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Benjamin Davis

Author of The King of FU | Columnist for Russia Beyond | Managing Editor of Sexography

Portfolio

Essays

Elemental
05/29/2020
Life Feels Safe in South Korea Right Now

Watching from abroad as Covid-19 eats its way across America feels like sitting through a poorly written dark comedy. Except, I am not witnessing an actor play the role of an egomaniacal leader who bumbles his way through mismanaging a made-up virus as thousands of nameless fake citizens of a fake country die.

Human Parts
12/10/19
That Time I Got Illegal Butt Surgery in Russia

I was working as a journalist in Saint Petersburg when the butt pain started. The doctor’s heavy Russian accent made me believe I had “gemroids,” which sounded like asteroids made of gemstones, which seemed a lot better than what I actually had: hemorrhoids. More than a month later, it had all gotten much, much worse.

Human Parts
03/11/20
The Massage That Made Me Betray My Country

It was winter in Saint Petersburg, so everything was dark. On a dark day, I went down a dark alley into a dark building, through a dark hallway, and settled in a dark room, where a 7-foot-tall man started laying out his instruments.

Human Parts
07/26/2019
The Art of Staying Sober

A D.A.R.E. officer visited my high school and told us, “Young people think they’re invincible. This isn’t true!” I sat in the back of the room with my hands under my bum. A voice in the back of my head said, “But I am, though.”

Human Parts
01/11/20
The Art of Failing to Quit Smoking

Dr. Lee is a startling woman. If I stood in the middle of a field with my mother on one end (a smile and open arms) and Dr. Lee on the other (rolled-up newspapers in each hand), and they both said, “Come here, boy,” without a second’s delay I’d bound my way over to Dr. Lee. Not for safety, not for comfort or health, and certainly not for a good ear-scratching. I’d do it out of pure, primal fucking fear. So when she told me it was time for me to quit smoking, I had a horrible realization

Human Parts
11/09/19
That Time I Got My Eyeballs Lasered in South Korea

A typhoon tore through the city that weekend. In Seoul, South Korea, that means dark clouds, 30-plus mph winds, sideways rain, and falling skies. Survival involves dodging branches, skirting garbage, bracing for hail, and a whole lot of running. A typhoon is like pulling a fire-alarm in the great outdoors. Think: friendly fire from God, a biochemical attack, and a weapon that targets a population’s umbrella supply.

Human Parts
02/08/20
Yoga For Clumsy Idiots

I once spent a month in Thailand, where I met a wonderful woman in a club. We danced, we talked, we laughed, we kissed, we danced some more, and then she asked if I wanted to go back to her hotel. I said yes, and she led me outside and down an alley, where a man jumped out and tried to stab me.

Elemental
03/16/20
‘I’d Rather Be Here’: An Expat Perspective From South Korea

It wasn’t long after the coronavirus outbreak started that expats in South Korea, like me, started fielding misinformed panic from friends and family back in the United States. This isn’t new for us. Every time something bad happens in South Korea, misinformation goes viral in America, and we get bombarded with worried messages.

Sexography
02/03/2020
Exploring My Prostate One Eggplant at a Time

Modern Sex The adventure of purchasing my first dildo in Seoul, South Korea Koreans are discreet. Their capital, Seoul, is made up of satellite cities - smaller cities that are thirty to sixty minutes outside of the city proper. If you take the red or yellow lines from Gangnam, you'll find yourself in one called...

Elephant Journal
7 Words from my Grandmother that Reminded me What Love Is.

Our dialogues often devolve into a basket of snakes; each monologue trying to bite and flex its way to the top of the pile-each new thought masquerading as a finalizing point. And it never ends. We have solved all of the world's problems; recreated them and then solved them again.

Humor

Pointsincase
Donald and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Pandemic

The media questioned why I did a travel ban and governors didn't listen to me even though I am president! In the morning I heard that Korea flattened the curve, then so did Taiwan, but all I got was cereal. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, very bad pandemic.

Little Old Lady Comedy
06/25/2020
The Fox And The Bear

Published by Benjamin Davis Columnist for Russia Beyond, author of The King of FU, & managing editor of Sexography. I have covered events as big as The World Economic Forum as a mixed-media journalist and as small as my cats chasing cockroaches around the kitchen as an aspiring humor & fiction writer.

Slackjaw
05/06/2020
10 Signs Your Favorite Self-Help Writer Is Gaslighting You

You feel like you always need to apologize for watching Netflix instead of reading your self-help writer's new article on self-motivated learning techniques and, in an effort to redeem yourself, sign up for their value-packed webinar where they tell you that it is essential to embrace your free time...

Slackjaw
01/30/2019
30 Job Interview Questions for the Indie Writer

Can you tell me a little about yourself? I am different - special, even. I am special. I have thoughts and ideas and stories and wisdom the world has yet to experience. How did you hear about the position? I watched a Netflix Documentary on Sylvia Plath and I thought, "I wouldn't kill myself if I could write that well."

The Haven
02/08/2020
Top 10 Signs That You Might Suck

There are many signs that you suck, but here are the most obvious ones. When I told my therapist that I don't like going out because people suck, she asked, "Why do you think these people are bad people?" And I clarified, "No, no, they aren't bad people.

Sexography
09/24/2019
7 Important Lessons in My Son's Most Viewed Porn Videos

All sex begins with respect and understanding. I know that porn is telling you that someone owes you sex if you give them a ride, or find them on a park bench, or interview them for a job or if...

Slackjaw
02/05/2020
Embittered Millennial Momisms

You should listen to your elders. Or don't, it's not like they did me any good. Life isn't always fair. Remember that. No really: remember that. Don't forget it, don't let anyone tell you otherwise or tell you life will be fair. Don't believe them!

Slackjaw
10/10/2019
Are Cats the Dominant Life form on Earth?

I often imagine aliens hovering over my house, looking down, using my life as a metric for humanity's right to exist. I considered this yesterday as I scooped turds from my cat's litterbox. I pooper-scoopered the last bit of his poo into my Stop n' Shop bag and peppered the top with clean pebbles.

Elephant Journal
The Banana Method: How to Live with Less Conflict. {Funny}

It can make life difficult if you don't handle it the right way. Do you have trouble getting along with others? Are you prone to react rather than listen? Here is a simple solution to all of the problems you've been facing: Pretend that you are a banana. It works!

Fiction

Star82review
Lost in Isolation

Week 1: I am alone. I have a yoga mat. It is orange, unrolled, dividing my studio apartment in two: kitchen and living room. Once, each day, I walk over to it, lay face-down and groan. It doesn't smell great. Week 2: There is a girl who works in the convenience store downstairs.

Star82review
Forty Cents Worth of a Story

Dan and I sat at a small table outside a café in some unfindable alley of the city, talking about how long it would take you to get bored if walking out of this alley simply spat you back in through the other end.

Collaboration with Nastia L.
The Uninvited Guests

Five strange guests visit the bedroom of a young man throughout a long cold night in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

She's In Russia
11/28/18
The Babushka Society

Baba Yaga menaced Russian children for generations, but what would happen if you ran into her in modern-day Russia? The Babushka Society is a demented magical-realism adventure set in the heart of Saint Petersburg, where two young men stumble across a babushka conspiracy, led by Russian fairytales’ stalwart character Baba Yaga, to take the country of Russia back from the Hipster scourge.

Defenestration
08/20/2019
"Kids These Days," by Benjamin Davis

Where I spent much of my time as a kid was a magical place. It was a pirate ship. It was a castle. It was a barracks and a spacecraft. But mostly, it was a rock. I'm sitting on it now, smoking a cigarette. It feels like a rock.

If It's Not 1 Thing Its Your Mother
07/30/19
The Playlist At My Mother's Funeral

Benjamin Davis shares his poem, The Playlist At My Mother’s Funeral. We talk about how his mother would like a party when she dies which got him thinking of the playlist and how the songs that remind him of his mother and also track his memories with her throughout his childhood. Our conversation went from his rebellious teens and how he thought his parents showed great restraint for not throwing him in the basement and only feeding him scraps to the time when we all come to the realization...

Cease, Cows
03/07/2014
The Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Benjamin Davis

"Willing," that was the word they used: forever willing and forever yours . We are the most beautiful women in the world. They, these men from the city, they came for us. Well, not for us. They came for her. But they settled for us: her skin, her hair, her lips, her nose, her blood, guts, and fuckable warm flesh.

Russia

Rbth
10/16/2019
OPINION: U.S. russophobia needs to stop

Did you see that bit on American late-night talk shows where they made fun of women wearing Hijabs in Iran? No? That's because it didn't happen. How about the time that the media went around mocking Kim Jong Un's accent? Wait, that didn't happen either. Then why does this exist?

Rbth
04/02/2019
'F*ck the weather': This is why there's no small talk in Russia

The last time I went to America, I stopped in at a café for a coffee. While waiting for my card to go through, the woman behind the counter smiled and said, "What are your plans for the weekend?" And I said, "Uh, I dunno." "The weather is nice, huh?"

