By the time I found Svetlana, I knew I was in love.
Having been tossed off all the run-of-the-mill American online dating sites like Farmersonly, GothicMatch, STDFriends, CougarWomen, DirtyEncounters and Meet-an-Inmate.com, I finally resorted to trolling for eastern European women on SizzlingRussianBrides.com. That's where my troubles began.
After combing through thousands of profiles of beautiful Russian women, I settled on someone I thought could be "the one."
Svetlana was a voluptuous 27-year-old dental hygienist from the small village of Trochenbrod. According to her profile, she was college educated, spoke "some English" and loved reading, cooking, photography and pole vaulting.
Her carefully crafted message read, "Hi. I'm Svetlana. I'm womanly Russian single who is very communicable, counterbalanced and without bad habits. I like to meet lusty man in high social position to create family. I come from gay family, am sporty, well provided and would be orderly wife. I would love to make your intercourse."
For my part, I wrote an articulate profile that was meant to lure any eastern European woman into my web. I may have exaggerated a bit when I told her that I worked in the film industry, lived in Hollywood, hung out with Brad Pitt and never cheated on my mate. Largely because I was an unemployed extra, lived in North Hollywood, drank every night with Bradley Pith (the janitor at my junior high school) and couldn't cheat on my girlfriend because I've never had one.
While it was obvious that there were some cultural differences between the two of us, I decided to begin a relationship with Svetlana. I scoured the Internet for tips on how to put my best foot forward with a Russian woman.
One site recommended learning some of her language, so I memorized a few terms like privet, kak dilah, ochen kharasho, kak tiibya zovut, dah, niet and pakah. To this day, I don't know what any of those mean, but it seemed to impress her.
Another site said it was important to treat Russian women like ladies, "as if you were looking after your 90-year-old grandmother." That made a lot of sense to me, so I went out and bought her an aluminum walker and installed a raised toilet seat in the bathroom.
Over a year of Skype sessions, we used our hands, feet, some unusual facial expressions and a set of sixth-grade flash cards to get to know each other.
I'd ask her questions like, "How do you feel about having 15 children?" by trying to emulate a babushka scrubbing diapers by hand. In turn, she queried me on things important to her, like the size of my abdominals, how much money I made, what kind of car I drove, how much money I made, how far I lived from Beverly Hills and most importantly - how much money I made.
I didn't have the heart to tell her the truth. Nonetheless, with such sound, mutually agreeable life values, I proposed and flew Svetlana to the United States to start our new life together.
I met Svetlana's flight on a blistering southern California afternoon. By the time the TSA finished her cavity searches, it was time to take my new fiancee home to unpack and then out to dinner at Robert's Russian Cuisine - the Olive Garden of Soviet gastronomy.
We spent the evening enamored in each other's glow. We hadn't discussed things like sleeping arrangements, so I broached the subject by laying salt and pepper shakers down on a napkin. "You, me make lovey tonight?" I asked. She thought I was giving her another present, so she wrapped them up and put them in her purse.
For the next few months, we spent all our time together. She brought some sort of bug over from Russia that had both of us flat on our backs making love to the porcelain goddess.
On the bright side, you really get to know someone when they haven't taken a shower for more than a month and you're stuck in the house together, heaving your guts out.
Eventually, I recovered and went back to seeing my friends, but she refused to leave the house. Svetlana spent the entire day on the couch, chatting with her old boyfriends on Facebook and making long distance phone calls to Trochenbrod.
Most of my invitations to leave the house were rebuffed with, "when I learn English." When we did go out, she had a wonderful time adding new American fashions to her wardrobe and annihilating the credit limit on my Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Home Depot cards.
After we finally ran out of money, I suggested that it might be fun to stay indoors and play some entertaining games. I suggested Monopoly, Parchese, Candyland, Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders and hide the hot dog. Her favorites were DungeonQuest, Banzai Shuffleboard, Mahjong and Russian roulette with a glue gun.
When I discovered her aversion to cooking and cleaning, I broached the subject during dinner one night, thinking that she couldn't get too worked up if she was eating. She started to hyperventilate, cry, took all my Valium and ran into the bathroom, where she stayed until the battery on her cell phone ran out. It was so painful not being able to use the toilet that I eventually capitulated and never brought the subject up again. It was easier just to do the vacuuming, cooking and laundry than risk getting another bladder infection.
I wish I could say that Svetlana and I are still together. She was a quick study. It didn't take her long to figure out that North Hollywood wasn't Beverly Hills, I didn't know any actors, and a Hyundai Accent was a long way from a Pagani Zonda.
I came home one day after looking for work to an empty apartment and a carefully worded note: "Ewrtfg xcewrtfg uypoiu jueroi dfpyert. Dfgert uio."
That was the end of my sizzling Russian bride.
Allen Smith, of Vail, is the author of "Watching Grandma Circle the Drain" and "Ski Instructors Confidential." You can reach him at www.snowwriter.com.