In place of the usual random ramblings (mine) and edited highlights (yours), here’s something rather more coherent, referring back to the Mail Order Brides piece in TC10:
Dick Klemensen, Des Moines, USA – “I found it especially enlightening as I married an Asian lady over two years ago. I thought you might find my viewpoints interesting – you are welcome to publish them, or just read them as how one guy managed to luck out…
“If you’ve followed my rather personal editorials in ‘Little Shoppe of Horrors’, you will know I was married to a rather good-looking and well built redhead named Karla for some 15 years, when our marriage fell apart in 1987. I moved to a new town, and was living in a little apartment while I trying to sell my home in Waterloo, Iowa. This was one damned miserable period – one son trying to finish high school while living with his grandparents, the other getting over a divorce of his own (from a 3 month marriage). So it took some time before I got back into the dating area, and a damned strange feeling it was after 15 years to be going through the dating ritual shit again.
“But at 41, I found more available women than at any time in my life!! Maybe when women get older, they get different ideals of what they want in a man. But after joining a high class health club, I was going out 2-3 times a week (with different women) and was always totally broke. Dating is expensive. But I really wasn’t finding anyone I could connect with. I was even finding myself doing something I would never have imagined – turning down sex to avoid getting caught up with women with REAL family entanglements (as opposed to my teen years when just the THOUGHT of sex would split my pants out…). I was ready to have a relationship – so why weren’t the women I was seeing making me feel like I could settle down with them?
“I saw an ad in the back of Premiere, the movie magazine, for an oriental women dating service, or something like that. Well, I’d always found orientals unbelievably cute and sexy, and I sent away for the free packet. Some 16 pages of cute Filipinas and other Asian girls. Hmmm. But it would cost $125 for even the smallest ads and a 3 issue subscription. I let it slide for two more months, and then sent off a check, more out of curiosity than anything else.
“To be honest, I was more than a bit shy about the whole thing. Aren’t the only men who send away for these just too godawful ugly to get girls on their own? Well, I also found there was a second type – someone who had been burned so badly by a first marriage that they wanted someone to whom marriage really meant something.
“I had more women than I could handle right here in the old U.S.A. (for the first time in my life. What an ego boost…), but I had a need for something concrete. And boy, did I get a response from the ads. Hundreds of letters, most of them from the Phillipines or from Filipinas working in Hong Kong. I knew what Mick Jagger must have felt like with the women falling all over him… Many of the letters so sweet, the girls even sweeter. An occasional porno shot. Even some young film actress looking for a way to get to Hollywood (she said she would make it “worth my while”. Lucky I didn’t have a heart attack right then and there). But the ones I found the most interesting were the educated ones. There is no way I could fall for someone unless I knew something about them, and many people in the Phillipines pride themselves on the fact that they get their children educated in Universities, even if it means being a contract labourer for several years in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, or elsewhere. That described the life that Esperanza (Espie for short) had had.
“It was a real bitch narrowing down who I wanted to write to, but her letters stood out from the rest. She wrote sweetly but honestly: she had a little daughter, while she would like to have a relationship, if I wouldn’t also accept her daughter, I could just “Kiss off”. Well, I liked the honesty and openness.
“To make all this a bit shorter, we fell in love, wrote enough letters to publish as an encyclopedia, and married in Hong Kong in 1989. In May, she will have been in the USA for two years and becomes a U.S. citizen. Espie has a college degree in accounting, and is attending a University in the U.S. while working full time. Suzie Wong she ain’t, but I didn’t pay 1800 pounds for a stupid introduction! It worked for me, I can’t say it would for everyone. To be honest, there are a lot more women at home and it would have been cheaper to marry any one of the other women I met. But who can say where one’s heart will lead them. I’m pretty happy”.