The Thing About Stereotypes

The thing about stereotypes is, they are often grounded in reality.

So, if you imagined there being a lot of tall, skinny, beautiful girls in Yekaterinburg, you'd be right.

(Yeah, the single guys don't mind it here so much.)

Last night I went for a little stroll with my Russian friend (yes, I actually have a Russian friend! I'm so excited!). Even she did a little double-take when we passed this gal. In real life she was about six feet tall (maybe more with the shoes on) and the dress covered approximately one eighth of her. She was also ridiculously tan, had that famous dyed-black Russian hair, and was with that dude. You see a lot of that here too.

As a foreigner, it can be easy to look around and see nothing but the stereotypes. For one thing, they're the most obvious. They stand out. Same goes for the middle-aged guys in track suits with their man bags (did I mention the guy with the teeny tiny briefcase? Like smaller than a purse? It was amazing.) and the babushkas, who really and truly do exist.

But of course, the bleach-blonde surfer who talks like his brain has been pickled in salt water actually does exist; Georgetown students really do wear pink polo shirts with popped collars; Paula Deen is a real live human being. Or so I'm told.

The thing about stereotypes is, they only tell part of the story. A very small part of it, in fact. And this is what my new friend is helping me to see about Russia.


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