neljapäev, august 13, 2009

naistest lihtsalt

"Are you the one who ordered the blowjob?" The sultry eyed Asian hostess ran her hands over my shoulders as I shimmied into a seat besides my comrades. I was late for dinner. The restaurant was thronged with humanity. I could see why they picked the place.

"I'm too jetlagged for a blowjob," I told her. "Better just bring me the menu instead."

If I had been 15 years old, I might have blushed. But I am cruising in on 30. The word 'blowjob' to me sounds like 'pretzel' or 'anchor.' It's as desirable as a chocolate chip cookie, and I usually don't blush when someone offers me chocolate chip cookies, even if that person is a transsexual. That's what she was. A man with mascara and implants. This was a transvestite-themed restaurant in San Francisco's Mission district.

"So glad you could make it," my British comrade holds out his hand and then fills my glass with white wine. "We were beginning to worry about you."

The Britisher loves this restaurant. He comes here every time he's in town. Why, the transsexual help even know him. This married father of three gladly lets them unbutton his shirt and massage his pectoral muscles. Later on, they escort him up to the bar to do a shot out of one of their bikinis as the crowd cheers him on. By that time, we're all liquored up.

"You know, if I were really drunk, more than I am now," slurs another Britisher, "I wouldn't be able to tell that she's, you know, not really a she." He points at the cute Filipino tranny with the chocolate-colored ponytail who just gave up the shot. Now she's feeding a banana from her mocha-hued 'bosom' to a genuinely female guest at a nearby table. This guest is special: not only is she just about to turn 30, but she's also about to get married. Two bananas!

She's accompanied by genuinely female friends. It's a bachelorette party. They are real women with real boobs and rotund backsides. They are real women with master's degrees in linguistics and area studies. They'll tell you about the plight of the Peruvian sweatshop workers, or their work to create clean energy jobs. They drink fair trade coffee. Yes, real American women. Not men with mascara and implants.

"Those are real women," I tell the Brits. "These trannies have no cushion. It's like what that British group Spinal Tap sang about in 'Big Bottoms.'"

"Those girls are ugly," my comrade declares. "And Spinal Tap were not real Englishmen," his lips shrivel. "They were Americans."

Some American ladies of my generation like to celebrate their impending marriages in the company of transsexuals. I've been to places like this in New York before. They are always chocked full of bachelorettes. They seem to be ridiculing gender stereotypes of the 1950s. The problem is that nobody in the audience was actually alive in the Eisenhower era. We must familiarize ourselves with the old stereotypes in order to mock them. This is the mindfuck of the liberal arts.

"Do they turn you on?" I remember one of the New Yorkers asking me about the men in mascara.

"No," I told her. I remember she was big all around, a real woman shaped like the Liberty Bell.

"Are you sure? You can tell me." She was puzzled. How could it be? I mean, the 'waitresses' did look like Barbie.

If instead I had confessed to her that I really did like transsexuals, maybe she would have let me crawl up in her lap and given me comfort. "I can't help it," I would sob, "they look so real." "That's ok, sweety," she would stroke my head like a wounded animal, "you're not alone."

But if I had confessed that I was secretly attracted to her, her Liberty Bell shape, all that estrogen swimming around, if I had pulled the curtain back and revealed all that ugly biology to her, she would have made quickly for the door, her face contorted, mouthing, "the horror, the horror," like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now.

This is the mystery of American sexuality. These are the issues with which we grapple, the incomplete feminist upheaval, the aborted sexual revolution, the poorly defined notion of desirability, fed by a Hollywood that tells you that if one puts some makeup on a man and give him implants, he's attractive. Like us stupid American guys can't smell the difference. And they wonder why we run away in droves to Europe to rejoice in post-feminist bliss, to bathe ourselves in the blue lagoon of nature, where a man is attracted to a woman because ... she's a woman.

"A Swedish woman expects her mate to do 50 percent of the work," my friend Ingmar once told me. "If you only do 49 percent one day, then you're on your own."

See, clearly defined rules. I may be American, but I can follow rules. I am frequently asked why, why do so many foreign guys wind up with Estonian women? Is it because they look like Barbie? No, it's because they abide by stated rules. These American Odysseuses were lost on the jagged postmodernist seas of transvestite pirates and college-educated harpies. Then one day they washed up in the soothingly geometric cities of Northern Europe. Like a well-played game of the videogame Tetris, the shapes fit. At last, everything fell into place.

"How was the shot?" I ask my British friend as he returns to the table from his conquest.

"Frothy," he grins. I think I know why he's so happy. They just don't do it like this out in the Midlands. He's like Walter Raleigh or Francis Drake: an intrepid explorer. He speaks the local languages, can tell a breadfruit from a pineapple. He's worldly. This Britisher speaks San Franciscan.

According to Jüri Estam, Estonia is "bleeding brides to the West." Inga is one of them. She calls the San Francisco Bay home, but she grew up in Ida Virumaa. She says she's from Jõhvi, but, according to Inga, most people in that area claim to be from Jõhvi, even if they only go to school there or pass through on their way to work. Nobody wants to be from Kohtla-Järve. Jõhvi it is.

Inga's pinginaaber at one point was Kristiina Ojuland. For Estonians, the pinginaaber – your bench mate in school – is an institution of intimacy. The pinginaaber knows everything about you, your fashion catastrophes and high school crushes. If you fall anywhere on Earth at any time, your pinginaaber will be there to catch you. And so it is between Inga and Estonia's new representative in Brussels.

