Wanted – Tall Serious Husband
This article was first published in Pink Magazine October 2011 edition
With an electronic translator at hand, Russian Tatiana Zolotareva, a 60-year-old grandmother, openly explains why she placed a personal ad in Malta’s leading national newspaper in the hope of finding the man of her dreams… Alison Bezzina tries to figure out what sort of a woman actually lies behind the vital statistics 60-170-65.
There was a time when blind dating was the in-thing. A friend or two would play matchmakers and set you up on a blind date with someone whom they deemed fit for you. It was dubbed ‘blind’, because you were not supposed to know what the other person looked like, and you simply had to trust your friends’ judgement.
Over the years, online social networks and dating agencies made blind dating somewhat redundant. Facebook, as well as other speed dating sites, gave everyone the freedom to be self-sufficient. Thanks to these sites we no longer needed friends to hook us up with strangers.
Traditionally however, before the onset of dating agencies and online chat rooms, the most popular way of independently finding that someone special was by placing a personal ad in a newspaper. For some reason, however, although this practice is very popular abroad, in Malta it never really took off, and the ads that we do come across in Malta’s publications are usually placed by foreigners.
This advert was placed in The Times last month, and upon reading it, the conclusions that most of us would hurriedly reach are obvious.
RUSSIAN WOMAN 60-170-65 calm, loyal, kind, caring, tender. I would like to meet the man of my dreams, tall, serious, honest, loving, romantic. Now I’m in Malta. My e-mail is: email@example.com
Unlike what one would imagine, the ad was placed by Tatiana Zolotareva – a 60 year old Russian mother of three. Her two sons are in their forties and live in Russia. Her daughter who is in her thirties, lives in Malta together with her husband and their baby boy. Tatiana looks sophisticated and welcoming. Her warm smile disguises her tough past, and her willingness to give love another chance, is, to say the least, remarkable.
“I just want to give love another chance,” she says. “I’ve been alone for too many years, and my friends think that it’s time for me to find someone and be happy,” she giggles.
As she struggles with her electronic gadget to get her next sentence translated, she uses a mixture of basic English and sign language to explain how she had married at a very young age, and that very soon after the wedding her husband turned to alcohol. “I was in my twenties,” she explains. “I had three young children, and I used to wake up at four in the morning to go to work in order to make ends meet. My husband acted like a fourth child, he didn’t help at all and I was very scared of his violent temper. At one point I was afraid that he would hurt my children, so I plucked up the courage and ran away to the Ukraine. I was all alone there, with three children to look after, but at least I was away from the violence and my children were safe. It was hard being all alone, and sometimes even putting basic food on the table seemed impossible. Luckily we pulled through, and now I’m proud that my children are all successful and we are a loving family.”
A few years ago, Tatiana moved from the Ukraine back to Russia and visits Malta regularly. “I’m in love with my four month old grandson,” she says with tenderness in her tone. “I can’t stay away from him for too long, and, I’ve grown to love Malta and the Maltese, even though it gets too hot for me in the summer months. I would love to find a man for friendship and possibly romance, but it’s not proving to be easy.”
The first respondents to Tatiana’s personal ad were young men, she exclaims astounded. “They were all in their thirties!” she adds. “I couldn’t understand why they would be interested in being with a sixty year old woman! I mean, as flattering as it is, my sons are in their forties so it wouldn’t even cross my mind to be with someone younger than them.”
However Tatiana later realised that since people in Malta are not used to personal ads, when she wrote “Russian Woman 60-170-65…” most had not realised that the first number represented her age, the second her height and the third her weight. “But,” she says, “even when I informed these young men that I was a sixty year old grandmother, most of them were still willing to meet me, but I refused.”
“Later I was approached by two older men. They were both very close to my age and both very interesting. One was about 56, very intelligent and good looking, but he seemed a bit like a ladies’ man, and the other one who was slightly younger, and whom I found very charming and fascinating, did not stay in touch. These were the only two somewhat serious prospects, but neither one worked out,” she adds sadly.
“I am not going to give up yet,” explains Tatiana. “For many years, I was afraid of men because my husband’s behaviour had put me off the idea of relationships. In the past I just wasn’t interested, because it was very difficult to find someone whom I could also trust to love my children, but now it’s a different story. I’m a pensioner and in my free time I teach young children English grammar, so compared to my past, I am now very relaxed. I can enjoy life because my children are settled and I want to make the best out of what is left of my journey here on earth. I am an optimist and a bit of a dreamer, and back in Russia my friends always encouraged me to go out and find myself a companion but I never quite got round to it. Perhaps I got the courage to do it whilst in Malta because I don’t really know many people here.”
Tatiana is after a serious relationship with a man who can offer her companionship and most of all loyalty. “I can’t stand a man with a wandering eye. I believe in faithfulness and one to one relationships. Couples should cherish each other and if the right man comes along, I would even consider getting married again.”
Despite her past, Tatiana rejects bitterness and trusts people blindly. “I am not afraid of meeting men alone,” she claims. “I know how to take care of myself, and I am willing to give people a chance. I just want to meet someone who is around my age and shares my interests. I like to travel, I read a lot and go to the gym almost every day, in fact I lost 8kg in the few months that I’ve been in Malta,” she adds proudly. “I love discussing, talking and relaxing, but most of all I love sharing.”
Tatiana feels that her personality is very compatible with the typical Maltese character, and the only serious stumbling block that she sees in finding a Maltese man, is her height. “I can’t imagine being with a man who is shorter than I am,” she says. “I can’t go back to not wearing heels, like I used to be with my husband. It would be very hard to live through that again, because it brings back too many bad memories. The first thing I did when I ran away from my husband was to wear high heels, sometimes even around the house,” she adds with a naughty smile.
Tatiana has now gone back to Russia but she will be back to visit her daughter’s family in a few months time. “I can’t wait to come back,” she says. “Malta is beautiful, and I just discovered that swimming under the stars is amazing. I can’t take the heat and the sun for too long, but during my last week here, I discovered that swimming at night is marvellous and I know how I will be spending my evenings when I get back.”
“You see,” she adds, almost apologetically, “I’m a night person; at night I come alive, and want to do things. In the mornings I’m groggy and not too energetic, but as soon as the sun goes down I’m fully awake. It’s probably got to do with the climate that I’m used to in Russia, but the man of my dreams should share my love for the night and the stars. Will that be too hard to find?”
Tatiana welcomes correspondence on firstname.lastname@example.org