Mail order brides? Not!!!

eLENA pETROVABy Elena Petrova,(Russian Brides Cyber Guide , Elena's Models)

When speaking about cross culture marriages, there is an interesting trend: a relationship between a man from the USA and a woman from Australia is an "international relationship", yet a relationship between the same man and a woman from Russia is a "mail order brides" thing.

My site Russian Brides Cyber Guide http://www.womenrussia.com is at the top of many search engines for the term "Russian brides", and as a result I often receive requests for interviews from newspapers and magazines all over the world; USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Hungary, Australia, South Africa, Russia - and the list goes on. About half of them have never been published. Why? I believe that the reporters are not always happy with the answers I give to their questions.

Marrying a Russian woman is routinely portrayed by the Media (oh, the Mighty Media!) as the "mail order brides" process. Those words tend to leave a nasty taste in your mouth, don't they? The first time I heard those words was soon after my marriage when "Cosmo" happened to interview me, quite by chance. I was sitting at home, bored and decided to send a letter to a competition that the magazine was launching. "Cosmo" was looking for somebody to feature in their article about Russian brides. My letter was like a God send, and they phoned me asking for an interview. This was my first interview with the Media, and I was pretty naive at the time. I thought that "Cosmo", like all our friends and family would find the way we met "very romantic". Imagine my surprise when I read the announcement of the future article: "South Africa's Mail Order Brides"! Honestly, I was shocked and humiliated. I had no idea that, that was the official name of the process! (The actual article had the heading "South Africa's Mail Order Romances" which sounded a bit better, and the article itself finished with the words "Welcome!" and "Good luck!" addressed to all us Russian women. All in all, the article was quite all right.)

Now, getting back on track. The history behind the term "mail order brides" goes as far back as the time of the first American settlers. The settlers, most of whom were men, could not find suitable women to marry and had to write letters to Europe asking women to become their wives. In those days, arranged marriages were quite common, and marrying somebody you barely knew was nothing out of the ordinary. Back then; the women truly were "mail order brides".

These days the term "mail order brides" is currently used to label the relationship between a man from a first world country and a woman from the third world country or the countries of the former USSR. The common misconception is that the women only want a way out of their misery and terrible economic situation. Being incompetent in Filipino, Thailand, Colombian, Mexican and other mail order brides, I can tell you, with confidence that this is NOT the case with Russian women seeking husbands abroad.

Russian women have a much better education than the brides from Asia and Latin America. About 90% of the women that apply to our agency have college or university degrees. With their Caucasian appearance, their intelligence and their astounding beauty, men have often asked me if our selection is real! Our women appear too beautiful to be seeking husbands on the Internet.

Being intelligent and educated, Russian women are still feminine, warm and gentle. Competing with men is the last thing they seek in their family lives. The Russian ideal of a man is the man with whom she feels like she is "behind the stone wall", the leader, the provider and the protector. Believe it or not, the reason for all these beautiful Russian women seeking their destiny over the Internet is that they cannot find their ideal man in Russia. It is that simple.

Most Russian women seeking husbands abroad are not focused on finding a foreign husband but more importantly on finding "The Husband". We often receive requests to remove profiles of Russian women that have married Russian men living in Russia. In Russia, women outnumber men, and it is a question of luck if a woman manages to get herself a man or not. Russians marry early, and at the age of 25 most people are already married. If a man is not married, it can only mean he is not willing to commit - even bad men can find themselves a wife! Women must act fast if they want to get married and to ensure that they have a husband, one can only hope he will be a good man. There were even talks about changing the family legislation so that it would allow men to have multiply wives so that there would be competition among men too. (This is not a joke; this question was discussed in Russian parliament.)

The idea that the Media spreads about mail order brides from Russia is absolutely false. The interpretation the Media gives to the term "Mail order brides" is that a Russian mail order bride will marry any man, of any age, just to get out of Russia. The mail order bride service is interpreted by most people as a service that "sells women", a service that is neither respectable nor trustworthy. Some men still believe they can point their finger at any woman and she must marry him because he paid for her address.

This "mail order brides" idea is an insult to any decent Russian woman.

C'mon, guys! Those women do not think you are doing them a favor by writing to them. They feel as if you were one of the guys who approach her at a bar: she can say, "yes" if she likes you, and "thanks, but no, thanks" if she doesn't. She does not feel she owes you just because you selected her from the thousands of other applicants. If you dare to be arrogant or offensive in your letter, you are out. She knows your music and movies as well as you know them, and is also SEEEKING HER SOUL MATE so remember that! Do not jeopardize your chances with her by letting yourself believe in the "mail order brides" nonsense.

