Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Voice of America: Get Married

The Voice of America profiled Natasha Spivack -- "a modern day matchmaker who arranges marriages between American men and Ukrainian and Russian women" -- last Valentine's Day, though it failed to report how a woman was awarded $434,000 in damages after Spivack set her up with an abusive American man. Don't expect the deep reporting from the VOA, just look for what it does offer, like an explanation of the type of men who use an internet marriage agency.

Ms. Spivack says they generally fall into four categories. “One group, these are men who are divorced, who have been married all their lives and have basically lost their dating skills, she says. They're used to family life and they want to continue that. The second group has never been married, they're probably in their late forties, early fifties. They are very picky. They probably are not married because all their lives they had this ideal, dreaming of somebody that they never found, and now they're trying Encounters International as something different. Typically, we find the woman of their dreams. And these are the happiest men, because if we cannot find [a match] for them, nobody can find it!”

Another group of clients are men who have Slavic roots, and are seeking a Russian or Ukrainian wife as a way of re-connecting with their heritage and culture. The final group includes what Ms. Spivack calls the neediest men - the hardship cases, men who are either handicapped or scarred or deformed. Natasha Spivack says she has been able to find matches for all her clients, no matter what their situation. And the divorce rate among her former clients is about 13 percent - as she points out, considerably lower than the divorce rate for the United States in general. Most of the divorces happen because of unrealistic expectations, she says. She herself is very clear-eyed about the matches she arranges.

A reprint of a Washingtonian profile of Spivack from 1998 is found on Spivack's Encounters International website. If you'd like to read more about "the land of milk and battery," go to this feminist news source.

The VOA also links to an article on the popularity of internet dating:

Jeff Cohen, a commentator and author of the e-book '30 Minute Guide to Online Dating' says, "In the US alone there is 30 million people that are online dating sites and they are generating $300 million per year in the US alone. So you can imagine as it grows into other markets like Asia and South America, the numbers are going to continue to grow."

ComScore Networks, a company that tracks e-commerce data, estimates people spend over $500 million a year for the most popular matchmaking companies such as Yahoo Personals,, and

* By the way, Galina, one of the women in the flashing photo, she's a dead ringer for First Lady Laura Bush.