There's No Shipping Cost for True
By Jim Collins
The Russian Bride Speech
We were talking about women, and
Vern, as usual, was trying to get on my nerves.
"You should see Don's wife,"
said Vern, "I'm tellin' ya, she could be a model. He got her
from Russia -- one of those mail order brides. He says she keeps the
house spotless and hardly ever complains."
Sometimes I wondered if Vern really
thought about women this way or if he just said these things to piss
"If I had it to do all over again,"
said Vern, "I'd get me one of those Russian brides. You e-mail a
bunch of them on the Internet, then you go over there for a couple
of weeks, and bring back the one you like best. You can't go
wrong! If it ends up you don't like her, just ship her back and
get a different one."
Since Vern had apparently met Don's
wife, I didn't understand how he could think of her as some kind
of merchandise rather than a human being. As I said, maybe he was
just trying to get a rise out of me. Vern gave his Russian bride
speech every few months, and I just did my best to ignore it.
About a year later, I was talking to
my archeologist buddy Jeff. We'd both done a lot of traveling when
we were in our 20s and we were having one of those conversations in
which we try to convince ourselves that we aren't getting older.
"Hey," said Jeff, "how about
Outer Mongolia? There really is such a place-- we should go to Outer
"I'm game," I said, "And we
should backpack our way across Russia on the way."
I told Jeff about Vern's Russian
bride speech, and he pointed out that if you ignored the parts that
made women sound like pets or property, Vern just might be on to
something. The Outer Mongolia trip remained somewhat amorphous, but
Jeff kept encouraging me to look into "the Russian bride thing."
Of course, I knew I'd never hear the end of it if Vern found out,
but I decided, what the hell, I just wouldn't tell Vern…
A few days and a few hundred
bookmarks later, I'd found enough Russian bride sites to choke a
horse (or even a small herd). I'd also developed a healthy
skepticism. If these sites were to be believed, half the women in Russia were fashion models with PhDs and they were all named Elena,
Anna, or Olga. Yeah, right. At least, I thought, they could come up
with some other names.
I figured that not all the sites
could be bogus though-after all, Vern's buddy Don had actually
married a real-life Russian bride. So I did an Internet search on
"Russian bride" and "review," figuring somebody must
have started cataloguing and critiquing all these sites. The second
match I found was http://www.womenrussia.com/ where I read those
fateful words "I bet you are not sure if [Russian bride sites] are
100% honest in supplying you with reliable information on the
subject--otherwise what are you doing here?" I was hooked. I
stayed up until 3:00 a.m. reading everything on the site. I was so excited that I even e-mailed the URL to Vern.
Since I'm basically a cheap
bastard, I was also impressed with the prices on womenrussia.com.
When you compare that site's Weekly Ladies Catalog with "800+
photos, addresses and phone numbers of single Russian women for only
$95" to the going rate at other sites of $10 to $15 per address,
it's not hard to do the math. I also signed up for the "Letter
of introduction in Russian" service; $75 seemed like a bit much at
first, but when I thought about it, it seemed pretty stupid to write
to Russian women in English when a lot of them wouldn't understand
what the heck I was saying. I also spent about $100 on a
professional photographer who could make me look younger and more
handsome than I really am (and believe me, THAT was a bargain . . .)
Unquestionably the best source for
meeting Russian women is the Weekly Ladies Catalog at
www.womenrussia.com. I have typically gotten responses to about 70%
of my "first contact" letters-and that's from writing to women
who are frankly too young and too pretty for me. Most of the letters
I get are well thought-out, detailed responses to specific things I
have said in my letters-I almost never get "form letters" that
sound as if they have been written to a bunch of other guys, which
is standard fare from the women at most other sites I have tried.
Russian Women for Free
Before I signed up for the Weekly
Ladies Catalog, I decided to try my luck on a site called "Free
Russian Personals" (http://www.freepersonals.ru/.) I liked that
word "free" but, not surprisingly, I soon found out that you get
what you pay for. After writing to a few dozen women I heard back
from "Anna" who was really attractive, smart, and seemingly
everything I could ever want in a woman. Of course, it only took a
few e-mails before "Anna" fell in love with me and needed money
for her deathly ill mother, all the while neglecting to answer my
questions about her address, her last name, her phone number, etc.
