Intimate displays of affection are common: a display of 'passionate love'....

So, on the one hand is sex as a kind of currency, on the other, seemingly opposite, is the fairytale ideal of 'romance'.

Give ODD numbers of flowers (a dozen roses is for funerals here in Ukraine! I personally know a couple of Ukrainian women who (cleverly) keep a number of men hanging on over the internet, get one to pay for a visit to Germany for a couple of weeks, then a different one to pay for visas and flights to South Africa, then another to Canada...

If you need a translator when you come to Odessa, the agency will give the translator a pittance, compared to what you're paying (so, if you're kind, tip your translator! Don't be gullible enough to think that the 'gifts' (of flowers, for example) that you may be tempted to send over the internet, ever reach your intended: the money is split (at best) between the agency and the woman. You can meet some interesting, kind, charming, attractive girls here, but you will need to have money set aside and you too need to think of it as business. If your wife gains a different passport, she will have to (officially) forfeit her Ukrainian passport...

If you meet women at arranged meets, the women will be offered more money to stay for the duration of the meeting. the women here (like almost everyone else, but at least the women here can use their good looks and charm to get it) are in it for money... If things go well, you will need money and time and to endure a great deal of nightmarish bureaucracy with visas in order to get your 'love' to visit you in your own country, to get married and (ultimately... but, under Ukrainian law your 'wife' is entitled to half of everything which belongs to her husband...

Young women (mid-teenagers) race to look grown up to catch a man and, with make-up and the right clothes many easily add ten years to their real age...

and with enough make-up just about any woman can make herself look more attractive.

Perhaps it happens to a greater or lesser degree in other countries, but here it is not very far below the surface at all.

Sex is often seen as a means to an end - the majority of people marry for convenience or money, not love; the majority have lovers - and, as it is more or less freely part of life, Ukrainian people are quite sexually liberated.The women in other parts of Ukraine are on the whole a little less interested in appearance (that is Odessa for you: everything is superficial and flashy).But......there is a 'dirty' underside to life in Odessa.These are rarely the women you see in your pictures - they are people who speak good enough English to write romantic letters.Many agencies publish pictures of women who are not actually on their 'books' (but purchase these pictures from local modelling agencies, or just take pictures of girls in the street and add them to their galleries without permission).Linked to the 'romantic' side, almost all women here have a traditional idea of gender roles, passed down from mother to daughter.