Let me tell you about myself. Before I left Russia, I was working as a regional manager of a large marketing agency, which had offices in 22 regions all over Russia. At some stage I had 150 people working for me. I had a car, and for many years lived alone in my own flat. I lived much better than most of the regular citizens, and my income would fit in the top 10% of the population. I have traveled all over Europe and Asia. I was not miserable because of the economic reasons. I was content with my life style and envied by many people, though I would be lying to you if I said my life style did not improve since I moved to the west. But as I said, for a woman in Russia I was doing very well. The only reason that I did not feel completely happy was because I could not find a good husband. Because of this, and only because of this, I decided to look abroad. I made a few disastrous attempts to find a partner using local personals, which I will not describe here because the subject of this article is a serious one and my meetings with the guys from personals would need a sitcom to tell. Being an industrious person, sooner or later I would end up at the "marriage agencies" as they call dating services in Russia. With me it happened later, after 3 years of thinking, because I could not believe that good, faithful, honest, caring, professional, ambitious, career orientated AND single men existed in this world, men who did not have a long queue of hopeful women knocking at their door. This would be too good to be true. Why did I eventually do it? It was the same type of thing that one does when buying a lotto ticket - do you REALLY think you will hit the jackpot? No, but it doesn't hurt to try and if you don't try, you will never even have the "hope" that you might just win.

When I started to receive letters from mostly nice, good-looking, successful guys (far from the portrait of the "loser" that the Media wants you to believe in), I was absolutely smitten. I could not believe those guys were saying all these wonderful words to ME! It didn't seem real; it had to be a dream. They wanted to have a family and children! They wanted TO GET MARRIED AND SETTLE DOWN. Those were the things that one could never expect from a Russian guy. Russian guys have to be hunted down, and would only capitulate into marriage after a proper siege. Too good to be true? This was exactly my feeling from all those photos and letters.

You probably get the same feeling when you read the ads of Russian women on the Internet, the Russian mail order brides. It is too good to be true, and there must be something wrong either with the website itself or the women that advertise on it.

Well, well, well… YOU are looking for a wife. You personally, you are OK, aren't you? So are they.

Please forget everything what you have heard, read or seen in the Media. The Media prefers to concentrate on scandal stories because they must sell their newspapers, magazines, etc, and horror stories attract more attention than "happily ever after" fairy tales. (When was the last time you saw a story about a happy marriage on the front page? But a "mail order brides" horror can easily make it.) To sell more copies, magazines must publish something "extra ordinary", which will shake their audience up and get them talking, asking questions. Murder and treachery sell newspapers. This is one reason why you will rarely find happy stories about international couples in the Media.

But there is also a more powerful reason. Why do newspapers want to sell more copies and why do TV channels want to attract more viewers? They would never survive if their only source of income was the regular Joe buying his newspaper on the street corner. The driving force behind the Media is ADVERTISING! And the newspapers, magazines and TV channels' most important goal is to sell advertising space in their editions. Half of their audiences are WOMEN. Imagine if they were tell in their stories how wonderful Russian mail order brides are, how happy they make their husbands and what great kids they have? They would be crucified by half of their audience. Half of their audience would be furious at them and probably never buy their magazine or newspaper again. Now, do you understand why many of my interviews to the Media are never published? I do not give them enough facts that would support the scandalous concept of "mail order brides".

I believe the Media is actually doing a bad service to their countrymen, making them believe that Russian women are hard up and will marry anybody just to get out of their misery. This is the concept that is extensively exploited by scammers, you have probably heard about them. Dating scammers usually contact unsuspecting men through large Internet personals such as Friend Finder and others, and start professing love and desire for marriage after a few short letters. The scam scenario perfectly fits the Media's insinuations, and men believe all they need to do is to pay her travel expenses and they will have a perfect mail order bride at their front door next week Friday. When "she" does not show up at the "K"-day, they say "All those Russian women are just a scam" and if they are very unhappy, probably another "mail order brides" horror story is born.

Would they believe this story if she were from Cincinnati, Ohio, and not from Ekaterinburg, Russia? No way. But the Media created the "mail order brides" myth, which led them to think this unbelievable situation is plausible in the case of a woman from Russia. After all, she is just a mail order bride. See the consequences?

The real, legitimate Russian dating agencies do NOT offer Russian mail order brides. Russian mail order brides are a thing that does not exist. There are Russian women that seek contacts with foreign men with the intention of future marriage. Those women are educated, intelligent and smart. They are not going to become intimate submissives or maids. They seek equal partnership and will not tolerate infidelity or abuse. There is nothing wrong with them; they are not doing anything different from the women that place ads in your local personals. There is a lack of men in their country, why can't they look elsewhere? We all have the right to seek happiness.

As said a reporter from Irish TV after I answered their questions about why Russian brides are suddenly so popular in Ireland, "From what you said I see a legitimate matchmaking service and not just some sleeky mail order brides operation". And this is exactly what Russian dating agencies offer - introductions to real, existing, marriage minded Russian women. They do not sell women. They offer a way for people from different countries to find each other and be happy.

I am proud to do what I am doing. I hope with my input there will be a few more happy couples in the world, and a few less lonely people.

Because good people deserve to be happy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elena Petrova is the owner of the popular website Russian Brides Cyber Guide , an informational source for men seeking a Russian wife, and the dating agency Elena's Models that introduces eligible Russian women seeking contacts with western men. You are welcome to contact Elena at elena@elenasmodels.com , or through her websites.

I know Elena Petrova from "Elena's Models" for a long time and she was the one who inspired me to start my own website "Russian Women Magazine". With all fly-by-night operations that are filling up today's Internet, it is important to know you work with a legitimate service. I believe all legitimate agencies should stick together and maintain high ethics in their business practice.

Olga Sapp (Florida, USA)

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