When Dating Becomes a Business Transaction

I’ll admit that I’m oddly fascinated with the concept of this website: http://www.whatsyourprice.com/

I’d like to say that I have my finger on the pulse of the dating scene, but my dating scene is more corpse-like than vivacious and thriving. Luckily, I have friends like Pen to introduce me to the newly terrifying ways of meeting someone else who will waste my time (and apparently cost me money).

I can’t decide how I feel about the option of bidding on someone’s time. I don’t kid myself; I’d have to fall into the “generous” category, not the “For the Attractive” category. On the one hand, I suppose it is practical: someone wants an attractive date and here they can buy someone (or at least rent them). I’m a little fuzzy on how this system guards against being prostitution—I mean if a guy pays $500 for an evening with you, you can’t convince me that he wouldn’t expect something other than your dynamic personality. But let’s go along with the supposition that everyone on this site would be playing by the stated rules. I could finally get a date! I have a little savings for “entertainment” during this year of adventure, so it’s within the realm of possibility. And yet…there’s something that feels vaguely sad about me buying a date (sorry, bidding for a date that I might lose because my enterprising, would-be partner might be looking for someone with a bit more cash and a lot less ass).

And then there is the other part of my reaction to this: at last a chance for successful men to finally date the gold-digging prom queen who normally wouldn’t give them the time of day. Contrary to the press around the launch of the site—this isn’t like a fun-filled bachelor charity auction. You are for rent. Now if you are broke and pretty, you might be entirely fine with guys paying you for your time (you get dinner and a little spending money). But how does this inspire relationships (as seems to be the stated intention on the site)? What is to keep you from going out on a lot of first dates through the site? You might have no intention of getting involved, but need some quick cash.

I suppose that takes us back to the practical—you are going to date a lot of people while looking for Mr. First Marriage, why shouldn’t you get paid for your time?

The theme that is repeated over and over again on the site is that everyone has a price. I’m not so certain that is true. Did Mother Theresa have a price? I’m not saying that there aren’t some tempting offers: $1 million would certainly get my attention. But I’m not sure I could get away from the idea that I’m letting someone buy me, and I don’t feel like I’m for purchase. And if I could get past the fact that bidding process, do I really want a relationship with someone who buys women? My relationships have been a lot of things (some good, some bad, some “what the hell?”), but I’ve never treated anyone or been treated like a commodity. Is this really the way of the future?

It just seems like we’re getting further and further away from engraved calling cards, heated glances across a crowded room and arousing debate. And I’m hesitant to call that progress.



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