Below is an (English) reprint of an article that appeared in Moscow's new lifestyle magazine "Sex and the City" on the topic of "Sex & Money in Moscow", which I felt captured a certain element of Moscow's nightlife.
Reflections on life and not quite love in Moscow
As the throbbing strains of Paul Oakenfeld's "Girls just want sex and money" filter through to the exterior of a high-end Moscow club, a harried feis kontroller scans the mob outside the door, and fields half-joking promises of sex in exchange for club entry from impossibly gorgeous young devushki in ridiculously high stillettos. Just another night out in Moscow, a city that worships at the the twin pantheon of sex and money to a degree not seen since the decline of Ancient Rome.
It's a fucked up adult version of Disneyland, and for a foreigner the price of entry is a high alcohol tolerance, an even higher bank balance, the ability to turn a blind eye to a moral code that would make an American stripper blush, and a chance, (just a slight chance) that you'll find yourself unable to ever return to the "real" world. For better or worse, Moscow has turned the corner from the insanity of the 90's, where a bottle of vodka cost $1, expats were rock stars, and having sex on a bar wouldn't raise an eyebrow. On the other hand, 10 years of improving dentistry, fashion, cosmetics (and cosmetic surgery) have a certain upside, and there's still plenty of threesomes in restaurant bathrooms to go around. Besides, the nightclubs and restaurants are better these days, even if they cost a thousand times the price they did back then.
Meanwhile, back in the club, a girl wanting to get past decides the best way to achieve this is to stick her tongue down your throat (she's right), a trip to the bathroom involves a decision as to whether that visit involves company (which may or may not be paid for), and the bumping and grinding of a mix of models, hookers, dancers, and the occasional regular girl makes for a potent mix of potential passion. Surprisingly, in a country where practically nobody speaks English, this still isn't a problem for monolingual expats. "You're fucking hot" comments an inebriated friend to a tall brunette, a typically creative Moscow pick-up line. She stops and looks confused. "Fucking... Da." she agrees in broken English, "but Hot... What is?".
In the surreal world of Moscow's high-end nightlife, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only thing a girl is interested in is money. Newcomers to the city are shocked to learn that dating here can cost more than that new Ferrari you’ve been wanting. If you want to date one of these club-going barbie dolls, you might end up "sponsoring" her, paying for her rent, wardrobe, car (& driver, of course!), and lifestyle. Dating even a "regular" girl involves frequent gifts. A girl recently complained that I don't buy her things "It is traditional in Russia to buy things for a girl who you are seeing... Just little things that you think she will like... Chocolates, flowers, diamonds..." she informed me with a straight face. Another friend, slightly frustrated by what he saw as an endless cash outflow for marginal return, complained to a girl that he was tired of sponsoring her. "Sponsoring me?" she cried, "you haven't even bought me a Mercedes!".
If you're chasing girls in high-end clubs, it’s no wonder expats are often more interested in finding short-term companionship than long-term love. You don’t have to deal with the apparent Russian lack of any concept of fidelity, and a combination of an early start, lots of practice, frequent bisexuality and extreme vanity mean Russian girls tend to be great in bed. Their obsession with personal grooming leads to some immaculate results (I didn't see my first pubic hair until I'd been in the country almost 10 months, and she was probably just too young to know the rules), but it pays not to get too attached. After a passionate session with a girl I'd seen several times over a period of weeks, I casually enquired whether a girl had any significant others. "I'm married" she replied, "why, is that important?".
But what the hell, this is Disneyland, and if you're in Disneyland and a giant mouse appears, you just go with it- right?
[Comments and Opinions welcome]