Of men and women

Successful women like successful men who like…. pretty girls?

My last blog post “Do Chinese men like successful women?” provoked hundreds of comments across SINA, Renren and the blog itself. Thank you for splintering the conversation in such fascinating directions!

Want to talk about women and men?

All your comments have inspired me to write a few more posts about women and men. So, let’s call it Happy Hour at the Global Rencai blog! If only we all were together and enjoying a few bottles of wine.

To my last post about Chinese men and successful women, several of you said this:

Successful women like successful men, but successful men like pretty young girls.

What an interesting observation! Thank you for inspiring today’s blog.

This trend, of course, is not limited to Chinese men.

The ideal woman = Victoria’s Secret model ?

Here in the States, a common shorthand for describing the perfect woman is “Victoria Secret model.” Those are Victoria’s Secret models pictured here.

New York City is famous for many things, but among women, it’s perhaps most famous for having no single successful men. Our typical lament: “They’re all married or gay.”

Once when Dave and I were dating, he had a guy friend in town from New York, and we all met up for dinner. Dave’s friend seemed to have it all:  Well-educated, well-traveled, great career, great-looking, mid-40s. Right away I started painting mental images of him with each of my single successful women friends also living in the City.

At the first opportunity, I pounced.

Me: “Wow! Good guy like you… you must have your pick of women. What kind of woman are you looking for?”

Him: “Sevens.”

Me: “What?” I thought I must have mis-heard.

Him: “You know, sevens!”

Now I’m pretty well-read, and I talk with a lot of people, but this one was new to me.

“Aw, Joy.  Do I really have to explain?
10:  Victoria’s Secret model. You have never met a woman like this, and you never will.
9:  Best-looking woman you’ll ever meet.  In your life. You have no chance with her.
8:  Best-looking woman you’ve ever had one date with.
7:  Good-looking woman, in your league!  By the way, I’m talking New York 7, which is like a Chicago 8. Chicago women carry around a few extra pounds for the winter.”

Most interesting! His monologue stirred my inner anthropologist. I’d finally met that rare modern phenomenon, the single successful male in New York. And one with no social filters! I had to learn more.

Me: “So, if she has a sparkling personality, does that count for anything?”

Him: “Not really. Maybe half a point, not more.”

Me: “What’s her age range?”

Him: “20’s.”

While this particular specimen of male may be a more brutally honest than most, the fact is that many successful men do like pretty young girls.

But is this in their best interest?

The economics of being a sugar daddy

Whether successful men like pretty young girls is a different matter from whether they should marry them. One way to look at this is through economics, which I find to be a useful lens for evaluating many important decisions.

A New York City woman once posted this personal ad for a wealthy husband:

I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy. I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all…

I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY. Please hold your insults – I’m putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I’m being up front about it. I wouldn’t be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn’t able to match them – in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

A wealthy Wall Street guy responded:

Your offer, from the prospective 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 would 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. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as “articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful” as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn’t found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn’t need to have this difficult conversation.

I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

At the end of the day, the perfect rebuke to a proposed bargain between a woman’s looks and a man’s money came from one particularly clear-eyed male. After all, it was she who proposed the deal.

Change takes time, but personally, I’m bullish on the stock of successful men and successful women. Today’s men are much more egalitarian than the men of a generation ago. Younger men are even more likely to marry their equals. As for those successful men chasing pretty young girls, I’m not sure they are the kind of men who would keep a successful woman happy anyway.

What do you think? Post your thoughts in Chinese or English, to the Chinese version of this blog post, my SINA microblog or my Renren page.