Why I Talked Myself Out Of Getting A Mail-Order Bride

by Reggie Wade

Over the course of my writing career, I have shared some embarrassing things about my personal life.

Things like never having a girlfriend, never going on a date and admitting I liked Savage Garden… yeah. But this may take the cake. It's just not for show -- I really have been unlucky in love.

By unlucky I mean unsuccessful, by unsuccessful I mean very unsuccessful. Like Petyr Baelish I have been unlucky in my affections (But I'm not creepy about it, like he is.) I have long sought out female affection and companionship. Through the years, things got rough. There have been many dark hours, but anyone who's been alone for a while knows this.

It's in those darkest hours you become amazed at the places your mind goes, and what ideas seem like good ones. One of my worst ideas came in three words: mail-order brides.

That's right: I, a former teacher and reasonably intelligent person, thought that procuring a woman, the same way you would a car or university, was a good idea.

I forget how the idea came about exactly, but like many bad ideas, it usually starts with a YouTube video. I was intrigued with the whole set up. You go to an economically deprived country and you court and eventually marry a foreign beauty who's smitten with the fact that you have indoor plumbing. It may sound like I'm exaggerating, but sadly, not really.

I thought, “This is marvelous!” I could sign up for a “love tour” and have women flocking to me, smiling at me, wanting to be around me! What could be better than that? Nothing! That's what. It's what's been eluding me my entire life. And for a fee, it could be mine. A small price to pay, I thought.

Humans always want the things we didn't have growing up. For some, it's money; for some, it's power; for some, it's as simple as an expensive pair of shoes. For me, it was female attention and affection.

I can't quite put my finger on it but I believe fifth grade was the first time I started noticing girls… well, I always noticed girls, but I really started to notice girls… you know what I mean. During recess, we were allowed to play in the schoolyard. Being the '90s, basketball was the game of choice because everyone wanted to be like Mike.

I remember seeing the girls of my class huddled around the sidelines fawning over the best basketball players in our grade. I may have been young, but even at that age, I knew I wanted that. I wanted to be those guys. I wanted to be the one -- like the old Stevie B song: “I want to be the one you're givin' your lovin', I want to be the one you're kissin' and huggin' I want to be the one you dream of at night. Let me be the one!"

OK, now I know it seems like I'm being overdramatic, but am I really? Who doesn't want that? No matter your age or orientation, as humans, we always desire approval and affection from our fellow human beings.

That's what I saw when I watched those mail order bride YouTube videos. It's what I've wanted and waiting for my whole life. At that time (a few years ago), I pretty much resigned myself to my fate of perpetual solitude, but mail order brides seemed like the light at the end of the long-suffering tunnel that was my love life.

Then something happened: I saw a movie called "Mail-Order Wife." It was about a lonely doorman from Queens who's unlucky in love and decides to marry a mail order bride from Burma. Give or take a few details, that kind of sounded like me.

A filmmaker documents their story. For the sake of not turning this into a movie review, my explanation will be an abridged version. The chubby doorman gets a mail order bride, he treats her horribly and with the help of a friend, she eventually leaves him. (Good for her!)

We then learn that the woman has been a mail-order wife to a couple of other men, men she has zero respect and actual contempt for. And not just because of mistreatment; some were just as she called them “losers.”

After seeing that, I went back and looked at the mail-order bride videos with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. To quote Arlen Texas Boggle champion, Peggy Hill, “My rose-colored glasses were off and the world was flesh-colored and dull.”

The men pursuing the mail-order brides were usually all old, out of shape and white. I'm young, out of shape and black. So we have some similarities and some differences. But, I finally started to see it for what it was. These were women, desperate to get out of the bleak situation of their homeland. And men, unsatisfied by the independence of American women, decided to go overseas to get a "Stepford Wife."

This went against everything I stood for as a man and as a human.

These men were basically paying these women to pretend like they like them. I am still single and I still seek female love and affection, but it has to happen the natural way or no way at all.

I want a woman to be affectionate with me because she likes me, not because she likes how much money I have, or that being with me would help her out of a bad situation. Money, success and all that is great. If those things make a man more attractive to a woman that's wonderful. Like Tyler Perry says, “I can do bad all by myself.” But those material things cannot be the main ingredient

I would rather be single forever than trick myself into thinking that a mail-order bride union is actually love.

Loneliness makes you think up some crazy stuff, and mail-order brides are probably the craziest thing that has come across my mind. I am not proud of it and thankfully, like the best bad ideas, this never came to pass.