Ukrainian Student

I just met our exchange student from Ukraine and we spoke for over 2 hours. I started thinking when was the last time I spoke in Ukrainian for that long and realized that the answer is never. There was never an interlocutor.

It was hard. Harder than in Spanish and about a million times harder than in English. The student is from a Russian-speaking family in Odessa but, as many people in Ukraine today, she switched completely to Ukrainian. Her parents are my age, and they are Soviet-nostalgic. She says I’m the first person my age she ever met who says there was absolutely nothing good about the USSR.

The student says she’s shocked by the US dating culture. And by how politically correct and constrained in their speech everybody is. She’s been here for 18 days, and already she’s noticing things.

I’m taking her out to a nice restaurant on Sunday because I have a profound impulse to feed the kid.


11 thoughts on “Ukrainian Student

      1. But I am really curious… since I do not really know much about US dating culture, or its version in your corner of the US. What were her actual complaints? Sexual proposition too early? No sexual proposition? Guy trying to pay for her dinner / drinks / etc? Guy not trying to pay for her but suggesting to split the bill? Guy having some strange reaction to … certain ways some women from Eastern Europe may be dressed/made up/etc?


        1. There’s now a thing called “situationships”. I never heard of this because my dating days are far behind me. I googled it and it’s very confusing.

          Also, she’s shocked that a guy shows up to a date in sweatpants. Obviously, no flowers.

          In short, American women accept so much crap that a Ukrainian woman never would. They don’t know how to say what they want directly and then get resentful and pout. And we have the opposite problem. We say what we want too much.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh god, the situationship. Kind of like a relationship but without any rules of commitment or plans and with constant mixed signals. shudder
            I had one of those in my youth. It ended up being pretty devastating to my self-esteem and attitudes toward relationships. It did eventually turn into a real relationship, but I was by then so emotionally battered and bruised that it ended up being a Pyrrhic victory and I broke it off.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. I don’t think anyone seeks it out, honestly. It’s more of a result of one party not wanting to commit but also not wanting to cut the other party completely loose, and the other party being willing to settle for bullshit (usually because of inexperience and/or low self-esteem).


      1. I’m a relatively young American, and I’m baffled at what young women are willing to put up with. I can’t understand it.


  1. I do not know… Many of our new international students are stressed and busy in the beginning, it is hard to imagine them having enough time and bandwidth in just 19 first days to collect any statistically meaningful data about the dating scene.


  2. “… she’s shocked that a guy shows up to a date in sweatpants …”

    That’s a total chav thing right there, and she’s not wrong.

    It reeks of low standards.

    Compared to a lot of Americans, I am extremely overdressed, and they feel that I’m judging them.

    In fact, I am judging them, because someone with a decent amount of self-respect wouldn’t dress like a chav or a chavette.

    And it’s so easy: leave the bloody Adidas chavsuit at home, don’t care about the tracks and trainers, just do that one thing.

    But the “situationship” is the same kind of thing.

    People are meant to accept you regardless of how crap you are on the inside and outside?

    Yeaaaaah … no, just no.

    And it’s so easy to push back against this: be that kind of person where people want to behave better around you.

    If you don’t accept “hook-up culture”, then why would you encourage people around you to accept it?

    Why would you encourage people to dress in pyjamas in public?

    Same difference.

    So far despite the signals American culture has been giving this student, she’s keeping her head on right, which is at least somewhat encouraging.


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