On a recent business trip, a colleague stood in front of the Jimmy Choo store cooing and Aaaahing at a pair of shoes she was going to buy.
“Oh I might get the bag too,” she said, her eyes wide. “Oh Rolex,” I rather fancy myself with a Rolex!”
You would think she’d just won the lottery. She hadn’t. She was having a rather open affair with a client… older and very rich. I won’t bore you with the rest of the conversation it was bad enough the first time round, but on those long days sitting through hours of lectures on insurance regulation, I got to thinking about love and whether we take it for granted that it is an obvious precursor to marriage, the happily ever after etc.
Barely a century ago (and even in many cultures today) marriage is little more than a business arrangement. For money, for elevated social status or, maybe because you have hit a certain age and you just can’t face the idea of being left on the shelf.
In our days of ‘equality’ and ‘feminism’ is it possible that marriage remains little more than a business transaction?
From the WAGs on TV to the WAG wannabes in Mayfair bars and the bus-load of Essex girls that drives down every Friday night to frequent the worst bar in the city in the hope of bagging a banker. Even our beloved Duchess of Cambridge (AKA Kate Middleton) might be more Made in Chelsea than Only Way is Essex but is a WAG nonetheless .
A report by Catherine Hakim (LSE) states that more women marry for money now than in 1940 (based on findings that 39% or women in 1990 married men that were better educated ergo education = money, a shaky claim at best)
“It is thus not surprising that wives generally earn less than their husbands, and that most couples rationally decide that it makes sense for her to take on the larger share of childcare, and use most or all the parental leave allowance.” (Catherine Hakim, January 2011)
This is clearly a bucket of dishwater, still a quick search on Amazon revealed a library of aids for the social climber….
Smart Girls Marry for Money (Elizabeth Ford), How to Marry Money: The Simple Path to Love (Ruth Leslee Greene), The Gold Digger’s Guide; How to Marry the Man and the Money (by the very aptly named Ivana Rich) (I KID YOU NOT!) and the list goes on and on and on.
I personally can’t think of anything worse than marrying an old wrinkly and frankly Jimmy can keep his Choos but this did get me thinking… If marrying is a job, is dating just a series of interviews?
“First dates are like job interviews with cocktails” (Carrie, SATC)
Back on the shelf again, I accepted an out-dated date from a friend’s brother’s cousin’s uncle’s friend (something along those lines… desperate times). Waiting at the entrance to Camden Town tube, I felt the usual pangs of nerves, mostly not quite believing I was HERE again, doing the dating thing, and it was only with half-hearted enthusiasm that I greeted him. He was short and scrawny but had lovely big blue eyes and I was fully planning on keeping an open mind.
They say that an interviewer will make their mind up about a candidate within the first few minutes and it was amazing how quickly I was matching him up to the job spec;
Not tall – minus one point
Runs own business – plus five points
No discernable hobbies or interests – minus six points
Bad banter – minus seven
Brazenly admits to failing A levels four times – minus ten
Admits to being a bit of a stoner – minus fifty
ABORT!! ABORT!! ABORT!!
God what a loser thought I, as I swaggered to the tube having given him the “I have a really early meeting it’s getting late” excuse at barely 8PM. It was the date equivalent of walking into an interview with ripped jeans and sparking a joint.
But little did I know, karma has a funny way of taking you down a peg.
I won’t go into detail about how I met ‘golden boy’ (as he shall henceforth be known) but I had a date with an incredibly gorgeous, tall (check!), blonde (check check) guy. If I was nervous before meeting the stoner, I was positively drunk with nerves now. So anxious was I to make a good impression, I spent my entire lunch break that day on the Guardian website comment page looking for interesting and witty things I can casually drop into the conversation.
That’s basically more prep than I’d do for an ACTUAL interview.
It was doomed from the start. Golden boy was either aloof or just had little to say other than very polite shallow conversation. After covering the weather, where we studied, what our housemates were like and where we grew up… that was it. The well ran dry. At this point I was so full of the awkwardness that I started to leak drivel. Soon I was drivelling at an unstopable rate and he could do little other than watch in mild shock as I listed the Persian kings from Cyrus until Artaxerxes III and that was really only the beginning.
I was bombing it, and I knew I was bombing it just like in every bad interview I’d ever had and I could see him making the quick calculation of me against the job spec. His vision all digital green and black like terminator.
Talks too much – minus five
Probably boils bunnies for fun – minus ten
History geek – minus two
MISMATCH ABORT ABORT ABORT
“It was nice meeting you again,” he said at the end of the date. Cest La Vie.
Maybe dates are like job interviews, but love isn’t a job and it’s not about money (despite Ivana Rich’s claims) it’s about stability and companionship not selling to the highest bidder. Women have moved on from that, we can afford to be picky and when you can make your OWN millions you can change your job spec to include things that actually matter.
What do you think? Is money important? Comments welcome xx Amelia