It’s time for a smackdown, ladies. You know who you are. You are the beyotches who use guys for your own personal gain and make the rest of us suffer for it.
I’m talking about those of you who specify which expensive restaurant you want to be taken to on a date and, even more obnoxiously, on a first date. I’m talking about you ladies who hint or even come right out and ask for gifts, gifts such as designer clothing, luxury handbags, and jewelry. I’m talking about you women who demand your parking be paid, taxi fare reimbursed, or babysitting expenses subsidized. No wonder guys are gun shy about dating. They probably believe most women are gold diggers. The problem is a lot of women are.
Sadly, men have artilleries of ammunition to back up their suspicions. In 2011, the online publication, “Business Insider,” profiled a 23 year-old New Yorker named Jessica Sporty who sought to supplement her annual $45,000 salary by joining Match.com and scheduling five dates per week in order to garner free drinks and dinners. She maintained a spreadsheet to keep track of the men she dated and never dated one particular man more than five times, underscoring her true relationship goals, or lack thereof. Dinners ranged from casual to upscale and supplemented Jessica’s income by approximately $1,200 monthly. As news of Jessica’s business venture spread, the backlash from men was, understandably, harsh.
Dating websites such as seekingarrangement.com and whatsyourprice.com capitalize on the quid pro quo that exists where men are willing to provide material goods and lifestyle in exchange for the company of beautiful women. The difference is individuals utilizing these sites are complicit in the type of relationship they are pursuing.
Jessica’s story may represent an extreme case of exploitation. But I have heard repeatedly from men I have dated, from male friends, and even from my own brother, of women taking advantage of their generosity. So what do these opportunists ultimately reap from such bad behavior, besides the obvious monetary benefits? Jaded men who believe women are users and who assume a nice night out should be rewarded with sex.
More frustrating is when these women, wide-eyed and innocently, have the audacity to question where all the good men have gone, leaving those of us, women who actually desire a real relationship, searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Make no mistake. I am a huge proponent of chivalry, which I believe is a dying art these days. I am also very much a traditionalist when it comes to gender roles, at least at the beginning of a relationship.
But I pay my dues, too. And those dues ain’t cheap.
I, like most people, live on a budget, and dating is an expensive proposition, especially when I date in Manhattan as I often do. Because I have full physical custody of my children, it is easier for me to travel to my date. But, first, I must hire a babysitter which, in my area, costs between $15 and $20 per hour. Including travel time, I am usually gone for approximately six hours, sometimes longer. Babysitting, therefore, runs between $90 and $120 for the night plus the cost of the babysitter’s dinner, usually takeout. And this is all just so I can walk out the door!
Thankfully, I have a devoted mother and stepfather who pick up a lot of the slack by frequently babysitting so I can go out without breaking the bank.
Once I am on my way, I purchase either a round-trip train ticket (unless I can borrow a train pass from a friend) or, alternatively, drive to the city and incur the cost of gas, tolls and, if I can’t find parking (admittedly, I am parallel-parking challenged), pay to park in a garage. In total, a date in Manhattan can run me nearly $200. Doing that once or twice weekly, the expense becomes significant.
But I never say a word. Why? I consider it the cost of doing business, and I am in the business of finding someone wonderful. My time is valuable but, unlike my travel expenses, it cannot be quantified. Dating means precious moments spent away from my family. Therefore, while apart from my children, I do look for a means to an end. However, the end is not a fancy dinner or a new handbag. Rather, the end is a nice evening spent with an intelligent, interesting, and kind person who, hopefully, will feel the same way about me.
Unfortunately, what I am often met with is a date who, pretty much sight unseen, has already sized me up as a gold digger who only wants to be with someone earning big bucks.
As a result, I have been on a number of dates with men who felt compelled to announce their yearly incomes. Talk about uncomfortable. I always believed such matters to be private. Perhaps I resembled an IRS auditor they once knew.
On the flip side, I dated a guy for two months who confided his fears about being unable to one day provide me with the same lifestyle my ex husband had. As I minimized the importance of money to me, he laughed.
More recently, I had a first and, not coincidentally, last date with a man who insisted I was looking for someone less entrepreneurial and more job stable than himself. I was deeply offended and accused him of projecting his own insecurities on to me. He, in turn, claimed his analysis of my body language revealed disappointment with his livelihood. He said he had been “down that path before” and it wasn’t a great one.
Wow. All that from an hour meeting at Starbucks. Perhaps I had unleashed his untapped desire to be a CIA operative. Or, at a minimum, he was a devoted fan of the TV show, “Homeland.”
Yet, his concern about being down that path before gives me pause. Such defensiveness does not arise from nowhere. My guess is it came from years of dating conniving women.
My ex-husband has always been very generous with money. It’s how he expresses affection, and what he erroneously believes brings women happiness. As my marriage neared its end, all that was left were his vacant gifts. One of the last things he bought me was a designer wallet, just days before he left. I remember standing in our master bedroom, transferring the contents of my old wallet into the new one, feeling completely alone and unloved. This was not the relationship I wanted. I just didn’t know how to leave.
I’m a girl, and a girly girl at that. I admit I like nice things. Pretty things. But material objects mean absolutely nothing without sentiment and are a far distant second in priority to a loving relationship.
So, ladies, be careful what you wish for. Your walk-in closets won’t keep you warm at night. And as for the Louis Vuitton luggage you covet? I’m pretty sure heaven won’t accept carry-on bags either. All of it will need to be checked right at the pearly gates.
Are you a gold digger?