"Ojuland?" I say. "Didn't I see her on Dancing with the Stars?"

"Kristiina doesn't take shit from anybody," says Inga of her friend's relationship with fame. We're crawling across San Francisco. It's the night after my encounter with the transsexuals. "I don't care what anybody says about her. She's successful and she deserves it."

Sometimes it seems in Estonia that Ojuland is everywhere. I once shared a plane with her. Another time I bumped into her at Abakhan Fabrics. Then there was that encounter at the foreign ministry. You can't go berry picking in north Estonia, without coming home with a bucket full of Kristiina.

"I remember some of the local journalists liked to run her photo," I say. "They had a thing for her."

Inga looks away in disgust. "The reason you saw her at Abakhan is because she makes her own clothes," she pivots. "She's always been her own boss. The teachers in school gave up on her. They punished others for trying to act the same way she did. There was no use in trying to tame Kristiina."

Ida Viru ladies like Inga and Kristiina walk the tightrope between east and west. They grew up in a soup of population transfer and multilingualism. Many of them come from mixed families. Who is an Estonian? Who is a 'Russian'? And where, perchance, are the elusive 'Soviet people'?

I personally don't care who you are. If you claim to be Estonian, then I'll vouch for your self-diagnosis. I'm fine, so long as you don't soak me with 'great Soviet Union' nostalgia, with sepia-toned yearning for the years of the Politburo gerontocracy and the wild parties and ice cream orgies at Jurmala. Like an old hombre down on his luck, the Soviet dreamers still slip a wrinkled dollar into a Saloon jukebox and request Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69." You told me it would last forever, they tell Brezhnev's ghost as their tears drip into their beer foam, those were the best days of my life.

Brezhev's ghost was not to be found at the North Beach Saloon later that night, just old sinewy gray ladies who looked as if they had been high every day since that first Country Joe and the Fish concert back in '66. They've been living the 'style so long, they've become Hippie incarnate. Their brains are made of hemp. Patchouli oil flows in their veins. Their eyes tear LSD. The San Francisco grannies have come to see a co-ed blues band, one with a female guitarist and bassist, or at least, musicians that appear to be female — you can never be sure in this city.

The horn player starts bearing his soul, the girlie rhythm section kicks in, and I am overcome by Delta blues melancholia. I am saturated with guilt. Poor Inga, poor Kristiina, I rub my face. Poor Ida Viru girls growing up at Fast Times at Lenin High, contending with male pig dogs everywhere, male pig dogs that only know them for their dance moves or put them on the cover of their newspaper because they look nice.

But it doesn't matter, because they are Estonian soul sisters, pinginaabrid. They stand back to back, pistols out, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. One of them lines the haters up, and the other one mows them down. Never mess with an Estonian woman, these northern birds caution, or you'll wind up with her pinginaaber's mushrooming knife in your back.


The night before, we left the cross-dressers at the Asian restaurant and ensconced at a trendy bar down the street, one with soft red lighting and gurgling electronic music. We were served by a real woman this time. There were no offers of blowjobs or pectoral massages; no bananas or frothy shots. I ordered club soda though, lest I pass out in the Brits' laps.

"Did you see the photos of Putin in Siberia?" asks one. He's not really English but Scottish. And not really Scottish but Glaswegian. He's from Glasgow.

"You mean Genghis Putin?" I remark. "Vladimir Khan?"

"He just can't keep his shirt on," he says. "Is that some kind of Russian thing?"

"The Russian ladies adore him. He's in good shape and he's not a drunk. He's their ideal man."

"Are there a lot of drunks in Russia or something?" he asks.

Are there drunks in Russia? Are there stars in the sky? I want to tell him. Though I have never been to Russia, I have heard the screams of the hungover from across the border. Hell, the Estonian drunks even built a pipe across the Narva River to funnel moonshine from our neighboring Putinate.

"Are there a lot of drunks in Scotland?" I counter.

He shakes his head. "No drunks," he says. "None at all. We all get on just fine."

"Functional alcoholics then."

"Aye, functional alcoholics," he nods. "That better describes us. I have done some business with Estonians. They seem a bit like Russians, but they make it very clear that they are not. Just a wee bit different."

"It's like the Irish and the Brits," I tell him. "Would you dare call U2 a British rock band?"

"No," he shudders. "Never."

"Besides, they are different," I pull out my identity card, my isikutunnistus. "Here, try and read this."

He holds it up to the candle light. "What's that say?"

"Ameerika Ühendriigid," I tell him. "The Unites States of America."

"I've never seen a language like this."

I'm pleased. Never again will this one soul mistake Estonians for Russians again; only several billion more souls to go. "It's like Finnish. Know any Finnish?"

He shakes his head in the swirl of red lights and electronic music. Frothy shots from transvestites? Genghis Putin? Ameerika Ühendriigid? It's more than he bargained for on a Thursday night. I feel like a guy with an odd hobby, an insidious stamp collector, a bird-watching savant, or reclusive spelunker. Then I realize I am in the company of British molecular biologists.

I stagger back to my French hotel and take the lift up to the sixth floor. Each floor is decorated with the artwork of one artist. Chagall's on four. Toulouse-Latrec is on two. Mine's Modigliani. Sprawled across every wall are nude French women from 1918. 1918! The year one. Nude after nude after nude after nude. Breasts and blank stares. Women thrown across beds or seated stoically in chairs. That's all Modigliani could paint. Give a Parisian a paint brush, and he'll give you a naked woman.

