Dare to ask Dare
Expats and Russians alike ask celebrity columnist Deidre Dare questions about life in Moscow.
Photo by Maria Savelieva
I don’t live in Moscow, but I read your columns. What’s it really like living there?
Dear Not One of Us:
I hate it with a passion when people ask me this question. Over my holidays in New Zealand and Singapore everyone asked me the same thing. Here’s my answer: it’s like living in a place where people don’t ask you stupid, un-answerable questions.
When will it get warmer in Moscow?
In America we usually ask this question of a varmint called a groundhog, and not of hung-over women who have cricks in their necks from sleeping in unnatural positions after doing unnatural things.
You see, February 2nd is Groundhog Day back home. If, after emerging from his burrow, the groundhog sees his shadow, it will be a long winter and if he doesn’t, spring is shortly on the way.
Since we don’t have the same tradition in Russia, I decided that two can play at the groundhog’s sick little game, whisker-less and fur-less though I may be. In other words, I decided to emerge on 2 February and find out what my shadow was up to for you. I’m perfectly happy for us to call it Deidre Dare Day.
Unfortunately, when I left the warmth of my flat that morning, I was confronted with a sleeping drunken youth peeing in his pants as he lay on the sidewalk and I forgot to look for my shadow altogether in my desire to avoid him. But, as I recollect, the guy had no shadow. Therefore, courage! Spring is on its way.
I just arrived in Moscow from Sydney. I see lots of references to “Feis Kontrol” but can’t figure out what it means. Is it Russian? Can you help?
Dear Should Really Have Stayed in Sydney:
This is not a ‘learn Russian’ situation, but, rather, a ‘sound it out’ situation, mate.
“Feis Kontrol” translates to “Face Control” which translates to “Will the bouncer think I’m cool enough to get in?”
Now Face Control is apparently a Big Secret in Moscow so make sure you never, ever talk about this subject to a Russian. I found this out the hard way. I got fired for writing about Face Control because my law firm thought it was “offensive to Russians” to even mention its existence to them. After all, we all know how sensitive and delicate these Russkies are reputed to be.
I realise (and I hope you do too, even if the English powers that be don’t) that of course there is the equivalent of Face Control in Sydney, London, New York, etc. But maybe because we don’t have a dramatically misspelled name for Face Control in those places, it doesn’t seem to cause as much consternation to people as it does here.
But at any rate, if you couldn’t figure “Feis Kontrol” out by yourself, I can assure you that you aren’t cool enough to survive here, let alone get into Garage.
I suggest that you go home and hang out at Icebergs.
What is the whole thing about Cafe Pushkin anyway?
Dear Doesn’t Get The Charms Of Pushkin:
- They have Moet;
- The waiters are gorgeous fuck-able hunks of men;
- They give you breakfast at 5 am after you’ve been dancing all night even if you’re all arguing drunkenly and loudly about politics;
- Friends from out of town think you are showing them something “real” if you bring them there and feed them caviar (so you don’t have to go on yet another Kremlin tour when people come over);
- I go there every Friday night to read my column over a bottle of Moet. And I’ve been told that I’m quite charming indeed as I do so.
I am a Russian woman and I just found out that my expat boyfriend has a wife back in the USA! So I emailed her and told her what an asshole her husband was. Did I do the right thing?
Dear Wants to Destroy Wife’s Wedded Bliss:
I understand you’ve been married three times. How about a fourth go-around? Will you marry me?
Dear Wants to Destroy My Unwedded Bliss: