Recently, I developed a television series binge watching habit.
I have no particular preference to speak of, but once I latch onto a series, I want to start from the first season and run through all the episodes, extras, tell alls, bloopers… you name it.
And so, my habit led me to 90 Day Fiancé, ABC channel’s train wreck of a reality show, that follows Americans and their foreign fiancés through the process of obtaining a K1 visa, and then in line with the provisions of that visa, getting married within 90 days of the arrival of the foreign fiancé in the United States.
Sometimes, from first glance at the couple, you know who is in it for love, and who just wants to get a green card and explore their options in America, with or without their American enabler. For instance, Mohammed and Danielle, should unarguably be the show’s fastest train wreck. At first glimpse of Mohammed, you knew he was not interested in Danielle. Heck he even forgot he was on a reality show and attempted to get “lost” as soon as he set foot on American soil.
Other combinations that set hackles rising were Molly and Luis, Nicole and Azan, Chantelle and Pedro. The last couple got to me because it really looked like a simple and sweet love story, until the show producers decided to wreck the couple’s attempts at marital bliss, by making Chantelle hide the facts of their relationship from her family, and then continued to stir up trouble between both extended families, almost tearing the two apart.
I was very very iffy about Russ and Paola, still pity Russ a lot because as far as I am concerned and from what I can see, as soon as Paola got the green card, she began to pull the strings and humiliate her husband for fun. And then there is the extremely creepy 58 year old Mark, who went all the way to the Philippines to import 19 year old Nikki, who he virtually arm twisted into signing a pre-nup that leaves her with nothing – not even alimony or the clothes on her back – if he should tire of her and toss her off then head back to the Philippines to import another wife (his first wife was also Filipino); and also coerced her into agreeing to a childless marriage.
Then enter Anfisa and Jorge.
Anfisa is a 20-year-old Russian, Jorge is a 26-year-old American. They meet online, fall in love and Jorge travels to meet Anfisa in Spain and proceeds to spoil her with the good things of life. Jorge is a thickset, heavy set plus sized male; Anfisa is a model whose best assets, are her plumped up lips and botoxed forehead.
Almost from the first moment, even before Anfisa enters the country on her K1 visa, the abuse begins.
Having promised her heaven and earth and therefore needing to work to fulfill it while of course keeping an eye on his finances since he was rich but not that stupendously rich, Jorge is unable to buy Anfisa a Chanel bag, opting for a bracelet instead.
She reacts by wiping all the information on his iPhone, changing the passwords on his email accounts and cancelling a flight he had booked to go pick her from Russia.
My mouth was agape as I watched and I thought, this girl is either doing this for the drama, hoping that some producers see her antics and decide she is good fodder for some “Q” rated reality show after the 90 day fiancé must have run its course, or she is a border line psychopath. If I were Jorge, that would have been my signal to cancel the whole fiancé shebang and face my front.
Did he? No.
He didn’t. Anfisa arrived the United States of America and then just like I suspected, the abuse scaled up and moved from just throwing temper tantrums and strops; to full on physical, mental and emotional attacks.
The first time she landed a slap on him, I flinched.
It wasn’t a joke, her face was contorted, she looked like a demon out of hell and her hands left a mark on his face. Then it went pretty downhill from there. Shouts, temper tantrums, attacks, physical assault, destruction of property, it was painfully shocking. It got so bad that if she feinted, Jorge would physically flinch and make a move to protect himself.
While I enjoyed watching the other couples on the show and laughing at their antics, Jorge’s bit really distressed me. I didn’t know how bad, until my daughter came into the room one day and asked me why I was crying.
I was watching an episode where Jorge’s sister decided to set up an intervention and invited him for lunch. He had long cut off his family members on Anfisa’s orders, and so he tried to sneak around and honor this one. Halfway there, Anfisa somehow found out where he was headed and called on phone – insulting, yelling and threatening him – until he turned back. And then she went for the dinner with him, fought with the sister, forced Jorge to take sides, left with him, scratched up his car, slapped him, insulted him, and then threw him out of his own apartment.
All this BEFORE she had even had a chance to go for the green card interview.
What baffled me in all this?
Cameras were rolling, people were watching yet only once or twice did we witness a feeble attempt at intervention and even then, Anfisa would order Jorge into the room, order the cameras out, and you would hear the sound of the abuse continue.
I imagined Jorge to be any of my younger brothers, and I could empathize with his sister’s distress.
It was sad.
Especially since Jorge still went ahead with the green card process (enduring all the humiliations, abuse, yelling and slaps on the day of the interview); and only snapped out of it and separated from Anfisa AFTER she had been granted a green card.
And once again in all this, cameras were rolling, producers were milling around and recording, there were armed security guards everywhere and none of them, not one of them, could pull Anfisa up, plonk her botoxed arse in a nearby chair, and read the riot act as far as domestic violence was concerned, to her?
Now, just for a moment, go back and reread all the abuse I had detailed Jorge passed through at Anfisa’s hands and juxtapose the characters.
Imagine for one moment, that Jorge was the one who yelled at Anfisa; remotely reformatted her phone and reset her email accounts; and slapped her.
Matter of fact, hold your imagination at the first slap.
Jorge raises his hand and it lands on Anfisa’s face.
What do you all think would have happened to Jorge by now?
This life na pot of beans.
Anyway, Anfisa got her green card, Jorge separated from her and she returned to Russia to visit her grandma and when she returned, she and Jorge were last seen on the “Tell All” where Jorge said to the world at large, “Anfisa says she is not working? She is lying. Ask her what she does for a living. Ask her. It is very disgraceful, I am ashamed because I am associated with her and was while she was doing the work – still doing it – just ask her what she does for a living. If you see her walking down the street, what would you think she does for a living?”
And on that note, still “a little upset”, I leave both of them to God and retreat to continue gazing at this my wonderful navel.
#MeToo #MenGetAbusedToo #TimesUp