Monday, October 08, 2007

The Prospects For Marriage

A friend just sent this one to me on email. This is apparently a real woman in new York City looking for a husband. She has decided to advertise on Craigslist and come clean and just tell it like it is. When I read this, I had so many things I wanted to say, the words were all trying to get out of my mouth at the same time - like the three stooges trying to get through a doorway.

So, for the moment, read the woman's advertisement, then below that, one man's answer (it's sarcastic, but also brutally honest), then below that, my comments.

Actual Ad from Craigslist website in NY.

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful
(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy.
I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at
least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind
that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think
I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could
you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around
200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get
me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married
to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as
I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I
get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars,
restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east
side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have
nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead
gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment
banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they
hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest
way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front
about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't
able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a
nice home and hearth.

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial
PostingID: 432279810

Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully
about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament.
Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your
bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I
see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a
crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you
suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring
my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my
money will likely continue into fact, it is very likely
that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't
be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning
asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation
accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty
hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in
earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy
and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense
to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case
you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were
to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's
as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So,
I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful"
as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to
believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K
hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then
we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way.
Classic "pump and dump."
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of
lease, let me know.


Alright, now I'll give my two cents on this.

According to an article I read several months back about what 1 million dollars buys you around the country, in Manhattan, it buys you a 1 bedroom apartment. Like Seinfeld's from the TV show. There were no 2 bedroom apartments for under 1 million dollars. So, I guess if she wants a brownstone in Central Park West, that's perhaps 3-5 million dollars? I can see where you would need to make $500k+ per year to live there. But who says she is supposed to live there? My point is that if she has aspirations to have that kind of money and have that kind of lifestyle, then she needs to find a way to earn it herself.

$500k per year doesn't really register with most people, so let's break it down a little. Consider that if you don't go to college, chances are you will end up with a minimum wage job. Minimum wage is a little over $6/hr at the moment, which, for a normal 8 hr day is about $50 per day. average income in the US is probably around $50K that works out to about $200/day. The president of the United States of America earns $225,000 per year, which translates to about $900 per day for running the most powerful nation in the world. Yet even that is not good enough for this woman. No, her minimum requirement for a husband is $500,000 per year, which is $2,000 per day. That is a LOT of money. She should try finding a way to earn $2,000 a day, and keep doing it again every 24 hours, consistently, for years.

Apparently, her only measure of a man's value is his paycheck. I cannot begin to express how much that bothers me. I am totally furious at that view. It is completely dehumanizing. It's as if there is nothing about you that is worthwhile except your paycheck and earning potential. Your knowledge, skills, humor, musical talents, art, your wisdom and experience, insights, thoughtfulness, caring, compassion, ability to teach, to understand, to empathize, to love, to make love, - all are worthless. You are your paycheck. Period. The marketplace has spoken and rendered it's judgment. Your present salary is the sum total of your worth as a human being. To women like her, that is.

Another thing that just irked me about her ad was that, in her mind, she directly correlates the level of beauty of the woman with the amount of money she should be able to attract in terms of her husband's income. She complains that there are all these 'plain' women who have wealthy husbands and she, who is much younger and prettier, hasn't found one yet. She feels this is completely unfair and out of balance. To her, the men who earn the most money should only be attracted to the most beautiful women - like her. In fact, she seems to view it as direct compensation for being beautiful. It's as if she feels that women 'sell' their beauty in marriage, and the marriage 'marketplace' judges her beauty by matching her with the appropriate income level of husband. This seems like long-term prostitution to me.

That is just so vacuuous and cruel and also stupid, I almost can't speak. ....But I will force myself. Let's think this through a little more for her, shall we? Since she apparently hasn't had the chance yet....

Okay. First, in order to translate the beauty of a woman into the 'Husband-Income Draw Factor' (The HIDF) you would first have to have some way to precisely measure the beauty of the woman, the way you measure the income of the man. So, exactly where do you go to get this done? Is there a clinic somewhere that gives a woman a reliable, precise, objective, universally acceptable 1-to-10 rating?

Oh I can just see it now. Picture the scene: There are two women sitting in a clinic, and one is sitting behind the desk at her computer and she is wearing a white lab coat. She is speaking...

