Dare to ask Dare
Ex-pats and Russians alike ask celebrity columnist Deidre Dare questions about life in Moscow.
Photo by Maria Savelieva
My boyfriend left me for another woman (he says he loves her and no longer loves me) and I am so depressed I can’t get out of bed. What should I do?
Dear Longing Over Lover (“LOL”):
What you’ve done, my dear, is make your love affair the centre of your life. That amuses me.
Personally, I think we should take our love lives the same way we do our sour cream at Pushkin: on the side.
Good luck, LOL. Time heals all wounds, even in Russia. And if time doesn’t help, drop by the EMC on Spiridonevsky, they’re liberal with the valium there. And valium, my dear, will help you whether your problem is too much bad love or, indeed, too much sour cream.
I’m scared to death of all the ice and snow, especially when I’m wearing heels! I fall all the time. And falling is so embarrassing! Last year I even slid into a man and knocked him over too. How do you get around in the winter without slipping and falling down?! I am Russian, by the way.
Dear Spazzy and Mortified (“S&M”):
Alas, S&M, I don’t.
What is the best way to get around Moscow? We just moved here from Hong Kong and are wondering. Is it by subway, walking or bus?
Dear Missing Entirely The Route Overlooked (“METRO”):
Bus? Are you for real?
There’s only one good way to travel in Moscow, METRO, and that’s by gypsy cab.
Of course, I didn’t realise this when I first moved here. I spent my first week in Moscow trying to negotiate the subways (haven’t been back on them since then, actually); my second week trying to negotiate walking (haven’t been back on that, actually, since realising sky-high heels were de rigour in this city); my third week hiring taxis from the Aurora Marriott (haven’t done that since paying $40 to go two miles, actually) and my fourth week working at home “sick”.
And never, never, never have I been on a Moscow bus. Really? Are you for real?
Then one night after dinner at Cafe Marguerite (and en route to Propaganda), an English mate of mine flagged down a gypsy cab. (Hint: I wasn’t really sick.)
I was in awe of her. I never thought I’d be able to be so brave.
Now? Well, let’s just say my imminent hot date is with one of last night’s gypsy cab drivers.
As long as you know how to say “nalyevo,” “napravo” and “pryamo,” (quick lesson: “left,” “right” and “straight”) and have a decent map you’ll be fine.
NB: it also may be useful to know “tee prikrasno vyglyadish.” That is, if you want a hot date.
Doesn’t living in such an unsafe city ever scare you? The crime rate here is really off the charts. I heard it’s higher than anywhere.
Dear Muscovites Are Dubious, Dangerous (“MADD”):
My darling MADD: I am a dangerous woman, so I should live in a dangerous city. In fact, I like living in a dangerous city.
Interestingly enough, I am now musing, when I tell men what a dangerous woman I am, they all fall madly in love with me.
Maybe Moscow should advertise its high crime rate...
Hey: you never know.
I moved here with my husband when he was transferred from London for his work. I absolutely hate it. I’m lonely, lost and intimidated by the whole Moscow scene. What can I do?
Dear Obsequious Married Gal (“OMG”):
Every (and I mean every) bad decision I ever made was because of some dude. Some smokin’ piece of ass.
You astound me, OMG. You really do. But only because you remind me of myself.
What can you do? From my vast experience, I can suggest: well, nothing.
But one day your husband will leave you for a young Russian girl and you’ll act and feel like S&M, but, secretly, as you board your flight back to London, you’ll be relieved.
I hate you. And all my friends do too. Women like you should be raped and quartered.
Dear Perfectly Clear (“PC”):
Sorry, PC, I really can’t answer you. I have that date tonight and I’m already late for it. And I still have to pick up cigarettes! (This isn’t such an easy thing to do now that the new mayor has razed my local kiosk.)
PS: don’t tell MADD about your criminal fantasies. She’ll just freak out.