Crazy in Love

It’s a Rigan tradition that a bride and groom lock a padlock to this bridge on their wedding day. They then throw the key into the canal to symbolise their eternal union. (I’m sure many a heart has sunk along with that key.)

A lot of people will tell you that Latvian women are the most beautiful women in the world. And to be fair, they’re probably not too far wrong. Sure, a smile every now and then wouldn’t go astray, but there are some seriously stunning women in this country. In every one of my classes, there are at least two or three women that should be on the cover of a fashion magazine. The one question I continually ask myself (apart from why on earth did I move here) is where are the beautiful men? You’re far more likely to be hit on the head by a falling icicle than to see one roaming the streets*.

If all of these goddesses are married (and most of them are), are they really married to the trolls I see shambling through the streets of Riga every day? Perhaps. However, having lived here for a while, I’ve started formulating a new theory. Maybe, just maybe, there is a secret stash of beautiful Latvian men chained to their beautiful women’s kitchen radiators. This wouldn’t surprise me too much as Latvian women are – how to put this delicately – nuts when it comes to their men.

On more than one occasion, I’ve been walking to work when a couple approaches, arm in arm, in the opposite direction. Suddenly, I feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck and a chill go down my spine. I notice that she now has the hapless sod in a choke-hold and realise I’m getting the ‘Latvian-Girl-Death-Stare’ – the most terrifying of all the Latvian looks. I wonder what my mistake was. Then it hits me. I looked at her man.

Even though what I’m actually thinking is ‘Wow, there’s a mullet and a half’, she thinks I’m thinking ‘Wow, if I don’t get me some of that mullet-man, I might just die’. Without risking a second look to see if the poor guy is still breathing, I scuttle off, thankful that at least I still am.

One night, I was leaving my local bar with a male friend of mine. We had crossed a street and were walking past a grassy area between some blocks of flats. Suddenly, there was a rustle in one of the bushes. His girlfriend leapt out, slapped him across the face and ran off into the night.

In a situation like this, a few questions come to mind:

1. She hadn’t been in the bar so how did she know we were there and would end up leaving at the same time?

2. How did she know that we would be walking along that particular route?

3. How long had she been hiding in that bush?

4. How long would she have continued to hide in that bush if we hadn’t walked past?

5. Does she just pick a random bush every night and hide behind it on the off chance that he will walk past with a girl?

But before I could get to these questions, I asked him if he was going to go after her as she seemed upset. (What I meant was unhinged.) His response was a Latvian shrug and a ‘Nah, it’s normal’. Is it? Is it???

So, based on this evidence, I return to my ‘kitchen radiator’ theory. While they’re buying the bridge padlock for their wedding day, is it really so unreasonable to suppose that the bride might buy a couple of extra padlocks for the rest of the marriage?

*This may not be statistically accurate.

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About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Culture and Traditions, Humor, Latvian men, Latvian women, Love and Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Crazy in Love

  1. Pingback: For the love of Latvian men | Expat Eye on Latvia

  2. Crankyt says:

    I found this article so bizarre – has Latvia really changed that much in 10 years?? When I was there, the women all seemed very plain and there were tons of hot guys – even my mom noticed! In Helsinki, everyone was beautiful but the women particularly were stunning. (PS: does every woman over 40 still have aubergine dyed hair, or has that changed now?)

  3. Daki says:

    I’d suggest to read this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11493157 πŸ˜‰
    It may just explain, why Latvian women fight for their men… (sometimes statistics help in finding the answers you’re looking for..)

  4. eNVee says:

    Our Irish princess doesn’t enjoy Latvian trolls. This is sad… πŸ˜€

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  7. Latvia sounds like a tricky place to make friends and date!

  8. GR says:

    Ahh, I typed a long comment and my Internet crashed. Anyway, I have lots of friends who are independent, career driven women who never obsess about getting married. I guess it depends on your social circle. We need a better economy that supports young people so that getting married is not the only way to secure yourself financially.
    Do you ever go to Donegans? I used to hang out in the Irish pubs a lot a few years back – I think we might even know same people πŸ™‚

  9. GR says:

    This is odd. I guess it really depends on what kind of friends and family you have – all of my friends and myself are independent, career driver women and none of us has really obsessed about getting married. I am afraid that it’s not just the upbringing, though – lots of young women don’t know what to do with their lives – they might have an education, but no job prospects (economy is still in the shitter), so getting a husband is the only way to have some financial support.
    By the way – what’s the situation with Irish pubs in Riga – I used to hang out at Donegans and Paddy Whelans, are those places still around? I want me some Blackthorn..

  10. TK says:

    β€˜Latvian-Girl-Death-Stare’ Oh, I know what you are talking about! :))) I am originally from LV (Latvian Russian) and I know what does that mean! You know what I want to tell you, not everybody are like that, but only those who are not selfconfident at all, next time if somebody is looking at you like that just smile her! πŸ™‚ she will feel confused definitely!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Definitely a better idea to smile at her. If I smiled at him, god knows what would happen πŸ˜‰

    • Hm says:

      Latvian-Girl-Death-Stare comparing to some Indian women’s stare is baby pee. Once I had to give a speech to an audience and I almost went blank and had to shut my mouth forever when I noticed this one Indian lady staring at me as if she wanted me to vanish or shut my mouth for all eons to come. She had her partner next to her so who knows – perhaps thought I was looking at him. Stares like that do happen πŸ™‚

  11. Kristina says:

    I started to read your blog yesterday, when I actually had to read for exam in development of welfare state πŸ˜€
    My danish boyfriend says he feels like a rock star in Riga airport πŸ˜€ and thanks to your blog I can now say that it is not just me (crazy), it is in culture.
    I have changed a lot during 5 years in Denmark, but still there are some moments when “death stare” comes out.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, I’ve got mine out at the moment! It’s probably more of a scared stare though πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the comment – hope life in Denmark is treating you well! Linda.

  12. mikemajor9 says:

    Yikes – a country filled with high maintenance women… *shudder* — are all those long legs, stick figures and high cheekbones really worth all the insanity? Okay, ask most men and that would be a definite YES. — interesting to know this whole hot babe with trolls phenomenon isn’t just confined to the world of rock ‘n roll though. I mean, I always figured the reason those supermodels hooked up with ugly ass rock stars and such – like Ric Ocasek from the Cars, Billy Joel, Snoop Dogg – was because of the money and fame. I had no idea all it took was a mullet to get the job done.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Now you know! You can ease up on the diet and set about growing your hair instead! πŸ™‚ And it’s still all about the money – rock star or not!

      • mikemajor9 says:

        Yup, true enough. Fat, bald old dudes driving Ferraris never seem to have any trouble pulling in the birds do they?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Birds with low standards who make them miserable and wait for them to die πŸ˜‰ But if the old, fat, bald dude thinks it’s worth it for a piece of arm candy, then good luck to him. He’ll need it πŸ˜‰

    • Expat Eye says:

      PS That chick is probably still hiding in a bush somewhere πŸ˜‰

  13. Amos says:

    Hello, I am single, looking for a girl for relationship. There would be a latvian/estonian/lithuanian girl who like to know a brazilian man for a relationship?

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  16. Mr Kev says:

    Living in Poland, I would say that this same “problem” persists there. I put problem in quotes because, as a man, it’s less of a problem! πŸ˜›
    The chaining up thing is definitely worth investigating. I dated a couple Polish girls with sufficient levels of jealousy that I’d have been in no way surprised by this outcome! :\

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  18. Pecora Nera says:

    Brilliant. It is overcast in Italy and I have just opened my laptop to start working. Then I found your post. So work has stopped for 10 mins.

    Eastern European women are stunning, I agree with you. There beauty took my breath away in Slovakia & Slovenia. I behaved or Mrs Sensible would have took my breath away permanently

    As I read your posts I notice comments from Latvian women who disagree with your humour, is Latvian humour similar to the Germans? . . Still laughing at mullets, trolls and the girl in the bush

    • Expat Eye says:

      Glad to be a happy distraction on a miserable morning! I have yet to define Latvian humour. It’s hard when you see it so infrequently. (Damn Irish humour is going to get me into trouble again) πŸ™‚

    • MoreInfo says:

      This all sounds like following a programme put in a mass of people: someone taught us that Latvia is in Eastern Europe (when it isn’t) so it must have all its inherent qualities, including ‘supposedly’ stunning but jealous women. Some men might think E European ladies are more beautiful only because they have kept under the ‘iron lid’ for half a century and thus the world couldn’t check them out. In fact, they are as beautiful as women elsewhere. Remember sex comedies with tall, blond Swedes in 1970s? Now the Baltic girls are the new Swedes. Basically, it is about ‘exotic’ (not seen every day) looks and many have admitted they find Northern European girls (Scandinavia, Baltics, Finland) are the most stunning. Who knows, it may all be a grand and useless stereotype…

    • MoreInfo says:

      Yes, Latvian sense of humor could be like Germans if you mean – ‘almost no sense of humor’. It might be one of many things inherited from Germans (perhaps envy was taken from them too). It’s not so bad though – black humor rules in Latvian culture and colloquial language. Everyone loves British comedies like ‘The Black Adder’ or “Fawlty Towers”.

