Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Kingdom for a Green Card

It's a Sunday afternoon, and I'm feeling both enervated and salubrious. The sun is out, the trees have sent forth their leaves, and I'm over-caffinated. Oh, and I have no idea what "enervated" and "salubrious" mean. Because Becky H. used to sit next to me in English, and I spent far too much time passing her humorous notes. Using "evervated" and "salubrious". So if Mr. Steen is in the audience, I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention in class, though on the bright side, I can use these words in a sentence. I just have no idea if I'm doing it correctly.

I see today that I'm back up to eight followers. I feel oddly gratified, even though I have no idea who "Imola" is. Let's all give Imola a hearty, Confessions-worthy greeting and hope she stays for more than a day or two. Because I'd like to break through the class ceiling that is "ten". I'm going to celebrate by cracking open this vintage bottle of Manischewitz blackberry wine and let my wild dingos roam the Fortress' grounds.

Today, I'm going to discuss a phenomenon I think is endemic to life in New York City certainly, and likely prevalent in many big cities (and no, I don't know what "endemic" means, either). Though, now that I think of it, when I lived in LA and DC, I didn't encounter this phenomenon. Perhaps it's because of the large population of Eastern European chicks living here in the city. I am speaking, of course, of the Green Card marriage offer.

A few days ago, I got a phone call from a friend of a friend, named Oksana. The conversation went something like this: "Yes, I am Oksana. We get married, I pay $15,000. So I meet you at lawyer's office Monday, yes? Do you have criminal record?" Yeah, Oksana, I have no idea who you are and I've never met you. Of course I'll meet you at your lawyer's office. Idiot. Perhaps you should take your foot off the gas, and slow down a bit.

For those of you not in the know, the Green Card marriage is just that. Marriage for a Green Card. That magical piece of paper that confers upon someone citizenship in this, our great country. Although universally, the Eastern European chicks refer to this as "marriage for the papers", which makes it sound like they're bucking for a pedigree from the American Kennel Club. The offer is typically $15,000 for three years of your life. You get third up front, a third when the card comes in, and a third when you get divorced.

Sadly, this is solely a business transaction, which means the marriage is depressingly sexless. I'm not sure why this bothers me, since my own, real marriage was also depressingly sexless. So you'd think I'd be used to the idea. But the idea of being married to a typically hot Eastern European chick, and not having sex, would make me want to slap a penguin with a sockful of nickels.

Because you've got to live with the chick for at least a little while, so when the immigration people interview you, you can tell them that a) she drools when she sleeps, b) her toothbrush is purple, and c) she's wearing those pink panties with the little flowers on them today. Those are details you just can't learn from a few conversations over coffee. Also, there's the home visit from the government, so you will be living with your fake wife for at least a little while. And seeing her come out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel every day, and not having sex, is some kind of horrible torture obviously designed by the KGB. I'll bet that's how they broke Francis Gary Powers. (That's okay, you can Google him. I'll wait).

What I find odd is the concept that I could earn money by getting married. I always assumed that I'd be the one who'd have to pay someone to marry me. Mostly because of my odious personal habits, like leaving my dirty socks on the TV and getting liquored up on Manischewitz blackberry wine and shooting at mailboxes. But apparently there are some 20 desperate Eastern European women willing to pay me to marry them. Without sex. Which is unlike my previous marriage, wherein I paid (a heavy price, if we include psychic pain) for the priviledge of not having sex. It's like I'm some kind of reverse prostitute.

What I don't understand is why they don't just marry their boyfriends. They all have them. Oh, they'll say they don't have a boyfriend, but they do. He's either from their own country, or Spanish, which means they don't have access to the magical Green Card, and thus ineligible for marriage (but eligible for sex). Or they're American, but not stupid enough to marry these women. Because these guys are traditionally douchebags. They've got huge biceps, wear too tight Ed Hardy t-shirts, and ride motorcycles. Eastern European women love the douchebags, because they spend money on these women while treating them badly. They may like the "bad boys" but come running to schmucks like me (AKA a nice guy) when they need the Green Card. Seems to me that if your douchebag American boyfriend refuses to marry you for free, then there's something wrong with your relationship. Maybe you should marry me for free. And let me sleep with you.

Did I mention that this process takes three years? It takes two years for the government to issue the magical Green Card (they get a temporary resident card after the first year), but you can't just get divorced the day after the card comes in the mail. Because that would tip off the government to your ruse. No, you've got to wait an appreciative amount of time to divorce your fake Eastern European wife, typically one year. I just don't think I have this kind of time. I'm 42 years old. I'd like to get married for real just one more time before I die. Which at the rate I'm going, what with the Manischewitz, Ring Dings, and smoking, could be soon.

Which brings me to another question? How does the government get fooled by these Green Card marriages? If I was an INS agent, and I saw someone like me (skinny, 42, poor) and an Eastern European chick (hot, 26, and hot), I'd completely know what was going on. I'd void my ass right there. Nope, Green Card marriage! Next! I hear they ask you personal questions during the interview, but they're clearly not asking the right questions. Which is to say, they're clearly not asking about the sex. I'd ask questions like: Does she like it in the morning? How about in the shower? What's her favorite position? You know, personal questions that you'd only know if you'd actually done the deed. I suppose they can't do this for legal reasons. And because they don't want to look like perverts. But if they were serious about keeping these people out of the country, you'd think they'd be more conscientious.

The penalties for getting caught are pretty steep. Something like a $250,000 fine plus three years in prison (which is potentially not asexual, if you know what I mean). She just gets sent back to her crummy, Eastern European, former Soviet hellhole, with no possibility of ever getting a visa to America again. I think I get the worse punishment. Because she doesn't have to worry about getting raped in the shower. And what do you say to your fellow inmates when they ask you what you're in for? Fake Green Card marriage. Yeah, that'll impress them. You're totally not getting punked after that. I guess I'd have to tell them I'm in for murder or something.

In the end, this just seems like a bad deal for me. On the one hand, I would have to live with you for a few weeks, during which I would find myself in an uncomfortable, asexual situation where sex should occur, and I'd likely run into you and your douchebag boyfriend canoodling (a precursor to your having sex with him). Oh, and if we get caught, I'm the one who ends up wearing a wig and being someone's bitch for three years. On the other hand, there's $15K.

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