Dealing with Russia's famous grannies: 6 tips for winning with babushka

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

After meeting a Russian babushka you will have a full belly, a wife and an old-fashioned pullover to wear.

The Russian babushka, an enduring national symbol, attracts the attention of foreigners from the first moment they spy her picturesque appearance. However, that vividly colored headscarf and warm felt valenki boots are just a tiny part of a Russian granny's image. Once you get to know her better, you'll discover many more much more original features. Here are some tips:

1. Be ready that no sooner have your crossed her threshold that you will be sat down at a table groaning with delicious dishes of all kinds.

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Regardless of how much have you eaten babushka will refuse to believe you are not hungry. She sincerely believes that you are just being too polite, so all your excuses - “I can’t eat anymore, I am full, there is no place in my stomach anymore” will fall on deaf ears. A Russian babushka knows better than you: We advise you to simply obey her.

If you are lucky enough and have a gift with words, you can try to change the situation, and talk her into submission. Conversations bring her joy and she will forget for a little while about all those hot pasties waiting for you.

Be warned though - even if she has a momentary lapse of memory, as she bids you farewell on the doorstep, she will press into your hands bags crammed with pastries. She knows they will come in useful wherever you are going - a party, the theater or cinema.

2. For a Russian babushka you are always too skinny.

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Be ready for remarks such as - “You don’t eat at all”, “Nothing but your eyes are left!”, “Skin and bone!”, “The wind will blow you away soon.” All in all, the advice is the same as in the previous paragraph. We can only extend our condolences to those of you who are on a diet when you visit babushka.

3. In babushka’s list of key questions there is also one about “marital status”.

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

This concerns all ages - and we mean ALL ages. Babushka asks her five year-old grand-daughter whether she has a boyfriend at kindergarten and her grandson about his sweetheart at school.

Men over the age of 25 have an especially hard time at the hands of babushka: you do not have to be afraid of the Federal Security Service if you manage to explain to babushka why you are still unmarried and - most importantly - manage to satisfy her with your answer.

However, since she is unlikely to be fobbed off with your weasel words, babushka will add you to her list of old bachelors and she will pester all her acquaintances to find you a wife.

What did you expect? Who wants to live without the prospect of great grandchildren?

4. For a Russian babushka you are never dressed warmly enough.

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Our advice is quite simple. In winter do not appear in babushka’s presence without a beanie, a scarf and mittens, or in a short jacket, a skirt and in-between-season shoes. In summer you must have in your arsenal everything in case of: “What if it rains?”, “What if it is windy?”, “What if your shoes get wet?”, “A cold snap is expected!”

And don’t even think about shirts that don’t cover your navel.

5. Russian babushkas are not only skillful cooks: they love sewing, knitting, embroidering – just everything for you.

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Babushka won't understand if you do not wear that pullover she gave you for Christmas.

Is it too small? Too big? Is it pink with bright flowers? Babushka is a woman of experience, she “has lived life”, “seen a lot” and knows that “you need warm clothes in the office (in the army, in Europe, in the USA)”.

6. You had better forget all about joking about Stalin and the Soviet Union for a while.

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Remember you are dealing with a religious fanatic. For a Russian babushka everything that is going on in the world now is “a real mess” So we advise you to only talk about abstract subjects. However, more likely you will not need to stress too much: Babushka knows without your help what and when she is going to ask.

Coubs of the week: Babushkas' crazy life>>>

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