Why Women Are Their Own Worst Enemies!
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ISO Daddy Warbucks

Like those far out space probes using the gravity of other planets to launch themselves into more hospitable galaxies, there’s a long standing history of women using men to launch them into better social circles and circumstances.

Young women from Rio to Kiev have enlisted matchmaking agencies to find their “sponsors.” Posing for their come hither stare photos in third rate apartment stairwells, borrowing their best friend’s sexy purple party dress and matching purple eye shadow to ensure that they stand out from the sea of other young beauties, all of whom hailing from places equally desolate and poor. Believe not the statement in her profile which says she is passionate about her profession, as it is ambiguous to which profession she refers. Equally disregard Romeo’s dated photo or the bachelor’s siren call that he’ll “be willing to settle down for the right person.” Buyer beware.

The phenomenon known as the Gold Digger has inspired songs, as well as books on the subject, some warning men to steer clear, others instructing prospective gold diggers on how to use their cunning and wiles to land their Daddy Warbucks. From the beginning of civilization women and men have been bartering with each other; giving a little of this for a little of that. In a time when more men than women are losing jobs in the recession, you’d think we’d rely on our own abilities and earning potential to get us by. Even as more women achieve higher degrees than men, and when our nation appeared nearly ready to accept the first American female presidential candidate, there are still women who actively seek out (with pre-mediation) wealthy men for relationships that will provide them with long term financial support. Mr. Right with a black card.

As Ginnie Sayles, the author of How to Marry a Millionaire, famously trademarked, “The rich will marry someone, why not you™?” It really isn’t so much the why not you as it is the how can it be you? The class divide in America is wider than ever. The top 1% control nearly one quarter of all of the country’s wealth.

An even better example: the 400 wealthiest Americans earn more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans (Atlantic). Growing up as a scholarship kid in a private school, I can tell you it’s more than just holes in your socks that you need to be mindful of when mingling outside your peer set. At the very least, those who dare to become a crossover hit need a chameleon like ability to assimilate, often into unfamiliar and undocumented territory, complete with extra forks, spoons and wine glasses. You would also be wise to gain an understanding of and experience with elite hobbies; most of which have a price of entry which naturally limits participation to the chosen few; think lift tickets, greens fees or your own horse.

Tough times in this country have made the wealthy close ranks, harkening a bygone era when families would either foster or prohibit marriages based upon their financial merits. We are now living in an age, perhaps due also in part to progress made by the feminist movement, which after decades of demands for equality of pay, access and opportunity have yielded significant advances for women. Since we are mainly viewed as equals, we are now expected to be equals on the financial front, and rightly so. Men are looking for the same qualities in a woman that women seek in a man; education, an upstart, good financial prospects and limited baggage.

So what do men think about a woman ISO Daddy Warbucks? Author Steven D. Levitt included the following anonymous Craigslist posting in an article he wrote entitled “The Economics of Gold Digging.” The following is in response to a young woman’s posting in which she unabashedly requests guidance on how to land a wealthy husband.

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 and here’s how I see it: Your offer, from the perspective 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 perpetuity … in 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 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. The deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

What makes Daddy Warbucks so attractive isn’t just his money, it’s his power. Power is an aphrodisiac no matter your age. Women have sought powerful men since the dawn of time. Bill Gates, with all of his amazing accomplishments and contributions to technology and the world, is still a geek. But add in his power, which his illustrious accomplishments have afforded him, suddenly he's looking better every second. On the one hand, we can't blame ourselves for wanting a successful man. It's nearly ingrained in our culture. We are who we marry. If you marry a loser, then you are, by extension, a loser, too. If you marry a super successful partner, then some of that Stardust shines off on you; just look at Jennifer Anniston – as talented as she is, and in possession of a smokin’ physique, she became even more-so an “It” girl when Bradley wed her. So, isn’t it understandable why so many seek a similar union with someone who can elevate them? Can we really be blamed for wanting what the heart wants? Even if that’s the pole position?

