Are you “interested in potential holy matrimony with a hot foreign chick”? Do you believe that “man is not made to live alone!” and that the only thing standing between your lonely existence and true happiness is a plane ticket to Russia to meet the woman of your dreams?
Well, today’s your lucky day – if you’re single, live in Alberta, Canada, and receive the highest number of votes in an Edmonton radio station contest called “Win a Wife.”
The website for 100.3 FM’s “The Bear” advertises the contest with a photo of a woman in a white veil whose face is blurred out. “If we pick you,” the site reads, “you'll be heading to Russia with 13 nights' acommodation [sic], return air fare, and $500 spending money to meet the lucky lady!” The “lucky lady” in question is provided by the “integrity-based” company A Volga Girl, whose website claims to have matched over 2,100 “honest and sincere” Russian women with husbands since 1999.
If you decide to enter the contest, you’ll have some stiff competition. The current front-runner, “Woo,” says that the “top 3 benefits of having a wife” are “Lesbian action, duh.” Following closely behind is a man called “Tired of being with ****** women because they have no asses!” who says that the “stupidest thing [he’s] done in the hopes of scorin” is “fed [a woman] a lot of alcohol. That was not a pretty sight.”
Although not everyone is a fan of the “Win a Wife” contest – Alberta’s immigration minister, Thomas Lukaszuk, has vowed to pull departmental advertising from the station as long as the contest continues – Rob Vavrek, brand director for "The Bear," explains that the idea behind the contest is merely misunderstood.
According to Vavrek, “Win a Wife” is “a concept similar to many other such contests held on reality-TV shows over the past few years around the world,” such as The Bachelor.
If one disregards the pesky inconsistencies between the mail-order bride industry and reality-TV genre—such as the industry’s contributions to high rates of domestic abuse, perpetuation of economic inequality, and bolstering cultural stereotypes—Vavrek could be right.
In fact, here’s an idea for all those TV execs out there—why not take this comparison to its logical end? I can see it now: Ryan Seacrest can host. Instead of receiving red roses, the contestants will be given temporary visas. Instead of asking, “Will you accept this rose?” the brides-to-be will get to experience all the joys of marriage—which, as contestant RedRandy explains, are simple: “Food,” “Companionship,” and “Doing it.”