"This Modigliani's on to something," I think as I tuck myself into bed. "Maybe I should get myself one of his coffee table books."

74 kommentaari:

Lingüista ütles ...

Justin, your writing style is getting more and more interesting. Maybe you should write a book someday. Letters from Estonia or something like that.

I agree that America often seems to be lost in an incomplete sexual, feminist, and humanist revolution -- Americans so often struck me as not knowing what was right, as concentrating on details but losing sight of the big picture... a bit like the stereotypical image of big children that they seem to have.

Yes indeed. And yet, there's something quite charming in this situation. Something... interesting. I think the reason why all those revolutions were incomplete is that Americans didn't really know if they were right, or the opposite viewpoint -- the other guys, who could and did fight back as much as possible, and who deserved as much attention as the ones fighting for the revolutions themselves. Kept between conflicting viewpoints, not knowing exactly where to go, America kept being this (to me quite attractive) in-between place, where anything, good or bad, can happen; because Americans aren't really sure about what the rules should be, so they keep America a little bit like the old Wild West.

It's an interesting place, Justin. Europe is certainly full of rules (just ask the Brussels bureaucrats), and in many cases that is good, people know what to do -- the women expect you to do 50% of the work (which means, I assume, men can expect women to do their 50% too...), so you know what to do and you're never confused by unexpressed and unexplained expectations. Yet... that makes everything more predictable, and in a sense boring. (In another sense not, but still...)

I'm not a starry-eyed Americanophile, but there just is something with that land that keeps haunting me. Something my ten years in Europe haven't been able to wash away from me.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Linguista, I think America is great too, there is a potential to be whatever you want, which can be terrifying.

Justin.Thank you. Finally some soul searching in regards to the motivations for living in a country where being from Long Island makes you desirable. The ironic thing is the reason most foreign woman want to marry American men is precisely because of the freedom*s that American women enjoy.

But I would say that white American men are having
an indentity crisis right now, some of the results are not pretty.

I saw 500 days of Summer recently, it was good.

Anonüümne ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Lingüista ütles ...

Indeed, Puu, some of the comments to the article in the link you posted are appalling. I imagine a number of people are overgeneralizing from single experiences with specific bad women, or then attributing their personal lack of success to feminism. That's a pity. I do think feminism has some problems and a certain identity crisis, but by George, some of those guys really need a shrink.

There's a certain innocence in America, I think -- which, like all innocence, can be good and bad; innocence does horrible things just as often as it does charming ones. I like it.

Estonia is different to me, it has a different appeal: that of being the almost polar opposite of my original homeland (Brazil). Estonia somehow looks 'deep' to me, as in: we don't talk much, you have to unravel our mystery little by little. Also a good feeling.

LPR ütles ...

This is like Fear and Loathing in San Fransisco. Giustino must be channeling Hunter S. Thompson.

But, Linguista, just so that you won't idealize Estonia too much, I give you something that should help you to form a "fair and balanced" view of Estonian "depth" and "appeal".

And as for Puu, prove once again, that Estonian men are pigs. With which I wholeheartedly agree. I mean, how can you possibly argue after this? ...

(Enjoy. Don't make me translate please).

Anonüümne ütles ...

I never said Estonian men are pigs... I like estonian men. I just don*t like you Inner Monologue.

I think your problem Inner Monologue is that you cant get a date... which is no biggie, happens to us all.
I am not interested in you. But if you need advice about how to pick up girls or something I would be happy to help...

Anonüümne ütles ...

At Linguista, yeah, I agree,about some of those guys needing a shrink. I think what makes people crazy are assumptions and entitlements. Believing that every man- the American Dream!- deserves June Cleaver and a car is really just as destructive a sense of entitlement as car themselves. I think Revolutionary Road was a great movie on this topic.
I think objectification is a real problem. Which is why so many men like that, with bad interpersonal skills want to go abroad. The objectification is easier. Even putting someone( the perfect foreign woman) on a pedestal is a type of objectification. And very often the reason the women are putting up the act of perfection is economic, because for so long America meant economic security. Not the whole truth, but a grain certainly.
The losers in this international game are the men of the *colonized * countries. Who if you follow pick up artist nonsense would be rendered beta males.No wonder you are frustrated Inner Monologue. Would someone want to read your * Itching for Inner Monologue * blog? Probably not. So instead you hang out on popular peoples message boards and try to hit someone over the head caveman like and drag them off. But two wrongs don*t make a right. You need to claim your own nobleman hood, which mean standing on your own without hiding behind someone*s apron strings.

LPR ütles ...

(Inner Monologue just rolling his eyes}

Anonüümne ütles ...

All I am saying is that if you really want to pick up chicks on the internet you should go write your own blog. All you are doing here is admitting to your our beta male status, which is really estonian male. Forget about hiding behind my apron strings but you are also hiding behind Guistino*s.

LPR ütles ...

{Assuming a fetal position. Sucking his thumb.}

Unknown ütles ...

Great piece, really enjoyed it :)

Kristopher ütles ...

Great stuff -- not just a stylistic shift but like a expanding crystal.

Lingüista ütles ...