Rbth
02/24/2020
'Davai' - the trickiest word in the Russian Language

I worked at a children's camp for a bit in 2018. There was a Russian version of one of those children's toys in the back of the room that tells you the sound animals make: the cow goes moo, the chicken goes cluck, the cat goes meow, and so on.

Rbth
07/23/2018
Why Russians don't differ much from Americans

Screenshot from 'Rocky 4' Kinopoisk An American writer who has been living in St. Petersburg for a year has noticed Russians' habits and behavior features that are actually too similar to American ones. Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russophobia in America has infected the country's political and media establishment, reaching and even surpassing Cold War-era levels.

Rbth
10/28/2018
3 situations in which an American felt like a dog in Russia

I have learned a decent amount of Russian over the past two years; I can order an iced coffeeexplain why I want it even though it's cold outside, I can say "excuse me" to avoid bumping into old women on the subway and beg for my life if I happen to bump them anyways.

Rbth
06/11/2019
Do you have what it takes to learn RUSSIAN?

Trying to speak Russian feels like fumbling around a room of people I'm sure I've met before, but whose names I can't quite seem to remember. I live in perpetual fear that I might be given a voice-activated Russian time machine and be told I had to go back and save the world in 1953.

Rbth
10/01/2018
3 things you SHOULD worry about when visiting Russia

Bears, communism and the KGB - no need to worry about these if you're planning a visit to Russia. An American expat in St. Petersburg will tell you about the real 'dangers.' If you're going out into the world with the goal of antagonizing bears, well, no one can help you.

Rbth
09/17/2019
3 weird Russian travel habits

Sitting before a long journey or clapping when a plane is landing... St. Petersburg-based American writer Benjamin Davis tries to unravel some of the superstitions and traditions of traveling a la russe.

Rbth
12/10/2019
5 pro tips for tourists looking to make friends in Russia

The first item on your itinerary when visiting any country should be to try not to annoy the people who live there. After living for a few months in Russia, a friend of mine visited. We went to a restaurant I often went for lunch. Within a minute of sitting down, I felt horribly awkward.

Rbth
10/07/2019
5 habits Americans should learn from Russians

After living in Russia for three years, I couldn't help picking up a few habits. Lucky for me, all of these habits totally changed my life for the better and all Americans could do with picking a few of them up.

Rbth
03/01/2019
5 things about Russians that Americans won't understand

In the world of generalizations ''listicles" are king. So, hold on tight to your grains of salt as we make some sweeping generalizations about Russians; a listicle cometh. After a combined total of 10,000 hours waiting for Russians, I feel I'm due to a medal for my expertise on the subject.

Rbth
12/01/2018
An American expat writer observes how Russians morph into 'winter mode'

Anna Bella/GORBACHEVSERGEY/canesjurij /NGSOFT/Pixabay, Eirien/Flickr St.Petersburg resident Benjamin Davis admires Russian girls defying the laws of physics in high heels, and men braving sub-zero temperatures in nothing but a T-shirt. The man who works in the shop down the street from my apartment sums up St.

Rbth
07/16/2019
Do Russian women expect the man to pay on a date?

One day in the future, aliens might stumble upon the scorch-mark that was the Earth, and an alien anthropologist will be drawn to the mating rituals of the by-gone race that called itself humanity. The galactic visitor will study ancient rom-coms, sweaty notes passed by middle-schoolers, bad poetry, and Becky's text messages.

Rbth
08/28/2019
How hard is it to DIE-t in Russia?

Trying to find "diet" food in Russia is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Even in the more European-centric city of St. Petersburg, a quest for gluten free pasta will be, to put it lightly, a pain in the ass.

Rbth
07/31/2019
How to talk to Russians at parties

"Russians are like coconuts," my friend Ivan told me. I'd just returned from the market - my Russian was poor, and I'd wanted some practice. At the register I bought a candy bar and smiled at the man sitting behind the counter. " K-A-K. DAY-LA?" (How are you?) I tried.

Rbth
05/28/2019
How to drink with Russians

The first bit of advice I'd learned about drinking with Russians was from a Frenchman. He said, "Russians always eat while they drink. And, they always drink vodka ice cold. That is why they can drink a lot."

Rbth
01/16/2019
I took my Russian girlfriend home to America, and this is what happened...

