Culture Guides

Mail Order Brides?

Type the words ‘Russian girl’ into any search engine and in the first page of results you’ll see at least a couple of marriage agencies, often stressing the fact that they don’t deal in ‘mail order brides’. Which makes us think of the streets in Mexico where pharmaceutical drugs are sold on the sly with the signs saying aqui no vendemos medicina.

Ah, the internet. If before a fantasy merely existed as a daydream on a cigarette break, now it’s supported by photos, user testimonials and a credit-card-supported shopping cart. So there’s our hero, pushing 40 and all his old friends have either moved away or have married and never go out much. He thinks about taking up evening classes to meet women but can’t be bothered studying Portuguese and is, frankly, crap at art. He’s a little self-conscious about his growing paunch and senses that he can no longer be considered as ‘cool’ and his confidence with women shrinks with each year. What’s a poor guy to do?

There are probably many happy marriages that come about from Western guys meeting Russian, Colombian and Asian women through internet agencies. Economic security has always been important to women (and men) all over the world and unless you’re so cynical as to view all housewives as prostitutes who happen to raise children, cook and clean the bathroom too, there’s nothing that bad about it.

Overseas bride scams are one of the most prevalent of all internet hustles today, though and if there was ever a sucker, it’s a sucker who’s in the mood for love. Every suspicious trick, every move pulled, it’s all forgiven and the lady with the cute, pidgin English has only to shed a tear on her webcam to be given the benefit of the doubt. Before she comes to visit, she’ll need money for new clothes, a flight ticket, a visa, insurance, a cell phone and then, days before she comes and her fiance is all excited – oh no! Her mother has come down with pneumonia and may die unless someone could send the money for proper medical attention…and so on until either our poor hero’s patience or bank balance runs out.