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Any American guy looking to marry a woman from a poorer country is always going to have the doubt at the back of his mind that shes only going through the whole ordeal to get her hands on his bank account.And even if hes too enamoured with the hobbies of his new love to think about it, the social stigma of a mail order bride can make him the laughing stock of the community.I was beginning to wonder if Thailand had its merits after all and couldnt help stealing repeated glances at her.

But then the advent of online dating sites meant the American guy could go hunting without having to get out of his dressing gown.

Unshaven and unwashed he could woo any number of women by complimenting them on their profile photo and including the right kind of charismatic emoticon in the message to show his sensitive side.

Western women have been campaigning for equality for so long that happiness went out of the picture long ago. I initially thought this was a bit over the top until I learned that even complimenting a female co-worker can be considered grounds for sexual harassment.

Have feminism and political correctness taken all the fun out of American love? But theres also the fact that, for many, exotic is erotic and theres nothing like a foreign accent or complexion to hide the personality faults that stop domestic relationships getting off the ground.

Surely by now I must have found that paradise where sultry babes spend all day topless on the beach, ready to trade their bodies for a cocktail and a cheap pick-up line.

In fact, guys tend to be such suckers for this fantasy that Russian scam artists send out millions of emails allegedly from hot girls called Tanya or Olga.Thailand, like Brazil or the Philippines, is full of Western guys trying their luck with women half their age.With terrible dress sense that betrays the serious lack of a womans touch, it can be pitiful to watch them trying to mend their hearts under flashing neon signs, sharing a common vocabulary of maybe 500 words with the women they meet. Along with worrying about balding, beer guts and prostate cancer, many American men suffer the flip side of the national individualistic character — they end up feeling quite alone.Accompanied by alluring photos, the messages promise eternal friendship, physical relationships or marriage. The divorce rate of such couples is up to three times lower than the national average and hundreds of agencies exist to introduce American men to these Russian, Colombian or Filipina beauties.In realilty, the people sending out these snares are often hairy Mafioso guys in their dressing gowns who know just how to talk to the average male libido. According to the senators who sponsored the recently-enacted International Marriage Broker Regulation Act designed to protect foreign women from stealthy male American predators, some 8,000 to 12,000 U. I just typed Russian girls into Google and 9 of the first 10 results turned up mail order bride or dating services. The honest ones can put you in touch with women in the destination country looking for long-term relationships.As school friends move away and get married, opportunities to make new social contacts tend to diminish with age.