"American smile!" I prompt her, as practiced. She turns, her lips part to show some teeth. I sigh. "No, you need to really mean it," I remind her. She frowns, "But I don't." "Yeah, that's not the point. Okay, here, I will say something, and you'll smile like I said something funny."

Rbth
02/16/2019
If _insert city name here_ is not Russia, then what is?

I've lived in St. Petersburg for over two years now and I am often asked if I enjoy Russia. And I say, "Yes, very much." And at least 75 percent of the time I get the same answer: "Well, that's because you live in St. Petersburg. It's not Russia."

Rbth
05/14/2019
Is there political correctness in Russia?

The Russian perspective on political correctness is pretty simple: "If you're going to stab me, there is no reason to paint the knife pretty colors." I have a British friend who also lives in St. Petersburg. One day, he complained to me that he can't handle Russian racism.

Rbth
03/05/2019
Russian feminists fight not only for their rights but also for the right words

Dialogues over feminism in America are often conducted using megaphones from either side of an echo chamber; they are loud and nasty, and usually conclude with a meme thread going viral. In America, we call this progress. Throughout my time in Russia, the topic of feminism has arisen infrequently and in odd ways.

Rbth
08/19/2019
Russian babushkas VS. American grandmas

I first encountered an old lady in Russia on the bus from the airport to the center of St. Petersburg. She walked through the center of the bus, yellow-vested and mad-eyed. The crowd parted as she passed. She was after me.

Rbth
08/06/2018
3 insane conversations I've had with my Russian girlfriend

My girlfriend and I have been together for over a year now. I'm American, and she's Russian. Her name is Y. We communicate almost exclusively in English because there's nothing particularly romantic about me stumbling through the beautiful, yet thorn ridden, path that is the Russian language.

Rbth
06/25/2019
Which students party harder: Russians or Americans?

The night air stinks of shame and violence. Six young men stumble along, carrying each other. One is bleeding, testosterone is high, and someone has been crying. Is this an apocalyptic dystopia? A warzone? The aftermath of a terrible accident? No. It's an American college campus on a Tuesday night.

Rbth
04/16/2019
What do Russians think of guns? An American seeks answers

One of the contenders for the most-asked question that I often face in Russia is: "Do you own a gun?" It's not asked in the same way as any other question; it's asked in that schoolyard, "my friend Sally said you have firecrackers!" sort of way.

Rbth
04/30/2019
What is education in Russia like? A U.S. teacher investigates

A truck arrives at your house. A couple you've never met before open the back and begin unloading stacks of broken wood, cracked tiles, dried out plaster, bent nails, stripped screws, used electrical wiring, dented sheets of metal, and a hammer made of hopes and dreams. They say, "Build us a house!"

Rbth
09/24/2019
Why are Russians afraid of talking about sex?

"Russians do not talk about sex, but when the lights go off, they are crazy in bed." That's what a friend told me during a long walk on a gloomy St. Petersburg afternoon. Many months later, that idea had stuck with me.

Irish Sun
04/19/2020
Is there political correctness in Russia

An American living in St. Petersburg discovers why Russians usually dont get offended and are not afraid to offend others. The Russian perspective on political correctness is pretty simple: "If you're going to stab me, there is no reason to paint the knife pretty colors." I have a British friend who also lives in St.

Sex & Relationships

PULPMAG
04/07/2020
Pulp It Like It's Hot: The Blow Job Assistant

I masturbated in the shower this morning, and when I came I felt nothing. It was like surgery under general anesthesia: there was a light tug, some oozing, and then it was all over. I was confused - to say the least.

P.S.I Love You
10/02/2019
The Truth about Farting in Front of Loved Ones

Privacy curtains stood abandoned in the corner of rooms as day after day, doctor after doctor played the game of I-could-have-sworn-I-left-my-keys-around-here-somewhere inside my butt, in front of Y. I felt like someone afraid of heights, 3000 feet in the air, in an airplane made of glass.

Sexography
11/28/2019
30 Sex Truths I've Learned by 30

Everyone has their own sex truths - but some are undeniably universal. Erections have gone from being embarrassing when I get them to embarrassing when I don't. Period sex is great for everyone. Men who don't like it because it's "messy" are hereby no longer allowed to eat saucy chicken wings.

P.S. I Love You
04/01/2019
No Eulogy for the Backpacker

"Then how are we going to drink the tequila?" she said, moving a sweater aside from the top of her open suitcase to reveal a bottle of Patron - it had been taped, shoved in a Ziploc bag and then...

