Why bother with the dating game when you can just throw a wad of cash at the problem and buy yourself a bride instead? Sure, she might not be in love with you yet, and there’s a chance she never will be. But nothing in life is a guarantee, so why not throw caution to the wind and purchase yourself a soulmate? The concept of store-bought romance might sound crazy to most of you, but believe it or not, paying for a wife is not a thing of the past. Thousands of men from around the world are buying brides every year.
The term “mail-order bride” originated on the American frontier in the 19th century. At that time, the number of men on the frontier far outnumbered the amount of available women, so lonely farmers would seek wives from afar by placing ads in newspapers and magazines. Interested women would write and send photographs, but the couples usually did not meet face-to-face until the woman showed up for her wedding. Although we tend to talk about mail-order brides in the past tense, in the same way we discuss the Pony Express, the mail-order bride industry is still alive and well in the 21st century. The only difference is that nowadays the entire enterprise tends to take place in cyberspace.
Today’s mail-order brides are women that are explicitly looking for a husband, and advertise themselves through international marriage agencies that publicize their availability. But these brides are not the only type of marriage transactions taking place around the world today. There are plenty of countries that still exercise the long-held tradition of bride prices, otherwise known as selling daughters into marriage for a substantial fee paid by the highest bidder. Whether you are in the market for a wife or just curious about the different ways of purchasing spouses check out this list of 15 countries where men could buy a wife. The shocking information below will leave you wondering what century we are living in.
Russian women are some of the most sought-after girls in the world, so it’s no surprise that mail-order bride services have caught on like a wildfire in this icy cold country. Russia has more than 500 mail-order bride sites displaying over 60,000 women at any given time, which is the largest amount of brides for purchase on our list. Part of the reason that these women are jumping at the chance to become foreign brides is because Russian men often have a bad reputation among their own women. In addition to having one of the highest alcoholism rates in the world, Russian women accuse Russian men of chronic infidelity and a propensity for domestic violence. To add insult to injury, the divorce rate is hovering at a whopping 80% in their country, so Russian ladies across the lands have all the reasons in the world to want to try their luck somewhere else. With the escalating issues between Russia and its many rivals, this may not be the best time to take all of Vladimir Putin’s women out of the country, but a fair share of Russian females are jumping at the chance to marry abroad nonetheless.
Every year, thousands of Vietnamese women are sold into marriages around the world via the mail-order bride business. An edition of the Global Times stated that, “Vietnam’s mail-order bride economy is booming.” This, of course, is nothing new. Vietnam has long been the focus of Western male attention, which only increased when American soldiers discovered the elegant beauty and refined manners of Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War. This gave life to the Viet-gal stereotype of being beautiful, delicate and exotic. These stereotypes often come to mind when men contemplate finding an Asian bride. The downside to buying a Vietnamese bride (aside from the fact you are actually purchasing a wife as though you are ordering a sweater from the GAP) is Vietnam’s lack of technological development. Vietnam is still learning the ropes in the mail-order bride business, as most of the country still has restricted access to the online world. As a result, there are many other countries that rule the mail-order bride business far more than Vietnam, but they are a functioning bride purchase enterprise nonetheless.
Most of us are familiar with the ancient tradition of arranged marriages. In India, arranged marriages still remain the preferred way to enter into matrimony. Some people mistake this time-honored matchmaking scheme for the modern day mail-order bride industry, but the difference between the two lies in the broker. With arranged marriages, parents and other relatives decide on a life partner that they deem suitable for their child. They keep in mind various factors specific to the needs and wants of their sons and daughters, while searching for a suitable match to attach their family names to. With mail-order brides, an independent broker finds their client a suitable wife for a price. Still, there are similarities between the two types of marriage arrangements, including the cost paid for acquiring a bride. For the average guy sitting in his office cubicle, the price paid to the parents of an Indian bride can be quite high, and a lengthy process of negotiating these arranged marriages is required. Even in the 21st century, around 85 percent of Indians prefer to marry a spouse chosen by their families, rather than choosing their life partners themselves, and a price is still often paid to the brides family upon uniting the strangers in matrimony.
12. Dominican Republic
The only Caribbean country on the list, the Dominican Republic, also has the smallest number of available women. This country has better economic opportunities in comparison to the others on this list, so if you’re a lonely and pathetic loser out to find a foreigner to be your bride, you’re really gonna have to impress these sexy Dominican brides. If you can, though, it’ll be worth it. Dominican women have a reputation for being fantastic cooks, hard workers, and hot as hell. Local mail-order bride sources say that Dominican women are mostly humble and submissive, which are major sources of attraction for many old and domineering Western bride seekers. Sounds like a match made in heaven! Plus, Dominican men are not highly sought after, because they reportedly tend to be less ambitious than Western men, and often times not especially faithful. Dominican society has almost no taboos regarding interracial couplings or approaching womenfolk, making it extra easy to access these mail-order brides-to-be.
