It had previously been that any hopeless American man—no matter just how fat, bald, or ugly—could journey to Moscow and return to Topeka with a gorgeous trophy spouse.

It had previously been that any hopeless American man—no matter just how fat, bald, or ugly—could journey to Moscow and return to Topeka with a gorgeous trophy spouse.

But by way of a booming Putin-era economy—and all the prosperity and gold-plated Land Rovers that include it—the times of the grateful bride that is russian fading fast

it’s 6:30 p.m., and everybody else is crowded in to a gloomy, nondescript space in the very first flooring of Kiev’s St. Petersburg resort. Tonight’s impresario, Jack Bragg, appears frantic, and also the sweat is seeping through their bandanna with all the miniature Confederate flags in the mirror next to the coat check—and the interpreters, all women, are on their cell phones or talking to one another on it, and the men look edgy—they’re straightening their ties, straightening their eyebrows, staring at themselves. Bragg, who’s maybe maybe not really a small guy and seems like a Hells Angel together with his sunglasses and goatee, is gesticulating extremely, along with his vocals appears like a timpani.

Downstairs, into the hotel’s cellar banquet hallway, are seventy Ukrainian women all dolled up and dying to be met. “Big evening,” Bragg tells their troops. “Big night.” A few of the guys check their flies; another asks their neighbor if there’s such a thing inside the teeth. Continue reading “It had previously been that any hopeless American man—no matter just how fat, bald, or ugly—could journey to Moscow and return to Topeka with a gorgeous trophy spouse.”