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Dare to ask Dare
Expats and Russians alike ask celebrity columnist Deidre Dare questions about life in Moscow.

Dear Deidre:
I thought the Russians toasted with “Na Zdorovye,”

Dear Film Buff:
You must be a simpleton because you’ve let Hollywood movies lead you astray. The American film industry has a lot of wrong ideas about Russians.

Since living here, I’ve noticed that every “bad guy” in the movies is a Russian. According to Hollywood, all Russian men are mobsters and all Russian women carry little dogs in their purses. According to Hollywood, Russia has only one season: winter. According to Hollywood, all Russians make their money selling arms to terrorists. Oh, and according to Hollywood, we’re all running around every night drinking vodka and saying “Na Zdorovye.”

When it comes to Russia, don’t trust Western source material.

And that includes, by the way, CNN.

Why don’t you try l’chaim instead? That should go over well.


Dear Deidre:
I attach the first two pages of my novel. It’s about a divorced expat guy who moves to Russia and sleeps around with a lot of Russian women. I think these pages are really good – what do you think?

Dear Don’t Quit Your Day Job:
Nabokov you ain’t.

In other words: I think they are awful.

I still can’t believe I wasted 5 minutes reading them.

You can’t imagine how many Western men have sent me first chapters of their version of the Great Russian Novel. Here is a sample of the summaries I’ve received:

“It’s about an Aussie guy whose heart gets broken and he moves to Moscow and has sex with a lot of Russian women.”

“It’s about an English couple who move to Moscow and the husband sleeps around with a lot of Russian women.”

“It’s about a guy who loses his job and moves to Moscow and then copulates with a lot of Russian women.”

See a common theme, Don’t Quit?

There’s only one good thing about getting these kinds of queries: I reckon they move me up a rung on the “Famous Writers” ladder. Because I’ve heard that Famous Writers get a lot of novices sending them their meager attempts at literature and asking for guidance.

So I suppose it’s just a cross I must bear. Sigh.


Dear Deidre:
I’ve seen you at the Azbuka Vkusa on Novinsky Boulevard. Why do you insist on bagging your own groceries? I’ve noticed it upsets the staff.

Dear Scary Stalker:
I suppose that with my $500 a week grocery bill, I probably deserve having someone else bag my purchases. But I think if you can’t be bothered to do it yourself, you’re nothing but a Fancy Pants. And we’ve got enough of those running around in supermarkets in Moscow already.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Russian women do their shopping in high heels and Chanel. The only explanation I can come up with is: Fancy Pants.

Anyway, it doesn’t “upset” the staff, it “unnerves” them. Or used to. They’re getting used to it now.

Here’s my question for you: is there such a thing as a restraining order in Russia?


Dear Deidre:
After my journey to Los Angeles, I realized that “babushkas” live only in Russia. Why do we Russian women want to become old people so early? Why do we wear such boring and unfashionable clothes? Why don’t we want to look after ourselves after 45 and seem to forget about sex altogether? I am scared of getting to be old!

Dear Fearful & Forgetful:
I have one word for you: Communism.

The Babushkas are a dying breed.

The Fancy Pants at Azbuka Vkusa will never, ever, EVER be Babushkas.


Dear Deidre:
I am on an antibiotics course so I can’t drink alcohol! What do I do?

Dear Delirium Tremens:
It must not have been a Russian doctor you saw if he told you that. I can’t really picture any Russian telling anyone not to drink…

Go get pissed!

That concept that you can’t drink when on antibiotics thing was debunked years ago. It was made up by doctors in the old days to combat the disastrous combination of drunken sailors, STDs and whores.

Now, if you’re a syphilitic sailor who habituates whorehouses (which I’m guessing you’re not), avoid the booze. Otherwise, drink up!


Dear Deidre:
What form of birth control do you use?

Dear Oddly Curious: My age.


Do you have a question for Deidre? If so please email her at

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