The women of Colombia have steadily risen in the ranks of the mail-order bride industry in recent years. Back in the ‘80s, drug cartels and communist insurgency made this country too hairy for the average bride-seeker, but now that that’s been taken care of and the ladies of Colombia are coming out of hiding to find their true love. That’s the theory, anyway. Colombia tops the list of South American countries where you can buy a bride because these señoritas possess a special reputation for sultriness, having the slinkiest dance moves around, and sporting hips that don’t lie. Also, since the drug wars and jungle fighting led to the imprisonment of many Colombian men, the competition for husbands is fiercer there than anywhere else in Latin America. In addition, little stigma is attached to age differences between spouses, so flabby old white guys have an easier time finding a young spicy Latina here than elsewhere. Infidelity is rampant and, combined with Catholic restrictions on contraception, this means a whole lot of young and single mothers are looking for financial security. So if you’re in the market for a mail-order kid as well, than you hit the jackpot here with Colombia.
10. The Philippines
For decades, Western men have picked Filipinas out of catalogues, selecting their brides from rows upon rows of hopeful women’s pictures that are printed on cheap paper, like a strange dating yearbook or police lineup. With the high rates of unemployment in the Philippines, being a mail-order-bride is usually viewed as an opportunity to find work abroad. Filipinas are especially attracted to Caucasian features, so some average-looking guy might find he has suddenly been promoted to rock star status, as far as his dating options in the Philippines go. A recent study revealed that 70% of Filipina women believe that American men are thoughtful and kind, whereas Filipino men are generally considered to be cruel and unfaithful. This statistic only fuels Filipina women’s love for Western men. Although the divorce rate is rather low in the Philippines, poverty rates are high, and so marrying a foreign man is seen as a reasonable way to get a good roof over the average woman’s head.
This is another popular destination for men looking for Asian mail-order brides. The Japanese culture is quite popular around the world, and the country is known to produce fantastic women. Over 89% of the marriage visas for those entering the United States from Japan are issued to females, and a significant number of those women are mail-order brides. Japanese women like to marry Americans, and Americans love Japanese women. The population in Japan is getting older and the younger Japanese men are choosing not to get married because they cannot afford to take care of a wife and family. Japanese women are known to make a terrific wife and have a youthful appearance that lasts until middle age. To most Western men’s eyes, a Japanese woman looks ten to twenty years younger than her actual age. She may be 35 and look 18. So if you want a beautiful “porcelain-like doll” for a wife, then a Japanese woman is the perfect answer to your wife purchasing problems.
In the modern dating world, men and women often find their matches though social networking platforms and online dating websites. But in Brazil, a country with over 78 million women in its population, mail-order bride services are almost as common as online dating. Mail-order brides are women who are explicitly looking for a husband and advertise themselves through international marriage agencies that publicize their availability. This practice is commonplace and legal in Brazil. Brazilian women are as diverse as the country they live in, and it is because of their broad spectrum of women that Brazil has become one of the most popular destinations for men looking to purchase a wife. The Rose Bride mail-order service advertises their diversity by stating, “Due to a wide ethnic heritage, Brazilian women do not have one stereotypical appearance. That being said, even with darkly tanned or white skin, black or blonde hair, Brazilian girls do have an innate natural charm specific to the country.” As creepy as this may sound, the mail-order bride business is currently alive and well in Brazil, with women of all different shapes, sizes, and skin colors currently being advertised to potential suitors on numerous websites throughout the country.
China’s Chairman Mao famously said, “Women hold up half the sky.” But in China, the one-child policy and the traditional preference for boys means that there are about 117 boys born for every 100 baby girls. By estimate, this means there could be 24 million Chinese men unable to find wives by the end of the decade. As a result, the marriage market has become just that: a market, with new demands for purchasing a woman’s hand in marriage. The wedding ritual, called chuangmen has resurfaced recently along with other traditional practices, such as the demand for a betrothal gift, sometimes known as the bride price. In traditional wedding customs, the groom gives his future in-laws a betrothal gift, which can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 for the purchase his wife. The standard bride price for a groom of average income is around $24,000. Talk about an expensive wedding, and all of that is before the actual costs of the ceremony.
