again Greek Orthodox, too, supposedly, but this didn't stop her drinking or dancing or anything. She did always observe Lent, I remember that. 

We met on dates and drank in my kitchen, she came to our parties, we went to nightclubs. We kissed often, but she never wanted to sleep to me, until the very last January I was there, in 2009, after I'd known her for more than 6 years. 

But only once; when I asked why not again, she said, "It's a sin."

(Hope that's not too much of a spoiler to anybody who hasn't read VODKABERG.)

She shattered the old canard, repeated even by me, that if a girl doesn't sleep with you after three dates she's not going to. 

But it was clear -- here's another Russian girl who wants to stay in Russia and marry a Russian. When I asked her if she'd ever like to go on vacation with me somewhere, she said she doesn't even have a foreign passport, and thought that other countries often didn't give visas to people in Nashe. 

Pterodactyl Girl (preggers, on the left) Girlfriend, and Little Valya, in 2011. Pretty in pink. 
She moved to Moscow and then Piter for a whilein 2009, working in restaurants, but ended up going back to Vodkaberg. She works in a clothing shop and has been living with a guy for the last couple of years, which is somewhat unusual (but perhaps increasingly common.)

I saw her a few times in 2010 and 2011 when I visited Vodkaberg; we drank beer and talked and laughed but no making out this time. She knew I was living with Girlfriend, and I introduced them.

So I saw her when I visited in May, this year, a couple times; she said that she'd be getting married to her boyfriend at the beginning of June.

She didn't talk much about her boyfriend, and I never met him, but I knew the symptoms -- the frequent text messages, the suddenly having to leave, the phone calls that she'd jump up and run away to answer.

We were on the beach with Pterodactyl Girl this time when Little Valya got one of the sudden phone calls and rushed away.

"Her boyfriend is a bidla, I think," said Pterodactyl Girl. A Russian word for a general Russian white trash / hooligan / redneck / asshole, litterally meaning "bull."

"The usual problem," I agreed.

"Like my first husband," she said. Possessive, aggressive, jealous, abusive.

"Yeah, it seems so."

"Well, I found happiness with the second husband, maybe she will also. I hope so. She's so nice."

"I hope so, too."



NEXT: RETURN TO VODKABERG, PART SIX: THE ONES I DIDN'T SEE

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Return to Vodkaberg, Part Four: The Teachers (and the Cat)

At the risk of alienating readers who come here for heavily edited pictures of the cleavage and buttocks of Russian chicks, I'll fill you in on the current teaching situation in Vodkaberg. And my cat.

So there are a few teachers I knew left in Vodkaberg, about three.

The guy who took my cat is still there, and he still has my cat. It's reported to be getting old -- it's 13 now --but still the fine affectionate animal it always was. I didn't visit her. It might have made me cry.

This is her after she managed to kill a bluebird from the windowsill. That's the bird's head there.

This is her eating a Cheeto.

Me and the cat at one of the after-club bunkin' parties I occasionally hosted. 

 The guy who keeps the cat doesn't seem to be doing too well, suffering from numerous chronic mysterious health problems and not yet having made any lasting connections with Russian women. He's a few years older than I am and continues to work at Communication Chain.

Communication Chain is still going on, and even has a new building; it sounds like there are still the same problems with bizarre schedules and a lot of travel time, and nobody I spoke to seems too happy with the salary compared to the cost of living in Russia 2013. But of course they don't have any problem finding teachers ...

One other guy I know managed to get a job at a high school, and seems to like it well enough, with a nice apartment that allows him to walk to work and enough private students to feel like he's got some dough, as well as a nice girlfriend.

Another guy works mainly doing private lessons, with a few hours at a university to keep his visa, and is very happy with the money he's making.

They're both about the same age as me; they both agreed their social lives weren't nearly as exciting as they used to be and Vodkaberg was a far more sedate place than it was a few years ago.

I mentioned this to Girlfriend and she said, "You guys need to open your passports and check how old you are."


