Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For Love Of/Or Money


It was a frigid night last Wednesday, but hot girls packed Bruno Jamais as the indoor temperature soared. The sexy Upper East Side restaurant/hideaway was overflowing with the rich and the beautiful – one independent of the other. Pocket Change, along with matchmaker Janis Spindel hosted “Natural Selection Speed Dating”. The event paired wealthy men with hot girls, making no excuses or apologies for the frank superficiality.

Beneath the oversized art work of lips on the wall, lips were flapping as the participants interviewed and got to know one another. Certain obvious jokes came to mind: It looked like Father’s Day dinner with older men and their daughters; the scene resembled an episode of Beauty and the Geek; this is the downfall of Western civilization. A large group on onlookers and media, who were not participating, stood by the bar unable to pull their eyes away from the scene. It was intoxicating, captivating – somewhat like a train wreck or Paris Hilton’s life, but undeniably mesmerizing. I tried not to let my preconceived opinions which I expressed earlier on this blog, come to mind. Is it possible to find true love amidst an honest yet completely superficial pretense? It’s a good question to try and answer this Valentine’s Day.

Gazing out from my perch, the room resembled an intimate restaurant. Tables of two nestled tightly together as champagne flowed like water and servers passed plates of Bruno Jamais’s exquisite Hors D’Oeuvres. Forty men and forty women spent two minutes talking one-on-one, before rotating to the next table. With pens in hand, participants scribbled notes on paper about the person sitting in front of them. It could have been a job interview except for the outfits of some of the female participants. Of course some women showed up in their strip club finest - a long slinky Lycra dress which could be removed simply by sliding it down one’s body. There were the low cut blouses with breasts heaving over the top. There were skirts so short that even Britney Spears would wear underwear.

On average most of the women appeared to be in their twenties or early thirties, but the men’s average age appeared to be closer to AARP age than ROTC recruiting age. There were the few lone men who appeared suave and sophisticated, handsome in a mature way with faces that showed years of success and confidence. There were a handful of trendy hipsters who were young and rich. These were the ones to which the women flocked, smiled at honestly, with a flip of their hair that was bathed with sexual innuendo. Then there were the others; that for no amount of money in the world could get date with one of these women. Glasses as thick as Coke bottles, teeth discolored and crooked with stomachs that hung extended over their Armani pants; these were the men who appeared to still live in their mother’s basements despite their $20 million in the bank.

A Paris Hilton look-alike (the one who appeared on the Simple Life) brushed passed me on her way to the next table stop. A few girls lingered at tables even after the buzzer sounded signaling a rotation immersed in what appeared to be a real conversation. I tried to spot sincerity – it is a look which is hard to identify if not nearly impossible. Back when I was dating, I searched for it in words, in glances, in underlying unspoken emotions that sometimes bubble to the surface after a glass or two of wine. Dating is 50% acting, 30% truth and 20% alcohol. Airs of pretense are exhausting and at an event like this, it is the pretense which people must live up to…it is the reason they are here.

“Over 1000 women sent in applications and over 400 men applied,” said Janis Spindel, the legendary matchmaker and one of the organizers for the event. Quite a large pool of interested participants had to be narrowed down. “We got all types who applied. We received a lot of tasteless pictures from some women. They were immediately weeded out. But for the others, we wanted to have a variety of looks. We chose some model types, girl next door, buxom beauties, natural beauties, skinny girls – we covered all areas of beauty.” Spindel prides herself as a matchmaker and not a dating service. “My clients are looking for their soul mates,” she added. For men it was more straight forward – just documented proof of their annual income, assets and their net worth could land them a spot at the event.

But is it truly possible to find your soul mate when one of your requirements is completely superficial? I asked the brainchild behind the event, Pocket Change’s creator “Richard Nouveau” (otherwise known as Jeremy Abelson). “It is a fact that wealthy men want a good looking woman and vice versa,” he said. “We are an equal opportunity website. We are also planning to host an event called Sugar Mammas and Boy Toys - where the women will have the money and the men will have the looks.” Fair enough. The river can run in both directions. Ivana Trump, Liz Taylor, Zsa Zsa – they all seemed to try this method of marriage.

Sure we all want nice things. We live in New York, we enjoy dining at the nicest restaurants; we enjoy the extravagance of pampering at the most luxurious spas; we love to look at beautiful works of art. Why should this not apply to dating? “It boils down to the basics,” said one participant who asked to remain anonymous. “Although people don’t openly admit it, women want a wealthy man and men like pretty arm candy.” And frankly, although I do find it distasteful, I do find it honest. But maybe I am greedy, because I wanted more. I guess that makes me more superficial that I throw looks into the pot at the end of the rainbow. While I wanted my mate to be successful, I was not willing to forgo looks – nor personality, nor sincerity, nor humor, nor attentiveness, nor the long list of other characteristics that I deemed mandatory. I wanted it all (and luckily I found the perfect package).

Despite feminist organizations sending hate mail to “Richard Nouveau” and the threats, taunts and ridicule from the public, the event seemed to be a success. “It’s like watching everyday life played out in front of the public,” said Bruno Jamais, the owner of the event venue and spectacular Upper East Side eatery as he watched the evening unfold. “This is what goes on at every upscale restaurant in the world. Beautiful women and successful men.” And when Bruno said it like that, it crystallized for me. You cannot discredit attraction. It’s just like Valentine’s Day – while you want something spectacular inside that box (diamonds?), you cannot help but love the shiny glitz wrapping paper on the outside. Just like the Tiffany’s blue box, it makes your heart beat a little bit faster.

1 comment:

Elegantjaguar said...

You are article is very true.I witness it every day. Older wealthier men with young beautiful women.I am trying like hell right now to make myself more attractive to that same kind of man.