What Makes Some Women so Uniquely Feminine?

The awareness of my own femininity struck me for the first time when I became a university student. After a cloudless childhood in a family of a marine scientist, where no such thing as femininity or sexuality had ever been mentioned at all, I suddenly found myself living in a student dorm and being surrounded with hundreds of absolutely awesome-looking girls, whose main goal in life (as it seemed to me) was to look

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Femininity is a skill that can and should be developed through life.

impeccable and beat the fierce competition for the three boys, who happened to be the only three male students in the whole Foreign Languages Department. As I watched how skillfully my fellow-girls could fight between each other for a time in a shower room and then immediately turn into innocent angels because a male species would turn up in the doorway, I admired their talents and thought to myself that I would never learn that science. A year later, by the beginning of my sophomore year, I caught myself practicing the “science”, too: I learned to do it so well that our male professor of phonetics (oh, he was as hot as George Clooney!) seemed to have a crush on me, which even made me the “queen of the bitches” for a while. It was the time when I realized that femininity, though probably being an inborn quality of some women, can and should be developed, fostered, fed, and never left to chance. Later, when I started working as a relationship coach, my numerous meetings with women gave me more awareness… and more confidence in my own femininity.

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A woman is not defined by the way she looks, but by the way she behaves.

I realized two things: first, that just being beautiful or knowing how to wear awesome make-up is not enough and second, as unusual as it may sound, that femininity and sexuality are quite different things. While sexuality is a quality that determines a woman’s relationship with other people, femininity is always a part of her nature, the basis of her personality, the trendsetter of her style, a substance contained in her blood. This is why a woman is not defined by the way she looks, but by the way she behaves.

I used to read many magazine articles suggesting tips about how a woman could look more feminine. Those advice were good, but to me they did not have enough value when taken just as they were. I believed that to become really feminine, a woman needed to change her whole personality. Here are a few ideas from my own diary, which I had when I was a student.

  • Learn to move gently. Avoid Arguments, work on your intonation and, of course, on your vocabulary.
  • Do not swear. Never.
  • Be cool, but don’t be baited into arguments by people who can’t respect you. Be mature enough to know when your presence is needed somewhere.
  • Soften up and speak Softly. What can be more feminine than a girl who cares about the way other people perceive her? Learn to carry yourself with dignity regardless of who you are talking to.
  • Be ready to face the fact that when you bring yourself to the level of a man, you will be treated like a man. A classy lady can always find ways to express herself with words that don’t offend others.
  • Be yourself and love yourself for who you are. Just live up to your own expectations. Remember, that all choices in life are yours: you are the one in charge of choosing which lifestyle is the right one for you, so it’s only your concern; and, of course,
  • Read, learn, grow! Take every opportunity that comes. When there is no opportunity, create one! Be persistent, but not aggressive; be strong, but not sharp; treasure harmony in everything you do, say, or think.
  • Your femininity is not defined by what you do or how you do it, it is defined by the way you relate to other people and to yourself. It reflects your attitudes to learning and developing as a mature, reasonable person. It reflects your kindness and your compassion.
  • The way you think and act will always echo back to you. For that reason, a woman should not just look feminine, she should really be supportive, positive, and loving to everyone around. Isn’t it a natural part of female nature? By showing people that she cares for them, a woman sets up the ground for what she believes in.

So, I guess, the solution is simple, yet it takes lots of effort to reach. Femininity cannot  be drawn on a woman’s face with the help of lipstick and brushes, a woman needs to work on her personality first, and then skill up with make up or take care of her hair, nails, heels and purses, because appearance only works to support our self-awareness and self-recognition, not the other way around.

How Not To Spoil Your St.Valentine’s Day

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Believe it or not, but science warns us that St.Valentine’s Day celebrations can ruin relationships for couples, rather than boost them. Statistically, the risk of breaking up a week before or a week right after this holiday is 2.5 times higher than in any other time of the year. Well, the explanation to this is quite  obvious: couples have high expectations, which may not come true, and then the risk of breaking up becomes a lot more probable. How can you avoid the risk?

  1. Do not get enticed by any last-minute ideas of presents or celebrations. If you have been thinking it over for a while and finally came up with something, but still feel a bit uncertain about the gift, the gift you already have is probably much better than an idea suggested by a friend during a lunch-break, because that guy has a different woman, and he probably knows her well. Just pick up something that your friend will certainly like, because he (she) has always liked it.
  2. Try to avoid very big arrangements, big expenses or anything that would look really “not like usual you” to your partner. Whatever you prepare for them may excite you, but equally, it may freak them out a little bit.
  3. You should not surprise your partner with super sexy ideas like turning up naked or anything that you had not practiced before. Too much of surprise may end up in disappointment for both.

