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April Brings Romance And Flowers?
Linda Lippner

April showers bring spring flowers is still ingrained in my head as THE springtime mantra. In Russia I may have to change that to snow showers, but the spring flowers will arrive sooner or later. And being spring, can romance be in the air? Well, being a lady of a certain age, probably not. So, just for fun, I started doing a little research on how one finds romance in Russia. We all know the usual ways, but if the usual ways are not working, whats a girl got to do to find a suitable guy for romance?

Did you know theres a club in Moscow called FLIRTANIKA? This is a floating club that organizes Flirt Parties for romance seekers. A club that puts parties together segregated into different age groups (god forbid that those of differing ages might mix socially at a Flirt Party!) This is a US-style social event consisting of a huge group of like-minded singles who conduct blitz interviews with as many eligible singles they can face down. If that doesnt suit your style, you are not alone. Focus groups FLIRTANIKA has commissioned feel that for Russians, this type of encounter party is too cynical, too shallow. Asking the guy (or girl?) in front of you what kind of car, how big your apartment is, or where you work, is considered not decent. I agree! FLIRTANIKA may be doomed.

And then there are the web-based dating services. I was intrigued by the name of one Damochka.ru. I hear the name is a slightly flirty, slightly risque term for a woman just the kind you might meet on a website. More power to the damochkas of the world! For the less adventurous, the traditional matchmaker, is still alive and well in Moscow. These matchmakers extraordinaire do all the necessary research and smooth the way for conversation and coupling.

My story of finding romance in strange places involves a train to St Petersburg. A first class car provides a first class guy sitting in the seat next to mine. Not a lot of English on his part, not a lot of Russian on mine. After 5 hours of pretty good conversation, a date is planned for the next evening at a very public bar. Using FLIRTANIKAs methods, I did find out the make of his car, size of his apartment and what kind of work he is doing. Hey 5 hours on the train does create openings for such conversational crassness so I go for it. Next evening, I discover a whole new concept of dating in Russia at least for the Russian/ English language challenged. My charming Russian has brought his interpreter with him! This allows us to have a very in-depth 3-way conversation as our interpreter does all the heavy lifting in articulating our innermost thoughts to each other. All I could think was how nice that train ride had been when we just guessed at what we were saying to each other and did just fine.







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