“You’ll Make Such a Great Wife!”: Intended Compliments, Funny Comments, and Frightening Observations

November 29, 2011

In no specific order, here are some intended compliments, funny comments, and frightening observations that I have heard since arriving in Russia. I feel these quotes may illustrate a number of cultural differences better than I could describe them myself. Enjoy!

  • “I didn’t know you cooked so well! Does your boyfriend know? You should feed him. You’ll have so many babies and feed them so well!” –My Host Mother

  • “Here, eat this raw clove of garlic! It will kill the bacteria from riding the bus.” – My Host Mother
  • “A woman’s place is in the kitchen and taking care of her family. If she can do something more than that, then молодец![1] But first and foremost, she has to take care of her family. Of course, that’s just my opinion.” –A (Female) Russian Professor

  • “Girl! Girl! Here, get in my car! Do you study at the institute? I can drive you to your institute! Here, just get in my car!” –Random man on the street who then pulled his car onto the sidewalk and opened the passenger door (I would like to add that I obviously did not get in the car)
  • “I’m not married, but almost all my friends are. My only friend who isn’t married won’t stop talking about how she needs to find a husband fast!” -A Russian Classmate, who happens to be my age

  • “Oh, you’re part Ukrainian! That’s why you’re so pretty!” – My Host Mother, though I’ve heard this again since. Thank you…?
  • “You’re so organized! You’ll make such a great wife!” – My Host Mother

  • “It’s no wonder you have a fever. I saw you drinking cold water last night! Нельзя!”[2] – My Host Mother who, like many Russians, believes that cold drinks make you ill. I guess my secret stash of water bottles I had on the windowsill wasn’t so secret….
  • “Russia was meant to be a dictatorship. Russia needs a tsar.” –A Russian Professor

Not my words this time!

[1] Well done!

[2] Never! (In this context, “Sarah-don’t-you-ever-do-that-again!”)


6 Responses to ““You’ll Make Such a Great Wife!”: Intended Compliments, Funny Comments, and Frightening Observations”

  1. Grace said

    Ah, host mothers… my host mom when I studied abroad (who I must add was amazing) had a longstanding disagreement with me about a particular skirt that I owned. She would tell me that it made me look like a peasant and that I’d never find a man looking like that, then I’d point out that I wasn’t in Russia to find a man.

    I miss Russia, lol.

    • sarahinthegoldencircle said

      I had a similar experience when I tried to leave the house with a new pink coat and an old blue hat. Okay, it didn’t match, but it was cold out and that was my only hat! When Galya found that out she went “Well, you have a hood!” Out into the -12C hatless….
      I’m definitely taking tips from you and sticking to my guns next time!

  2. I have also heard that Ukrainian women are the prettiest in the former Soviet bloc. And been asked how many of my friends are married, and if I’m not yet married, if I at least have some possibilities lined up. I tried to explain that in the U.S., it is normal to be twenty and unmarried, but was given a rather skeptical head nod and change of subject…

    • sarahinthegoldencircle said

      Yep. A guy actually couldn’t stop laughing in my class for about 5 minutes after I said that people were more likely to discourage serious relationships at our age where I was from than encourage them. I’m sure they quote me, too, and I hope it makes them laugh! 😉

  3. nateinsiberia said

    Lovin’ the garlic as a remedy for bus germs. My host mother insists that anything that runs on electricity emits carcinogenic and psychologically traumatizing radio waves. I think these two things fall under the same general world view of man vs. inanimate object.

    Have you two had the pleasure of hearing Pyotr Nalich’s song “Gitar”? It is in English, or what might claim to be English. Your comment about the guy in the car reminded me — “jump to my yaguar baby!”

  4. sarahinthegoldencircle said

    Oh my gosh is THIS it?!

    Because that’s just awesome.

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