Saturday, February 7, 2009

Going For The Gold - Recession Style

Is this a response to
Dating a Banker Anonymous?

Elisabeth Eaves of is asking
Will The Recession End Gold Digging?

It looks like the economic downturn is producing a dating downturn too. At least this is true in financial centers like New York, where an unhealthily intimate bond between mating and money has persisted down the decades, from Edith Wharton through Candace Bushnell.

Sane people of average incomes and healthy libidos may now be asking, who would stop coupling just because of a li'l old downturn? Don't we all now have more time for romance on our hands? The answer is, your ilk do not dominate New York social life. The dating downturn is affecting men and women for whom money, self-image and mating are inextricable from one another.

Moreover, who wants to go through life scheming over how to get someone else to support you, when it's much less stressful to figure out how to support yourself? Marry for money, and you'll earn every penny of it, as some wise woman once said. Men whose identity is tied up in having lots and lots of cash--as it tends to be, when someone works slavish hours at boring tasks for no reason other than extra zeros at the end of his paycheck--are tedious company. Loss of income then causes them to have identity crises, which can make them even less pleasant. Just as pretty women sometimes fail to develop much character, because they can get attention and advantage without it, so, too, do wealthy men.
Modern would-be gold diggers would do well to note that since women entered the workforce in large numbers, Americans have been returning to what sociologists call "assortive mating," that is, marrying within their own careers and income levels; doctors have the highest in-mating rate of any profession. In other words, the best way to mate with someone in job X is to also get that job yourself. And by the time you've done that, selling your charms to the highest bidder becomes a lot less attractive. You can bet that if William Makepeace Thackeray were writing Vanity Fair today, Becky Sharp would have set her sights on investment banking, not an investment banker.
For victims of the dating downturn, I'd like to end by recommending men who have not made a big income their life's goal--artists, writers, journalists, academics, musicians, coaches, teachers, etc. They can't take you to restaurants run by brand-name chefs or set you up with a clothing allowance, but they're not having identity crises. A starving artist last year is a starving artist today, only more confident, having been reassured that he made the right choice when he ignored parental urgings to go into some "secure" profession. These men have developed charm, domestic skills, empathy, maybe even some moral fiber. You just might find them so pleasant that you can walk away from dinner without feeling like you should have been paid for your time.

Recession be damned!
If you are still out there hoping to hook up with a Finance Boy Friend or FBF
you might want to check out the sale at

10% off the Myla spring collection throughout February!
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