Why hard cash just can't hold a candle to good old chemistry
We women are out-performing men academically; we're 'leaning in', but still men expect us to behave like Don Draper's latest fling.
Former Miss World Rosanna Davison has just revealed she's had generous offers from men to go on dates with her. She announced this just after Claudia Schiffer opened up about receiving an offer of $1m to have a dinner with an Arab prince and Kim Kardashian said she was paid $500k to go to the Vienna Ball with a wealthy businessman.
Websites that promise to match older, wealthy men with young beautiful women have been thriving in America for years. One of the most successful, seekingarrangement.com, describes itself as a place 'where the attractive meet the affluent'. It claims to have a million subscribers; 10 women for every man.
The notion of a female gold-digger isn't a new one. Some of our most fabulous female literary heroines, like Elizabeth Bennett and Bridget Jones, made bagging a rich man their life's quest.
Meanwhile, the phenomenon of the alpha female/beta male seems to have spread across the Atlantic, too. Women who are already successful and wealthy have to hide their bank accounts and designer shoes from potential partners in case they damage their fragile male egos.
Barclays Wealth Management estimated that by 2020, women millionaires would outnumber their male counterparts and that, within 20 years, 60% of the world's wealth would be managed by women. Yet, at the same time, there is a whole new world of mercenary dating out there for regular women, with online sites like whatsyourprice.com, where men actually pay real money to date women, and phone apps like Carrot Dating – it's all about 'no-strings arrangements'.
Both claim success in exploiting the niches that have emerged in the burgeoning internet dating scene. And such brashness seems to be paying off.
Our dark economic situation means that there are better chances that sites like Carrot Dating and the proliferation of sites that set up sugar daddy/sugar baby arrangements will be used in ever more sinister and sadder ways. We might not have totally moved on from the situation of men being the providers as we'd like to think. Going dutch on a first date is totally fair. But then again, it's one thing to say yes to a date, because the guy is promising you a nice present; it's quite another to agree to a date because the prospect of someone else paying for your meal is a lot better than using the Simon Community.
Sure, there is a transactional element to every relationship, but it's usually just time and intimacy that are up for barter.
So, are you just an eejit for providing for free what he would have been willing to pay for? Maybe paying to go on a date is a more honest way to conduct a non-committed relationship. After all, he might give you an iPad or a yellow diamond...
If Tinder-style dating is too frisky for you, the new websites show that 1950s-style relationships are trendy again. But hard cash will never, ever replace chemistry – and carrots are just that: a veg that's delicious when juiced with a few oranges and some ginger added in. I don't ask for much in a boyfriend: just that they have a reasonable IQ and a vague sense of humour, have their own hair and teeth, don't have any previous convictions (the unsavoury kind). And, finally and crucially, don't earn more than me per annum.