A Fake Western Halloween in Eastern Europe

With the unavoidable approach of Halloween, a holiday where people dress in costumes from the ridiculousย andย apparently sexy to the outright offensive,ย I found myself wondering about the media pressure in Latvia that transformed this holiday from a pagan ritual to the entirely commercialized bullshit celebration that it is now.

It’s no secret that Latvia as a country is behind in its adoption of Western traditions due to the iron curtain and Soviet oppression (which I refuse to elaborate on because there’s a future SCP3 episode where I relentlessly go on about it) but, as a country that desperately wants to fit in, we take over traditions we don’t fully understand just to match America; our new big brother.…   [continue reading]

Hairspray and High Heels in a Post-Soviet Town

Do I have to leave my coat there? Can I take my phone? I can? Good.

Seeing myself slowly nearing the chair. Why does this feel like the green mile? Itโ€™s the tasteless green floor.

Sitting down, the fattest Iโ€™ve ever looked, larger than when I was factually 20kg heavier. A tall blonde, hereย to make me feel worse about myself, takes out my hair band and has a quick ‘flick’ through my hair.

“What wanting today?” asks the thick Russian accent.

Itโ€™s not uncommon for beauticians in Latviaย to be Russian. I speak to her in English. She was born and raised here, but when the Soviet times ended she gained a non-citizenship passport.…   [continue reading]