Well, if at least some of these guys really did have bad experiences with manipulative women in America, the big surprise is, manipulative women (like manipulative people) are as frequent abroad as in America (if you don't believe me, just try to get a Russian bride via internet... or a Latvian one, or Lithuanian, Estonian, Polish, Czech, etc.). So at least some of them are in for quite a surprise, if they haven't learned that it's manipulative people they should avoid, of whatever nationality.

Justin ütles ...

There is actually a growing movement of men who are lashing back at the feminists, or at the very least, growing a pair.

I've seen numerous sites extolling the drawbacks of marriage (especially the divorce settlements where men tend to get cleaned out, at least in the US).

Books about men being men and their frat-boy antics have been doing well lately (see ) and they are even making movies about this.

As for Estonian men, I think it's fairly commonly agreed that the majority of them are absolute losers. Poor fathers, heavy drinkers, and uneducated.

This is not merely anecdotal but based on facts. For example, in the news today it was reported that 2/3 of all unemployed are men:

Any Estonian man who has a job, some manners, and at least a high school education is a keeper.

Martin-Éric ütles ...

Men are always the first to lose their job, in any country, because the type of jobs they tend to hold are completely dependent upon the economy doing well. Women, by contrast, tend to go for average service jobs that are always needed recession or not.

As for "Poor fathers, heavy drinkers, and uneducated" I'd further precise that uneducated should be seen in terms of lacking in good manners, rather than lacking in academic credentials. Estonians have always valued a university degree, but sometimes lack in elementary courtesy and politeness.

Lingüista ütles ...

I've seen some of those books and sites too, Justin, and I think they're an (expectable) reaction to some exaggerations in the feminist movement. Exaggerations which are more in the behavior of specific individuals than in the movement as a whole. I think at some point feminism -- or the more popular versions of it (there are so many, I sometimes wonder if the word isn't losing its meaning) -- made some wrong PR moves ('patriarchy', putting -- even if not deliberately -- the blame on men, etc.). So I can understand some of the concerns.

On the other hand, protests against marriage have always existed -- I remember reading about them in Balzac's La Comédie Humaine, in Goethe's Faust... Women 'enslave' men by taking away their freedom to be themselves and changing them into pets, etc. That's pretty old, and it reflects, I think, some deep issues with commitment and 'being yourself' vs. 'being there for the other'. This stuff has been around for a while. It's probably what feminism should address next -- and seriously, and compassionately.

As for Estonian men... I haven't met any yet. I hope they aren't really the way you're describing -- are their problems really that much worse than, say, American men (who also are mostly not really in love with the idea of an academic education or too much politeness... -- it's usually the university types that look like 'the new man')?

Anonüümne ütles ...

I actually have nothing against Tucker Max.
I don*t like the Pick up Artist people so much, but Tucker Max is fine.

LPR ütles ...

Feminism is what gives birth to all the Brünos out there.

Anonüümne ütles ...

If some guy is going to be with a lot of women he is going to have to at some point be about the women, and at some point like Guistino said in this piece ( not that he is a Tucker Max by any stretch: though I am sure that Epp thinks he is better than Tucker Max, he is her Tucker Max) sex becomes less of a big deal, fun but not transcendental. There are practices you can use to make it more transcendental, like Tantra( which is very oppressed abuse and made fun of... I personally dont know much about it) . Promiscuity, if it is practiced in an ethical way where the partner/partners are not being coerced or manipulated, maybe for a certain period of time, is hard hard work, and if the transactions a equal not a bad thing.( this is not an argument for prostitution either) .
What surprises me is the amount of self hatred people/men on this site have. And the amount of hostility toward other men, Estonian or otherwise.
I dont think that Tucker Max has much to do with guys that get mail order brides from Russia.
I think the real sad thing is the Nice Guys Tm, I have definitely had a few in my life, and all in all it wouldnt bother me but that they earn about 40,000 a year more than me, and dont see it as a problem, because I am a girl. :
I don t think being employed or unemployed makes you a loser or a winner, it is who you are.

Anonüümne ütles ...

The ironic thing about you Inner Monologue is that you come from a country where women have a lot of status and respect. It is essentially a very feminist country. So your reaction again feminism is essentially a reaction against your own country. You want to experience Estonia not as a well behaved Estonian but as a British Bachelor. You are jealous of the foreign men that have raped and pillaged your country, and in a way you want to be one of them.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Sex is innocent.

So the Mogdiliani coffee table book is a good idea.

Much of British Bachelors, Girl Gone Wild, Inner Monologues commentary( sorry inner monologue, I think there may be hope for you but I view you like a recovering alcoholic) and I dunno my friend Meinan calling his ex girl friend from three years ago who wont sleep with him a *crack whore*, is not about sex, let alone good sex. It is about power and ultimately insecurity and the manipulation of that insecurity.

LPR ütles ...

Poo, you were really trailing off there at the end ...

Did Xanax kick in? Looked like you were even seeing hope for me.

So its all good.

Justin ütles ...

I guess I need to back up my claim about Estonian men not being educated, since it was questioned by a commenter.

Here's the best I could find with a quick search:

Already by high school, and males represent only 41% of students, and it just gets worse when moving on to university.

Let's take Tartu University:
70% female (9580/13759)

I picked Tartu instead of Tallinn Technical or Tallinn University because those two have specific focuses (engineering and humanities, respectively) so there are typically gender difference. Tartu has a broad range of studies so should more closely reflect a typical gender breakdown.