Thought Catalog
08/19/2019
8 Things To Remember When You Feel Like Giving Advice

If you want to love others and be loved, sometimes people are going to have problems, and you're the one they'll come to. These are delicate moments where you can either become a support system or change the course of your relationship for the worse.

Elephant Journal
Lessons in Love from Elementary School.

She was also in my kindergarten class. I learned to spell her name before my own: EMMA. And, once, on the bus, she kissed me. She was placed in a different first-grade class. We lost touch. I saw her holding hands with a new boy in the hall.

Elephant Journal
5 Sex Conversations to have Before Starting a New Relationship. {Adult}

And any form of prolonged sexual engagement with someone is an intimate relationship. This means that without honest communication, you are doing your relationship a disservice. Over the years, I have found that these five conversations clear up a lot of the misunderstandings and pave over the potential potholes for a sexual relationship.

Elephant Journal
Realistic Sex (& Life) Advice from an Ex-Horny-15-year-old Boy.

If you were a 15-year-old boy who's having trouble with girls, feeling rejected, and insecure, what advice would you give? I dove into the comments and found a bunch of adults who all seemed to have one thing in common: they were all wrong.

Elephant Journal
How to Know if You're Bad at Sex. {Adult}

If any of these things apply to you and your life, sit your partner down and have a long talk. Life is too short, and sex is too big a part of it to waste time being bad at it.

Thought Catalog
07/31/2019
5 Dead Giveaways That You're Bad In Bed

Hollywood lies about sex. If Idris Elba and Beyoncé had sex in a movie, there would be sweat that glistens instead of stinks, hair that flows over the pillow instead of sticking out at all angles like a dog-licked Elmo doll. Idris Elba would say something sexy like, "I'm gonna do bad things to you," instead of "ah!

Elephant Journal
I don't want to Have Sex with your Girlfriend.

As a man who doesn't like sports, video games, golfing, strip clubs, guns, I am limited in my selection of male friends. I am more drawn to sitting down over a glass of wine and shit-talking the world. Everyone is different, but women are more likely to be up for the latter.

Misc.

Elephant Journal
08/05/2018
How I learned to be Confident when I took Away the Vodka.

When I took the microphone to deliver the best man speech at my brother's wedding, my aunt turned to my cousin and said, "This is gonna be good, boy." Meanwhile, I was standing in front of 250 people crapping in my tuxedo.

Medium
04/23/2019
Five Stages of Rejection Letter Grief

The submissions process for fiction writers is a Kafkaesque nightmare. It feels like a speed dating conference where you look your best, you put yourself out there and then all of the participants line up to kick you in the crotch. Yet, you persist, eyes bloodshot, in a masochistic mad dash for acceptance.

dataspaceone
08/16/2018
Bitcoin: Digital Gold or Something More Revolutionary?

Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency which is often referred to as digital Gold. The main reasons brought up for this is that they both have a limited supply. Just as gold cannot be simply reprinted, neither can Bitcoin. What are the similarities?

Blitz
06/01/2019
Need to know how to drink with Russians - Blitz

An American living in Russia shares his drinking experiences with Russians and gives some advice. The first bit of advice I'd learned about drinking with Russians was from a Frenchman. He said, "Russians always eat while they drink. And, they always drink vodka ice cold. That is why they can drink a lot."

dataspaceone
07/26/2018
Who Owns Your Body?

by Elliot Davis & Benjamin Davis [email protected] There is an attic. It is old, the wooden beams are teaming with bugs, there are boxes and bins of files all climbing over one another, spilling onto the floor, falling between cracks and occasionally getting eaten by a passing rat.

Hackernoon
04/18/2020
Why does Bitcoin have Value? | Hacker Noon

By Benjamin Davis & Elliot Davis Bitcoin: Digital Gold or Something More Revolutionary? Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency which is often referred to as digital Gold. The main reasons brought up for this is that they both have a limited supply. Just as gold cannot be simply reprinted, neither can Bitcoin.

Elephant Journal
Why Sex is a Whole Lot like Escape Rooms.

If you read this title and thought: "Sex is like an escape room because when my time is up someone comes to knock on the door, whether I am finished or not, to tell me that if I want to try again I'm going to have to pay for another hour?"

Elephant Journal
11/11/2019
How to Handle your Racist Family Members on Facebook.

He recently found me on Facebook. And, boy, he is a sharer. Last week he shared a meme that said "GOD, GUNS, TRUMP." Okay, I thought. I don't agree, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Shortly after, he shared a post calling Alexandria Ocasio Cortez a stupid b*tch.

Twitter icon