The thing about money is that it never really is the thing that you’re looking for. Money is a tool, but it’s not a person, nor does it make a person. My dad used to say, “I make money, money doesn’t make me.” It simplified the money debate for me. Money is great, but what you’ll find more often than not is that those who claim to have it and or show it in overt displays are typically living beyond their means. Money, especially the old money, is discreet about it.

Many wealthy people drive around in older, unassuming cars because 1) They don’t want the attention (they consider that tacky) and 2) Why dump money into something that depreciates in value? For those women who are still ISO Daddy Warbucks, because chances are if they have not invested the time into their own development (mental, emotional, physical and other) and are instead relying on landing a big whale to “take care of them” and pay off their debts, they’re delusional. Last I checked, girls in this country have access to education and can further themselves without social retribution or imprisonment, which you should know is still not so in many other parts of the world, so there’s no reason why you can’t earn and provide for yourself without a benefactor.

For those of you still stuck on landing your Daddy Warbucks, get ready. The future means that not only is your prospective employer going to pull your credit report, but your potential husband, especially one with financial prowess, may want to see just what he’s getting himself into before taking that leap. It’s a new age, and women must bring stability to the table, along with their other womanly charms and attributes. The smell from the carnage left in the wake of the financial meltdown is too fresh. In a recession that was coined the “mancession,” due to the greater ratio of men losing jobs over women, it is more apparent than ever that women recognize and assert themselves as principal partners in the future financial health for themselves, their families and the nation.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, nearly 28% of Americans who were raised in the middle class in the 1970’s claim to have fallen out of that class group and into the ranks of the lower class as adults. In the UK divorce rates were up nearly 5% from 2009 to 2010 (Office for National Statistics). With so much economic shifting going on, it’s no wonder that relationships have taken a toll. With nearly 50% of American marriages ending in divorce, and then nearly 78% of second marriages ending up that way, one can conclude that landing a wealthy husband isn’t as strong a financial plan as previously thought. For those operating under the assumption that you’ll walk away from a bad marriage to a wealthy man better off than you came into it, guess again. The days of Mr. Jones paying Mrs. Jones spousal support, child support and keeping her propped up in a gorgeous house in the suburbs are over. Rehabilitative alimony, defined as “an alimony award with an end date,” is the alimony option du jour. No longer can you wed someone and expect him or her to pay you in perpetuity, which really never made much sense anyway. Doesn’t relying on your ex then defeat the purpose of forever separating yourself from him? The act of seeking another to pull your weight relegates your intellectual pursuits, self worth and long term prospects. By leaning on a marriage to a wealthy man, a long term proposition in only 50% of the cases, you’d probably have better odds of becoming a professional poker player.

Still not convinced? How ‘bout this? Before marrying your Daddy Warbucks, his “team” will probably make you sign a pre-nup or post-nup which you may or may not have fully understood. Chances are it encompasses the basic premise that should the relationship dissolve, you will leave it just as broke as you were when you entered into it.

So, what of the Mommy Warbucks? Studies have shown that women’s mate choices are directly influenced by their own ability to “garner and control their own resources” (Stanik and Elssworth, 2010). If you have a great career and are financially self-sufficient, you might not need to date someone just based on his financial attributes alone. This freedom allows you to find someone potentially more compatible and, perhaps, even age appropriate. When so much emphasis is placed on a bank account there seems to be less focus on other aspects of that person’s gestalt.

Many successful women feel they have no choice but to date wealthy men, since they have acquired wealth on their own. In Alex Williams’ September 2007 New York Times article “Putting Money on The Table,” he featured several successful women who outlined the trials they’ve encountered dating “nice guys” with jobs who earned far less than they did. One man blatantly offered that he was not “OK” with the fact that his date earned more than he did but that he would work to “get over it.” Others remarked on how difficult it was for them to keep their girlfriends in the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. Many of these women, who acknowledged that in a way they felt they were being punished for their own financial success, mentioned that it was just easier to date men who earned an equal income or greater, if only to avoid the inevitable recriminations.