So while in general in Estonia there is value placed on education, it seems like mostly the women value it.

Justin ütles ...

And let's compare to the US and male educational achievement.

Let's take a place like Harvard, since it offers a wide range of studies and is not focused specifically on humanities or engineering fields:

Looks like a fairly even split male/female.

Now let's look at US Census data on education achievement:

(Table 2, compare Male and Female data, cells H7 and I7)

Slightly more females than males have earned bachelor's or master's degrees, but not by a large percentage.

Looks like males aren't falling through the cracks as much in the US as in Estonia, in terms of education.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I think the lack of education and emasculation of Estonian men is a major problem.

A.R.G ütles ...

Puu, you are the strangest feminist ever! You probably have few dead guys stuffed in your closet, right?

Kristopher ütles ...

Maybe the educational system favours women because there is the understanding that they can be paid far less than the men, without them ever complaining.

Seriously, whatever the generalized stats, I know plenty of guys with vocational or no degrees who are handy and the wife earns the big money.

As we know from the States, a run-of-the-mill liberal arts undergraduate degree doesn't exactly guarantee you a good job upon graduation. All of the older men in my Estonian family always gave me the advice to go into "hard science". (Don't snicker, it means physical science and tech.) In the 1990s it was law.

I would also not give very much credence to the view of Estonian males as somehow Neanderthal, or seeing everything through the prism of colonists and colonizers. That's a case of seeing what one wants to see and rote extrapolation of stereotypes that may apply in some South American country. Life is less Freudian than some in the commentarium make it out to be. There doesn't always have to be a deep psychic insecurity to explain every statistic. Inner Monologue has actually argued persuasively in the past, I think, (and not at all out of self-interest or self-defence) that men and women in Estonia have and know their roles and it is not that dysfunctional a set-up.

plasma-jack ütles ...

If one talks often about "gender roles", one is already a bit wicked imho. Overthinking is one mental problem that can be increased by (especially humanitarian) education, of that I'm sure. Some men are jackasses and some women are bitches, but this ain't got nothing to do with gender issues.

LPR ütles ...

A.R.G -

Puu is a normal feminist. It is I who is a strange feminist because I am a man.

It is in my interest that feminines stay feminine and beautiful and that there be plenty of them around me.

Like florist is interested in flora being ... plentiful and flowerful.

Sure it is all driven by satisfying one's cravings and needs, but the way I see it, this exploitation and dependency is mutual.

Problems only crop up when flowers start gimping the florist and bending the balance.

I'd be that proverbial dead corpse in Poo's closet because she is the "normal" feminist.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Dude you guys are all super insecure.I am not taking any responsibility. If you feel so badly about yourself, Bruno, that you need some girl to boost your self esteem then you need to look into the reasons why that is.

LPR ütles ...

You seem to constantly miss the point ...

Aw, well

Anonüümne ütles ...

No, it isnt ok, clarify. What is the point? Flower women is the natural order of things and Bruno the Austrian beauty has to restore that order? You are skating on thin ice.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I don't really know what arguments are going on here, it's hard to really know what people are arguing about when you haven't been paying attention to everyone's dialogue in past entries, nor when you know what the personal lives and situations are of the commenters.
All I can say is that it is funny for men to claim to be emasculated just because women have gained the right to vote and there is a general societal consensus that they are equal to men. Nothing in society is preventing men from being whatever idea you have that 'men' should be. I mean, if you really think men should be assholes or out there doing stuff, then why not be a man and do that stuff? Anyone who blames their problems on their natural masculinity being impeded by society ought to grow some balls. This isn't a response to anyone who has commented so far as I can't make heads or tails who thinks what about what based on the comments so far. I just think that pseudo-psycho-analysis is too common in blog comments and online forums, and that it's generally an outlet for people to express their frustration at their own shortcomings without taking any responsibility for them. I'm not here to start an argument and I'm not referring to anyone... just saying... let's get blog comments back on track to something that makes sense... something that is worth talking about.

Unknown ütles ...

I'm afraid certain people have been misled by consumerism, glossy magazines, sitcoms and pulp fiction into idolising the perfectly airbrushed American dream (male). This is American soft power in action. The sad fact is that it is an illusion, and when reality doesn't match the expectation, misandrist bitterness results.

Lingüista ütles ...

Someone mentioned Internal Monologue as having convincingly argued that men and women know their roles in Estonia and don't really fight much about them -- despite the apparent imbalance in education (70% females at Tartu? Boy, American antifems and men's rights activists would be screaming and jumping up and down...). How was that argued? What were the reasons, and what are the roles in question?

Personally, I think gender equality is the obvious goal. Of course, this makes some people uncomfortable, and they overreact. But I basically agree with the commenter above who said, in a free society, there's nothing preventing men (or women) from doing whatever men (or women) think they should do to qualify as real men (or women).

LPR ütles ...


I highly recommend this book. Poo, you too.

It's called Boys Adrift. I am sure she likes the title. But if you think you can read this and begin gimping men based on that, think again. Again, I highly recommend. Especially if you are a parent.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I am all for boys not being adrift. I like men. I just think that blaming people for your problems doesnt solve anything.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I mean since you like to attack my personal life Bruno, do you have a girlfriend? What does she think of your views? Is there any woman that would agree to them? I would be interested to hear about them.

Lingüista ütles ...

