Monday, February 9, 2009

Russian Mail Order Brides

Russian Mail Order Brides

While chatting online with my comrade Christine, a fortuitous ad popped up on my internet. Russian mail order brides! Our conversation went something exactly like this:

Natalie Sante: Привет! Как дела, меня подруга?

Christine Jacobson: привет! очен чорошо, спасиба моя дорогая!

Natalie Sante: There are so many things I wish I could say, like, learn as I go along, but online translators are crap.

Natalie Sante: However, my internet pop ups tell me there are loads of Russian women waiting for me! So I really just need to keep plugging away.

     Special thanks to Christine for preserving that little piece of history in her tumblr. Needless to say, after that I was dead set on obtaining one of these brides. I visited several sites to conduct my research. Navigating your web browser towards one of these bride depots is kind of like going to Wal-Mart when you are used to shopping at Publix. It makes you wonder if sleazy is a prebuilt web package that anyone choose from or if the creators of these sites let their own personal aesthetic guide the layout. I'm still unsure about which alternative is scarier. 

Much like any dating site, these bride order sites shared many similarities. There were drop down menus for languages spoken and to what degree of aptitude. There was also a similar list to describe the many varied interests of my possible future brides to be. Popular choices were cooking, cleaning, and working with children. Slowly I began to form a picture in my mind of the ideal Russian Mail Order Bride. She would speak Russian fluently so that she could help me with mine, and she would speak german as well, because that's hot, but she would only have minimal command of English. (You may think that's a horrible wish, but consider this, a friend of mine knew a deaf girl in high school who was very plain looking but always had a boyfriend. You can draw whatever conclusions you like from that.) Furthermore, my bride would find her life's fulfillment in cooking gourmet meals, cleaning tile floors, and holding intellectual conversations late into the night. 

Before I got my hopes too high, I started asking around about the feasibility of this whole enterprise. Do these seedy bride deals actually  produce mega-hot Olgas and Natalyas that love to knit and bake and give back rubs? Do they produce brides at all? Is there a return policy? Warranty? What's the deal? First, I enquired with my mother, who I go to for all my relationship advice. She gives good advice, I never take it Anyway, she assured me that Russian Mail Order Brides were indeed the real deal. But why would anyone do that? I couldn't get over it. The whole concept seemed so incredible to me. They want to escape their circumstances, she said. I guess I could understand that. I guess.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging the ladies, I'm just saying I find it hard to empathize with their position. I don't know what I would do. That anyone would essentially get married to a stranger for a chance at a better life, I have trouble wrapping my mind around the concept. I suppose it's not that foreign, but still, I've never had to consider it. It's not quite an arranged marriage, yet not a match of love. To be perfectly honest, I think an arranged marriage would be wonderful. Dating is so hard and painful and utterly life draining. Besides, even the most rational among us fall prey to our own chemical reactions. 

On the twenty something hour car ride up to Cadillac, Michigan, I read a book of non-fiction short stories by Chuck Palahnuik. One story was about a man who building a rocket. While that was interesting enough by itself, this man also happened to be in a relationship with a women he met on a site like the ones I visited. They exchanged emails for a long time, and eventually they met and became married. He was hopeful and she was beautiful, life was good. Until he left her at home with internet access which she promptly used to visit bestiality sites and put up a personal ad for a new man. She eventually moved in with a Russian man she met online who lived in America. Needless to say, Rocketman had been duped. It's easy to write the whole thing off as one man's silly mistake, but I 've seen the same sort of revelations occur in homegrown American couples. So, I'm not quite sure where this mail order bride adventure took me as far as personal understanding goes. However, it was certainly an interesting inquiry. And perhaps not knowing is not a bad place to be at. 


Bimini said...

I agree, it seems a little seedy and a bit off if you ask me... But I've definitely met some mail-order brides in the States. If you take into account the fact that there are hardly any men over here in Russia (they all seem to die off by 50), and the fact that the rest of them are really unattractive (sad but true), it makes a little bit more sense. Besides, 10 years ago something like eHarmony would have been considered weird and seedy -but apparently it's huge now, and very successful...(I still have misgivings....but yeah)

Christine J said...

Natalie. I can't believe you posted this.