There was one moment last semester, when I was running late to meet someone, that has got me thinking as of late. It was the weekend, and I had woken up late, was an overall wreck, and was essentially trying to just roll out the door in a slightly slovenly fashion. I ran past my host mom to the front door, and as I was putting on my shoes, she said something along the lines of, “Are you sure you’re ready to go?” Well, sure I was…at least, I thought I was. She gave me a look and walked into the kitchen. I stopped in my tracks. Was there something on my face?
Apparently, the problem was that there wasn’t anything on my face — as in no makeup, nothing. And that wasn’t socially acceptable. Maybe I’m over exaggerating a bit, and maybe I read Tanya’s words wrong, but I’m pretty sure that was the reason she asked me. At first, I was somewhat offended, but as I thought more and more about it, I began to think that maybe she was right to stop me from going out looking like death. I still can’t tell if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that Russian women, especially young women, go out every day like they’re on their way to a soiree. There’s a huge emphasis on amping up their sexuality — the stilettos, the cut out clothes, the heavy makeup, the rail-thin bodies, etc. But at the same time, for what it’s worth, there is something to be learned: to go out everyday looking your best. Both societies share the same (shallow?) attitudes — as in first impressions are a lasting impression, and in Russia (and America, too) you meet someone first through their exterior (внешний вид). If you can’t fight the system, join the system, and in young America’s case, that means stop rolling out of bed and going to class in sweatpants.