"Yes, maam, I see your evaluation has come back and you are a ... let's see now.... an 8.2. That's very, very good! Congratulations! (I have a cousin who is a 8.1, we are all very proud of her) Now, let's just look this up on our handy beauty-to-wealth conversion chart, shall we?....... Hmmm. Yes, here we are. According to our HIDF rating chart, that should entitle you to a husband who makes between $221,000 and $315,000 per year. That would entitle you to shop in this list of stores, drive this list of cars right here, and live in one of these 2 areas here on our map of the city. What's that? You want to live in Central Park West? Ummmm, well, I don't know.... That's a bit tricky. Let me look that up. Let's see now. Let's look at the median property values there,....ok.... and cross reference the mortgage payments to income, and......... hmmm. Well, I'm very sorry, miss. It looks like the properties in that neighborhood require an income of over $500,000 per year. And that requires women who are above a 9.1 on the beauty scale. You are an 8.2, so I'm afraid that those properties are a little out of your reach. I'm sorry. Have you considered cosmetic surgery? Some eye work, perhaps? Maybe a different nose? If you could just tweak your beauty up from the 8.2 you're at now, to the 9.1 you need to be for that level of husband-income-draw-factor, then maybe we can get you into the house of your dreams...."

This plays out like a Monty Python sketch! It's insane and ridiculous. And now let's just take it to it's logical conclusion, shall we? Picture the kitchen scene 10 years down the road, when the guy who answered this woman's ad implied she would be 'done'.

The man sits at the breakfast table and speaks to his wife, "Susan, I have some good news and some bad news. First the good news. I just won the Anderson account, which will increase my income by about $100,000 dollars per year, so I'm now in the $562,000 range! It's fantastic, really! I'm so pleased!
Now, here's the bad news bit. I just received your latest beauty rating report card and, it seems that since your 35th birthday, you've slipped down below a 7.0 rating. I wasn't going to say anything, and I've been putting this off for months, really. I was hoping you'd be able to pull yourself back up, but it looks like age and gravity are winning there, sweetheart. At this point, I doubt you'll ever see the better side of 7.0 again. The clinic tells me that two years from now you'll be lucky to even hold onto a 6.5. I thought I could continue on as long as you stayed at LEAST above a 7.0 (I thought that was very lenient on my part, actually, but it was mostly because of the kids), but now that you've dropped down to a 6.8, and you're headed further south from there - I really have no choice anymore. I'm exercising the escape clause in our pre-nup contract. You know - it's the one where you can dump me if my income falls below $300K, and where I can dump you if your beauty falls below 8.0. I've filed the papers already. It's a clear breach of contract. I'm sorry, but it's out of my hands.
Look, even at my old income level, I'm entitled to a 9.1, and according to the chart published right here in the newspaper, everyone knows that I am entitled to a 9.3 now, with this new contract I've just got. Frankly, it's becoming embarrassing to be seen in public with a 6.8. My advisor tells me that that might even damage my own rating, and therefore my own income earning potential. And we can't have that, now can we?
So I'm afraid we are going to have to make a change here. Yes, it's time for me to trade up. I'm doing the both the car and the wife this year. I might hold off on trading up the house until next year, after I see where interest rates go........
Look, it's not so bad, really. I mean it's not like you're suddenly a 3 or something. But since you're going to be moving down the HIDF scale to a man who only earns about.... ummm... ooo, I see..... about $110,000 per year, (Yikes!) Well, I guess that means that I'll be able to provide a better home and education for the kids. And, looking at your accelerating declining beauty trend on your report card from the clinic, it looks like by the time the kids are ready for college in 8 more years, you'll have slid all the way down to a husband that barely makes $60K per year! You'll be struggling to just survive way out in the boonies somewhere upstate. I doubt they even have schools that far out of the city. So we'll have to decide what is best for the kids in the long term, given the circumstances. Best of luck in your next situation."

It sounds like Monty Python, but these are the implications of her assumptions. If all a man is is a paycheck, and if all a woman is is a beauty factor that earns a corresponding income level of husband, then these scenarios are the logical conclusion. It is so dehumanizing. So shallow, heartless, and harsh. So cold, and pointless. It really almost makes you want to just live alone, doesn't it? I pity the man who ends up with her. And I bet there are millions of others like her. I really hope this is not where our society and culture are headed. I hope this is a more isolated case. But I'm afraid it might not be.


At 1/24/2012 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, although I have to say I can't find a fault with the woman for speaking her mind. Buti have to say she is clearly a superficial, vain bimbo who can't earn any money for herself. And this may be a naive view: but someone should tell that woman that maybe those rich men married those 'plain janes' because they are down to earth, or maybe it is just love. Someone should tell that woman to get a job, earn her own money, I mean it is women like her that makes people believe that women are incompetent, in comparison to me!
From a very dedicated uk feminist,
Kiran sangha


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