Last week, I got a press release about "dating" site What'sYourPrice.com, described as the world's largest "Bid for First Dates" website, a category I didn't even know existed! It started like this:
"On other dating personals or matchmaking sites, attractive singles are overwhelmed with messages while singles with high standards are often rejected without any responses."
I don't even know what the last part of that means! But you know what? There's got to be an easier way! It continued:
"On WhatsYourPrice.com, just name a price, and if your offer is right, you'll get a YES and you're off on a first date. We'll get you that first date, but what happens after the first date is entirely up to you..."
That ellipses = hooker stuff, btw.
The news angle was that there is apparently a growing trend of college students (who represent 35% of the site's members) using the site to help pay for their tuition and student loans. Which, everybody knows you have to say you're spending it on tuition, even though you're actually spending it on $90 rugs from Urban Outfitters and lingerie-inspired tops from Bebe. I've heard.
(They also helpfully included the top 25 "dating for dollars" universities, #1 of which was Georgia State and #3 of which was my alma mater, NYU.)
My price, friends, is not high. Just the other day I was joking that I'd gladly exchange sex for these $193 shoes. My shit is cheap, yo. On a given day, you could probably talk me into giving it up for a really delicious sandwich.
That said, there's a time in a young girl's life when she is ripe for whoring, when she may choose to turn the tables on the objectification she's been subjected to since first blush of puberty, when her dewy youth can serve as a passport to more expensive entrees and first class tickets. The lights will be dim and flattering there, and people will prounounce Sauvignon blanc flawlessly and confidently. They needn't be exceedingly pretty -- I wasn't -- young and sexually available should do it.
Even if I weren't engaged, that time, for me, has passed. While I feel like hot shit most days, I know I'm no longer at a market high. The "baby" after "sugar" does eventually start to seem a bit mocking if you play that game too long.
But just for funsies (and JOURNALISM, always capitalized), I stuck my crochety, sagging behind up on the site alongside some of the blondest women I have ever seen, saying I was 26 and "seeking adventure." Adventure is code for NSA boning. And "partner in crime" is code for "lady who won't tell my wife about our NSA boning."
An "important announcement" on my dashboard reminded me that "being a classy lady doesn't take money. Show up to your first date with a smile on!" I beg to differ, website! Smiling is the hardest part.
Some more rules and guidelines:
I'm trying to even imagine the awkwardness of asking for 50 percent cash up front at the beginning of a date. I bet a lot of dudes get away with not paying because it's just too embarassing to ask. Especially since the site's FAQ suggests "small claims court" as the solution for nonpayment. That's a "Judge Judy" I would love to see.
When I first set up my profile, I had to choose between being an "attractive" user or a "generous" one, which sort of reminded me how I'd get confused at theme restaurants as a kid when the bathrooms had wacky labels on the door. What if I'm both attractive and generous??? Am I a bloke or a sheila?
Within a day or so, 2 members had "favorited me." I followed my womanly instincts and "winked" at them, and within a few minutes, I received my first "offer" of 100 dollars for a date! Let me tell you, the gulf between "OMG, somebody wants to pay me to go out with them!" and "How come only one person wants to pay me to go out with them?" has never been bridged more quickly.
"Uh, I don't know if this site is good for you," Corynne buzzkilled. If I wanted good for me, I'd eat broccoli, Corynne.
When you receive an offer, you're given the choice to accept, reject or counter. I sort of thought it would be funny to counter $100 with $7,000, but refrained on the off-chance that it would be accepted and I'd have to give the ring back. (In case you were wondering, the site won't let you offer less than 5 dollars and advises rounding up to whole dollar amounts, because "nobody likes coins.")
As of this writing, I've received 3 offers and 3 "winks," asking my price for a first date. Since $100 seems to be the starting rate, that's at least 600 dollars and 6 free meals in my inbox, but for God knows how many hours of labor. I'd much rather just bang one dude for a few hundred dollars than pretend to be interested in 6 of them. Although I'm sure that "further negotiations" in person can increase the cash-flow potential.
That said, if I were 20, nubile, and dating anyway, I'd totally be tempted to give this thing a whirl. And even though I'm about to go delete my profle, I'm glad that technology is continuing to invent new ways to court sexual attention. Because everybody on Chatroulette's already seen my boobs.