Remote Control - Saturday 14 September 2013

Mail order bride
Mail order bride

Courting controversy

“Kevin Costner, Val Kilmer, Mel Gibson...no, not Tom Cruise.”

So spoke two young Russian ladies discussing which mail-order husbands they’d prefer in what is far from an economic backwater (Winter Olympics, football World Cup, World Athletics Championships, and even United against Chelsea in the Champions League Final).

Let’s be honest, 
Holywood A-listers don’t go online looking for their next wife.

Just overweight men, the interminably shy and those with worrying expectations.

Like the Utah diver called Dave who claimed the women of Togliatti in Samara 
Oblast – where he’d headed on a ‘date’ – scored high on the “appearance charts” – “9s are everywhere”.

Mail Order Bride 
(National Geographic) was a hard watch.

People desperate for ‘love’ trying to find romance with the click of a mouse.

Or, as one contributor put it: “Girls willing to risk their lives all for a new life in America.”

Dave Knabel, an international marriage broker, has married a previous client and runs a website offering A Volga Girl.

He was happy to proclaim the Russian ladies are “younger, fitter, prettier”.

Volga or vulgar?

He also claims his offerings are more traditional – he himself translated this: “Some American women are too much into equal in every way.”

Oh dear.

This ethos transmutes within the matching 
process – men do not post profiles, only the men pay (“she’s my most expensive toy”) and the women do not have information on past criminal records.

Take Indle G King Jnr.

The programme used the phrase “terrible mismatch”, which is somewhat of a total understatement.

His Russian mail-order wife moved out of the marital bed – “he was too fat to sleep with” – and then went missing for two years.

Her body was found dumped beneath a mattress.

In a police interview King said: “What am I going to do? Divorce her?”

The motive for murder: King felt fleeced by his first Russian wife, and he was determined not to let the second one divorce him on unfavourable terms.

There was even a man who went on to share his single-bedroomed flat in Vegas was worried he faced the end of a ‘romance’ at the entrance to an empty airport arrivals tunnel as his bride-to-be “would run off with the travel money I sent her”.

The only sane person on the whole show express fears that men are looking at “economically impoverished nations for a woman who is submissive” and that the unrequited are “gullible men falling for marketing fantasies”.

I was going to let her have the final word. But I’ll sign off this week with an image: The betrothed at one $50 wedding entered the Civil Marriage Commissioner’s office under a sign reading “Clerks have no access to the safe”.

It’s every little girl’s dream.

Alan Burrows