Indeed, it can be hard to smile when you are not free from government abuse, corruption and lawlessness, when simple things — such as finding a spot for your child in kindergarten, getting basic documents from a government agency or receiving medical care — can’t be done without paying bribes. It can be hard to smile when you know you are paying more than in the West for the same goods and earning lower salaries because of the ubiquitous “corruption tax” that is passed down to consumers and employees. Businesspeople would surely smile more if they could operate their businesses without being “terrorized” by the extortion of bureaucrats and competitors.

    Adrian White, a British psychologist and author of the “World Map of Happiness,” says that “a nation’s level of happiness is most closely associated with health levels, followed by wealth and then education.” On all three criteria, Russia fared poorly on White’s index, coming in at No. 167 among 178 countries surveyed. (Denmark, Switzerland and Austria were the three happiest countries. At the bottom were the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Burundi.)

    It is a primitive stereotype and myth that Russians are doomed to be gloomy and morose.

[citation needed]


Glendale is full of Armenians. Armenians are glamorous, beautiful and curt. I had a garrulous conversation with an Armenian Lyft driver and I asked him why Armenian waitresses always glare at me like they hate me. He said "Armenian women only smile when they really like you! You have to earn a smile from an Armenian woman!" When I said they didn't all give me the stinkeye, he said "you see? You are very popular with Armenian women!"

I've got a Moroccan friend. He's very courteous. When he's around his Moroccan buddies every discussion they have sounds like they're about to kill each other. It took me a while to figure out that when discussing something passionate, you have to be passionate, even if you're all on the same side.

Everybody is friendly in their own way. The Russians I've met are extraordinarily warm and friendly... unless they're talking about other Russians.

posted by FirebrandRoaring: 408 days ago