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I also offer personally-tailored, individualized English conversation practice (including etiquette) and coaching in writing techniques. Finally, I edit texts such as magazines, business proposals, memorandums, emails so they are presented in English which does not embarrass you or your organization. For further details, please mail me at: language.etiquette@gmail.com

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12 February 2012

Karl Lagerfeld: a woman's view

I had hardly time to boot down last night when a Russian night-owl sent a trenchant answer to my question (see previous post) about whether Naomi Campbell or Karl Lagerfeld was the more beautiful. The text was in Russian, so for the benefit of English-only readers I have translated the opening paragraph and the closing one. The rest you will have to figure out for yourselves. (See all these Russian who want to learn English: do they not put you to shame?)
     Anyway, the interesting thing is that this answer reflects very closely the mood of a meeting at the club, English Language Evenings in Moscow, where a year or so ago a hot American diva who had spent the last couple of years in Russia sampling Russian men gave a talk at which she pronounced a conclusion not dissimilar to that in the email below. I attended that talk, and wrote an account of it for Passport magazine. It can be found at this link: http://www.passportmagazine.ru/article/1770/  The interesting thing was that the diva’s negative comments about Russian men, from their generally weak characters to their unadventurous performance in bed, were received with applause and even a few cheers by the women  in the audience, who were almost all Russian. Some went further and stood up to voice their agreement. About the only advantage the Russians had over the other men the diva had sampled round the world - she was a New York lawyer of mixed Irish-Jewish parentage! - was that they were more romantic and emotionally demonstrative.
    Clearly this is a burning issue. Is it a universal problem in Russia? If so, it is, as the diva said, and I mentioned at the end of my article, a question fundamentally of communication, which is the basic subject of this blog. Let's look at it square in the face. This is the comment I received in the wee small hours of this morning.
     It begins:
Answering your question about who is more beautiful, Lagerfeld or Naomi, I answer LAGERFELD! First, he is a man; secondly, he is a man who has dedicated his life to woman; and thirdly, he is a man makes a woman feel like a woman....
Отвечая на Ваш вопрос, кто красивее-Лагерфельд или Наоми, конечно отвечу - ЛАГЕРФЕЛЬД! Во-первых, он мужчина, во-вторых, он мужчина, который посвящает свою жизнь женщине, в - третьих, он мужчина, который делает женщину женщиной!
Цитируемое Вами его высказывание о русских мужчинах конечно спорно. Однако оно имеет право на жизнь уже потому, что отчасти он прав. Русские мужчины уродливы не внешне, они уродливы внутри! К сожалению, перестройка коснулась не только основ нашего государства, но и человеческих ценностей. Это всецело отразилось и на женщинах и на мужчинах России. Только мужчины слабее женщин- это известный факт! Вот почему они быстрее и глубже заразились бациллой стяжательства, бесчестия, беспринципности, безверия, эгоизма и т.д. Это внутренне уродство отразилось на их отношении к женщинам, к близким, к деньгам и т.д. Ведь деньги, как и свобода - подготовленному дает благополучие и мир, а слабому дает высокомерие и жестокость. Внутренний психологический дисбаланс наших мужчин, не подготовленных в общей массе (воспитанием, опытом предыдущих поколений) к новым условиям экономической жизни отразился на их изменившемся восприятии  человеческих ценностей. Это всецело коснулось и отношения к женщине. Поэтому Лагерфельд прав!
Кстати, я ничего не имею против изящной экзотической красоты Наоми. Но кто она как человек? Красива ли она внутри?
     It ends:
Lagerfeld is right! By the way, I have nothing against the exotic beauty of Naomi. But who is she as a person? Is she beautiful inside?
Obviously this calls for a response from Russian men. What do you think? And what do other Russian women think? Do you agree or not? And what do non-Russians of either sex think about this issue? And if Russian men are really like that, could it not be true that part of the problem lies in the extent to which Russian women allow them to be so, by pampering and cosseting them? What do you all think?
     Please write and tell me. I am at: langauge.etiquette@gmail.com Once again, the best letters will be added to the draw for the bottle of malt whisky!