Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shopping for Spouses

I recently saw a show on National Geographic or some other educational cable channel about American men who get wives from Russia through web based services. I have often heard the term "mail order bride" in movies and on TV, but I guess I never gave much thought to what it really implied. It always sounded antiquated, but apparently it is a thriving business in the modern era. I am disturbed by this phenomenon for myriad reasons:

Category 1: Sad Reasons

These women have pretty poor prospects for a decent life in Russia and are willing to marry odd, unattractive, American social outcasts. It is sad that their lives are so bad they will leave home and family and come to a place where they do not speak the language (none of the women featured spoke English) and only know one person. This puts them completely at the mercy of these men and does not give them a Plan B should things not work out. (The men pay the travel expenses to get them here and their families would be hard pressed to get them back.) There is at least one known case of a Ukrainian girl being murdered by her American husband. Once she got here, she no longer wanted to have sex with him-for very obvious reasons-and he ended up killing her. How sad that the state of things in Russia is still so bad that this is a viable option for women.

Category 2: Eww Gross Reasons

Seriously, what kind of man does this? There are 300,000,000 people in America, you can find someone here! One man said American women were too independent and he wanted a more traditional subservient wife. He felt that Eastern European women were more appreciative of the life he was offering. For one guy, this was going to be wife number three. Hmm...two failed marriages already, maybe you shouldn't be married, or maybe some counseling is in order. This guy was a total creeper too, and I'll give you a dollar if he isn't a closeted gay. In some cases the age differences were disturbing; 18 year old girls and men over 40. There was one guy who, despite being a bit unfortunate looking, was not bad. He had a good job, was in shape, and didn't seem like he had any bodies buried out back. He seemed very sincere about finding someone who he could really love. I am sure he could find a nice homely American girl, but I sensed the prospect of old fashioned dating and the potential rejection that come with it had this guy terrified. He actually went to Russia to meet the girl he'd been emailing. It seemed promising, they looked about right for each other (I should note these are not Russian beauty queens) and were both really excited. He even brought her a really pretty diamond necklace; shiny gifts do a lot to improve the physical appearance of an ugly guy. Their dates, however, were excruciatingly awkward and painful to watch. She spoke about five words of English and he spoke no Russian. They had a translator (the woman who ran the Russian side of the web site's operations) part of the time which made things even more uncomfortable. The humor did not translate either direction and there were lots of awkward pauses. Now I can, and have, imagined scenarios where not speaking the same language is in no way a deterrent to, and may even enhance, a very successful short term relationship. This however involves copious using of the lips for activities other than talking. In this case, I don't think the guy had ever kissed a girl before, and half the time that pesky translator was there trying to seal the deal between them so she could get a commission. I have a vivid imagination, but I cannot imagine any situation where this type of matchmaking is not strange.

Category 3: Selfish Reasons

Give me a freakin' break. As a single 31 year old woman I cringe at the notion of men from the country in which I live paying big money to buy Russian wives. Now, I should clarify that there is no way in hell I personally would ever have anything to do with any of these men, nor would any other woman I know. BUT, we can't have these guys importing wives. We need them to hook up with the weird and unattractive women of our own country who, because of their unattractive weirdness, are willing to go to great lengths that more attractive less weird women will not in order to snag one of the few decent single men still in the pool. These women are wild cards and they are screwing up the odds! There is also the possibility that men willing to drop some cash on a wife could siphon off a few gold-diggers here and there, further tipping the dating odds in favor of normal women (by normal women I mean me and my single friends).

Just a quick recap: I DON'T THINK AMERICAN MEN SHOULD BUY RUSSIAN WIVES. It is just creepy gross. Man up and go through the pain and humiliation of dating that the rest of us Americans suffer through. Hopefully, it will payoff for all of us someday.

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