Once upon a time, in an Internet cafe in Kiev, in a nice neighbourhood by the metro station “Palats’ Ukraiina,” a middle-aged Englishman, unshaven and full of bile, was having problems. The cafe attendant, Slava, could not help, despite his pretty good English. Slava knew my mother, and, therefore, knew me and the fact that I lived in the States, and probably spoke fluent English, so he tapped me on the shoulder and asked for my help.
I rode over in my rolling chair. Yuck. The Englishman was surfing a pseudo-pornographic “dating site,” complete with naughty pictures, and trying to get directions to a “meeting spot” with a “Ukrainian lovelie.”
He grew embarrassed when he saw my eyes widen, told me that he didn’t need any help, paid, and scuttled out.
Next time I ran into him there, I wasn’t so lucky. Suddenly, he wanted to know my name, what I did, why my English was so “excellent.” Even in the air-conditioned enclave of the Internet cafe, sweat (slime?) oozed out from his pores. I imagined a young girl fucking his tubby body for money, or a chance to go to England, or a nice meal, or even a half-way decent meal. He pouted when I told him I went to an American university. He said he wanted to meet my friends, “go out with the young folks sometime,” and winked and reached out to pat my hand.
It was absurd and degrading, the idea that he would automatically think me and my friends to be sexually available or even remotely interested in his fat ass, because we were Ukrainian (and poor and desperate and foolish) and he was English (and clever and cunning and wealthy by our meager standards).
There was the aging asshole, also English, who sat next to me on a plane from London to Kiev. This one came with the intention of “marrying” a woman he met through a dating site. I kept in touch with him through e-mail and quickly learned that the “marriage” did not work out, and that he was moving on to “other beautiful girls.” I caught myself hoping that these “beautiful girls” pumped him for every single pence, but what was that going to change?
These apes walk around with their hairy arms around young women, drunk with all the power their money can buy, cock-sure and yet pathetic, some of them seemingly timid, others that look like the pictures of serial killers from lurid true-crime paperbacks. I don’t see them very often in Kiev, but then again, I rarely inhabit their haunts. An English-language movie at the cinema, however, will lure them out of their holes in droves, the latest blonde/brunette/redhead accessory dutifully resting her head on their shoulder in the semi-darkness.
People will say, “oh, but NATALIA! You judgmental skank! Perhaps some of them have real relationships.” Perhaps. But if you come to a place with the notion of purchasing love, whether consciously or subconsciously, how “real” is the bloody arrangement going to be?
Others might say that the women and girls are empowered through this. Well, if they are extremely calculating and in no way emotionally involved, then there is a chance that yes, they are. In Kiev, I have spoken to a number of younger and older women who felt like “making use” of a foreigner’s money, coupled with his blind desire for sex, was no big deal. But they also talked about the fact that this is a practical arrangement that requires a lot of sacrifice, and that they, more often than not, secretly despise these so-called suitors.
Hearing that some Western women are also engaging in these practices irks me to no end. All these fake “empowerment” issues are just excuses to treat poorer people like bathroom tissue, and then sit back and talk about how “progressive” we are. Doood, exploiting people for personal enjoyment? – Not progressive. Not cool. Get another hobby. Find a real relationship. Join a book-club. Hell, I’d rather have people watching Bill O’Reilly, and yes, I am typing this with a straight face.