I've seen boys adrift, and I've seen girls adrift. Neither is good. And yes, I am the father of a 7-year-old girl who I certainly hope will not be adrift.

Personally, I agree with what Puu has just said: it's not a good idea to blame your problems on others.

I'm not saying the system can't be guilty -- I'm saying you need a lot of empirical evidence for 'changing the system' to be the best thing for you to do. In my experience, it tends to be 'taking a firmer, more self-confident attitude to life' that does the trick.

Still, 70% females at Tartu university? I'd really like to know the reason. Aren't Estonian men attracted to the idea of a higher education? Or are so many of them really depressed alcoholics -- and if so, why? Is it like the (presumed) situation with Russians in Russia?

Anonüümne ütles ...

I think it is like the situation with African Americans and other minorities, like native Americans. If you want to keep a people down you target the men.

Kristopher ütles ...

Estonian women outlive the men by over 10 years on average, one of the biggest gaps in Europe. Maybe the men start kicking the bucket before graduation.

Lingüista ütles ...

But Puu, who is targeting the Estonians? Or do you think this is the result of old Soviet policy?

Hmm, it would be interesting to check if the gender balance at Tartu was any different "Nõukogude ajal"...

Kristopher ütles ...

If you ask whether the situation is like the (presumed) situation with Russians in Russia, it might also be worth examining what the ethnic balance is at U. Tartu. Are ethnic Russians more statistically likely to display what might be called misogynistic behaviour in the West? Difficult questions.

LPR ütles ...

Nobody is blaming anybody. The problem is way deeper than blaming somebody in particular. Read the book. Or at least some of the comments by people who have read the book.

Have I blamed you, Poo?

Why so interested whether I have a girlfriend?

You are not checking me out, are you?

Lingüista ütles ...

Misogynistic Russians? I was just curious about the male/female ratio in Soviet times (to see if this ratio results from some Soviet policy). What is the male/female ratio in Russian universities, for that matter?

Anonüümne ütles ...

Bruno, nope. Not interested.


Anonüümne ütles ...

I do agree with some of the comments that it is a type of yellow journalism however.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I hope for democracy and equal rights in Russia.

Anonüümne ütles ...

And I think Russia is a wonderful country that has suffered a lot.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Kristopher ütles ...

And aside from modern, veiled forms of harassment, there's battered women, which continues to be a big problem in Russia.

Justin ütles ...

I posted the 70% female Tartu university statistic.

It's an issue I've been trying to figure out lately too. Why are Estonian men "failing" at such an alarming rate?

I know Christopher said that the value of a liberal arts education can be questionable (job prospects) and I agree. However, it seems to me that you're better off having an education than not having one, even if it's in a "soft" field. I think few would argue in favor of society being _less_ educated as a whole.

So back to men. I earlier posted a link to an EPL article where they said that entering elementary school and it's 52% males, while by the time high school comes around, it's already dropped by more than 10%. So we're already losing them at such a young age. It's no surprise that it's even worse at universities, since you need to finish high school first.

(Oh, I also checked and ran numbers on people with any type of higher education, including "k6rgkoolid" which are like post-high school trade schools. Even including those, it's still 65-70% females when looking at education attainment.)

The theory I've been developing, but I'm not ready to stand by it yet, is it has something to do with breakdown in families. If so many boys are raised by only females and without any strong male role model, maybe this has an effect on it. Perhaps mothers are too "soft" on the boys or something like that.

I haven't analyzed this close enough yet, nor am I an expert in this area, so I could be wrong on this. Anecdotally, I know I'm surprised when I meet an Estonian and their birth parents are still together. Thinking back to my cohort where I grew up in the US, it was somewhat rare to see classmates with divorced parents (I'd say under 10%), but this could be due to the socioeconomic standing of my classmates, as where you go to school is based on where you live (so there is an income link as housing prices adjust accordingly). Perhaps it's better to look at data for how many children grow up in single-parent households, since divorce data assumes people got married in the first place.

Whatever the cause, the men thing is indeed an issue.

Estonia has the second highest female:male ratio in the world, only to be topped by the Northern Mariana Islands.

Anonüümne ütles ...

The Baltic islands of Manija and Kihnu are home to a small group of traditional people. For many years, the men of Kihnu have been frequently gone to sea while the women ran the island and became the guardians of the island's cultural heritage, which includes handicrafts, dances, games and music. Music is an especially important part of the island's traditions, and accompanies handicrafting, religious feasts and other celebrations. Ancient runo-styled songs are also important, as are traditional clothings adorned with decorations and bright colours that symbolize ancient legends and poems.

Ruga666 ütles ...

Huh? There's other Estonians out there?

Ruga666 ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Lingüista ütles ...

Justin, I'm not sure having only a female parent/caretaker should make specifically boys less interested in achieving an education -- why shouldn't this affect girls as well? Why shouldn't the single mothers who have daughters be as soft on said daughters as the mothers with sons putatevily are on said sons? I'm not so convinced by the lack-of-a-strong-male/father-figure idea, but one could check by comparing with e.g. the achievements of girls who don't have mothers.

Do you happen to know, Justin, if there already is any ongoing research on this topic by Estonian researchers? It would seem to be an obvious target for research.

Also, is the lack of educated men correlated with a higher number of 'failed' men -- i.e. on welfare, jobless, etc.? Or do they just go to less prestigious jobs?

Kristopher ütles ...

