Absinthe and Russian Women of Vladivostok
Absinthe and Russian Women
Vladivostok, RussiaWe flew to Vladivostok, Russia, just north of the North Korean border in July. We may as well have flown to the end of the earth. Vladivostok, Russia is about the last place anyone would ever think to visit, let alone go to for an adventure with underlying hopes of getting laid.
We arrived at the airport at 5:30 pm and a man from our pre-booked hotel was standing there with a sign. I mentioned “money exchange” and some Russian man with black and brown teeth who happened to be standing close by said “okay” and took us outside the airport doors and yelled for “Robert” who got out of a car sitting in the parking lot. Robert was a very seedy looking heavy set 40-something year old who asked us how much money we had to exchange, and shredded his toothpick with his teeth while he awaited our answer. I was under the impression that Robert was probably not a licensed, official money changer, so we decided to hang onto our money and await a less suspicious opportunity. That was our first exposure to Russia, and luckily for us, the men of the country did not pre-determine what the Russian women would be like.
Russia has an outstanding amount of tall, curvy, beautiful, blond women. They are more gorgeous then you could ever imagine in your mind without going there to see them for yourself. At least two times each day I saw a girl that I probably would have married without even having a conversation with first. There was even a late 20-something homeless woman I saw who was attractive enough that; had I taken her to my hotel, cleaned her up, bought her some nice new clothes, and brought her home, my buddies would have probably been impressed by her. There seems to be a surplus of attractive women in Russia. There are a lot of very tough-looking females with big Russian noses, but the amount of very good-looking ones easily pick up the slack for those that could probably do lumberjack work on the side. It is a little uncanny how there is no mid-range in Russia. You either get the ones who could competently handle an ax in the woods or you get the beauties that make your heart race. There is nothing in between. Girls are either 3’s or they are 9’s.
Tourism is nearly non-existent in Vladivostok, so we fascinated the locals. It is a city of 600,000 people and no one there could understand why we would ever want to go to Vladivostok, Russia…which was exactly why we were there. Our posse consisted of Fergal, an Irishman from Cork; Aldrin, an American from Florida; and me. On the flight over, Fergal asked me how many girls I thought would ask to marry me. I told him maybe two. Maybe I had overestimated a little because they only guessed one each for themselves. We spent seven nights there, and nothing was really doing till our final night, which is where the story is set.
It was late evening, early night when we met some older Russian gentlemen in a restaurant, to whom I explained my appreciation of the females of their country. Not long after our conversation began, two beauties dressed in black skirts showed up and walked past our table. My Russian friend sitting closest to me guaranteed an exciting evening if I went over to their table and talked to them. My confidence had receded in the past six days and he must have sensed that in my facial reaction. He said to me, “You’re a young, good looking guy. You are a novelty here. You are not just another drunk Russian hitting on them. You are a new flavor.”
With the encouragement of my friend to back me, he sent me to their table. I introduced myself to a couple of surprised faces and made a mental note of Kate, the prettier one’s name. I told them that my friends and I would be going to the Dancehouse nightclub afterwards, and invited them to join us at the club. They displayed some curiosity, were very friendly, and told me they may show up later. I walked back to our table and when I relayed my conversation with the girls to our Russian friend, he looked disgusted at my effort. He looked over his glasses at me and said, “No, No, No. You don’t understand. This is Russia. They will never show up if they are asked to show up. Russian women need to be told what to do. You need to go back there and tell them that you are leaving in 15 minutes and that they are to be ready because you will be taking them to the club with you.”
I had no doubt that he knew what he was talking about, so I went back to Kate’s table. I told her and her friend that I would be leaving in 15 minutes and told them that I wanted them to show up at the Dancehouse; not feeling comfortable being as aggressive as I was instructed to be. I left it at that and my traveling partners and I soon headed for the club.
I was trying to look cool. I had my hair in a faux-hawk and knocked the lenses out of my aviator shades so that I could see to walk in the club. We met with a Russian friend named Max, ended up drinking too much vodka and got mixed up in a little red absinthe.
To do a shot of absinthe in Russia, it is like this: the bartender pours out the shots into bar glasses, one shot at a time. He lights one shot on fire and dumps the flaming beverage from its glass to a different one that is empty. He then smothers that flame in the new glass with the old glass as he holds it upside-down and rim to rim with the new glass. The old glass is immediately placed upside-down on the bar on a napkin that has a straw stuck through a hole in the center of it with the short part of the straw curved up inside of the newly upside-down glass, and the long part of the straw sticks out of the side of the glass for your lips for later. Drink your shot, which is enough as it is, but then there is the real ass-kicker…. Slam down your glass as soon as you finish drinking it, and take the exposed end of the straw in the upside-down glass, and inhale the warm fumes from the just-burned, original absinthe glass that the shot started in. It is like a bong hit of absinthe after doing a shot of it, and it really fucking throws you for a loop. I now know it was the beginning of the end for me.
