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Monday, December 05, 2011

DATING FOR PROFIT

“I mean, a guy buys me three drinks at $15 a pop and that right there made up for my Match fee.”

Dating for Profit
Via American Digest, I saw this article by The Mary Sue about a woman who uses Match.com to find dates. I checked that place out a decade ago or so, and strangely no women wanted a destitute man with poor health, no prospects, and who was thrown out of college for not attending classes. Women are so picky.

However, this woman is different. She's not looking for marriage. She's not looking for a long term relationship. She's not looking for a boyfriend, she's not even looking for a one night stand. She just wants someone to buy her stuff and pay for her dinners.
The woman, who is now anonymous but given (of all things) the fictional name of the Harry Potter character Minerva McGonagall thanks to the fury her story caused, was perfectly happy to share her story. “Before I barely had enough money to pay for food,” she told Business Insider. “After using Match.com I found I wasn’t going into debt anymore.”

The woman wasn’t going into debt anymore because men were purchasing one meal a day for her. “Her $45k salary was not enough and she needed at least an extra $500 a month and sometimes $1,000 to pay her credit card bills and afford her $1,475 a month apartment in Murray Hill,” writes BI. “Then she discovered Match.com– the perfect site for a broke 23-year-old.”

Her plan involved eating out five nights a week using a rotation of different men from Match and made it a rule not to go out on more than five dates with the same man. She quickly had men buying her not just food but alcohol, even a $200 bottle of champagne on one date.

“[She] went from easily spending $500 a month on dinners alone to having someone else dole out an average of $60-plus per night,” writes BI. “She also stopped eating lunch and opted for a light breakfast to save even more.”
Now, I've long suspected that there were women who do this - not really gold diggers so much as women taking advantage of men for drinks, food, and entertainment with absolutely no intention of going any further. The only thing that would stop a woman is fear of meeting guys that are awful and some sense of honor and ethics. And these days, who in men or women has a lot of either virtue?

Some, perhaps many would even applaud this as a strike against the male oppressive phallocracy, others might admire her for her cleverness, but apparently most people have reacted very negatively to the story. But the only reason we heard about this is that she's out of debt now and got tired of it, so she stopped. I can hardly guess that she's the only one out there, and since online dating is so easy, convenient, and controlled, I suspect that many of the dates from those sources are of this kind.

Yet when Mary Sue and everyone else talk about this, they can't exactly put a finger on why they think it so "bad, bad, bad." Jill Pantozzi at the site calls it extortion, but there's nothing of the sort going on. These men went into this with their eyes open. It was a date, there's no guarantee, not even a reasonable certainty that anything will come of it but expense for him.

Nobody was extorted or stolen from here. This woman wasn't breaking any laws, she was breaking an unwritten rule.

The problem with what this girl was doing (and others are doing) is that its a contract of sorts. The guy pays for stuff in the assumption that this could go somewhere other than just a night on the town. Not sex, necessarily but a relationship, something meaningful with a future. Even if the guy is just looking for some nookie, he's still putting out that money with a reasonable hope of some reward. And she offers nothing - she may have slept with a few of the guys, but her whole intention was just to get free stuff.

And I have to be honest, not a few guys have the sneaking suspicion that is what dating has been about for a long time with many women. And as one commenter said "dating is pretty manipulative anyway." And it is. I've written in the past about this problem: dating is probably the worst possible way to find out if you really want to be with someone. Most people probably don't deliberately lie in dates, at least not in any big way, but they do mislead constantly.

Few people behave at a date exactly like they behave in regular life. Almost nobody on a date shows what they're like with other people. Nobody on a date demonstrates how they treat family and friends. Because its just one on one, usually between people too young to have developed any real discernment about other people (especially the opposite sex), charged with hopes and wishes and hormones. In other words, they aren't behaving like they normally do and you're so wound up your judgment is awful.

And that's what you want to base your future on?

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