'"k6rgkoolid" which are like post-high school trade schools'

you mean rakenduskõrgkool. kõrgkool is just a college or university.

Colm ütles ...

There is a gulf between cross-dresser/transvestive and transsexual/tranny, and also finer shades of meaning between CD and TV and between TS and tranny and yet you readily interchange the terms like they all mean the same thing.

You regularly refer to what you label 'real women'. But what is a 'real woman'? I think all your readers and you yourself would feel it dis-respectful to all women if one was to reduce the notion of a woman to the presence of certain body parts that may or may not be hormonally-induced / impanted / cut-out etc.

This discuss could go on ad infinitum and never resolve anything, but just as a throw-out, what is it that defines our sex/gender? Hormone-levels, body-parts, chromosomes, birthcerts, up-bringing, behaviour, dress etc? Surely your not siding with Freud by stating that 'real' men have a phallus and 'real' woman do not.

All women are impacted by society's misogyny and sexualisation of women, regardless of whether they have an 'F' on their birthcert or not. Trans women are particularly affected by misogyny because they get up everyone's backs: radical-feminists, homophobes, the religious-right etc.

If you met Kate Craig-Wood or any of the women on this page in the street would you consider them 'real women'?

Women from all walks of life and background work as club-entertainers and street-workers and yet one wouldn't tar all women with the same brush. It's just that a higher percentage of trans women have to resort to club and street work because they weren't given the opportunity (like the women in the links above) to prove their worth.

You never really hear about those women above because they are not the ones that go on Jerry Springer but rather have 9-5 jobs as teachers, writers, judges, business manangers, raising families and earning a living like the rest of society.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Those are interesting links. I do think it is indicative of larger misogyny that trans women get so much abuse ( and get so immediately sexualized, like at the club Guistino describes, which is safe in a way because it isnt a meaningful site of sexual exchange, because he sees himself as a straight male living the dream in a magical foreign country that still supports that dream).

Giustino ütles ...

For what it's worth, several of my male Estonian relatives (by law) attended vocational schools.

LPR ütles ...

Poo, the überfeminist, is sexualizing me. It is so degrading.

Why does she want to sit on my face?

My face is not her bicycle saddle.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Again, Bruno. not interested. Said it before.

Anonüümne ütles ...

But I wish you luck in your search for a boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever.

LPR ütles ...

You are not really wishing me anyluck, are you Poo?

You sound more like "die, Austrian bastard, die!"

Zat iz not very nice.

Vat du you hast against gay community?

Nasing, you zay?

Zee, I am not judging you, I am gay myself.

Sprachen freely wiz me.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Nothing against gays or Austrians Actually, there are many Austrians who are very realized Buddhists. They held a Kalachakra initiation in the city of Graz in 2002 :
here Maybe you would consider that path? It would entail giving up sexual misconduct. Such as harrassing people and general misogyny on internet sites.

Unknown ütles ...

Justin, I've been reading your blog for several days straight while stuck at home, in bed with the swine flu (no kidding! Finally starting to recover after a rough week...) and it has kept me entertained and alive ;-) Interesting stuff and very well written! (I've also read Epp's "Minu Ameerika" I & II in the past and enjoyed both of her books tremendously as well. I felt an instant bond with her, as finally there was proof in black and white that it's not just me!) I'm an Estonian-American (Mulgimaa pealinnas syndinud) and hence can relate well to the experiences on both sides of "seitsme maa ja mere taga".

If you and Epp are ever in Los Angeles I'd love to share a bottle or two of the finest California wine with you :>) Honestly.

(Puu: enough already... No one here cares, not even Bruno. Get your own show if you are looking for audience.)

LPR ütles ...

Oh, you don't judge me, Poo?

Zer gut.

So you don't zink I haff my daughter and her childrens in ze basement, ja?

Anonüümne ütles ...

Well, Kairus, Bruno evidently does care. And i would love to have my own blog, if I wasnt so busy fending off all the dogpiling that happens everytime i post here. Which isnt my fault.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I think the main thing in gender relations is that there is not so much equality in losing virginity. There is an American pickle but not an American pie. And financially and emotionally girls are the losers in this exchange.

I knew A through mutual friends since my freshman year of college.
He and my roommate S had been friends with each other since that
time, and S frequently told me how she liked A and thought
perhaps that one day they could date. S started to have second
thoughts about A after he started stalking this girl N, who
played the violin, A would just basically follow her around and
call her frequently and eventually she begged him to stop, because he
was making her very uncomfortable.