And the other teachers mentioned in VODKABERG? Slappy is still roaming the Balkans. Uncle Cool is in Moscow. Bear is still married, living in America. Sam is living in China with his Russian wife. Sasquatch Rick is back in America, working a normal office job. Glasses is working in Siberia. Chuck and Crazy Bob are both in the Middle East, and I imagine I'll be seeing them both soon. . .

NEXT: RETURN TO VODKABERG, PART FIVE: LITTLE VALYA

Friday, June 07, 2013

Return to Vodkaberg, Part Three: Almond Eyes

"It's been a very unhappy three years," Almond Eyes admitted, lighting one of those awful skinny perfumed cigarettes that Russian girls like so much.

We met for a sushi lunch in the middle of May. It was the one and only time I saw her during my visit to Vodkaberg in 2013.

I first met her in 2006, and for a while I'd thought she would be the one to marry. She spoke English well, had been to America, was fun and enthusiastic and beautiful.

But we just couldn't seem to get it together. We didn't see each other more than a few times a month, according to her because of her strict parents. I was drinking a LOT at that time and hitting the nightclubs often. We couldn't get on the same page, sexually, most of the time, which was odd, and I still don't quite understand why. 



Then there was the daliance with her brilliant-but-evil friend Dark Angel, and the dreaded Tequilla Incident ... what more incentive do you need to read VODKABERG ... 



I think Almond Eyes was definitely one of the most affectionate and sweetest-natured people I've ever met, a great hugger and a cuddler. She often sent out text messages telling me to have a nice day, thanking me for something, telling me I was great, etc. 

But she had some bad qualities, too -- she was often mysterious, elusive and evasive, and lied about things she didn't need to lie about. I never saw her get angry, but she expressed her anger passive-aggressively -- constantly late, not showing up, etc. Money and clothes were a bit too important to her. 

She worked as a lap-dancer in America in 2007 while I had an unsuccessful and surprisingly painful fling with Dark Angel (on the right, in the red top, in that picture.) When she came back, she'd developed a stripper mentality and went on a bit of a wild tear with Slappy's Wife, borrowing money from me that she never paid back and then disappearing. 

(I was on my own wild tear, of course, I didn't think about it that much at the time.) 

We eventually made up and became close again before I left, however. That special kind of closeness that comes when two people know a lot of really awful things about the other but still manage to like each other.


She got married shortly after I left Vodkaberg in 2009, to a guy she freely admitted she didn't like that much. 

Why? Well, parental pressure, for one. Her parents were strict and kept threatening to cut her off. She'd reached age 25, the age at which a provincial Russian girl has only two choices: marry, or move to Moscow. Those kind of social pressures are waning in Moscow, but they're still pretty strong out in the provinces. I think she almost wanted to marry an asshole, just to punish her parents.

She even found out he had a lot of debts, after they married. (But I think they're doing okay now.) 

But anyway, she clearly isn't happy. She's gained a lot of weight, between ten and twenty kilograms more on a frame that was fairly voluptuous back in 2009. She'd always been pretty passive-aggressive, maybe this is another expression of it. 

We kept in touch sporadically over the first few years on Skype, but hadn't talked much for the last two. 

"You know I want to, but I'm so busy. And I don't have anything good to say. I come home from work at nine and fall asleep. On the weekend I mostly argue with my parents and husband. We almost split up last year, but we managed to work something out. Now we're trying to have a baby."

The logic of that escapes me, but I'm sure it's what her parents want.

I suppose more people end up unhappily married than happily, but she deserves better. She could at least have ended up a pampered trophy wife. We talked about getting married a few times, before I left, but I think she really never considered it an option -- her parents wanted her to marry a Russian guy, not some itinerant English teacher. 

So whose fault is it? Mine, hers, her parents, Dark Angel's? Fate, entropy, God, drugs and alcohol? The stars, the moon, the demons?