In the wild, mate choice is predicated primarily on fitness. Loosely translated, it is the ability of a species to breed, protect and provide for the flock; not unlike prerequisites for mating in human culture. I see nothing wrong with kicking the tires before you select your mate. No doubt, men are, at the very least, kicking tires before they pop the question. Yet, to begin the selection process with a dollar amount in mind is fundamentally disingenuous. If this is the game you play, for as much money as you say he needs to earn before you’ll bat an eyelash at him, don’t dare put on an extra pound post wedding OR lose your looks OR propensity for exotic sexual practices (which no doubt you’ve exploited to capture him), for you could then expect to be traded from the team. You should be asking yourself, “Why would he want to take me seriously?” There’s a difference between taking you and taking you seriously. Being ISO Daddy Warbucks stands to forever limit one’s potential. If we spent as much time shoring up our credit scores, saving more money and finding ways to make more money, we wouldn’t need our significant others to make seven figures. Yes, yes, I know, we didn’t work so hard in school and in our jobs just to end up with someone who isn’t as “ambitious” as we are. We are looking for our equals right? Wrong. Our prospective equals invariably need to earn MORE money than we do, isn’t that right? “No, no, no,” you say, “it’s because we aren’t paid the same as they are. They make more, so if they were our equals but male, they would naturally make more money than we do.” Nice try, but, alas, incorrect. Many women fantasize about marrying a man who, makes more money than they do, one who will rescue them from the world of cubicles and mundane 8:00 a.m. meetings, or to harken back to a time 40 or so years before (which surprisingly brings us full circle in many cases today), to extract us from our parents house. This does not apply to all of us, but let me tell you that it applies to more of us than will openly admit it. It’s in our fairy tales, it’s in our movies, it’s in the fabric of our culture, so what’s the problem you ask? Requiring the man to earn more than you means that you put less onus and, invariably, less energy on the necessity of your own success. Your success is independent of what your “man” makes, and has nothing to do with your relationship to him. Only when we remove the expectations of our partner’s success can our own success be fully realized. That’s right, you can’t get the cheese until you go out there and grab it for yourself, and not through another’s achievements, but by way of your own.

Nothing feels better than buying a cup of over-priced coffee than buying it with your own hard earned money. The only other thing to top that feeling is to buy it with money you’ve earned doing something you love – now that is pure bliss. Does this mean that we should ignore someone’s accomplishments, or lack thereof, in the dating game? No, absolutely not, you need to be – in the words of the Good Book, “equally yolked” (which in this context means having similar goals and expectations for your lives). This doesn’t mean that you must have the same amount of money in the bank or the precise earning potential, but it does mean that you need to be on the same page and willing to put in the same amount of effort and sacrifice to get to that end point of what you define as success.

I Googled “how to marry for money,” and the search yielded 62MM results. I then Googled “how to marry for love,” and there were 289MM results returned. That says something.

My great grandmother worked in a mansion as a governess for a family on Long Island. She watched their children, and from time to time the neighbors children, too. “Oh, the Morgan children.” Yes, those Morgans, would come by. And yes, one of the rich heirs made a pass at her and professed an undying love. But she passed on that one and landed a hard-working man from West Virginia who, on their first date, apologized and explained that he had to do a job cleaning windows beforehand. Rather than delay a date with him, she accompanied him on the job. I imagine the two of them side by side washing the windows of some stately home, decked out in their Sunday best; her pin curls going limp from the heat and, perhaps, a fleck of wet dirt landing on a delicate piece of lace around her skirt. Yet, the moment was filled with smiles and butterflies. To this day, when I see women cajoling, vying, and throwing themselves at the feet of a “pedigreed” man with money, I see my great grandmother washing windows beside the man who would become her husband; the man with whom she would build several businesses and acquire real estate investments that would provide for her children and support her until her death at 94. Gold diggers tend to miss these guys because they’re unassuming. Trust me ladies, earn it yourself and/or build it together, it’s really the American Way isn’t it?