  19. Edijs says:

    I somehow feel its bit of an exaggeration to say that every woman in Latvia is stunning and that every guy here is mediocre at best. This is based just on few instances. Also the claim that most latvian woman are crazy for their local men is also rather questionable. Although there is some truth that there could be higher extremely beautiful (by western standards) woman percentage of the local population compared to the rest of EU, i do not see it’s that high as you could actually think. The woman vs. men ratio is highly uneven only after the age of 55. For those who are younger the gap becomes smaller every year.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Edijs, thanks for the comment! I stand corrected! Obviously what I write is based on what I see and it does seem like there are a lot of tall, slim, beautiful women out there! Something for you to be happy about I’d imagine! And there are lots of nice, sane women out there as well – the mad ones are funnier to write about though!

    • Alice says:

      Sorry, but now, after having left London, I actually miss seeing fashionable good-looking girls, it’s nice to see what cool stuff others wear and gives you ideas on styling etc. It’s definitely more agreeable to see handsome people than ugly ones! The ‘beauty’ of Russian, Latvian and other assorted Eastern European women is all in their heads-as the saying goes, if you believe in something long enough, it will become reality. They are so convinced they are amaaaaazing, nothing will ever convince them of the opposite as they are stubborn like brick walls.
      Cowardly Western men eulogize Eastern European women because they can get away with behavior that would not be tolerated by any self-respecting Western woman. It has all to do with power, and nothing with beauty.

  20. AA says:

    ahhh, this is hilarious and it’s more or less…the truth! πŸ˜€

  21. Aw, hilarious πŸ™‚ Kept me up past my bedtime…

  22. Mareks says:

    Eh , what can I say as latvian men ? Am I mullet too ?

  23. kathexpat says:

    Haha — so funny! I can’t believe the mullet has made a come-back in Latvia! Or did it never go out? Either way — great post!

    • Expat Eye says:

      The mullet is like an Eastern European badge of pride πŸ™‚ Glad you liked the post – it was great fun writing it I must say!

      • Hm says:

        Why do people keep saying mullet is a trademark of Spain?
        Haven’t seen anyone with a mullet in LV, not since 80s.

  24. Expat Eye says:

    A Latvian girlfriend of mine sent me this – Linda, have you ever heard women in Latvia saying: A man should be just a tad better looking than a monkey”? If you look into the reasons behind that saying you might find the answer to your question.
    It could explain a lot!!!

  25. Sonja Chacon says:

    This is Hilarious! Thanks for sharing

  26. pollyheath says:

    Same in Russia! The surplus of (lovely) ladies means some really… interesting… love connections between model and mullet.

    • Expat Eye says:

      ‘Interesting’ is a very kind way of describing it πŸ™‚ The male expat community pick up the local attitude very quickly as well. Whereas at home, a guy in his sixties would be lucky to get any action at all, here they seem to suddenly think that they’re God’s gift to women! It’s like they go through some sort of transformation as soon as they step on that Ryanair flight – from zero to hero in the space of 3 hours!

    • Anna says:

      I’m seconding this – I have been wondering where all the good-looking dudes are since I got here. Every time I see one, it feels like a unicorn sighting.

  27. traveller says:

    Haha, that’s so true of every country of Eastern Europe I’ve ever visited (with the welcome exception of Serbia)!
    Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria- welcome to the land of stunning women who spend their lives dragging along a bored looking, chubby mullet. Do you suppose there’s been some genetic mutation somewhere along the line?

    • Expat Eye says:

      ‘Bored-looking, chubby mullet’ made me laugh out loud! I think there must have been. You’d imagine that when these beautiful creatures mate, they would pass on at least some of the good genes to their male offspring but seemingly not! The women just get better looking and the men, well, I think you summed it up nicely! πŸ™‚

    • Wake Up says:

      Please, traveller, educate yourself on the subject of Eastern Europe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcTOSxcv2_o

      Besides, there are a good number of good-looking and great guys in LV as there are very average looking women. This is all discussion is a mutation of misunderstanding and ignorance.

