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.After the punching finally stopped, Anton walked up to me shirtless and sweaty, caked with blood and dirt, his arms outstretched in an unmistakable gesture of victory. Pistols at dawn seemed a ludicrous symbol of male egotism, and I longed for men in tailored suits, who solved arguments with Woody Allen jokes and New Yorker references.I had female friends who had no idea they were apparently someone’s girlfriend.

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A great many of them confessed to dreaming of moving to a beach in Bali, roasting barbecue all day, and copulating furiously with island women.

This is why teaching ESL was booming there; for anyone who had any semblance of ambition, the goal was to learn English, the golden ticket to getting out.

I speak the language, I celebrate the holidays, and when I go back to New York after visiting relatives in the motherland and hand my Russian passport to the Russian customs official at border control, watch him quickly flip through it, and then haughtily sneer at me as he asks “, where’s your visa?

” it is with the greatest relish that I slap my American passport onto the desk and yell “That’s my visa! I was born into a crumbling communal building in St.

Petersburg in 1988, moved to New York when I was five, and then moved back into a different crumbling communal building in St.

Petersburg after graduating from my overpriced New York liberal arts college.

If you don’t eat it the salad, it doesn’t matter, because you have been chosen and he will still come talk to you since your compliance in the whole matter is largely unnecessary.

In big cities, it’s not uncommon for a man to just run up to you in the street and say, “ century nobleman.

I was standing on a dirt path in a Russian country village, holding my boyfriend Anton’s torn, bloodstained T-shirt.