What's your price? How I found mine by dating for pay.
The site WhatsYourPrice.com offers the “generous” opportunity to go on dates with the “attractive” — for a price. One participant “winks” at another, the winkee pitches a price, the two bid, and for the right price, these typically 30- to 50-year-old men take out attractive, younger women.
The generous — who may be male or female, but are typically male — pay to participate in the entire process, including emailing the (generally female) attractives to set up dates.
When a friend of mine told me she was funding a cross-country move with dates, I promptly signed up. Like on any dating site, I listed age, body information, education, relationship status, religion, ethnicity, vices, etc. Unlike a typical site, the list of relationships I could choose from that I’d be interested in also included sugar baby/daddy.
I pressed on, filling out the forms as honestly as I could but finding myself hesitant to list anything that could decrease my monetary value to potential first dates. Questions abounded.
Would sugar baby/daddy imply I’d trade sex for money? Isn’t this whole thing kind of a sugar baby/daddy thing? Why the hell do they have to call it something that creepy? Would I make more money if I checked that box?
Where is the line between valuing oneself as a great partner in social engagements and creeping oneself out by requiring gifts and money?
Would it be best to say I’m in an “open relationship” or “single” (I’m not married) for these purposes? I kept it honest.
As soon as my photos were approved, I got two $100 date offers. The subsequent dater, who offered $25, got an $100 counter offer and dropped out of the race. Suddenly I had a price, and I didn’t feel guilty about it for long. Someone winked. I bid $200. He accepted. I rejected all offers of less than $75.
This whole thing started to feel more honest than any other dating style I’d encountered. I expect dates to last at least two to three hours, so I keep in mind a reasonable hourly rate. So do most of the men. They know blind dating is a crap shoot, but they’ve got the money to play the game.
They don’t plan to pay for every date, but a paid first date sets the terms honestly and gets everyone a well-defined foot in the door. It also weeds out a lot of those less serious creeps.
It doesn’t stop everyone from asking if I’d turned myself into an escort by doing this. Resoundingly: no. Most of these men genuinely date like on any other dating site for partners of more than the sexual variety.
You’re still reading, so I’ll tell you about date No. 1 with M, as we’ll call him. He’s nine years my senior, in medical sales and not at all unattractive.
I gave him four restaurant options and a timeframe. He chose Flagstaff House at 7 p.m. on a Thursday, and we agreed to meet there. The valet took my car, and M was waiting at the bar. We hugged, he pulled out my chair and we had a drink, somewhat awkwardly moving chairs early on so we could actually face each other.
He asked me about my tattoo, I explained my compassionate, hippy message, and he talked about himself for the rest of the date. Not his fault. I’m a journalist, and that brings it out in anyone.
I teach yoga to underprivileged Hispanic children, and unfortunately he thinks their parents should leave the country if they can’t speak the language. I believe in equality, he thinks the poor shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
He handed me five $20s after the first course. He still doesn’t know I think he’s a total bigot, and the money exchange made me feel obligated to see the date through.
He asked me out on a second. I promised to call. (OK, so maybe I didn’t completely keep it honest).
Most of these men willingly pay for the dates and plan to do so often or always, but they don’t plan to pay the cash on top of it or give gifts of extravagance to maintain a relationship. M was pissed his first date had been with a gold digger.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him he’s single because he’s an asshole. Paying for dating gets everyone past many an obstacle, but it can’t fix bigotry. The site’s blog acknowledges why this works, and what it looks like, in its article “Dating with Dollars.”
“Some of these dating websites make you fill out questionnaires and lengthy profiles before you can even get started. …There’s just no real incentive. No guarantee that things are even going to work out if I fill out this profile, much less go on a date with someone I met online. But what if you dated someone who actually valued your time?"
Enter the online dating auction. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but then again, so is heaven. No matter how you date, not everyone you encounter along your journey from singlehood to the altar will be TheOneWorthy. There are going to be a few duds, douches and detours along the way.
This is a fact of life. But wouldn’t it all hurt less if you were compensated for the ones that didn’t work out? And then, what if it does? Sometimes, it takes a little incentive to win someone over. It just takes a foot in the door (or the heart?) before you’re all in. …
It’s an effective marketing tactic, and isn’t dating all about marketing yourself to potential partners?
Yes, yes it is. And if my marketing skills garner me a fair wage for eating amazing Flagstaff House dinners with entertaining duds, well, it’ll be $25 an hour, boys, including prep time, $100 minimum.