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4. Do not make serious holiday arrangements if February, 14-th happens to be your first date. On the very first date both people should remain themselves, be attentive to each other, and try to move on slowly until they get to know each other really well.

5. On St.Valentine’s Day you simply have no right to forget things! It will kill your partner if you kiss them and say, “Oh, damn, it seems I have left your gift at home!” Do NOT forget anything if you don’t want a break up.

6. You’d better NOT give your partner a Valentine’s Day card. It may look a bit cheap. If you care really much for your dear friend, make them a really nice present, or simply be lovable, attentive, and charming. Giving your partner a card is not a way to display any of these three qualities.

7. Try not to burn your holiday food and if you count on having a romantic dinner in a restaurant, all arrangements must be made well in advance and everything should work well there.

8. Buying very extravagant gifts, as well as making some personal gifts (like underwear, for example) is risky. Just leave this for some other time. Buy something nice for your friend instead – something that you are sure he (she) will appreciate.

And the last suggestion:

9. Be really charming and attentive to your partner on this day. This is the key to real romance. Both, men and women love being taken care of, so why not give this pleasure to them and live this whole day just for them?

Wishing you good luck for this coming holiday!

Russian School Diaries: Sweet Memories to Keep

In Russia, Ukraine, and everywhere about the former USSR, every student of primary and secondary school must have a so-called diary (дневник [dnevnik]) – a printed notebook, where the student is supposed to make daily entries of their tasks for homework, and teachers usually leave short notes for parents and put down the student’s grades whenever he or she made an oral presentation in class or got a test grade in the class register. Dnevnik is a so-to-say form of communication between teachers and parents via the kid’s book of daily notes.

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The school year extends from September 1 to end of May and is divided into four terms with a week-long vacation periods between them. The programme of study in schools is fixed, it amazes me how stable it has been over the years: the program which my mother had at her maths class in the 1950-es at the age of 12 is practically identical to what my daughter studied at her age of 12 in 2003. Neither can schoolchildren choose the subjects they want to study. The class load per student is 638 hours a year for nine-year-olds, 893 for thirteen-year-olds, plus there are official hours of additional classwork within the program. The students are supposed to write with pens of blue color, while teachers always use red. You can see the student’s notes in blue in the “dnevnik” below, and the teacher’s entries in red: the grades, the teacher’s signatures, and sometimes short notes for the parents asking to pay attention at their kid’s behavior or attention in the classroom.

dnevnik1

Students are graded on a 5-step scale, ranging in practice from 2 (“unacceptable”) to 5 (“excellent”); 1 is a rarely used sign of extreme failure. Teachers regularly subdivide these grades (i.e. 4+, 5-) in daily use, but term and year results are graded strictly 2, 3, 4 or 5.

The teachers’ entries into “dnevnik” have always caused excitement in our minds, and the mother’s or father’s voice, saying: “Show me your dnevnik!” remains in everyone’s memory till the end of our lives!

High school kids are usually bored by school, and those wh want to show that they don’t give a damn to the school rules, can do this to their “dnevniks” sometimes:

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But the most memorable are the humorous moments, when teachers, being driven to madness by kids, leave very funny notes in dnevniks. In Russia and Ukraine, we even have websites, where people contribute photos or scans of their kid’s dnevnik pages with very funny teachers’ notes. This page, for example, has a few entries about a boy’s bad behavior:

  1. “Нарисовал половой орган на доске!” – “He drew a penis on the black board!”
  2. Кричал “Ленин жив!” – “He cried out “Lenin’s alive!”, and in the bottom part of the page:
  3. “Продавал одноклассника в рабство” – “Tried selling his classmate to slavery.”

Looks like quite an action-packed day for a school boy, doesn’t it?

dnevnik4

Should the Man Escort the Woman to her Door After a Date?

I just ran across a poll with this question on one of the Russian media portals, and of course I could not help looking at the answers. The poll looked like this:

Question: Should a man escort the woman to her door (and / or pay for her taxi) after a date? (Опрос: Должен ли мужчина провожать женщину и/или оплачивать такси после свидания?)

Answers:  Yes (Да) – 591(67.2%) ; No (Нет) – 207(23.5%);  I don’t know (Не знаю) – 81(9.2%)

Total participants (Участников): 879

To be honest, my first reaction was a surprise. To me, a woman, the only correct answer to this question was obvious, it seemed funny that such a question could be raised in a poll at all. Then I glanced at the figures and found that the participants’ opinions divided to statistically significant values of 67% against 23.5%. More than two hundred people in a bit less than a thousand had an opinion different than mine! I realized that the question was probably worth thinking over.

