Bucharest and I, we broke up.

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Lovers may come and go, but there’s nothing like the love of an entire city.

For some of us, Bucharest has been a game changer. My friends were able to find careers, romance and generally a purpose here and, to me even, the city was an end in itself. I never derived any long term benefit from my time in the capital but with everything seemingly so spontaneous, Bucharest kept me hooked on a high frequency of unforeseeable events for years. Never mind drugs, the Bucharest experience was the real deal – and what a ride it was! His charm was so invasive, that I recently began considering a life here, the stable kind, with a job, routine and apartment. If England didn’t want me, I thought, I could always seek refuge in the arms of my Bucharest, right? From a distance, whilst contemplating at my desk on that God forsaken island they call the United Kingdom, it would all soon fall into place.

Until today.

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Bucharest makes me feel bad for being alone. He nags me when I sit by myself at a table. He sends people to look at me weirdly and tightens the air around me, so that I can’t have any peace. And it’s getting ridiculous. I used to be a big admirer of the judgmental culture he fosters over the land, thinking that it builds character. The fact that I would spend an hour prepping myself to get out of the house became a dear ritual, along with placing the highest expectations on my public appearances. With all the time, patience and eagerness that I had as a student, the standards were acceptable so long as he gave me the hit. However, it has become subtly obvious that I no longer have the energy to play with Bucharest as I did, by his rules. Not only that, but even he doesn’t seem up for the game these days.

Unlike the old times, Bucharest now barely delivers on his promises. He took away the hit. He gives me bright lights and cafes, wild clubs and nights to remember, but today he showed me that it’s nothing more than the magic of anticipation he’s been working on me all along. Too much build-up for not enough substance, which I settled for so long as I could afford to loosely allocate my time. Now, the blind spots have become too costly. I can’t overlook the hours I spend in taxis going from A to B, so much so that I can’t even stand the manner of time as it passes. To quote a classic, ‘time had lost its patience’ and, with that, I lost my patience with Bucharest fair and square. For 8 years’ worth of escalating episodes, today, he let my expectations down gently, in one message. He said ‘I’m sorry, darling, I can’t make it anymore’ and so, my dear Bucharest, if that’s how it’s going to be, then I’m out and on my way to London. Ne-om vedea cand ne-om vedea.

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Red ‘Carnegie’ Anghel Presents: 5 Habits of ‘Highly Successful’ Eastern European Men

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1. BEING IMPORTANT.

Outside Eastern Europe, the status of being important usually involves having a power of decision that impacts anything from people’s lives to the state economy and beyond. Statesmen, businessmen, media icons, for instance, qualify fair and square. In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, the status of being important ceases to be a status and turns into a habit, whereby ‘highly successful’ men appear in a lot of photos on the Facebook page of fancy club X. It’s a matter of spotlight and self-proclamation, which I assume dates back to the times of our ancestors, who’d proclaim themselves rulers of uninhabited lands. Now that there’s not much land available, ‘highly successful’ men are eager to take up social space instead and, since Eastern Europeans have a hard time minding their own business by default, social space is always on the rise by means of rumors, gossip, unasked-for opinions and, generally, word of mouth. So the habit of being important translates into the number of hands that a man shakes when he walks into a room and, believe me, some of them spend a good 20 minutes asserting themselves this way, whichever the setting, be it clubs, gyms, clinics or kindergartens. To the ‘highly successful’ Eastern European man, being important is a 24/7 matter of business.

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2. HAVING A BIG PENIS.

As a fact, this is essential for success but, as a habit, it is the Pandora’s Box of the ‘fake it ’till you make it’ principle. Despite that, ‘highly successful’ Eastern European men do it anyway and allow me to clarify.    

In Eastern Europe, tradition has it that a man who spends his days inside the highest social circles, who attends the most exclusive events, wearing the most fashionable outfits and expensive watches, having the prettiest, blondest high-legged women talk to him while he sips on his whisky on the rocks – such a man CANNOT possibly not have a big penis. I’m using a double negative to highlight the gravity of assuming otherwise. If anybody, let alone a woman, dares to preach against this traditional belief, the man becomes well entitled to sue them for defamation, pending to receive state compensation for moral prejudice. Now allow me to clarify further.

Say you were to have carnal knowledge of one of these ‘highly successful’ men and find yourself dissatisfied at the end of the episode. Say you use your ability of sight to check for and confirm the cause of your dissatisfaction, located between his legs. At that point, know that your argument is invalid. Not your senses, not science nor religion may be used to prove that a ‘highly successful’ Eastern European man has anything short of a colossal sexual endowment. It will not stand in court, society will disregard it, while your credibility will be forever lost.

3. HATING ON WOMEN BUT SCREWING THEM ANYWAY. 

The ‘highly successful’ Eastern European man knows that women want him. He exists as a trophy for the opposite sex, a burden with which he must live the rest of his days, being bound to a life of objectification. This reality appalls him but, since nature made him the dominant, illustrious male that he is, he must abide by the rules of his creator and engage in intercourse. And so, with a bitter heart and in spite of his utter disgust towards women, he goes on to seduce these unworthy, materialistic, promiscuous breast-bearers.

