Kathryn's Blog: Outside the U. S. A.

Men Seeking Foriegn Brides Must Report Backgrounds

Men seeding foreign brides are now having to comply with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) which went into effect in March 2006.  IMBRA is an effort to to protect women from potential abuse from American men who look for foreign wives on the Internet.  IMBRA requires that men provide the government and dating agencies with information about criminal records and marital history before bringing a woman into this country.  Figures given in an article from the New York Times seem to support the concern:  During fiscal year 2006, 9,500 woman applied for permanent residence in the U.S. under the Violence Against Women Act, as opposed to less than 2,500 in 1998.  At the same time, the increase of women entering the U.S. to marry has skyrocketed: 37,500 in fiscal 2006, a 50% increase from 2002, and a fourfold increase since 9,500 in 1998.  This would translate into roughly 25% of foreign women in 1998 and 2006 who left American men because of potential abuse.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


About Guys Looking for Russian Brides

If you are interested in what kinds of men use dating sites to find Russian brides, with lots of facts and figures.

Here is a little of what the article has to say:

Country-wise, most paying members are from United States, with United Kingdom holding sizable second, which is no surprise as those countries are also the leaders by the number of registered users. Other countries in top 10 include: Australia, Canada, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, France, New Zealand, and South Africa. Turkey, which is number 3 for the number of users registered on ElenasModels.com website, didn’t make it into the top 10 by the number of paying users, as well as Italy and Spain (number 6 and 10 respectively by the number of registered users); Norway, New Zealand and South Africa replaced them in the top 10. Apparently, hot-blooded European Southerners prefer looking while men from distant and cooler countries are jumping into action.

The average age of paying members seeking Russian ‘mail order brides’ is 42.9 years vs. 37.8 years for non-paying members, with only 5.1% of paying members being under 30 years old compared to 21.1% for non-paying members. Under-30 men do not appear particularly serious about marrying someone halfway around the world.

From Your Romance Coach,
Kathryn Lord


IMBRA and Mail Order Brides

I’ve written before about the dangers of looking for mates through sites offering women from Russia, Nigeria, or other economically distressed countries.  Not only are American men easy targets for scams, the women are easily manipulated by men who are not the kind of wholesome mate material that they’d like us to think.

Keli Dailey in “I Wish They All Could Be Mail-Order Girls” writes about the newly enacted International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), which was passed as a rider to the Violence Against Women Act, all of which took effect this last March.  While I had felt squeamish about the whole idea of men going abroad to find wives (often openly courted by the sites or marriage brokers with allusions that the women being offered were old-fashioned in their values and not like modern American women), this article tells some of the distasteful stories, along with the implications of IMBRA for men still looking abroad.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Foriegn Born and Dating Americans

I have had a number of clients who were born outside of the United States, now living and trying to date in the USA.  Not only do these folks often have the different cultural norms of courtship to figure out, if English is their second language, understanding and being understood can pose major problems.  Even acquired fluency in English still can leave the speaker with a strong accent that makes being understood difficult.  Also, when it comes to finding marriage partners, usually people look for more similarities than differences.  Anything that smooths the bumps helps.

I saw in today’s paper (7/29/06) an article by Dionne Walker of the Associated Press about people and businesses emerging that help such folks sound more “American.”  Also mentioned in the article is the online based service Accent Master  While I can’t vouch for the quality of any of these services, I was surprised to read about the existence of them at all.  If you speak heavily accented English, you might want to check them out.

From Your Romance Coach,
Kathryn Lord


Internet Dating Goes Mainstream

James Silver writes about his return to dating at age 35 (a youngster!) in a lengthy article “Dating game? It’s more like a war zone” for the London Daily Mail.  Mostly, the article is a description of first date disasters which began online and off, but I thought one of his observations was particularly apt:

Until a couple of years ago, online romance was a freak show peopled by drooling creeps, social misfits with teddy-bear collections still living with their mothers at 43 and those let out on day-release.

Anyway, in just five years that has changed entirely. While no doubt you would still be able to root out a host of oddballs on every dating site, now many attractive, functional single men and women, who hold down good jobs and don’t live with their mums, are at it, too. And, most significantly, they talk about it openly, compare notes and laugh about their (many) dating disasters.

Since I met my husband on Match.com in 1998, I can’t agree with Silver that up 2004, online daters were members of a freak show, but I do agree that in the last five years, Internet dating has arrived.  The turning point was 9/11/2001.  Remember what we all went through?  Suddenly, we had an almost universal awareness of the brevity of life and an aching for family and connection.  People FLOCKED to online dating sites looking for partners.  Suddenly, looking for love online was mainstream, and the cyber-closet was no longer needed.