When I checked with the Free Russian Personals folks, I found that
they had removed Anna's profile from their site-it seems that Anna
fell in love a lot and her mother got horribly ill on a fairly
Of course, many of the Free Russian
Personals ads are legitimate and eventually I met a nice woman named
Elena who was going to school in France. We exchanged a few letters
before she met a French guy with whom she has presumably been living
happily ever after. Nonetheless, I learned a lot from the Free
Russian Personals site. Basically the women on freepersonals.ru
receive as many as one hundred responses every day. A lot of those
letters get ignored ("Hey baby, you're a fox! Lets hook up. I'm
rich, so we should take you shopping in New York!") (And, yes,
that was the entire content of a real letter that was received by
one of the women I met.) Nonetheless, if you want to have a
reasonable chance at meeting a woman on the Free Russian Personals
site, you pretty much need to be one of the first few dozen guys to
write to her, and it helps a lot if your letter is in Russian. You
also have to send your letter within the first few hours after a woman's ad posts, since a lot of guys are sending her 500-megabyte
picture files that fill up her mailbox in a matter of minutes. Once
her box is full, your letter will vanish into the ether, and you'll
never even know it. (And by the way, on behalf of all the women I
have corresponded with, I would like to forward their collective
request that you guys refrain from sending a) pictures of yourself
naked, b) pictures of yourself in Speedo briefs, and c) pictures of somebody else naked with your head pasted on the top of their body;
believe it or not, Russian women are not fooled by this clever
In summary, here's my bottom line
on the Free Russian Personals site: with good professional photos, a
Russian letter of introduction, and persistent lurking so that I
could send my letter within minutes after a new batch of ads posted,
I got a response to about one out of twenty-five "first contact"
letters I wrote, and about half of those responses were from
Internet scammers who just wanted to con me out of my hard-earned
cash. My total time investment was about five hours for each woman I
met. But, hey, it was "free."
Kiss-ing Russian Brides
I also tried my hand at meeting women
on the Kiss.com website. A lot of Russian women advertise there, but
I was pretty disgusted by the way the site was run. There are many
undocumented facts and tricks that you need to know to make the site
useful, and the people who run the site employ a few practices that
I found to be very questionable. If any of you guys out there are interested, I'll gladly supply you with all the details.
I had better luck meeting women at
Kiss.com than I did on the Free Russian Personals site. I typically
got one response from every ten "first contact" letters that I
wrote, but I think many of those were because my introductory letter
was in Russian. Russian women on Kiss.com get about fifty to seventy-five responses per day and one woman told me she got five
e-mails between the time she started setting up her profile on the
site and the time she finished it (about fifteen minutes). So you
still have to be one of the first guys to write to a woman on
Kiss.com if you don't want to get lost in the crowd.
After I started corresponding with a
few Kiss.com women, I noticed a pattern in their letters. All the
responses I received had basically two parts. Part One was a general
letter that I assume was sent to a bunch of guys. Part Two consisted
of a few sentences at the end that answered my specific questions or
replied to something I had said. The English in Part Two was always
a lot worse than the English in Part One. I tried to get women to
increase the size of their Part Twos by asking a lot of questions,
but it didn't work. If I gave a woman too much work to do she
either just answered the last question I asked or didn't respond
at all. A couple of times I got Part Twos that I could tell were
supposed to be for other guys.
I also found that after about two to
four weeks, some women would stop answering my e-mails. Sometimes
this followed a letter asking what I came to call "weed-out"
questions-questions that were designed to investigate my attitudes
and opinions about relationships, children, marriage, etc. I always answered these questions honestly (and I would recommend you do so
as well) even when I could tell that she wasn't going to like my
answers. After all, what would be the point of hanging on to a
relationship that had to be built on lies to survive? More often,
however, women just disappeared for no apparent reason; presumably
they found the man of their dreams and he wasn't me.
All Those Eggs and Only One Basket
Of course there were also a few women
on Kiss.com who fell madly in love with me and desperately needed
money by their second or third e-mail. They were all fashion-model
beautiful and spoke great English, but were strangely unable to
provide things like a last name, an address, or a phone number.
was feeling particularly
exasperated about this state of affairs one day when I received an
e-mail from an incredibly beautiful woman named Lena with whom I had
been corresponding for about a month. I had really come to like Lena
a lot, since she was not only beautiful, but also smart and she had
a great sense of humor. She and I had been corresponding about when
I would visit Russia and the possibility of our meeting. Suddenly
she suggested that we should meet someplace "more romantic" than
her hometown. "Oh great," I thought, "this is where she hits
me up for a plane ticket, visa money, and travel expenses." I knew
she was too good to be true. So, with a heavy sigh, I asked for her
phone number and told her that I wanted to send her a gift and would
need her last name and address. She was reluctant to tell me any of those things, and I thought, "Sure enough, just another scammer."
Then, much to my surprise, Lena gave
me her phone number. I arranged for a translator and called her a
couple of days later at a prearranged time. When we talked she
seemed really nervous and I felt pretty awkward too, but we both
felt a lot closer to each other by the end of the conversation. Her birthday was a few days later, so I sent her flowers and candy
(along with a toy for her cat) through a Russian gift delivery
service. (By the way, if you ever want an adventure in
cross-cultural communication, try to get a Russian flower delivery
service to include a cat toy!) As an added bonus, the delivery service took Lena's photo when they delivered the flowers. I had
learned from the womenrussia.com web site that this was a good way
to insure that a woman was "real" and not an Internet scammer. I
was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy about Lena by this point, and the
photo settled any final doubts I might have had about her.
