That Russian men are pathetic is not news. In the country with the highest percentage of college graduates in the world, Russian men manage to keep their life expectancy in the low 60s. Grooming has never been their forte. They reuse underwear and outwear. Their hair was cut by a woman who happened to be in the kitchen that morning. No one has ever told them to care for other people’s time, and they don’t. Their eau de toilette is touched by whiffs of the public toilet, the cheap bar, and the railway station. They are generally available for sex. “It’s his first time, please, please, sleep with him,” Slava was begging me for his younger brother at a winter retreat in 1990. “He will really love you.”
In this sad picture Putin’s body stands out. Healthy, youthful, muscular, he is stunning by Russian on a-low-side standards. He is sitting on a horse, topless, in a Brokeback mountain setting, half-looking at me like Justin Bieber at a tantalizing angle from underneath his sexy cowboy hat, first for a Russian president. His horse is tall. This man is real. He wants my attention. He is no longer the father of this nation. He wants to be her lover. Could Putin’s body raise my expectations?
This month I saw a serious piece of writing titled “Can there be a 1937 now?” Translation: is Putin a typical Russian cannibal-ruler who will eat his country’s flesh for lunch? Fair enough, he has started nibbling on pussies and homosexuals, so it is a legitimate concern. Oh yes, – just do not kill us and our loved ones; a prison, please, or (if I may?) a fine, a slap on the wrist, let’s say, 100 dollars. A president whose nation’s highest expectation is not to repeat the mass murder of twenty million or so of his fellow citizens, can relax, go to a gym and take a horse ride. Yes, it is better today than the worst moments of the 1990s. Yes, it is better than the 1937. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
As much as I delight, though, in dissing Russian men, the curse of low expectations works on me too. Grooming has never been my forte either. We are all pathetic in Russia. A prosecutor who announced that “Feminism is sin” at the Pussy Riot trial was a woman. The scandalous anti-gay law was conceived, written and lobbied for by my Russian sisters from the Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, and the Family.
To get serious about his six-pack abs, Putin needs to bring his horse to Provincetown, USA, for the carnival week, and ride in the gay pride parade as he likes it, topless, on Thursday afternoon. Let’s raise some expectations here for all of us. I want my next Potemkin village (Sochi?) to pass as a Provincetown.
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This text is a part of a larger piece I was working on in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in August of this year. I happened to be there during the carnival week. Putin’s body was on my mind the whole week. Here is the image I was particularly inspired by: http://drlillianglassbodylanguageblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/putin.png