Moments later, Aldrin came hunting me down with a gigantic grin on his face. He said, “Guess who’s here…?” I asked, “The girls from earlier?” He confirmed. Jackpot. He told me they had been asking for me. Double Jackpot. He led me to them. The one he directed my attention to was an astounding blond that immediately captivated my attention. She looked familiar, but she seemed to be better looking than she had been in the restaurant. I called her Kate for about a half-hour before she finally corrected me and told me her name was Victoria. Then it clicked in my head. She was not Kate from the restaurant… she was Victoria, a girl I had previously met and had tried my luck on and had failed with two nights earlier.
On this final night, Victoria was wearing a very catty black dress, and black high heels. Every part of everything about her was put together well. I danced with her. I could not stop staring at her. Not able to contain myself, I slipped and accidentally told her how beautiful she was … rule number one that you should never break when you are trying to make a girl think she should take you home. I ended up blurting out that I went to university in a city of 200,000, campus of 12,000, and how she was better-looking than any girl that I had ever met in school or in any bar. I was pretty drunk by this point and had forfeited my own right to words and the absinthe had taken over. We danced a bit and then we held hands a bit, my adolescent loser move that somehow always works. Eventually we were sitting very close in a booth, I got my nerve up, finally kissed her and then ended up making-out with her a little. She broke from the kiss and said, “Stephen … you will marry me and take me back to Canada?”
What!? Unfuckingbelievable! I immediately jumped out of the booth and spied Fergal three meters away. I went for him and punched him in the arm and announced to him, “She just asked me to marry her!” I could not believe that had really just happened. I was surely glowing as I turned back towards her. It was like the scene of some predictable movie parody about Russian women.
Victoria was still sitting in the booth looking at me. I can not imagine exactly what she was thinking at that moment, but I am pretty sure it had something to do with her thinking I was an idiot. I sat back down beside her like nothing had happened. All of this had taken place in about 7 seconds since she had broken from the kiss. I said to her, “Not today, Victoria, but maybe someday.” She took a pen and a piece of paper and wrote her phone number and her e-mail address and said, “Anytime, Stephen. Anytime.” Actually it was more like, “Vennytime, Stephen. Vennytime.”
We hung out a bit more and I kind of lost track of her a little and ended up dancing with some girl with haunting eyes, who would not stop staring at me with them, who then suddenly ditched me and headed for her table, at which I later found her with two friends and a big Russian man who did not like some random English speaking guy trying to move in and talk to his girls. I decided to leave, but the girls told me to stay. Then the girls asked me if I drank vodka, a question that there is only one answer to in Russia, and I wound up in something of a vodka drink-off with the big Russian man, who warmed to me only slightly. It seems I will never learn that I can not drink a lot of hard liquor and I will never be able to out-drink a man twice my body weight. Yet here I was again, ready for the challenge put forth, certain that it will finally be the occasion I will master this move and impress the girls.
The next thing that I can remember is Aldrin finding me outside of another bar, that I was later told that we went to with Victoria and her friend, and I was vomiting, hard, beside a black SUV. I watched in drunken-slow-motion horror as the paper with Victoria’s number and her e-mail address fell out of my pocket like an autumn leaf, and landed directly in the puddle at my feet. My brain could not register to tell my hands to save it fast enough. Drunk as I was, I was also too proud to dig through my own vomit to pull out a girl’s phone number, and, I was not about to put the paper back in my pocket, so there it stayed.
In between dry-heaves, I remember Aldrin asking me if I had any money left to give Max, our Russian buddy, to pay off some “Bandits” who were going to rough up Fergal for being a drunk Irishman doing and saying the things a drunk Irishman does and says in Russia. I gave Aldrin 100 Rubles (about $3.80), which was enough to buy off Russian bandits from beating up my friend. Aldrin then took me back to the hotel to pass out – I was finished.
We reluctantly flew out of Russia next day. I was sick from the alcohol and disgusted that my party stamina had not been able to keep up with my party consumption. I was disappointed in my whole effort and my physical condition from my hangover made things so bad we barely got me to the airport on time. And that was the closest I ever got to sleeping with a blond, curvy Russian beauty, who was also the best looking girl I had ever kissed in my life. Russian women…
Absinthe was partly to blame for Van Gogh’s removal of his own ear, and partly to blame for the removal of any shot I ever had with a gorgeous, potential, future Russian bride.