Things with Lena took off pretty fast
after that. We talked on the phone again, and tried hard to not use
the translator, who just stayed on the line to help when we got
stuck. We wrote to each other every day. Her Part Twos quickly got
bigger and her Part Ones soon disappeared completely. We had incredibly deep discussions about our hopes and dreams. We discussed
our strengths and weaknesses honestly and openly, and we accepted
each other for who we were. She pledged her eternal devotion to me
and I fell madly in love with her. I wrote her poems and her English
wasn't good enough to know how bad they were. She replied with
poetry in English that she found God-only-knows-where.
I made her feel safe. She made
me a hero. We had dreams about each other that were eerily similar,
and it seemed that sometimes we were sharing the same dreams. Once I
composed an e-mail to her with lyrics from a Russian song: "Без
тебя я не я,
меня нет" which
translates to "Without you I am not myself; without you there is
no me." After I'd written that, but before I sent it, she
e-mailed me saying, "I think about you all time. My heart prompts me that I can not separate you from me any more."
After a month I'd dropped all my
other correspondence; now I knew what had happened to the women who
stopped answering my e-mails and I was giddily happy for them all. I
started putting together my fiancée visa package and realized I had
ended up with thirty pictures of Lena and a two-inch stack of letters we'd exchanged. I started reorganizing my business and
financial affairs so that I could give Lena everything she had ever
dreamed of once we were married. I sent Lena a long e-mail
discussing my approach to financial matters and prompting her for
her input. She was strangely silent, but I ignored that and assumed
that she was just busy or had had a hard day at work. I sent her
roses and a teddy bear, planning to send her a gift each week until
we met. Two more days went by and she didn't e-mail me. I wrote and asked what was wrong.
As it turned out, she had thought the
financial discussion meant that I didn't trust her. In fact, the
flowers I had sent her made the situation even worse. I had used the
same gift delivery service that had delivered her birthday flowers, and the same guys showed up to take her picture and deliver the
roses. Apparently everyone in Russia sees the flower-delivery photo
as a test to catch Internet scammers-or at least these guys did. So
Lena ended up feeling humiliated and certain that I didn't trust
her at all. She was devastated and told me goodbye. My frantic
explanations and apologies went unanswered. I began to seriously
consider joining a monastery.
Ok, I know that this is the part of
the movie where the cultural misunderstanding gets resolved,
everyone laughs about it, and we all live happily ever after. So now
I'm just waiting for that scene to made its way to the screen
before the final credits start rolling …
Maybe things will work out with Lena,
but if they don't, at least I've had a chance to experience a
tenderness and passion that I thought only existed in dreams and
poetry. I sure won't talk to Vern about any of this though-he'd just tell me that Lena was "defective merchandise" and that I
should throw her away and order a different one. At least there's
one thing I can be certain of: true love is real and it's out there
somewhere waiting for me to find it.
Do you have a
story to tell? We want to hear from you!
Click here to Send
Strange way maybe the best way
by Steve Chapple: "It seems a rather
unusual way to meet your wife, but maybe it's the best way
getting to know someone's personality via letters and
conversations before meeting in person and hormones
start affecting thoughts and decisions..."
Search of my Soulmate
By Charles Smith: "Since the break-up with my last American girl friend, I have been lonely and willing to
try about anything. I contacted a Russian romantic tour company in the States and started to use
their email service to correspond with various women..."
JUST RELEASED! New
E-book by Elena Petrova:
"How To Find And Marry A Girl Like
may well turn out to be the best purchase I have made... I hope not
too many of my competitors find this book!"
how to find, court and finally marry a
beautiful Russian woman!
This is the
only book written by a beautiful Russian woman married to a
western man - for more than 5 years! - and who is also
the owner of a highly successful Internet dating agency.
Find out once and forever what
Russian women are really looking for, why
they are looking for it and how
you can give them exactly what they want!
Get responses on your
letters to beautiful Russian women - 9 out of 10, GUARANTEED!
With "How To Find
And Marry A Girl Like Me" you'll learn knock-out techniques
that will instantly boost your success rate in dating Russian women
- online and in real life. You will have more beautiful girls that
want to be with you than you can handle!
And not just ordinary
girls! They will be beautiful, intelligent, but most of all - honest
and sincere! You will be the one to take your pick!
wasting your time and money in search for a Russian wife... Get
it done - painlessly, easily, and certainly! Moreover, have lots of
fun along the way!
too can marry a girl like the one on the picture... Click
New Ebook You Cannot Afford To Miss
can be complicated... it doesn't have to be! You
can jump start your love life - or you can keep wandering in the dark; the
choice is yours!
When it comes to dating, most men make the
same silly mistakes with women - over and over, with disastrous
Do you want to do BETTER than
99% of other guys? Click