After what he did to N S stopped being interested in A. In
the meantime I had become interested in film. I started hanging around
with people I knew who were involved with film and the film society.
And I guess in a way that set the tone. Girls that were involved in the film
society were sex objects. On some level I would have been ok with
being a sex object.
I really liked some of the guys in the film society. And since I was a complete
virgin even in the sense of making out I was very interested in sex.But after
having been forced to be a sex object, even the person I wanted to have sex
with wasn't my choice. The group delegated A to me. Who I had
never been interested in especially after his dubious behavior with
S and N.
When he turned 21 A asked me out for a drink.Since he didn't drink
essentially what he did was buy me a drink and look at me drink. Every
behavior of his was a parody of normal human interaction. I guess
his plan was to get me drunk and then have his way with me. At the
time I was living in a house with three girls and three boys, we were
all friends, I was not involved with any of my roommates, they were
and still are good friends. But A seemed to be convinced there was
something else going on just as he has gone on to pervert almost every
interaction we had. Every
behavior of his was a parody of normal human interaction. I guess
his plan was to get me drunk and then have his way with me. That
night he bought me a beer just to watch me
drink it he took my hand and said to me, you are a dirty girl, you
live with boys. After watching me drink beer and calling me a dirty
girl we were apparently dating. He spread the word to some of our
mutual friends. And since everyone liked him, and as a girl I didn't
have much weight, they believed him. I tried to be nice to him, treat
him like a nice confused man, I linked arms with him a couple times,
because I'm European and that's what people do with close friends ( he
would go on to make this some ultimate sexual contact). A month or so
later he gave me a book and a poem about Milton Bearle in it. He made
very clear to me on numerous occasions that he was only interested in
sex with me. I can quote from some e-mails he sent : "You aren't mad
THAT I wanted to tear your clothes off. You were mad that ALL I wanted
was JUST to tear your clothes off. I never saw anything wrong with
that. A purely physical relationship can be fulfilling, no? But you
didn't want that with me. I'm not your "type," physically."

Anonüümne ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Anonüümne ütles ...

Frankly at
the time, since I had never had sex, I hadn't really developed any
ideas about how I felt about his tearing my clothes off. As to a type
physically I just wanted someone I could relate to. I hadn't even
kissed anyone. A wasn't really filling these categories but we had
so many mutual friends it was hard to avoid his creepy behavior.

My interests in A were more complex, I wasn't interested in him
sexually at all,
especially since at the time I was completely sexually inexperienced
even in the sense of kissing, but I was interested in film and I
wanted friends to help me pursue that interest. But he didn't, he kept
perpetuating inappropriate and creepy behavior. I was also doing very
badly in school I would go on to fail out, and A's harassment and
making me feel guilty over not having sex with him contributed . And
the interest in film died under the slime that A created, as did
my childhood belief that I could do anything boys did, even better. In
a contrast to A I only have a bachelor's degree, I live in a
certified slum and my job prospects are not great. Were I to marry
someone like A I guess all these problems would solved, but my
mother worked hard for years so that was not a choice I would be
forced to make, and yet thanks to A and people like him our dreams
have been largely destroyed

Anonüümne ütles ...

Years later I would check in on him. My hope was that he would have
moved on, developed like a normal human being, and that maybe we could
be friends, but every time he was still a virgin not dating and
growing ever more bitter and misogynistic. I myself, perhaps due to
the trauma of having career aspirations subsumed by A's desire to "
just tear my clothes off" wasn't doing too well myself. But I wrote it
off to our all being young and confused and the stupid behavior being
something one would grow out of.Years later I would try to keep up the

And every time I would check in on him, A won't be dating
anyone. I would often try to salvage the situation, and ask if maybe
could visit him like I visited other friends. Because we were friends
I assumed ( but no I was only a sex object). But A always said no. The
fact that as an inexperienced confused virgin I had refused sex with
him still rankled with him too much. And after a while I started to
feel more and more guilty for not putting out for A ( even though I
know I did the right thing respecting myself in college). This year
A contacts me and decided that before he goes to Germany he was
going to spend the night in my apartment. And lose his virginity, the
presence of which ten years later was still apparently my fault. Since
I have satanic pro-choice (and pro- freedom of behavior even A's
completely out of line behavior) liberal leanings,was coming out of a
relationship and because really A had subjected me to so much abuse
verbally ( I can quote from e-mails ) that I really felt ( despite the
fact that A's unwanted sexual behavior, which at 21 I had no I idea
how to say no to) that I was a very bad person for not letting A "
just tear my clothes off", I agreed. And yet to make a long story
short there was no sex. It was like that Law and Order episode where
there is a serial killer that can't preform with anyone who isn't a
"virgin" or completely compliant and subservient or something. Yet
there was a large degree of verbal abuse. And I think this behavior
would have occurred regardless of whether I was " experienced " or
not, in fact much of the time A was dishing out inappropriate
behavior I was a complete virgin.

viimneliivlane ütles ...

I think ‘kutsekool’ would be the equivalent of the US trade school, and would not be considered ´kõrgem haridus´ as you don´t need to graduate from high school to attend. This may be where the statistics are hard to interpret with the result that we can´t account for what happens to young men – possibly they simply drop out of school entirely to take low-level jobs. It makes sense to me that in a single-parent household where a woman is the breadwinner, with the attendant low salary, a young man may feel he has to ´step up´ to help out if he is so inclined, or simply to establish his own footing and move on.

I don´t know of any studies on this topic – Estonians are sadly very understudied. I do know what some of the conjecture has been about why men shy away from university educations. In the recent past we have seen university-educated men in managerial positions or well-paid positions in the government have the rug pulled out from under them when the Soviet economy collapsed. Most devasted were men who felt they were too old to start over but too young to retire. One outspoken man, born in the 1940s, reported going to an astounding number of suicide funerals among his friendship group in the 1990s, where the talk was about the deceased not being able to get his bearings in the new economy. This had to have some effect on the next generation of young men who seem more directed to learning a trade that is marketable in the post-Soviet era.

Naturally everyone would like to see the trend ´normalize´. This spring the Minister of Education offered his view in the form of a chastise, that if Estonian men keep shying away from university educations then Estonian women will continue to marry foreign men that they can have intelligent conversations with. For now the mystery deepens.

Unknown ütles ...

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