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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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...
While traveling, I've learned one thing for sure; you can travel the length of a country on foot if you'd like, but if you were a jackass when you started your journey, and speak to no one along the way, you'll be a jackass at the end of it.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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."
Amazon Alexa, My Girlfriend and I are in a Love Triangle. We stood over the metal salad-mixer-bowl as my girlfriend, Y, dropped a match and set my gasoline-soaked Amazon Echo on fire..
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.
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...
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Five strange guests visit the bedroom of a young man throughout a long cold night in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
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.
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.
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...
"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.
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?
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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."
"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."
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."
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.
I had not met too many Russians before moving to St. Petersburg. I am from a small town in Massachusetts where the closest thing we got to a foreigner was a man up from Kentucky looking to resell some records at the local flea market.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
"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.
When you live in any culture long enough, you pick up habits. In Russia, some of these habits can turn you into an awkward, and sometimes rude, guest in other countries. An American living in St. Petersburg shares his observations.
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
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.
Who raised you, wolves?-no wolves wouldn't be so rude. Rabbits, then, tongueless rabbits. If you're reading this and you're a woman who has a man who refuses to go down on you, he sucks. He was raised by tongueless rabbits.
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.
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.
"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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
It amazed me that, in this day and age, there was no map, no app, no Amazon deal of the day to help me find my girlfriend's G-spot. I first learned about sex as a kid, and rumors of the G-spot weren...
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.
For those without penises, I'd like to tell you how this happens. If it is not a result of health or old age, there is a catalyst-a thought that goes something like this: "Oh no, is my penis getting a little soft?" This thought is like a knife through the heart of an erection.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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?"
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.