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The Thirty-Two Teeth Smile
Russians make fun of Americans because they smile all the time. Americans flash a smile for strangers with all thirty-two teeth showing.
Russians do not overuse smiling as a way to meet the outside world. Daily life in Russia is difficult. Even small errands require much more effort than similar chores in the west. There is little comfort and happiness.
That may be why they don’t smile very much in public – there isn’t much to smile about. You rarely see a smiling face in public in Russia.
Russians use an unsmiling face as a barrier between themselves and an outside world. They think that smiling at everyone makes them look like a heavily sedated mental patient.
This insider / outsider Russian view of the world first originated in the ‘mir,’ or village. People in the village were insiders and could be trusted. Outsiders could present danger, or trouble, and were not trusted.
This mentality was further reinforced during the Stalin years, where an indiscrete comment could send you to Siberia for a long vacation.
Many Russians consider the ‘thirty-two teeth American smile” as insincere.
When they ask an American ‘droog’ for a favor, the American who gives his smile away so easily, does not offer his help nearly as readily.
About the Author: John has been married to a Russian women for over five years. He has travelled the path from finding her, to traveling to Russia, to bring his wife to America, and adjusting to married life. He will show you step by step how to do this yourself.