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

Dear Deidre:
It is obvious that we Russian people don’t smile often or don’t smile at all. How can we make people smile in the street, in the metro or just while meeting someone?

Dear Grins and Bears it:
During my time in Russia, I’ve tried the following techniques to get you locals to crack a smile:

Grinning maniacally at everyone I meet;

Doing a jig on the metro (a jig, by the way, is defined as “a lively folk dance”);

Randomly handing out flowers to passing strangers;

Acting in an arbitrarily amusing manner - like unexpectedly breaking out into cheerful song on queues.

All to no avail whatsoever. All I’ve managed to achieve is to give the impression to the other residents of my ‘hood that I am suffering from a rare American form of early-onset dementia.

So, alas, as far as I can tell, the answer to your question is: we can’t.


Dear Deidre:
Do you believe that the saying “In Vino Veritas” is true?

Dear Student of Dead Languages:

I’m on the Vino right now and I’m telling the truth, so my first instinct was to answer “yes.”

But then I took a moment and remembered some of the outrageous lies I’ve told whilst completely blotto.

“Of course I love you” is one of the more common and harmless misrepresentations I’ve come up with while under the influence. But some others have been real whoppers.

For some strange reason, for example, if I’m drinking something like vodka, I often tell people my father was part of the American army which liberated Paris. There isn’t a grain of truth in that statement, but when I’m drunk I always think it’s what happened. It’s not that I’m lying per se – it’s more like I’m hallucinating.

Since a mere bottle of wine won’t bring on these delusions of mine, I’d have to say that I do believe that “in wine there is truth.”

But, trust me, in vodka there are many, many lies. And that’s probably a more relevant “truth” for all of us in Moscow. After all, who drinks only a bottle of wine here?

So when you’re partying at Karma, don’t believe a word anyone tells you.


Dear Deidre:
I am 35 years old and not married yet. For a Russian woman, this is a disaster! I read that my chances now of finding a husband are less than my chances of getting killed by terrorists! It is all depressing me a lot. Help!

Dear Panicked Single Gal:
Chill out.

I once believed that old malarkey also. And here I am: 42 years old with men fighting over me left, right and centre. And no terrorist has gotten to me yet either.

But frankly if I was forced to choose between marriage or death inflicted by fanatical freak terrorist... Well, let’s just say I’d have to think about it for a bit.


Dear Deidre:
I have recently been betrayed by someone I trusted. I can’t get over it. Any advice?

Dear Trusting One:
My father (who was a part of the American army that liberated Paris) used to say “If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas.” I’ve adapted that a bit since I’ve lived in Moscow.

I now say: “If you lay down with worms, you get slimed.”


Dear Deidre:
I read that you are no longer writing for the Moscow News? Is that true? If so, why would anyone read that paper?

Dear Expat Fan:
I take the Fifth. Is there one here? If not, I take whatever one takes when in Russia.


(Vodka? - Ed.)

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

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