The ultimate Estonian taboo: "Maarja is also leaving Estonia..."

  • 2009-07-08
  • By Joao Lopes Marques

It is never easy to write about 's or to break 's a national taboo. I will do my best: Estonia is on the verge of a dramatic social convulsion. Statistics don't show this demographic trend, but it seems to me all my female friends and acquaintances are about to leave the country.

"Can you explain why?" I asked Maarja.
"Because I am fed up with Estonian men," she quickly replied. "Besides being arrogant, they drink too much and don't make any effort to seduce us! They know it is still quite easy to get a girl in Estonia... Historically, there are more women than men in Estonia." 

"They became blind with this neo-liberal model from the 1990s and they just think of being successful," said Triin, who also has a foreign boyfriend. "They think money is everything, that they can be fat and nasty as long as they can show off their car or wallet. Plus it is not difficult for them to get a good position and visibility here 's independence is so recent that success is easier here than abroad..."

Marta, another disillusioned Estonian, said the phenomenon was a product of the breakup of the Soviet bloc.
"Why do we want to emigrate? Don't be too surprised! This is typical behavior for all post-communist girls in Eastern Europe. Happens the same with Czech girls, or Romanian, or Ukrainian, or... It doesn't matter. We couldn't travel during Soviet Union, but now the sky is the limit!" 

Curious about the subject, I started gathering empirical information in a more systematic way. The figures about the Estonian community in Portugal, for instance, are clear: out of three dozen Estonian residents, there are just a couple of men. I saw the same percentage while in Australia last year. The opposite pattern applies to almost all Southern European souls I had the chance to meet in Tallinn: inhere is more like cherchez la femme, of course. 

"Unlike the girls, most Estonian men don't want to leave the country," underlined Maarja.
Are men more territorial than women? Has it anything to do with freedom after 800 years of alien yoke? Do men feel more attached when it comes to protect the local sovereignty? I asked this several times to my Estonian male friends 's but for them this isn't even an issue.

Seen from this perspective, it seems quite logical lots of Estonian men face foreigners 's either tourists or residents 's as potential threats. Especially because these "alien hunters" acknowledge the high potential of native girls: nice looking, usually talented, good command of English language and eager to conquer the world. It is not nice to say, but because of their post-communist-nordic-blonde exoticism some of them are seen as trophies. 

In short, the "Homo Balticus Syndrome" has a reason to exist as a quasi-diagnosed-pathology. Some girls also confess they can feel embarrassed when they are seen chatting with a foreign mate.
Well, I am confused: another thing I have learnt is that Estonian women are flexible as long as the journey is long and exciting. Free from religious and family constraints, they are willing to jump.

Assuming it is true, such a sharp demographic phenomenon will bring unavoidable consequences in the near future. Specific gender roles 's if not antagonism 's will emerge in Estonian society.
One historical example 's it is not a coincidence Scandinavian women are some of the most emancipated in the world. The Viking expansion was a manly thing triggered by the shortage of land. 
It paved the way for present-day feminism. 

Similarly, in the case of shortage of women, future Estonian society also risks fostering a new mentality. The likeliest scenarios? Even knowing that social phenomenology is slightly unpredictable, we can predict three possible outcomes:
a) Homo Balticus will become less arrogant and strive to convince the best Estonian girls to stay;
b) Homo Balticus will be more flexible and starts conquering the world through their partners;
c) Estonian machismo will rise because Homo Balticus believes their women haven't faced their national responsibilities.

Honestly, a) and b) are much rosier than c).