mail order brides two

Mail Order Brides, two



dingy bellman outnumber
broker suspicion matchmaker
pimp arrange exploitation
local check in heartbreak
per se affection the thick of it
affair wind up don’t mind
flirty pen-pal appropriate
access fairy-tale Third World country
horde hot spot pine away
legend strike up invigorate
expand endeavor correspondence
browse check in touch down
binder nervous head over heels
suburb founder ambitious
stroll hung up play it smart
fall for harmony cultural gap
barely attention rendezvous
confirm shortage out of my mind





So early in the spring, I checked into a hotel in Ukraine. And after unlocked my dingy room, the bellman held up a well-worn piece of paper that read, “You want woman?”

I was there to do a story about one of America’s biggest international matchmakers, the modern term for what was known as broker of “mail order brides”.

The bellman — pimp — seem to confirm suspicions of the romance tour I had come to see.

But I found a story much more complex, one filled with expectation and exploitation; love and heartbreak.

Friday nights: Odessa, Ukraine.

This is what a social mixer looks like on a so-called “romance tour”. You can tell because the local women outnumber the American men about ten to one.

And right in the thick of it — that’s Bob.

He just spent $4,000 and traveled 5,000 miles (8,000 km), not to dance with taller, younger women per se — though he doesn’t seem to mind that part.

But he says he has come here to fall in love and find a wife. Bob doesn’t know that but half of that wish will come true.

Bob: “Am I in love? Heck yes I am.”

But not in the way he imagined.

But first, let’s explain how a grandfather from Pennsylvania winds up with a lapful of Eastern European affection.

There are 21 men on this tour. Most of them asked them asked us not to show their faces.

And all of them began this journey — with a single mouse click. is the internet’s largest international matchmaker, run by a company called “A Foreign Affair”.

They sell access to thousands of women around the world and take a fee for every flirty email, every interpreted phone call.

But for the man who want to move beyond pen-pals, there is this: A Foreign Affair.

The promotional video sells a fairy tale, just waiting for any guy willing to fly to a Third World Country.

At the moment, a Foreign Affairs favorite hot spot is Ukraine.

Legend has it there is a serious guy shortage in this former corner of the Soviet Union, leaving hordes of young women pining away for mature … loving … Western men — guys just like Bob Ray.

Bob Ray: “I like being married . . . I really do. Dating is fine, but you get to a certain age and it gets a little old.”

After his divorce, the former college professor hasn’t had much luck in his hometown of Harrisburg, PA, especially while raising two kids alone.

He tried e-harmony and and finally decided to expand his search overseas.

Bob: “I’m not saying anything against American women because I got a wonderful daughter; she’s beautiful.

But the point is, this is not a very big town, and everyone’s married.”

After striking up online correspondences with a few dozen women, and hiring a Russian tutor, Bob packs his bags for the most ambitious trip of his life.

After a 15-hour flight, the romance tours touch down and check in, full of jet-lag and nervous excitement.

There are binders of women to browse, dates to arrange — and since few speak English, interpreters to meet.

That is John Adams, the man behind this whole endeavor. He is the founder and owner of A Foreign Affair, and every chance he gets, he uses himself as an example of what’s possible.

John met his wife on a romance tour of Russia . . .

And fourteen years later, they have two kids, and a house in the Phoenix suburbs.

“All this can be yours, he tells his clients, “if they play it smart.”

“Don’t fall for the first one who batter eyes,” he warns, “and meet as many women as you can.”

And this will be easier than any imaged because A Foreign Affairs is constantly refreshing their menu with women who aren’t hung up on age or cultural gaps.

Potential Bride: “If I meet a man from America or another country and if I like him, I would marry him. Yes. Definitely.”

The men arrange as many dates as they can fit into a day, some are just a quick rendezvous over coffee. Others involve a stroll and a meal.

Almost all include the English-speaking third wheel.

But through three socials and three cities, Bob seems invigorated by the kind of female attention they haven’t enjoyed since . . . well — EVER.

Bob: “You saw me with a woman last night: five foot nine, volleyball player, 22, and she didn’t want me to come to this city–she wanted me to stay.

Journalist: “If you brought back this five foot nine, 22, volleyball player with you back to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, what would they say?”

Bob: “They would think I was out of my mind . . . She wouldn’t be happy.

She would NOT be happy.”

Journalist: “So you’re 65; how young is too young for you?”

Bob: “See my daughter is 30. And she told me, ‘you bring somebody, you bring somebody younger than me home, I’m going to shoot you.”

While Bob keeps looking for someone more age-appropriate, Danny, a Home Depot employee from Oregon, is certain he has found the one.

Journalist: “What’s her name?”
Danny: “Her name is Svetlana. I’m very excited. I haven’t felt this way in years, so it’s an amazing feeling to be, maybe not so young in love — but in love.”

He’s 47. She’s 23.

And they can barely communicate.

But after one four-hour date, he’s ready to buy her a ring.

He’s clearly head over heels . . . but does she feel the same way?

And what do these women really like?

See for yourself.

*     *     *     *     *     *     * 


1. The bellman thought the journalist was a regular, sight-seeing tourist. True or false?

2. How would you describe the club and the event in Odessa?

3. What is “A Foreign Affair”? Is it cheap or expensive?

4. What kind of activities, services or programs does it offer or arrange?

5. Who are the participants in online matchmaking? What do the males want? What do the females want? Why are they doing this?

6. The men find, date and marry one woman. Is this correct or incorrect? What kind of things do they do?

7. Might Bob, the retired college professor, have problems with a new Ukrainian wife in his hometown?
A. Do you know anyone who is married to a foreigner or someone of a different ethnicity? Do some people from another country or a different nationality? Why do they do this?

B. I know people who have been involved with a dating or marriage agency or online dating. Yes or no? What has been their experience?

C. What do men and women say they want? What do you think they really want? How would they describe their ideal wife or husband?

D. Are there advantages and disadvantages to marrying a foreigner or using dating or marriage services? Is it good, bad, in-between, both, neither, it depends?

E. What will happen in the future?

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