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“You can come with me.” She was startled by his speed, but she packed some clothes in a duffel bag and joined Dan in Thailand.
In 2001, the company shifted its entire operation online—and Leonor started receiving emails from an American in his 50s living in Thailand, named Dan Mc Kee. When he came to the Philippines to visit her, the woman he met was beautiful in the ways Western men imagined island women to be, with long straight hair, high cheekbones that taper toward a delicate chin, and smooth, dark skin.
Leonor also distinguished herself with good English and an indefatigably optimistic, life-embracing attitude.“I like you,” Leonor recalled Dan saying one day, less than a week after they first met in person.
In 2001, at age 23, she found her way to a fledgling internet cafe in a nearby city and registered at Cherry Blossoms, the oldest and most established mail-order bride service in the world.
Cherry Blossoms began publishing catalogues of international women looking for husbands in 1974, charging foreigners a fee in exchange for a woman’s address.
In the 15 years since Leonor and Dan met online, some things haven’t changed.
Men are still seeking out beautiful women who would be “out of their league” if they weren’t poor, and Filipinas are still looking for men who can provide for them and take them to the more prosperous West.
That house belonged to a woman who had married an American man she met through the mail.
“To marry a foreigner was really my ambition since when I was young—to have handsome and beautiful kids and also to have a comfortable life,” said Leonor.
In one sense, the leveling of dating power between Filipinas and Westerners is the fulfillment of the global internet’s promise to equalize relations between disparate places and people.
Yet even as Filipinas and Westerners face off as equals online, the world of dating exposes the ultimate limitations of the web.
Like the worst stereotype of foreign men who come to the Philippines, Dan treated native women as accessories to the lives they envisioned for themselves.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating