Different cultures. Somethings you/I do may seem rude. Mostly is unintended. It gets to be funny if talked about it. Here are "some" of the differences I have seen in US from where I grew up.
If you are invited to a Russian's house:
Arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes later than invited and excuse yourself for doing it.
*(if you are later than 15 min you better have a great excuse)
Dress in clothes you might wear to the office. Dressing well shows respect for your hosts. Women do not show too much skin. If the dress it is too short, the man takes off his suit top and places it on her knees to cover her legs. If it shows too much at the top, a shawl should be available.
*(Sleeveless shirts for men are not accepted)
Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. This may be turned down out of politeness. Asking 'are you sure?' allows the hostess to accept your offer.
Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
The oldest or most honoured guest is served first.
Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.
If there are young children or expectant women, the guest should offer for them to take the first bite.
Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times.
*(No playing footsie, or touching anyone's lap, leg)
*(Hands can rest on the back side of the chair of the person's next to you)
You will often be urged to take second helpings.
It is polite to use bread to soak up gravy or sauce.
Leaving a small amount of food on your plate indicates that your hosts have provided ample hospitality.
Do not get up until you are invited to leave the table. At formal dinners, the guest of honor is the first to get up from the table.
If any woman stands up you stand up as well, every time. If she says it's ok, then you don't have to stand each time, but start the movement, each time. This goes for sitting back down too.
More on Meetings
Some 'hard-line' Russians still view compromise as a sign of weakness, and often refuse to back down. To these individuals, compromising is bad business.
As a foreigner, you should realize that "Final Offers" are often not actually the end of the negotiations, and that often times the outcome will be more beneficial and attractive if you can hold out.
There is a Russian term meaning "connections" or "influences". It is extremely difficult to do business in Russia without help from a local. To help with this, gifts, money or other items are often a good idea when doing business in Russia.
As a foreigner, you are expected to be on time to all business appointments. However, your Russian counterpart may be late, as this may be a test of your patience. Do not expect an apology from a late Russian, and do not demonstrate any kind of attitude if your business appointments begin one or two hours late. This may also be a test of your patience.
Social events are more relaxed. It is acceptable for foreigners to be 15 to 30 minutes late.
Patience is an extremely important virtue among Russians; punctuality is not.
Russians are known as great "sitters" during negotiations, this demonstrates their tremendous patience.
The U.S.S.R. was officially an atheist nation in the days of communism. Now, however, participation in religion in increasing, with many citizens practicing Protestantism, Islam, Russian Orthodoxy, and Judaism.
Businessmen in Russia usually wear suits that are dark and well tailored along with good dress shoes. A businessman’s wardrobe demonstrates the individual’s image as a professional.
Men often do not take off their jackets in negotiations.
Women dress rather conservatively, avoiding overly flashy or gaudy outfits.
Now, a "taboo", the RUSSIAN MAIL ORDER BRIDE
What seems to be the deal with it? Many women go to this method to leave poverty and have a better life. I have quite a few friends who came to US through an agency that offers services like that. Some work out some don't. It is like a lottery. As a regular marriage is too, or arranged, or shotgun. People get along or not. It is a matter of time to see if their flaws and "defects" can be accepted by the other and at time passes, see if they grow old together or apart.
With a marriage like that, the dating doesn't take too long, before the man has to propose to be able to bring her in the US with a fiancee visa.
When the male gets to Russia, he is set up to go on 3 dates with 3 different women, one each day. By the end of that time, he will request one whom he "clicked" with and go on a 2nd date, or not and leave Russia.
If they both agree, they get to go on a 2nd date. He can propose at that time, so when he gets back to US he can apply for fiancee visa. If not, then, it is up to them, without the agency's involvement to set up new meetings, and most likely the two matched will keep contact through the phone, skype, emails, letters, etc.
Ok, ok.. Should I go on? Let me know if this is of interest and I will write a blog with all the details. :P
Other things, can't think of... right now.
comment, let me know what you think.
part IV, it's a "maybe" :)
stay sexy everyone!