Posted by: scottishboomerang | August 1, 2007

Do Male Order Husbands Exist? A question over farewell icecream.

I orginally posted this on the travel site Poor But Happy – where I put most of my Colombian diary materials. I’ve moved it here. Basically I never got to see many of you in the week I was back in the UK before coming to South Korea, so I’ll be posting my Colombian expereinces periodically so you can catch up.

My final weekend in Barranquilla: a leisurely spent eating and packing. A few memories: Friday was the day I received more piropos than any other day. Something in the air, I think. My “admirador” got his “besito” but on his face, not his lips or any other part of his anatomy. For the nth time, I very gently refused him and told him if there wasn’t someone else in my life, I would kiss him like a lover, not like a sister, without hesitation. He looked at me with a kind of stupefied incomprehension. “But he’s not even here. We are here.” He told me there was still time, (well, a man’s gotta try right)? However he seemed slightly mollified with my sweetly phrased refusal and I’m very sure (never been more sure of a sure thing in my life) he has plenty of other opportunities with other girls, so he won’t be sad for long.

Today, my boss and his wife, who speaks excellent English, took out for lunch at Exito (which for being supermarket actually has fairly reasonable food) and my Boss bought ice-cream for me and for himself, Mrs Boss not being in the mood for it. She was translating some of my Boss’s more obscure Costeno jokes to me when my Boss starts laughing at something else entirely. The cause of his merriment? While Mrs Boss and I had been discussing the meaning of a costeno saying in English, he’d overheard the folks at the next table discussing us – one gringa, one “translator”, one colombinano: only two ice-creams. They were wondering if Mrs Boss was the translator from the introduction’s agency, and if I was meeting my future Colombian husband for the first time.

“No way. If I was a guy and you were a girl,” I said to my Boss “then they might have reason to think that”.
“No, I think there are agencies for that. For gringas. There are some gringas who come here to get married”, Mrs Boss told me as Mr Boss choked on his ice=cream, between chuckles.
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“No, seriously, they come. They thought because he bought you the ice cream and not me and because I was talking to you in English, that I was from an agency.”
“They really exist for women too? For gringas and colombianos?”
“I think so, anyway, some gringas come here to get married to colombianos, it’s certain. I know one who did.”

Carefully, and very deliberately, we all get up my Boss puts his arm around his wife, while I keep a respectful distance from them, and, chuckling hard, we leave the dining area, and the astonished faces of the philosophers at the next table.

But this begs the question, bugging me all day. Where are these agencies for women seeking Colombian men? How come I’ve never come across them? Are they merely a Costeno urban legend? Or is there a secret world of mail order husbands that we don’t know about? I tried Googling “Colombian husbands” to see what came up: but nothing: same ol’ mail order brides sites. The only male order husbands site I can find is this one. If you want a laugh.

From my not so very long experience of life, though, I think that in all probability it is just an urban legend, and the folks at the next table were merely projecting the norm for gringos onto me: seeing my foreignness before my gender.

All any girl with her own teeth and hair has to do is show up.



  1. Hi there,

    [W]hile researching this topic I came across your article and am hoping you might be able to help with my research?

    I have hit a brick wall in my search for mail order husbands!! There seem to be 100 ‘s of services available to men who wish to take a foreign bride but it is proving quite difficult to find the equivalent for Western women. I know that quite some time has passed since you wrote this piece, but just hoped that you might be able to point me in the right direction..[.]

    Thanks and best wishes

    Emma Sheridan

  2. If anyone reading this can help with Emma’s research, please email me via the contact section and I will pass the message on.


  3. Is so interesting what you guys are writing. My Colombian cousin LOVES American girls. He said that “they are family oriented, honest an really pretty no like Colombian girls”, but he has no luck finding one an American wife. There is no such an agency that helps him finding his true love…His “American Wife” in Colombia. Let me know if you know about any agency or website that can help him. Thanks

  4. I think your cousin might have better luck on the “standard” dating sites (I’m not convinced they actually work though) becasue very few western women (that I know of) seek a husband purely on ethnicity or nationality alone. We would get laughed at, but it seems to be ok for western men to do it! (Que machista!)

    Latin American isn’t a very good place (in my experience) for a woman to be unaccompanied, but perhaps try looking at the Spanish for foreigners department of the major universities for a foreign girlfriend. Be warned though – most of us can spot a “passport proposal” a mile off.

    Marriage minded American girls – the ones with the family values – tend to use religious dating sites. So I would look, if its a wife he wants in the church, not in the bars. Hope this helps.

  5. And by the way, we are not ALL American. I am European myself. Scottish and proud of it!

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