Yes, dating sites have their share of weirdos and misfits, just like in the general population.  Yes, you have to weed through to find the gems.  But now you know where they are hanging out.  And focus on the jewels, not the garbage around them.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


UK Dating Site Reports Interesting Stats

Gumtree.com, a London, England, site, surveyed 1600 of it’s members about their Internet dating experiences.  While it doesn’t mean much for U. S. singles to know that Glasgow came out on top for dating site usage and success (almost 3/4 of the men and over half the women reported having a “fling” with someone they met online), still, the numbers indicate the growing importance of dating sites for singles to connect.  Glasgow men and women also reported high percentages of longer term romance: 68% of men, 71% of women reported at least one serious or long-term relationship stemming from an Internet meeting.

Here’s the figures that I found most interesting: 77% of men and 33% of women from Glasgow said they found Internet dating more comfortable for connecting than a bar or the workplace.  Wow.

This all points to the growing acceptance of online connecting.  Singles like the ease, simplicity, and privacy.  Not to mention the ability to meet many, many more eligible singles than has ever been possible before.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Rings for Singles from Singelringen.com

Now, here’s a good idea, though Matt Katz, writing about www.singelringen.com, doesn’t sound sure.  Singelringen’s Swedish founders are trying to start a movement linking being single to being cool, and signifying one’s single status with a ring, turquoise with a silver lining.  No instructions on what finger or hand to wear it on.

Here’s what I think is so great about it: If this became a movement, then singles would have a pretty reliable way to identify other singles.  Now, folks scan to see if someone’s wearing a wedding ring, but the absence of a ring doesn’t mean that a person is single.  Particularly with men, for whom wedding rings are optional, even if they are married.

What Internet dating sites do that makes so much sense is that it helps singles identify easily other people who are looking for dates.  Unfortunately, you can’t assume that these folks are really available (as in legal), but they are self-identifying as looking.

The rings do the same offline, in the real world.  And it is a little hard to imagine someone wearing a singelringen if they weren’t single.  Though of course it is possible.  But what if it falls out of your pocket in the washing machine and your spouse finds it?  Gotcha!

Wasn’t there some attempt a few years ago to sell single women diamond rings for their right hands?  Can’t remember what they called the rings, but I am pretty certain that the diamond industry was hoping it would catch on.  Frankly, that felt a little pathetic, like, if no guy gives me a diamond, I’ll buy one for myself.

Singelringen’s sound different, signaling single status for both men and women.  Very handy.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Think Valentine’s Day is Burdensome?

If you writhe under the pressure of getting just the right Valentine’s Day gift or card, be glad you aren’t living in South Korea. There, merchants have Seen the Light of money-making possibilities in holidays devoted to love and have come up with about 20 per year.

Here are just a few:

January 14 is Diary Day, when lovers are encouraged to buy calendars and mark all their special days.

February 14 is—you guessed it—Valentine’s Day. Only women buy men chocolate.

March 14 is White Day. Now the guys buy candies for the ladies.

April 14 is Black Day. This is the love holiday for singles, who eat black food that day.

Got the picture? Be glad that February 14th occurs only once a year.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Ugandan Manners Online

Here’s an article out of Uganda about Online dating etiquette, most of which I absolutely agree with. Except #4. For heaven’s sake, why not look online for information about your correspondent? What is Googling all about, anyway? Click here for my earlier postings about Googling.

Rule no. 1: Respond politely and quickly to any expressions of interest.

Rule no. 2: Be honestHonesty is sign of respect.

Rule no. 3: Don’t move too fast.

Rule no. 4: Don’t go digging for information on your new friends.

Rule no. 5: Don’t treat the website like a porn site.

Rule no. 6: Don’t ask for favours. Never ask for money, credit cards, gifts, airline tickets or accommodation, no matter how close you are with your on-line friends.

It’s good to see these kind of guidelines from anywhere, but since so manyof the dating scams seem to be originating in Nigeria, Ugandan behavior suggestions are much appreciated.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Australian Singles Look for Love and Money

Rich men in Australia are now signing up for dates with “stunning and savvy” women—at up to $2995 per year. Millionaire Matchmaker International has claimed the territory that the 4M Club and the Millionaires’ Club here in the states is working: busy, very rich men and the women who want them.

Sounds like being rich does not necessarily mean tall, dark, and handsome, because Millionaire Matchmaker International also counsels the guys, if necessary, on wardrobe, dating skills, and the need for dentistry and plastic surgery, even. Short on the romance? Millionaire MatchmakerInternational will even do the creative work on the date, complete with ordering flowers and the limo.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Oooh, Those French Kisses!  Cook Dating!

If I ever find myself single again, I’m going to Paris. Actually, I’d just as soon not wait for Paris until I am single (Are you listening, Drew?), but a new idea for those looking for love is bubbling on the stoves in France.

French cooking schools have come up with “cook-dating,” cooking classes for singles only, three of each, male and female, and once a month, gays only. Yippee! Classes are booked up weeks in advance, and why not? Fun, food, and maybe romance. Who can beat that?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS If you want to find out more, you have to be able to read French. Do a Google search using “cook-dating” and you should find some links.


