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October 25th, 2003 - Open Knowledge

Oct. 25th, 2003

12:30 am - Marriage By Mail

http://www.asianweek.com/072999/feature_lovelistings.html

Marriage by Mail
The Internet makes it easier for potential mates to connect across seas
By Joyce Nishioka

Roy Des Ruisseaux admits that he had no luck with women. Nine years ago, at age 49, he found himself never-married and lonely, despite what he describes as a lifelong dream of settling down.

“I was the kind of guy who met someone I liked and would get too anxious, or I would focus on someone not right for me,” said the New England postal carrier. “I can look back on it now and laugh.”

That’s because Des Ruisseaux, of Upper Dardy, Penn., has been happily married for some six years to “the one” -- a Filipina whom he met through Sunshine International, an introduction service that links up American men with foreign women.

De Ruisseaux remembers when he first gave serious thought to using a service. One weekend some nine years ago, he was resting in a tent after completing a car race. He recalls thinking, “This is not what I want. Judging by the way I am, I’m not going to meet anyone.”

He had heard the stereotype that men who used “pen-pal” services “don’t date and are real losers,” but he thought: “Who cares -- if it works. I had no problem with wanting to get married.”

Des Ruisseaux said he sent off about six letters to women featured in the services’ catalogs, to which no one responded. Better results came after he paid $125 to have his name posted in four catalogs. Soon he began receiving letters, including one from Josie, then a 38-year-old living in the Philippines.

“She asked a lot of questions,” Des Ruisseaux recalls. “It sounds goofy, but questions like: ‘if you were on a deserted island, if you could meet one person in history ...”

He thought: “That’s me. I can write pages about that stuff.”

After corresponding for about a year, Des Ruisseaux traveled to Hong Kong, where Josie worked as a maid. Though her parents had long urged her to settle down, Josie, too, had never wed. “I didn’t meet the right guy,” she explained.

Recalling her first impression of her husband, Josie De Ruisseaux hesitates for a moment before replying. “He was OK,” she says during a phone interview, laughing as her husband chuckles in the background. “I don’t know why I chose him. I liked his name.”

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