A Million Roses in the American Basket

ME. Tallinn, Estonia,
April 12, 1995

by Tatiana Barmakova
(Translation into Russian)

Click here for the original article in Russian

What else do these rich Americans need? Especially the men. I look at their photographs: well groomed, elegant, happy. As though they have never been tired, never suffered, never been desperate. Indeed, even in their worst nightmares they have never seen our problems. Or can they just hide their inner turmoil? The more I think about the short answers to the questions in the profile, the more I catch myself thinking that even the most prosperous Rockefeller over there must go crazy trying to make sense of the deafening silence between the sexes.

But if they're all really so sterling (they like to cook, raise a family, are financially secure, educated, loyal, do not smoke or drink excessively), how come they have not been snatched up by these American women? Can it be that American women are so blind that they do not understand the treasures they reject? After all, our women would kill for a local knight in shining armor who would just once order a bouquet of fresh cut roses from a faraway land delivered to her Estonian address. And if he asked her humbly to attend social events with him, well, cannot describe what would happen.You see, we are not used either to bouquets of flowers or attending social events. Neither are we used to kind words and understanding looks (Fortunately there are the rare exceptions). So, those silly American women have never been in our shoes and think they know all about making life good. They pretend to be great feminists (as though separatism is a cure for life's little imbalances); they do not want to have children, put all their careers first, call for total independence from men. In the meantime, overseas men more and more put all their hopes on Russian brides, dreaming of hearing the little words "I do". And to satisfy this demand, international matchmaking services spring up left and right, bearing the weight of responsibility for the survival of the human race.

In the West, such services have been around for years. And what is wrong with any avenue to escape from one's tight circle of loneliness? One may accuse these services of functioning like a meat market. But so what? The wiser the person, the more often he or she chooses not solely love as the criterion for a successful marriage, but also traits of family values. I have read as much in the works of psychologist Nicholas Kozlov. Perhaps he is right in saying that the best marriage is the alliance of love and reason. If you are looking for a compatible mate, then the search should be a rationale one.

In November 1994, Galina Tsibulenko of Tallinn, Estonia joined the ranks of the professional, quotable psychologists. She dared to give women in her country hope by founding a satellite office off one of those prominent western services, Encounters International. A similar office has been open for almost 2 years in Moscow. I can attest to the success of her outfit.You would never believe the changes women experience when they resort to the services of an international matchmaker. They start repairing their apartments, dye their hair, lose weight, sew super fashionable clothes, take English classes or study English at home. A host of new emotions, joy and hope for the future, bubble up from their lonely souls. It is hard to believe that these potential brides were so recently locked in depression, while viewing the idea of a marriage service with utmost caution and skepticism.

I see all types of women: divorced, single, widowed, university degrees, no degree at all, one child, no child at all. Naturally, the program does not accept everyone. The service prefers the ages between 18 and 55, but in greatest demand are the 25 to 40 year olds. I saw the evidence for this while browsing through the album of successful engagements in the American office. American men prefer to pick candidates when the age differential becomes greater than, say, 10 to 15 years. These suitors from the Land of Uncle Sam like exclusively slim, attractive, intelligent women without children or with a single child. 98% of them hate women who smoke.

If you meet all the criteria, and at least show a willingness to begin learning English, then you may try your luck at Encounters International. In order to spare the office from cease less calls. I'll try here to answer a few inevitable questions. The first screening starts during the telephone interview. It is designed to find out what you are all about and why you need all this. After that, Ms. Tsibulenko invites you for an appointment and tells you in detail about the terms of the program -- kind of like a woman's club. The similar one for men is in a suburb of Washington, D.C. By the way, bachelors there pay a few thousand dollars in search of a Russian bride.

A few color, distinctive photos of you, a five- to seven- minute video interview, your profile... soon members of the American bachelor club will have an opportunity to view your package and evaluate. At the same time, you choose the one who suits you (either a rich manager, a warehouse worker, or a dentist) from the catalog albums. As a matter of fact, the "data bank"replenishes itself every month. The day of my visit there, six new bachelors made their debut in the catalog. Mostly these were middle-aged, well to do, mature, with different personal histories.

Later the correspondence starts. Thanks to Encounters Internatinal's advanced communications technology, your letters will reach the addressee in no time- by fax. At the speed of lightning you will get the response in the same way. Generally speaking, communication lasts continuously for 2 to 4 month; after that a man comes here for a visit. The rest is in the hands of Cupid. During the visit, a couple will become officially engaged, and when he returns to American soil, the fiance will send his betrothed touching love messages daily.

At the present time, 65% of the women are participating in correspondence. Each one can write letters to 5 potential husbands. In this respect, Americans have more advantages: a man is entitled to write letters to ten women. There is nothing we can do about this discrepancy - there are more brides than grooms. An important point about the service is that it guarantees confidentiality. If you decide to keep quiet about your desire to find a husband from theUnited States, nobody will be the wiser. And then one day there will come a letter addressed to you: "I love you, I kiss you". In the evening there will be a ring at the door and you will get a basket of freshly cut roses ... from your American betrothed.

Encounters International
Phone: (301) 530-7759
Fax: (301) 789-2508
E-mail: natasha@encount.com