"Ranshe, vsyo bylo lusche." "Everything was better before."
How many times did you hear that during the 1990s from Russians pining for the security and stability of the Brezhnev era? It was hard for a Western expat to understand the emotion, because for us, the 1990s were the living manifestation of human progress and positive evolution. Everything was getting better for Westerners; if things were getting worse for some smelly old Russian, that must mean that they belonged in the trash heap of history. It was all their fault if they couldn't move with the times. Their complaints were merely grist for the sneer mill.
There was something else that kept Moscow's expats optimistic about the progress Russia was making and hopeful for Mother Russia's bright future. Snapper season. May in Moscow. What expat could not believe in Russia's future when the future pranced down the dusty streets in labia-length vinyl snapper vents and red high hells? That was the future. That kept the mood high. And Russia promised a steady flow of fresh snapper, season after season.
Then something awful happened. No, we're not talking about America's unprecedented economic decline since the start of the millennium. We can handle that. Something much worse descended upon the landscape. Those once proud snappers became increasingly camera-shy. Gone were the mini-mini yubochki. Moscow's dyevs had traveled to the West and were subjected to the sneers of their less attractive, but wealthier counterparts. They learned that "less is more" doesn't mean "less clothes is more attractive" but rather "less snapper is more progressive." That ol' reactionary spirit of the Russian soul gave way to the Westernizing influence of the snapper-veil common to the West.
By 1999, we at the eXile documented the first tragic signs that the snapper had gone underground. Miniskirts had given way to ankle-length hippie sarongs. True, they looked much better on Russian girls than on their Western counterparts. But still, wherefore the camel toes of yore? And what about the exposed lower folds of the dyevushka mud flaps, shaped like flesh anchors, sculpted through forced self-starvation, and eXposed to the common eXhole due to the unnaturally short length of the skirt?
Gone, gone, gone. Ranshe vsyo bylo lusche. Everything was better before. Before the crisis, before Putin, before the snapper veils.
Since then, Moscow's snappers have camouflaged themselves behind an array of disguises and veils, like otters in beds of kelp: calf-clipped pirate pants (worn so tight that the swollen camel toes nearly bled through), shapely thigh-length skirts, and jeans. Jeans? Agh!
That's right, jeans. They were big last year, and they're big again this year. The sidewalks are packed with dyevs in jeans. Not just any jeans, but the largest variety of glam-rock jeans this side of 1973. Jeans with fake yellowing cuffs, bellbottoms with rhinestones, dark blue jeans with fake worn patches. Jeans so thick with denim you'd need a bunker buster just to get to the snapper.
But like all eXile tales, this one has a happy flip-side that we want to share with you. The first part of this happy tale we would like to simply call "Britney Spears." That's right, the washed-up ped magnet from Louisiana. Thanks to her, dyevs are finally catching on in droves to the whole style of wearing your pants so low, you show not just belly buttons but pelvic bones, the upper reaches of the pubic hair region, and even the tip of the dyev crack. Trust us, we've seen more dyev crack in our office over the past few days than most of you will see in a lifetime.
Which brings us to the second happy part of our tale of this year's snapper season. Snapper grooming. It's nothing new to Moscow's dyevs. They have the best-groomed snappers in the world. Most eXpats have been cheerfully surprised by the strictly-coifed snapper hair on even the poorest, drunkest, most provincial dyev, who will never allow more than a stripe of fur, a row of hair-hedge, above her snapper.