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So, this is my – female – look at the problem:

Every woman (at least, in my culture) expects her man to finish the business he started and deliver her home at the end of the date, no matter whether the date was a success or not.

The “No”-answer responders in this poll must be men, and I understand why. After the first date, the man is not sure whether he is ready to spend all his life with this girl. He may like her a lot and enjoy spending time with her, and he would certainly do it with her.., but that would be all. So, the male logic is: what’s the sense in escorting her to her door if the future relationship her is so unclear?

Well, I still feel that the “Yes” respondents were right: the benefits are quite evident. First, it is the matter of etiquette. The date is not over until he makes sure that she is at home, happy and safe. If he does, he feels good like a gentleman who has accomplished his duty.

Secondly, hmm- what if she suddenly dashes to him at her door and lets the evening develop in its best possible way?

Thirdly, just showing her that he cares would certainly mean that this man will be welcome to call her again any time and – who knows – maybe that next date will really be a success! 

Relationships FAQ: “How can I make sure the Russian girl I am writing to is real?”

A few years ago, I received a service request from a Canadian man (let me call him Jacob here), who needed to find a local phone number or any other contact information of a Ukrainian woman, with whom he had been corresponding for nearly half a year, and who suddenly stopped writing to him. Because I am native to Russian/Ukrainian cultures and languages, it was quite obvious that I had a better potential to find that information for him. Jacob asked me to do a simple thing: send her a phone message or a postcard, saying that he was worried about her because she had stopped comunicating with him quite abruptly and without any notice.

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I spent a few hours making calls and searching through local directories and found four women with the same name, but soon I faced a kind of a dead end, because none of them was even close in the age, occupation, or appearance to the woman I was looking for. Well, Jacob provided me with more information, which he could collect from their correspondence (my, that was not much, taking that they had been dating online on daily basis for half of a year!), and after a few more days of really Sherlock-Holmish research I managed to find information, which undoubtedly proved the fact: the woman Jacob had been corresponding with was – attention here, please – a 20-year-old MALE student of a local university’s Department of history!

No need to say, Jacob was shocked. Then he grew indignant, then – revengeful, then – depressed. There was no way to return him the wasted time, effort, and emotional loss he had gone through due to that situation. It took Jacob months to overcome the stress and I don’t think he will ever again return to the idea of dating a woman online.

I am sorry to say that Jacob’s story is not unique: it repeats in different variations quite often, despite numerous warnings from experts, related companies, and casual witnesses. How can one avoid being scammed like Jacob? What are the red lights showing that your new online friend may not be the one who he/she claims to be? Here are a few signs which I picked up through years of olnine communication:

  • your online friend tends to ask you a lot f questions, but hardly shares any facts about his/her life;
  • their information is available only in one resourse on the Internet – the one you are using, and no search provides you any proofs of the information the person has shared with you;
  • they are reluctant to share their photos: doesn’t it look odd when a beautiful woman is unwilling to share her photos? She may have some explanations why not, but still- this is quite unbelievable, isn’t it?
  • they appear and disappear online quite unexpectedly, their behavior is a bit erratic, and you never know when they will turn up online;
  • they often tell you they are very busy, so you cannot count on regular communication with them;
  • they complain a lot, it looks like their life is full of difficulties which they have to overcome on daily basis;
  • they find lots of reasons why they can’t have video (or even voice) conferences with you, they always prefer to “just type”;
  • their reasoning may sound illogical or inconsistent at times, yet you can’t get rid of a feeling that they have quite a practical look on things;
  • they never let you meet their friends or families; they try to convince you that your communication is a precious, intimate, one-on-one exchange, which they would not want to violate by anybody else’s presence;
  • after weeks (months) of communication, when you feel quite close to each other, they still don’t put much effort in trying to meet you in person;
  • they love dreaming about the beautiful future with you, but when it comes to action, you are the only one who takes every initiative.

I just realized that I could go on with the list, but I believe the above items are quite enough for a clear-headed person to suspect that their communication is a bit one-sided. Do be careful with your online communication; try not to grow emotional about anybody until you know for sure who is the real person behind that charming avatar. If you have any questions, suggestions, or stories to share, you are welcome to leave them in the comments or to contact me via the contact page on this site.

Great Thinkers Also Excel at Dumb Things. Why?

Wisdom does not guarantee us from silly behavior, it is a fact. Take Albert Einstein, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, or any other great mind of the world, read their biographies and you’ll see what I mean. I think I know a few reasons why the most outstanding minds of the world tend to err as badly as they excel in explaining the complexities of this world.