Who knows. I like to believe in the the many-worlds interpretation, and somewhere -- probably more than one somewhere -- we're a happy couple.

And Dark Angel? 


Almond Eyes mentioned she'd seen her in 2010, when I was in town. "I was going to invite you and your girlfriend to meet with us, and also invite Dark Angel and her husband, without telling either of you, just to see the look on your faces," she said.

"But you decided against it, because you were afraid me and Dark Angel might start talking again?"

"Hah, something like that."

The topic has not come up for the last few years, and I gather she doesn't talk with her anymore either. Last I heard, Dark Angel's still married to a European guy and living in one of the sunnier yet bankrupt European countries. I'm too squeamish to look at her Facebook profile to confirm or deny that. 

Shaving Cream Fight on my birthday, 2007


Photo session, mentioned in Vodkaberg book, where I tied them together with a chain.


She's probably happy, the bitch ...




Sunday, June 02, 2013

Return to Vodkaberg, Part Two: Pterodactyl Girl

Pterodactyl Girl was pretty much a poster-child for the modern Russian dysfunctional family.


(This is her imitating the little ghost girl from THE RING.)

My first meeting with her was one of the more bizarre and heart-rending experiences I had over there. 

Her mom was only about 17 years older than her; they frequently went clubbing together while Grandma tended the house. Mom had been through two marriages and two divorces. One of the guys was described as a "bandit" while the biological father was a hopeless alcoholic, rarely seen.

She was probably not too different than most girls in their early 20s at that time in Russia -- drunk frequently, at clubs often, pretty casual about who she had sex with. But perhaps a bit more prone to wild outbursts, tears, and some insanely funny imitations and surreal non-sequitirs. She was so erratic in her behavior when she was young that at one point doctors thought she might be autistic or schizophrenic.

But no, she's just wacky.

Pterodactyl Girl was, and remains, one of my absolute favorite human beings. I hope that came across in the book VODKABERG. (The nickname came from her habit of doing a loud imitation of a pterodactyl when she wanted attention.)

She lived down the street from me and I saw her several times a week, and often at clubs. It was (largely) platonic, though very affectionate. Our relationship was somewhere between that of a close older brother and younger sister, and Beavis and Butthead.

At the end of VODKABERG, when I left in 2009, she was married to an unpleasant and abusive young man. (Hope that's not too much of a spoiler.)

They had separated the month before I left, but then they got back together.

When I visited Vodkaberg again in 2010, she was in the process of leaving her husband again. She'd hooked up with a guy she'd been in love with before she got married -- he'd formerly been a step-cousin, and by the end of the summer, she'd left her first husband and married this (far nicer) guy.

When I visited Vodkaberg in 2011, she called and said, "You'll be proud of me, I stopped smoking and drinking." And when I met her I saw why -- she was 7 months pregnant.


So, in one of the less-likely happy endings, Pterodactyl Girl 2013 is a happy young mother and wife. (She's 28 now, I think.) I went for walks to the playground and the beach with her and her baby almost every day I was in Vodkaberg. All the enthusiasm that she used to lavish on nightclubbing and drinking she now spends on her daughter.

It was heartwarming, actually. She's young, of course, and who knows what the future will bring, but here, and now, she's happy with her family.

She was glad to see me. She's one of the few people I know who I feel like is always glad to see me, and always makes time for me. She was concerned to hear that I was having problems with my relationship, as she likes my girlfriend fairly well, and definitely feels I need to marry. 


She agreed that the Girlfriend probably should have gone abroad with me, although Pterodactyl Girl is also a Russian girl who doesn't particularly want to leave Russia.

"If you end up living alone somewhere when you're old, don't worry, my family and I will come visit you. Or you can come live with us," she said. 

I know she actually meant it, and I choked up a little when she said that. 

"There might be a weather cataclysm in the future, and Russia will be the only country with fresh water," she added. "You'll be safe with us." 

NEXT: RETURN TO VODKABERG, PART THREE: ALMOND EYES