  28. Ilzele says:

    Your theory reminded me of this post I read a while back http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/09/a-theory-for-why-latvian-women-are-beautiful.html The guy uses the social psychology concept of “sociosexuality” and comes to the conclusion that “Latvian women appeal more strongly to the male ideal because the number of marriageable men in Latvia is low relative to the number of women”. I suppose there’s some truth in it and it only gets worse with age (as my grandpa who’s in his 70s and can choose to date women in their 50s could justify).
    By the way, to my surprise, the whole padlocks on a bridge thing is not exclusively Latvian – I’ve seen it in quite a few German cities as well. Nothing can beat the collection on the bridge of Bastejkalns though.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Very interesting article. It’s definitely given me more of an insight into why people here are the way they are. Thanks for sharing that!

  29. Hana says:

    Hahahahah this is funny… and for some reason now I want to go to Lativia!

  30. My wife says the same thing about the men and women of Lithuania. How can the women be so hot and the men not?

  31. OMG, this made me laugh out loud. If you find that stash of chained men in Riga or anywhere else in Latvia, please do let me know and I’ll be there to pick up those you’ll ‘put aside’ after the first pick πŸ˜€ It is indeed somewhat hard to explain that there are many beautiful women in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, but too many of the men are more like trolls than price-charming material IMO. Some of those trolls however might hide a gem inside of them (just like diamonds hide inside of coal and rocks), but somehow I most probably wear a bad pair of glasses or something and I always bump into those all troll ones.
    Eh, problem is that there are too many of women and too few of them men in general. So growing up in a highly competitive environment with scarce prizes (ahem, men), and being constantly told by almost every one (starting with your own mom, and not even getting close to the end of the line with some random ‘wise’ person) that having a man/being married, etc. is almost as essential as breathing does not help when most women face dilemma to go fight for this mullet of a man or not to go. And men are so used to being able to chose and not having to actually court a woman sort of has no real reasons to be prince-charmings

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s quite sad really! I meet these smart, beautiful girls in their late teens/early twenties with so many opportunities ahead of them and all they can think about is finding a man. It’s like their lives aren’t complete without one! However, if I do find this secret stash, I’ll let you know πŸ™‚

    • Laurita says:

      I personally think the ‘statistics’ of men/women balance in Latvia is not a problem, and I don’t believe this statistics is true. Rather, the problem is in the absolutely Middle-ages and provincial obsession of people (esp. the families themselves teach that to their daughters) that a woman without a man is unworthy or smth. I’ve been asked by strangers (namely, older women) if I was married!!!! As if that would change the fact if I should be respected or not as a person. That’s very sad, and there is still a long way to go for the Latvian people to get mature in their thinking, esp. women in Latvia can be so sexist sometimes to each other. I’m happily married now to a Belgian, and I get many jealous looks in the streets of Riga when walking together with my husband!
      Yet, your bog is so funny! Enjoy your time in the North of Europe!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thank you very much and I’m glad you enjoy the blog! I agree with you. I try to look at it in a humorous way but I really do find it quite depressing that a beautiful, successful, single woman can be seen as a failure just because she doesn’t have a man. And if you tell people that you don’t really want to get married, they think that you’re insane! It’s not just Latvia either. When I lived in Poland, my (female) boss kept on trying to marry me off to anything with a pulse. A definite change in mindset is needed. And as I’m still meeting 18 year old girls who feel like failures before they’ve even done anything with their lives, it’s going to be a long time coming! I would expect the younger generation to be a bit more modern in their thinking but it seems that they’re not. Come on women! Get it together! Get a career, travel, experience the world!

      • Hm says:

        Don’t generalize, Laurita. You might be right that some women can be sexist towards each other (not men towards women). Women in LV have always been much more independent and domineering in social processes than in many other European countries (Latvia was the first country in Europe to ensure voting rights to women). There will always be dumb, narrow-minded people, thinking about marriage and children as the way to go. But in comparison with America or Italy, for instance, Latvian women have all the possibilities and most use them. I’ve even heard women wondering about those who go on and have families by the age of 25 ad 3 kids by 30. For most Latvian women, early marriage, doing it for money, sit at home or making babies as a mission is really smth. unacceptable.

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