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  • The greatest thinkers tend to overthink things, and therefore, they overreact in social situations. The smartest people have the tendency to complicate everything in their mind, because they expect things to be complex.
  • The smartest people are often a bit too confident (not without reason, of course), and knowing that you are always right is tricky, because eventually you will lose the ability to question your own conclusions, while self-criticism is an inseparable part of general critical thinking ability, which helps continuously develop one’s mind.
  • Another thing is the lack of so-called emotional intelligence. Great thinkers often fail to understand, or simply ignore, other people’s emotions, while emotional intelligence is the greatest social skill. It is easy to make fool of yourself if you try to ignore common social habits or traditions.
  • Quite often, great thinkers lack practical skills, which are necessary in social life. The greatest thinkers are often weak at simple practical tasks, which makes them quite vulnerable in thr eyes of ordinary people.

Just a few facts to think over:

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

Isaac Newton was undoubtedly a genius when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.

Winston Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.

Walt Disney had a bit of a rough start in his life. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

In his early years, teachers told Thomas Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.

I could continue the list on and on. Well, these facts only give us, ordinary people, more confidence in our potential to develop and not to fail big in the future.

 

Relationship Danger Alert for Men

Like every other occupation, communicating with women has two sides: it may be most exciting and pleasant with some women, but with others it may turn out to be quite an opposite experience. Girls are beautiful, intelligent, funny… but still there are women you should avoid dating if you want to stay safe emotionally, physically, and even financially. Let us look at the most common traits of such women, which can (and should) be regarded as red flags at the very first stage of a new relationship.

1. Some women – probably the most popular type among men – can be called “gamers”, and gamers they are. Such woman will charm, seduce, and eagerly date the man, but she will never give him her heart. She is simply not a good material for a relationship, she prefers to move on from one guy to another and avoid long term affairs. A woman-gamer doesn’t care about the man’s emotions, she will turn him into her toy without doubt. Quite often, she is smart, educated, and knows very well what she is doing. The tricky part is the difficulty to identify a gamer, because she is quite experienced at fooling guys. The other thing is: she never opens up to anyone, so she won’t tell the man what kind of plans she has for him. A gamer plays her game as long as she is in the mood for playing, then she turns her back to the man and leaves. These qualities are quite common for this type of women:

  • She flirts with every guy she meets

  • She doesn’t give straight answers when asked about her dating history

  • She sends you mixed messages

  • She is charismatic, smart, and very good looking

  • She doesn’t always respond to calls/texts and often looks quite preoccupied with some of her chores, about which she speaks very little

If she flirts with a man, she is really charming, so it takes lots of effort and character not to be fooled.

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2. Another quite distinct type are women who love partying. They are perfect for short time flirting or having fun in a company of friends, but every talk about taking the relationship seriously scares the party girl away.
These women are simply not ready to take any serious responsibility, besides… they love partying too much! If you aren’t much of a party guy yourself, this can cause some problems down the road. It is not difficult to identify a party girl, because

  • She goes out practically every night and she always parties on weekends

  • She loves drinking, so her stories usually start with: “Oh, I got so drunk last Saturday that I…”

  • Logically, she’s frequently hung over

  • She knows every bartender in town and knows all liquor stores in quite a large radius from her home

With such a girl, the man should be prepared to deal with the side effects of her lifestyle. While intoxicated, a party girl can make decisions which could devastate even the strongest relationship. She may be very beautiful, funny, humorous, communicative; very probably, she is always provocatively dressed and flirts quite skillfully, but all of her positive traits will inevitable be negated by her love for alcohol and general levity.

3. A very well-known type of Russian women, who frequently take a fancy of dealing with dating/marriage agencies, is a so-called gold-digger. Women gold diggers will go to great lengths to find and date men with money, because their idea is to live a life of luxury without having to work for it. Gold diggers are usually very shallow and value money more than anything else. If the girl who you just met seems to be only concerned about the money you make, the relationship will go the wrong way from the very beginning. Such women are never satisfied with your gifts, attention and efforts to please them. A typical gold digger can be identified by the following behavior:

  • She expects you to pay for everything

  • She’s very disappointed when you don’t spend money on her

  • She pursues you more aggressively than you pursue her

  • She is obsessed with living a lavish lifestyle but can’t afford it

  • She is shallow and materialistic

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4. Another quite “dangerous” type of women is a so-called psycho girl. Dating them inevitably brings men to very serious challenges. Psycho girls are quite insecure, and at the same time, controlling, manipulative, and needy. Quite often, they are very selfishly motivated. If that isn’t bad enough, they’re the most difficult type of girl to break up with. If you try a serious relationship with a psycho woman and she becomes dependent on you, breaking up with her may turn into a real nightmare. She’ll kick and scream to the very end and might even make threats against you or herself. This is where things can get really dangerous for your emotional and physical well being. To identify a psycho at an early stage of acquaintance, pay attention to these little signals:

  • She calls or texts you constantly to see what you’re doing

  • She discourages you to hang out with your friends, especially other girls

  • She never seems to trust you

  • She cries or throws tantrums to get her way

  • She is emotionally unstable

Dating a psycho is a surefire way to make your life a living hell. Even if the sex is awesome, it comes at a very high price. You’ll feel like you’re on a leash and won’t have enough freedom in your life. If a girl you’re dating starts exhibiting behaviors of a psycho, consider carefully wrapping up the relationship before things get really troublesome.

The Challenges of Dating a Mama’s Boy

Relationship Tips for Girls

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A mother’s boy (also mummy’s boy or mama’s boy), is a man who is excessively attached to his mother at an age when men are expected to be independent. Here are a few signs of a mama’s boy type:

  • He can’t survive unless someone is around all the time. This type of guy always needs attention on himself. Whatever he does, he needs someone to help him, assist him, or simply be around.
  • Usually, he relies in his household chores on his parents, and heads over there a few times a week for a square meal. Don’t be surprised to see his mom in his home, she probably comes over once in a while to clean his apartment.
  • He speaks with his mother many times during the day and never fails to exchange messages with her via social media… you can clearly see that he loves it.
  • He never makes a decision without consulting with his mother.
  • One thing he is sure about is that his mom can’t do anything wrong. He always takes her side, no matter what she suggests.
  • Though he has his own place, he still keeps his room in his mother’s home and finds reasons to visit his mother’s home pretty often.
  • His mom is all-knowing. She always knows about everything, including the details of your relationship with him, especially about every single time when you hurt his feelings.
  • When his mother is around, he kind of goes back to being a child.
  • He expects you to be like his mother. His mom is the “acme of perfection”, so he measures all women against her.
  • He’s pretty spoiled and he takes advantage of it. He takes everything he needs out of his mom. You don’t know whether he pays his bills on his own or his mom does this, and you’re afraid to ask.
  • He is okay with his mother being around all the time and even if she shows up unannounced.
  • His mother tends to manage your behavior and decisions every time she gets a chance to do this.
  • If you and your boyfriend have done something silly and it has come up, his mother will always find reasons to justify her boy and make you responsible for the whole situation.

It is good to keep these tips in mind when you are about to start dating a man who has some of these qualities. In fact, hundreds of couples have been through these challenges and found ways to deal with them. It is up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want to build, so be yourself and do what you think is right.

Love is a Priceless Gift… the Only Thing One Can Give Out and Still Have It

These words by Leo Tolstoy have been coming up in my mind lately. There are thousands – maybe even millions – of people in this world who have never known what love is like, because their parents did not know it either and never taught their kids how to love.

Like many other things, love can (and certainly should) be taught, because a person deprived of love since childhood has very poor chances to be happy. So I have been asking myself: what can I do to help people learn how to love? Being a teacher, what can I do to assist people in lerning the art and science of love? In a perfect world, a teacher is the second closest person (after parents) to the student, so technically, teachers might do a part of the job, which parents fail to do… but alas! Love is not taught at schools!

Today, when the world has become so frail, learning how to love each other is the only answer we have. This is why my personal motto has been: “Share love, educate, inspire.”

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“Любовь — это бесценный дар. Это единственная вещь, которую мы можем подарить и все же она у тебя остаётся.” – Л.Толстой

Love, Sex, Trust… What Comes First for a Slavic Woman?

This question often comes up when I talk to foreign men about Russian/Ukrainian traditions and family life. Interestingly, the westerners and the Slavic people’s traditional approaches to dating are strikingly different, especially if we look at relationships between the western men and Slavic women.

To majority of Slavic women, love (or deep affection) comes first. It is the first necessary condition for a serious relationship with a man. If a woman does not feel that discomforting, burning excitement deep inside her chest, she will never open up to the man, and very soon he will find himself in her “friend zone”. Forever.

Trust is another condition, which usually precedes a woman’s decisions about moving on toward a more physical stage in the relationship. To a Slavic woman, even in the 21-st century, a sexual relationship is the highest stage of intimacy, which is only possible when her love and trust to a man is complete and unconditional. This is why it often takes months before a man and a woman move on to a “physical” relationship.

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