Odessa’s dating scene: only a profitable business or a paradise for Western men?
Many cities in the Ukraine as well as Eastern Europe and Asia have well established mail order bride industries but none are as prominent as Odessa for men who are searching for a companion. There are literally hundreds of firms that offer dating services in Odessa. They entice many foreign visitors to the city, with the idea that they will meet women who will readily provide them with love and companionship. This also brings a great deal of capital to the city as well.
Anastasia Date is one of the largest international dating companies in the world. Their revenue in the previous year was £90m. The majority of their earnings come from tremendously pricey chat services. These services allow men to speak with women at various locations around the world.
The price of the service is £1 per minute to speak with the women and up to £10 to send a message by e-mail. They also offer tours to exotic locations such as Columbia, the Philippines and the Ukraine where the client may meet the women they have spoken with online.
Video: Odessa Anastasia Romance Tour 7th July Day 1
A 10 day romance tour in the Ukraine costs £3,000. This includes the opportunity to attend three social events, typically at nightclubs, where the men will be introduced to hundreds of young Ukrainian women who are supposedly searching for love and an intimate relationship. Afterwards, the men will spend a week dating the women they have met at the social events or become acquainted with the ones they have previously spoken with online. The tour is meant to possibly end with a proposal.
On the first day of a recent tour, the men attended an induction meeting. It was explained that most of the women do not speak English and that the services of a translator would be required. Translators would be present, wearing red shirts during the social events. Most of the men present were in their 50’s or 60’s with the exception of one gentleman who was 29 and divorced. The 29 year old cited his reason for being on the tour was frustration with western women who were not family oriented. The first social event was at a nightclub. The gentlemen met with dozens of women who wore stickers with an ID number and enjoyed champagne while they waited. Some men immediately began to interface with the women while others while others were nervous and didn’t seem to know where to begin.
Dozens of dates for the following week result from the socials, however many of the men began to complain. Most of them had already spent between £3,000 and £10,000 on chat services where they had met women prior to coming on the tour. They had been expecting to meet the women with whom they had already formed an emotional connection. However, in almost every instance, the men never saw those women. Some had turned off their phone while others made dates with the men but never showed up. Many of the women had a last minute call requiring them to care for a sick relative.
The men became anxious, complaining of the oddities of the Ukrainian women. Many of them also began to give accounts of extremely costly outings. In addition, a number of the men stated that even when they suspected their dates spoke completely fluent English, they were required to take the translators, who are paid by the hour. One of the men had been taken to a pool club where the bill came to £250. Another stated that his date had received a kick back after he had paid for an overpriced meal.
Video: Women in Odessa
When local residents were asked why the women that the men had originally developed a relationship with were never available, they said that it was extremely probable that the women didn’t exist. Most of them at least knew of someone who was involved in writing letters or engaging in online chats with foreign men but were reluctant to give details.
One woman who worked for the dating industry agreed to explain the operation. She said she had applied to work as a translator but it turned out that what was really entailed was writing fake letters and messages. The account she uses is under another name other than her own and the pictures she has up are fake. She is in a relationship and is not interested in any of the men she speaks with online. The woman spends hours each week, pretending to be someone else, while chatting with men from various countries. When asked, a representative from Anastasia said they didn’t allow fake accounts and investigated them regularly.
Another woman, who was present during the social events, confessed to one of the clients that the men were basically paying to go out on a date with a beautiful woman. Although this was not the first time some of the men had been on the tour, as it came to an end, they were already planning for the next.