Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Say "Trust Me!" in Russian

In the Russian city of Ekaterinburg, known as Sverdlovsk during Soviet times, you'll find the marriage agency Alexander's Tender Ladies. The name is not the reason I'm posting tonight, but let's linger there for just a moment. Alexander's Tender Ladies. It brings to mind both soft-core pornography that ultimately disappoints and fast food that can't be traced back to a single identifiable animal part. The guy with the phone is the man behind this enterprise, and surrounded as he is by the beautiful Natalia, Irina and Julia, he can't help but bring to mind John Forsythe's Charlie and all the many possibilities of a 70s-induced fantasy.

But enough. On to the day's point of interest, a compendium of "tender words and phrases" written by Alexander Korjev and Lilia Meighan, a Kharkovite who married an American in 1999. Over the course of seventeen online chapters, our authors teach us those "delicate words useful when you are trying to phone your lady," "tender forms of expressing your ignorance and incomprehension," and of course "how to tell your lady to marry you with tender Russian words."

Did anyone ever sing such tender words so beautifully before? Well, if Barry White had "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," Alexander and Lilia have plenty of hits of their own. Consider,

the vaguely clinical:

English: We feel so good together. Let's make a family.
Russian: Нам так хорошо вместе. Давай создадим семью.
Pronounciation: Nam tak ha-ra-shO vmEs-te. Da-vAy soz-da-dIm sem-yU.

the auto-erotic:

E: Never in my life I felt myself so good.
R: Мне никогда в жизни не было так хорошо.
P: Mne ni-kog-dA v zshIz-ni nE-bee-lo tak ha-ra-shO.

and the bloody:

E: I swear I'll give you my heart.
R: Я клянусь, что отдам тебе своё сердце.
P: Ya klya-nUs', chto ot-dAm te-bE sva-yO sEr-tse.

Before you damn me to hell for making fun of someone's second language (and before I do the same, for surely I'll be repaid in kind for this when I stumble around Ukraine with my own mangled Russian) I'll say one thing in my defense: if the shades of love are hard to understand in a shared language, how difficult is it when you have to jump an unknown divide? If that still doesn't win you back, let me offer you a glimpse at Chapter 14, which I found the least humorous. This chapter, entitled "tender words to calm and cheer up your lady," includes translations for such English phrases as "Everything is under control," "You know, it must be like this," and "Trust me."

With that, I call it a night.

Fortune Cookie photo found at Happy Go Larry