This is an appropriate week to talk about the factors that draw people into relationships. I, of course, am a true romantic and my head has never been turned by anything but deeply-felt, passionate, soul-consuming love, the kind of love that grows out of spiritual connection, physical chemistry and mutual trust. But we all know that there are other people out there for whom different considerations come into play when they are choosing a mate.
I was very amused by this article in yesterday's New York Times:
“Ever hear the words ‘rent stabilized’?” says Mr. Podell, who’s paying $702 for a one bedroom in SoHo. “What do I need a fancy place for? A lot of people want to show off their wealth. It ain’t me, baby.”Well at least he's frugal in some ways, although he eats in restaurants every night, travels frequently, and sees plays, concerts and operas 4 nights a week. Now here's another fact about this guy: his girlfriend is 22 years old. Call me cynical, but I think the reason she's going out with him might have something to do with the fact that he is a multi-millionaire. But the other reason she's going out with him is that she lives in Moscow and has never seen his apartment. Perhaps some people think rich men have no problem getting the girl? Not in this case: Mr. Podell has had a string of relationships where women dropped him the minute they saw where he lives. See, money isn't the most important thing!
Then there's this fellow:
No poster child for Greenpeace, or, for that matter, the male fashion industry, Mr. Strauss embraces controversial decorative items such as South Park figurines, Legos and a stuffed baby seal, and although they alienate a lot of potential girlfriends, he refuses to "blandify" his apartment by getting rid of them. It's a good thing, too, as that slightly askew torchiere might overwhelm the room with its exotic distinctiveness in the absence of some other colorful, interesting items to draw the eye-- balance is key, you know. In this case, the article doesn't address the subject's wealth, but we do learn what he does for a living: he writes dating advice for Match.com.
There were several other amusing stories in this piece, involving mildewed towels, Klimt prints, and rabbits that bite men in the worst possible place, but the final one I'll share was about a man who took "a frightening financial leap" for love: he sold his $1.5 million apartment and bought a $2.4 million loft, and then went all-out decorating it with items including a $25,000 chandelier. But when his boyfriend returned from a year in the Peace Corps, intending to move in with him, it was a disaster. After the Peace Corps, where he was around people who were "hungry and dying," he found the fancy loft such a disgusting display of lavish over-consumption that he couldn't live there, and the couple broke up. Just one more example of why you shouldn't waste your money on an extravagant lifestyle!
Anyway, I shouldn't talk, though I suppose I'm kind of middle-of-the-road on these things. I care about how my home looks, though I'm not willing to totally bankrupt myself on it. And though my mother's over-emphasis on decor and cleanliness can drive me crazy, I have to confess that my feelings about a nascent relationship definitely changed after my first glimpse of a cluttered, dusty apartment with a living room floor freshly tinkled on by an aging dog... of course, I also knew the person didn't have any money... but really, we just weren't compatible in the first place!
How about you?