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This is a world of dating agencies, psychologists, therapists, etiquette training and self-help courses, all geared towards the question of where to meet and how to keep foreign lovers.
The subject of her advances, a British Moscow Times business reporter, blushes with embarrassment.Roughly twenty men and women have paid 1,500 rubles () to meet a potential new love interest.Even though only two expats are in attendance, organizers clearly think the "foreign" tag is a crowd puller.As the economic motivation to search for a partner abroad has weakened, most of the reasons for looking beyond Russia's borders are cultural, says dating coach and English teacher Svetlana Tolstykh, 40.Tolstykh, whose agency "Here I Am" helps Russian women establish relationships with European men, said most of her clients were "mature" women who had already gone through a divorce or had been disappointed by their relationships with their fellow countrymen.She said they are also more emancipated — willing to take on household chores and take up an active role in raising children — and that they were softer in their communication.But among younger Russian women, who did not experience life under the Soviet Union and are too young to be scarred by past experiences, foreign men have less cachet.Naturally, foreigners were viewed as a bridge to the more developed and "civilized" West.The popular rock group Kombinatsiya summed up in endearing, if flawed, English what was most on Russian girls' minds: "American boy, American joy. " Russian women gained a name for going weak in the knees for anyone from the West."You can just speak English and heads will turn," said Sean, 26, an English language teacher.Russian women are also more forward, he says: "You can just be talking to someone and some beautiful girl will come up to you with a chat-up line.