December 2002 – I’m seated in the belly of a 747 hurtling through leaden clouds at 570 mph. Behind me, frozen Boston. In front, tropical paradise. In a few hours I’ll meet the woman of my dreams; beautiful, sensual, and best of all, willing. I need a drink. I wave the stewardess over. As I eye the whiskey nips jiggling down the aisle, I think, “Am I crazy to be doing this?”
Almost on cue a man next to me pulls “The Russian Bride Travel Guide” from his bag.
“You’re headed in the wrong direction,”
“Russia’s that way.” I say, hooking my thumb out over the Atlantic.
“Oh, I’m going to Cartegena.”
“Where ya from.”
“Ah Maine. Land of the mighty moose.”
That almost elicits a smile. His balding head glistens under the dome light. A pack of Marlboro’s ride shotgun in his breast pocket. He props the book on his hard belly, fondles the cover with his fat, yellow fingers. His eyes peek over his glasses.
“Ordered it online.” He says, with a conspiratorial wink
“Sweet. How’s it working out for ya?”
He hands me the book, carefully, as if it were a signed copy of the old testament.
“Wow,” I say, “all this “independent insight for $24.95.” You’d think treasured secrets like these would command a higher price.”
He tilts his head slightly. Like a dog when you hide its ball behind your back.
“Find it helpful?”
“Heh – yeah. Signed up for the tour.”
Well, of course he did. What man wouldn’t? So powerful is the desire for love that our otherwise skeptical and rational nature embraces faith and optimism. All it takes is a few photos, or a badly written book, to set in motion a potentially disastrous chain of events.
The “The Russian Bride Travel Guide” is found on several sites promoting romance tours to different parts of the world. It works something like this; a man visits the site, gets a little chubbed up over photos of smokin hot 24 yr olds; orders, reads the $25 sales pitch, and charges the overpriced tour to his gold card.
The men who prefer blonds, vodka, and cold weather go to Russia. My friend probably prefers darker features, rum, palm trees. He’ll stay in Cartegena for a week hemorrhaging money. If he’s lucky he won’t get kidnapped, robbed, or catch a tropical disease. He’ll find himself in a room full of young hotties who speak another language. With the help of a translator he’ll make some dates, sweat heavily, and have some fun. He’ll return home to Maine; back to his life of tapping trees.
Will our hero find love? Will I ever get my Seven and Seven? These are profound questions. My prospects look good. The stewardess is creeping ever closer. But our hero’s paying a lot of money to have someone hold his hand. I’m not saying it can’t work. I’m saying its not the most realistic, manly, or cost effective way to forge an international connection.
OK, maybe he gets lucky. It could happen. Lets say he meets the one. Someone who looks good in red flannel. Remember, he’s only on this tour a week then he’s back home. Is he really going to pay a lawyer for a fiance visa? If he does, he’s got more money than common sense. Let me predict his future. My friend, and his young Colombian bride fall in love. They live together happily ever after. A year later she asks him for a divorce. “Me afraid of moose,” she says. She heads off to moose-free Miami with someone younger. She takes plenty of his money with her.
It may be too late for my pot bellied friend. But it’s not to late for you. I’m going to save you a lot of cash and angst. Let me tell you the story of how I found myself on this plane drinking Seven and Sevens. How I met my girlfriend of three years. Forget the “independent” sales pitch and expensive tours. Forget the self-serving bullshit. After reading this article you will have more than enough information to find a foreign lover. Cheap. It’s not the only way. It’s my way. One caveat; this method will not work if you’re determined to remain at home waiting for the gods to intervene on your behalf. They rarely do. Unless it’s to give you prostrate cancer. If that’s your style I suggest you pay for the tour.
And damn-it man, switch to bran muffins.