Western dudes have used the internet to find Eastern European brides for years.
Typically they go through international matchmaking agencies, which charge for access to thousands of women looking for foreign husbands.
I chatted with Natalya Galugan, a pretty 26-year-old from Kryvyi Rih.
She said she gets up to three messages a day from men, "90% from Muslim countries" like Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.
I entered some personal information, uploaded an especially flattering picture of myself, then used the search function to find all single women between 25 and 35 in Ukraine who were online at the moment — around p.m. There were more than 10,000 available, all sorted by a rating system which seemed to be directly proportional to the amount of pictures a woman had posted of herself in a string bikini, and how good she looked in said bikini.
Agency rosters are stuffed with savvy "pro-daters" who are just out for gifts and cash handouts, they blogger who says his Ukrainian ex-girlfriend was hired to correspond with lovelorn Westerners on Anastasia International, one of the more popular agencies.
With that in mind, men like Stephen Ewald are bypassing dating agencies and going straight to the source: The social networks that are increasingly popular in Eastern Europe.
"What happened is the advent of all these online travel sites put a lot of pressure on these traditional models, with people going online and booking their own flights," he said.
"The internet cuts out the middleman and the agency is the classic middleman."A more ominous explanation for the shift would be the passage in 2005 of the International Marriage Brokerage Act.