Honestly, that’s how I see it, considering that every damned time I go out in a club, males pose inaccessible and act like all they really want is to be left alone. It’s like they need to be on the night scene, they need to rent out a table and exhibit opulence. After all, I assume that’s essential to how they entertain the habit of being important. But really now, all they ever do in this context is drink, shake hands and just sit there with their ‘crew’, watching women like they’d be watching spineless reptiles reproduce on National Geographic – with a raised eyebrow.

For the record, they’re the reason the gender gap in Eastern Europe is a mile wide with spikes down under.

4. WEARING A SHIRT, BLAZER AND WATCH AT ALL COSTS.

Even if this means selling their laptop or mortgaging their golden Jesus necklace charm. Massimo Dutti clothing items ARE Jesus and I’ve learned this first hand, when one of my ‘highly successful’ male friends called me up one day to ask for a ridiculous amount of money. I though he was being chased down by the mafia but, as it turned out, all he (urgently) needed the money for was a blazer and a watch. Thus, you can imagine that my answer was no.

5. MAKING CONTACTS.

The ‘highly successful’ Eastern European man cannot function without a list of high profile contacts that complement his habit of being important. Moreover, he can’t not have everyone else know about it. In case you’re looking to feature on that list,  you’ll find that you need to fit into the following necessary categories of connections:

  • the gypsy mafioso
  • the club owner
  • his follower best-friend
  • the famous person
  • the female companion
  • his mom
  • his manicurist

If you can’t be any of the above, then dream on, minion…

The Anghel Family Conspiracies – Ep.1

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PROFILE: My Grandmother – analyst, sociologist, psychiatrist, private investigator, prosecutor, authoritarian leader, oracle extraordinaire. Born and raised on a village farm, she spent most of her working years as a nurse before dedicating herself to the experimental task of raising ME. If I had to think about one word that describes her best, it would be suspicion. With Grandma, there is no such thing as ‘innocent until proved guilty’. We’re all guilty. Of everything. And it’s only a matter of time before she gets to the bottom of it.

To the inexperienced eye, Grandma represents the humble Eastern European old woman with a garden, who cooks, cleans and takes care of every living soul within her jurisdiction – that’s 3 cats, 7 dogs, me, mom and stepdad. Many have fallen victims to this intricate illusion of innocence and, for 14 years, I myself was naive enough to believe that Grandma had nothing to do with the intrigues surrounding my adolescence. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Beneath that apron hides the mastermind of a thousand conspiracies, to whom even the likes of Dan Brown should offer their respects.  Sitting on our terrace, with her fat female cat in her lap, Grandma observes, plots and carefully collects data from our casual conversations over dinner, only to piece everything together into one big speculation that baffles the common sense out of me and my mother.

You also have to trust me IMG_20140826_181155when I use the term ‘jurisdiction’ because her *Terms and Conditions always apply. Being the bo$$ of the land, all inhabitants must abide by her code of conduct. For instance, I can’t walk out of the house with a cleavage or a short dress and neither can I come back from a night out without being invited to an office (kitchen) interrogation the next day. Every unidentified car that stops in front of our gate is thoroughly inspected, a situation which often escalates if I happen to step out of it. And don’t think that I’m her only target – I may be the juiciest catalyst in our family but the last time my mother arrived late from a business dinner, she was accused of having an affair.

So you can see how living with my Grandmother can be a stimulating experience.


Last year, I had a really hard time going though my year in Computer Science. Five months into the course, I was sad and hopeless and computer illiterate, close to giving up as I was to failing the year. Then, during a moment of lucid thinking, I decided to stay in England for the spring break and study study study, despite breaking my usual habit of flying back home every holiday.

For a while, my decision went unnoticed, until one day, as I was sweating off my brain in the library, I receive a call from my mom:

‘Do me a favour. Log onto Skype so that your grandmother can SEE that you’re in your room. She suspects that the reason you didn’t come home this spring is because you’re secretly visiting your father in Italy.’

For a person who hasn’t been exposed to anything but communism and 21st century country life, Grandma sure makes some bold accusations. So I log onto Skype, I talk to her and explain my reasons for skipping the home visit. Looking back on our conversation, I assume that all my talk was for nothing because the one and only thing she responded to and didn’t hesitate to point out was that I got a bit chubby since the last time she saw me. I denied everything. Ok, maybe half of my wardrobe didn’t fit me at the time, but I was stressed and the only thing that kept me going with my studies was Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Chew Chew – end of story.

After that episode, my mom reported that Grandma was a peace and that ‘our operation’ had been a success. Needless to say, a week later I receive another phone call from my mother:

‘Child?’

‘Yes?’

‘I need you to be honest about something.’

‘I didn’t fail yet, if that’s what you’re wondering.’

‘No, no that. Listen, I need to know: are you pregnant?’

Let me just say that nobody could ‘read my poker face’ at that moment.

‘Excuse me?’

‘Well… your Grandmother thinks this is the case.’

But it really wasn’t and I demanded an explanation. Turns out, Grandma had pulled off another one of her flawless inferences based on the following premises:

  • the child refuses to come home on holiday despite having done so for the past 2 years
  • she never sacrificed her free time for studying, EVER
  • she obviously gained weight
  • there is no available information on her romantic life
  • her mother is always hiding something

THEREFORE, she must be pregnant.

Touché, Grandma, touché…

DISCLAIMER: All the above remarks are made with love. In our family, Grandma is highly cherished – for keeping us on top of our game, among many other things. She also sends me home-made pretzels in England, so my loyalty to her is absolute.