Weddings are hugely expensive affairs in Afghanistan, with excessive costs for wedding halls, lavish meals, and usually a bride price. The bride price is the money paid by the groom’s family for the bride to her family. It is a contested tradition that is viewed as having no foundation in Islamic law. High bride prices can lead to debt for grooms and their families and early marriage to unsuitable men for the daughters of poor families. Almost all weddings in Afghanistan start with matchmaking. The groom’s family initiates a marriage proposal and it is up to the bride’s family to agree or not. After the families have agreed to the marriage, that’s when the real negotiations about the wedding and the bride price start. The negotiations about the actual wedding and its costs, including food and catering, clothes for the bride’s relatives and payment for the imam, who performs the ceremony, can be quick. However, the negotiations about the bride price are often lengthy. Nowadays, the couple is often consulted about the marriage proposal, but they have a very limited role in the wedding and bride price negotiations, and have to accept what their families decide.
High poverty levels, great numbers of single ladies, and raw beauty make Thailand an attractive market for mail-order brides. It’s so easy to find a bride there that Western men, (especially the sad, sleazy, creepy old kind) flock to the country by the boatload. Their belief in the social superiority of people with light skin can only help mail-order customers in the long run. Thai people on the whole are darker-skinned than those of European descent, so many white Western men receive an automatic advantage when shopping in this market. Score one for the pasty basement-dweller! Thai girls, however, do not have a good reputation as spouses. The divorce rate for Thai mail-order brides is above average, which is almost as bad as high divorce rates for marriages based on love. I mean, don’t we all expect for relationships that begin with picking your bride out of a catalogue, as though she is a sweater, to stand the test of time?
For all the political and economic chaos that has engulfed the Ukraine in the past few years, one industry is still thriving: the internet romance trade. The economies of several Ukrainian cities are boosted by the online bride business, and Odessa is the biggest hub. Everyday there are legions of Western men meeting with young women they’ve met online, usually with the conversation facilitated by a translator. At internet cafes and homes across the city, thousands of women spend hours each day chatting to prospective suitors over the internet. There is nothing like the prospect of economic hardship to facilitate intercontinental liaisons, and thanks to business drying up across the country in recent months, the romance and bride trade is booming. As internet dating has gone mainstream over the past decade, Anastasia (the leading international dating company in the Ukraine) is attempting to rebrand what was once called the mail-order bride business into something more modern and progressive. Anastasia claims to no longer be a company that services seedy and exploitative men seeking vulnerable women from impoverished backgrounds to work as long-term s*x slaves. They are now marketing themselves as an “international dating service” that focuses on a civilized way to find romance without borders.
The custom of paying bride prices is widely practiced in Africa, but individual traditions vary from country to country. The Kenyan constitution outlaws the obligation to pay a bride price, but it is still widely understood that a price will be paid, as to not violate long upheld traditions. The bride price is known as lobola, and the groom’s family must present either money or cows (or both) to the bride’s family as a gesture of his willingness to marry her. The payment of lobola is a sign of the man’s commitment to take care of his wife and is seen as a symbolic act that is a necessary part of upholding their culture, rather than a purchase. The term lobola is also used in southern Zimbabwe, but in Shona communities it is known as roora. While the tradition is to give cattle, this is now often replaced by cash with the amount subject to negotiation. There are several stages to the tradition, and it is seen as a way of thanking the bride’s family for bringing her up. This makes sure it doesn’t seem like the bride is being bought and sold at the market like a piece of meat.
Posing for selfies, slapping on lipstick, and dancing around a bedroom strewn with clothes are normal activities for most teens around the world. But the young women from Bulgaria’s Kalaidzhi — an orthodox Christian subgroup of the Roma community — will have a different fate than your average teenager. The 18,000-person community is widely discriminated against across Eastern Europe, and renowned for fiercely guarding their cultural traditions. The culture is known for it’s “bridal market” that is held up to four times a year, where young girls flock to muddy fields and parking lots around the country dressed in red carpet gowns to meet prospective husbands. According to academic Alexey Pamporov, who has studied the Roma tradition of bridal markets for the past two decades, young women in this culture can be forced to leave school as soon as they have their first period. Pamporov stated that despite the rise of social media, the bridal market remains the main way for young people to meet before their families decide whether to go ahead with negotiating a dowry for marriage. When asked if the girls object to being out of school and sold at this market, he said, “Some girls are more liberated, let’s say, but most of them want to have a proper marriage that is supported by their family.”
1. South Sudan
Here in one of the world’s poorest nations, daughters grow up with a single purpose: to be sold into marriage for cows to expand their family’s herd (the closest thing most people have to a bank account in this country). Because in their culture, it makes financial sense to marry off a daughter quickly, the brides are often children when they marry. A wave of killings and s*xual assaults has accompanied a new outbreak of fighting in South Sudan, and much of the nation remains trapped in deep poverty. Though South Sudan’s assembly passed a law in 2008 limiting the marriage age to women 18 and over, it is rarely enforced, particularly in rural areas. Across much of the troubled country, young girls remain as much a commodity for marriage as they ever were.
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