Dating Scams, The Nigerian Connection, and Australian Men

In July, I wrote a posting here about

Here’s another story about unsuspecting daters getting hooked for money from scammers with a Nigerian connection. Don’t, I repeat DON’T, get caught up with anyone who asks you to cash checks or money orders for them, ESPECIALLY if there is a Nigerian connection.

And for guys who usually feel safer, here’s an article out of Sydney, Australia, about a series of abduction/robberies of men. Apparently, these men (in their early 20’s) were lured to meetings with blind dates they had met on the Internet. When they went to the meeting, they were ambushed at knife point, kidnapped, and taken to the nearest ATM. After emptying theirATM accounts, the robbers took the money and drove off in the car, leaving the victim stranded.

I don’t know if Australian men are particularly over-confident,because this reminds me of another of my earlier postings about an Australian man who was particularly dumb about his own safety. But what I wrote there applies here too: Pay attention to basic safety rules. Arrange first meeting(s) in public places where there will be people around. Men, don’t assume that because you are a guy, you are safe. Don’t make stupid mistakes with your life.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

Dear Gringo, Brazil and Germany Connect

I stumbled on this great column and writer this morning—Dear Gringo by Dr. G. Looks like Dr. G writes on various relationship issues for gringoes (Americans?) living in Brazil. This article deals just beautifully with a brief history of matchmaking and where Internet dating fits in, and also men’s superficiality (not all men, I know, but some—the 35 year old guy looking for 18-25 year old nice bodied females).

Dr. G hyperlinks to another article by a German man who met a lovely Brazilian lady on the Internet (sort of by accident, it seems. thinking she lived in Germany too), and without ever planning to, now lives in Brazil. Talk about backing into a long-distance relationship!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Brother Bill, Stephen King, Warren Silver, and Russian Brides

Sunday mornings at Romance Headquarters are pretty quiet, but a couple of interesting pieces came via email. The : Stephen King, who was president of my class at the University of Maine in Orono, spoke to the current graduating class yesterday. King, who is probably the most financially successful UMO grad ever, told graduates to read voraciously (I do), give 10% of your income away (I’m working on it), and stay in Maine (we’ll be there six months a year starting in 2006). I never met King, but I do have a signed copy of “Cujo” somewhere, and I hear that my debate partner in high school (Warren Silver) is his attorney. I guess that’s one degree of separation, right?

The other piece of interest was about Russian brides and fraud. Mikhail Vanin lives in Samara on the Volga River, and has made himself a business tracing down the would-be girlfriends of foreigners. “Vanin, a 44-year-old romantic at heart, said he doesn’t want to sound pessimistic, but ‘eight out of 10 times the women I investigate turn out to be nonexistent or even a gang of criminal Internet scammers.’‘’ I’ve written about Russian brides and Ukrainian grooms before, my advice is still the same: Buyer beware. Generally, that’s what you are: a buyer, and you will be putting up the money without any assurance of getting the goods.

Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS I just did a Google search on Warren Silver and see that he was nominated to the Maine Supreme Court ‘just last month. All right, Warren! And Warren, if you see this, I’ve got a different last name now. Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!


Russian Brides—and Ukrainian Grooms?

Sometimes I think that on any given day, only three or four interesting ideas are bouncing around the world, and everyone is thinking and writing about those same three or four things. Like when I started writing about True.com. Suddenly, articles everywhere! Yesterday, it was Russian brides. Jane Ganahl wrote a fascinating article called “Turning the tables on male order” for http://www.sfgate.com/ (or maybe she works for the San Francisco Chronicle—it’s hard to tell). Ganahl says that more than 400 Internet sites are devoted to connecting up American men and foreign women, mostly from the former Soviet Union, the Philippines, Colombia, Costa Rica, and China.

Then last night, I get an email through my website from a guy who says he has met a Russian woman who wants to come here and live with him. His question? Is this real or a scam? My answer? Well, it could be either, but beware. There are women all over the world in desperate enough situations to try to marry an American to get here. Any American.

Interesting that eHarmony matches people up to be as similar as possible, and here are matching sites that inherently match people who are massively different. I’d like to see some stats on how well marriages between people of different nationalities, cultures, and languages fair.

Ganahl also included a couple of sites for the ladies: One (http://www.alovinghusband.com/) matches American women with foreign men. Intriguing idea, right? I looked up the site and did a couple of searches. No men at all over 50, and 11 between 40 and 50, every one from the Ukraine. Those guys ought to hook up with the Russian ladies. Not so far to travel for that first coffee date. The other site was http://www.mailorderhusbands.net/—a spoof, but definitely worth the visit.

So “Buyer beware!” about sites offering foreign pairings. Note that the matches come from countries where the financial situations are pretty bad, which would make financial incentives for matching with Americans likely.



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