The Love Boat

As well as receiving paper items through my door most days, I am also in frequent receipt of messages from complete strangers in my Thunderbird Inbox. Most of these messages I have some difficulty in understanding, and I move them to a special folder that I think of as a computer version of the large plastic box that the Council gives me for all of the paper items that come through my door.

The other day though I received a message from somebody and it attracted my attention. It started off like this:

If you do not want to loose your money and to talk to girls who does not even exist there is new wonderful opportunity

and it went on to talk about a cruise ship with fifty “Russian beauties who want to meet a foreigner in order to make a family”. Perhaps the Chernobyl disaster has had an adverse effect on former-Soviet men’s fertility organs. I wouldn’t be surprised. In any case, I continued reading.

All their pictures are placed on the website. On the ship will be created such an atmosphere that will help to start romantic relations. There will be invited only 30 foreign men on that cruise. And you can be one of them!

So fifty homemake-hungry ladies and thirty lady-hungry men. That’s one and two thirds lady to every one man.

On the website there are pictures of the ship and cross-section diagrams so you can see how many rooms it has and how they are laid out, and there are photos of the rooms, and it says:

Then you get into the restaurant. Our chef will offer you heavenly cuisine and the waitresses will serve you quickly.

There’s even a photo of the chef. They were lucky to get that one I think because you only have to watch television to see what busy people chefs are, and that they can have quite a temper if you annoy them, and this one looks like he might be getting a bit impatient when the photo was taken. He probably wanted to get off to shell some prawns and make a Marie Rose sauce. Maybe he had something on the boil.

There’s a beauty pageant judging beauty and intelligence:

Girls write essays about different foreign countries. They pick the country themselves.

There is information about the on-board entertainments:

We have only qualified stuff. There is a nice surprise for our guests. The point is that all stuff except safeguards and the captain consists of pretty girls who are ready for everything to make your cruise fun and comfortable.

And there’s a guestbook with messages from potential passengers.

There’s one from a man who likes what he sees. There’s one from the captain’s cousin who’s going for a second time. There are men who have fallen in love with Russian women over the Internet in the past and lost their money. There’s a divorced man who is tired of American emancipated women. He wants a normal family. He wants his wife to take good care of him. He hopes this cruise will make him happy.

Then when you click on the link to “Girls” you get to a page with fifty small photos, one of each Russian beauty. When you click on the photo you get to see a bigger version of the photo. Even though the link calls the page “Girls”, I don’t think any of them are actually girls – I don’t think that would be allowed, even on a special boat in the Black Sea.

The photos are laid out very neatly on the page and each one has the first name of the woman underneath so you can understand who you are looking at and make a note for when you meet her on the cruise. Some of them also have an email address, so you can maybe write to her first and introduce yourself to give you a bit of a head start over the other twenty-nine men.

But the interesting thing is that there are so many different types of photo. They are all different sizes and some of them are holiday snaps with the woman sunbathing, and others are a little more hair-tossed-back you-know-why-you’re-here, and there’s at least one glossy studio portrait which probably cost a lot of money. There’s even a photo booth one with a pleated brown curtain behind and she’s not looking at the camera, as if she couldn’t use it for her passport so she thought “that’s OK, it’ll do for that website”.

At the top of the email about this cruise it says “Thunderbird thinks this message might be an email scam.” I don’t know if the email is trying to steal my money or not. The pictures of the ship and the fifty beauties look quite real. Maybe they just want me to give them a lot of money to go on the cruise and meet the women and enjoy the heavenly cuisine and efficient service. The only thing that is a bit unusual is that none of the fifty women have the same name. There is one Alena and one Alexandra and one Alina and one Alisa and so on in alphabetical order right the way to Yulia and Yuliya. What are the chances of that?

Maybe they have lots of cruises through the year, and at the end of the cruise the ones that haven’t been chosen can try again next time, unless they get fed up talking to the sort of men who would pay to go on this sort of cruise, and decide to take their chances back on dry land. But this would mean that up to thirty vacancies would open up for more Russian beauties to take the plunge. There would probably be a waiting list to make it onto the ship, and so the organisers could pick only those applicants with names that are different from the ones they’ve already got. All of the women would be queuing up in lines, with one line for each name, and when the one at the front is taken they all shuffle forward, like an enormous wife vending machine.