Friday, July 13, 2007

Hot Date This Weekend?

As the weekend approaches, I am wondering how a friend of mine will do on her first date with someone she met online. But I'm even more fascinated by some of the email interaction before their meeting, at least as she's explained it to me. It's interesting how we pick up clues about another person's financial status, and how that might change our perception of them as a potential partner.
My friend, Bubbles (oh how I love making up these blog names!), is of a similar background to my own-- middle-class, well educated, well-employed but not raking in huge bucks as far as I know, as she works for a non-profit organization. People she's dated have fit pretty much the same mold. This time, she gets a response to her online profile from a guy who is around her age, who in addition to sharing her interest in films and seeing live music, says he plays squash and golf. Great!, she's thinking, as it's quite clear he means real squash and golf, not video game versions, as would have been more up the alley of her last boyfriend. Then in the next email, he reveals that he lives in a swanky neighborhood in their city and plays squash at some exclusive-sounding private club. She starts to think, whoa, I don't know many people who can afford stuff like that. It further develops that he owns a weekend house, travels a lot, and works for an investment bank.
Bubbles isn't quite sure what to think. Suddenly it is starting to sound like this guy might be A) really loaded or B) lying. And if he really is A) really loaded, why is he looking for dates online? Shouldn't he be able to meet plenty of single debutantes at his fancy club? Is he really single? Why is he single? What is wrong with him?
From what Bubbles has told me, the emails exchanged have been fairly brief. She didn't say anything about how charming and funny he was, just that they seemed to like some of the same books and movies, and that his emails sounded "nice" and were properly spelled and grammatical, which is always a good sign. But I can't help wondering if she'd have been as willing to go out with him without knowing more if he hadn't dropped these little signals of wealth. And some of the signals were subtle, but I mentioned it to another friend of ours who immediately said "Squash? Oh yeah, he's got money." And I kind of thought that myself-- I mean, hey, I read the Preppy Handbook back in 1981, when my entire junior high school, myself included, didn't quite get that it was supposed to be satire rather than instructional. Golf may be an expensive sport to play, but it's totally mainstream. Squash doesn't seem mainstream, it belongs to a certain world.
Bubbles is hardly the gold-digger type, and maybe I'm projecting too much here, but I could see her perhaps thinking that a rich boyfriend might be a nice change from her usual hipster-y, downwardly mobile type... and if I was in her shoes I could see myself feeling the same way-- and I was once in a similar situation where I did kind of feel the same way, but it only took that one date for me to know I didn't want it to go anywhere, regardless of the money! And if it had gone anywhere, I think I always would have struggled with enjoying what money can provide while wishing it was my own money doing the providing...

15 comments:

mOOm said...

I don't think that looking for dates online means anything in particular. Everyone does it.

SavingDiva said...

I guess she might just be interested in seeing how the other side lives...

Online dating is becoming all the rage...one of the women I work with met her boyfriend online. They seem pretty happy. And there isn't anything wrong with her (other than working too much).

Paco said...

There was a summary a while back in the NYT about a study on online dating dynamics. One of the findings of the "What Makes You Click" study was that financial standing played into online dating success.

mapgirl said...

In high school, I dated a hot preppy geek who played squash. It's a fun sport but will eff up your friend's tennis game if she has one.

Yeah, squash to me implies a certain lifestyle that's not cheap. But it also implies freezing your ass off on the courts! (They keep them cold, something about the rubber ball and how it bounces and different temperatures.)

John M said...

I met my wife almost 12 years ago on line. What I loved about on line chat is that it gives you the freedom to completely be yourself, it also gives you the freedom to be someone else entirely. I can be so shy in real life situations, so on line communication works well for me.

There is a lot more risk with getting dates on-line, and when someone mentions Golf and Squash as hobbies before they actually meet, there is a really good reason to be skeptical. But a healthy dose of skepticism should be used for all first dates.

Anonymous said...

You should just wait and see where this goes. Then give the world all the sordid details once it plays out.

Anonymous said...

Please do give us an update on how the date goes!

Madame X said...

I didn't mean to imply that there's anything wrong with people who do online dating-- I think pretty much everyone has tried it by now, myself included. What I meant was more about the stereotype that wealthy preppies tend to keep to their own kind.

And yes, I'm dying to report on how the date goes-- I hope I get all the dirt! Bubbles is a friend that I normally don't speak to all that frequently but I think I'm going to have to call her for an update next week!

K. said...

Your friend should be careful. Some men drop those "subtle" hints in order to create a certain image of himself in the woman's mind that may or may not be real.

K said...

Wishing Bubbles all the best. Hope he turns out to be the man of her dreams.

However as John M mentions a healthy dose of skepticsm up front certainly couldn't hurt.

I believe the vast majority of the human race is caring, loving, and compassionate. But it seems there are occasionally some flaky characters who can abuse peoples good intent.

Anonymous said...

I met my wife online. I had better luck going online than the traditional routes. I am not rich but I make enough money through various income sources that it would be considered high in NYC even without small to big town adjustment. In fact, one of the reasons I went online was because it was easier to "hide" that status at first to avoid gold diggers.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 20something doctor and have found also found some success online. Though not as much as I expected.

MoneyChangesThings said...

Maybe he thinks his class-mates (as in lower upper class) are boring. The squash scene is not known for its intellectual depth!

Anonymous said...

Have you read "Prep" by Curtis Sittenfeld? It's a great book about a "lower-midddle class" girl(as she describes herself) who gets a scholarship to a private boarding school. She makes all these assumptions about the students that attend the school, based on their wealth. I won't give away the ending because I highly recommend you read it, but basically she learns to see the other students as individuals not just as "rich kids".

Tim said...

One thing I'll comment - if he is indeed a banker, he is looking for a date online because he has absolutely no time for a social life. The hours of a banker are not very good.

You also have to realize that banking is a culture that is so focused on image and money that, well, even if he doesn't care about that stuff it's ingrained in him :)