On the millionaire matchmaker, and the worst date of my life

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

I am the opposite of The Hulk, in that apparently people really do like me when I’m angry. I know this because every now and then someone emails me a link to something unconscionably awful and says “get a load of this bullshit!”

A couple of months ago my sister emailed me to say “Have you ever seen The Millionaire Matchmaker? Honestly, watch it. You will shit a brick, then hurl that brick through the telly” – or words to that effect. As a lover of both shit telly, and having the excuse to write watching shit telly off as ‘research’, when it popped up the other day I refrained from turning over and settled myself in for a few minutes of relaxing, blood-boiling rage.

The premise of the programme is that millionaires are looking for partners. That’s basically it, although I should point out that on the one I watched all the millionaires were men and all the potential wives were women. I don’t know if this is the case for the entire show, so I’ll simply state that, naturally, if this is the case, then it’s sexist as well as offensively awful. But I’m not here today to talk about sexism, I’m here to talk about one of my biggest turn offs.

Look at all of my money!

I have a difficult relationship with wealth. Money’s great, of course. Without it I’d have nothing with which to purchase gin and crisps. But there are certain people who have a lot of money who seem to define not only themselves by it, but what your opinion of them should be. Wealth makes some people twats in the same way that good looks make some people arrogant. As if they are possessed of some magical, special quality over and above the contents of their wallet that will give them a headstart in your affections.

If you’re wealthy, then congratulations. You’re great, and you’re lucky, and you probably buy the gin in the fancy blue bottle rather than the stuff with the ‘Tesco’ logo on it. But above and beyond that, your wealth is nothing except a slightly awkward non-sequitur. If you got your money through talent, tell me about your talent. If you have it because of your background, tell me about your background. But waving fifty-pound notes and announcing your salary in a booming voice impresses me as much as a child who tells a roomful of adults that they’ve just done a poo in the potty.

The worst date I ever had

I got in trouble last week because I criticised The Rules, partly because one of them states that men should pay for things while women – save the occasional treat – should keep their purses firmly shut. Given my general hatred of discussing money, or having a guy’s wealth wafted in my face like it’s an enticing aphrodisiac, this advice reminded me of the worst date I ever had.

The gentleman arranged to meet me for a drink. This was at a time when I was pretty broke, and my weekly ‘beer’ budget was about a fiver, so I asked if we could go to a cheap pub I knew well, where I could guarantee I’d get at least one round in before I had to crack out my credit card. The cheapness was a condition of me agreeing to go on the date, and he agreed.

I arrived at the pub only to find him waiting outside, which struck me as a bit odd.

“It’s cold,” I informed him, pointlessly. “You could have waited inside with a pint.”

“I know,” he said. “But there’s a great cocktail bar around the corner and I wanted to take you there first.”

Like most Londoners, when I hear the words ‘cocktail bar’ I can’t help but picture a meat grinder, into which someone is stuffing ten pound notes. I told him again that I was quite broke, and that if possible I’d prefer to go somewhere I could afford to get a round in. After all, I explained, conversation is more important than cocktails, and I don’t really like being at the receiving end of someone’s redundant generosity.

“Sure,” he said. “Let’s have one cocktail then head back to the pub.”

Three cocktails later, I’d given up on asking. We had a couple of nice chats about his family, his job, my poor excuse for a life at the time, and were getting on relatively well. I’d managed to quell the panic that had hit me when I’d seen the prices on the menu, and relaxed into a fairly decent evening. Then we moved on. Not to the pub, because by that point he was pissed enough that all he could focus on was showing me exactly what he could buy. He hailed a taxi, which took us about 400 yards down the road, and into a wine bar which didn’t even have prices on the menu.

“What sort of wine do you like?” he asked, gesturing towards the bottom half of the menu.

“You know, I’m not really that fussy about wine,” I replied. “And if I’m honest, I’m a bit uncomfortable with you buying so many expensive things.”

A long pause, during which I shuffled nervously and tried not to look anxious.

“It’s OK – I’m not expecting anything in return,” he guffawed. “I just like nice things, and I’d like you to share them with me. We’ll have the [insert name of posh wine here].”

Until this point, I could have believed him. I could have thought – you know what? He’s a lovely guy, and isn’t deliberately trying to show off his money, he just wants to spend it. I should just suck it up, enjoy his company, and get over myself. I could have thought that, and I almost did. If he hadn’t followed the wine decision by proudly announcing:

“It’s only a hundred pounds a bottle!”

What are you trying to prove?

The moral of this story, if indeed there is one, is probably that I’m an uptight arsehole. One of the main things that made this the worst date of my life was that I couldn’t let go of the money factor.

But although my reaction might be a tiny bit extreme, the money factor is still a significant obstacle. Why? It’s not sexy: it feels suspicious. Filling my face with millionaire’s mojitos and one-hundred-pound wine is the equivalent of spending the entire date telling me that you do lots of charity work or that you don’t usually wear brown loafers. It makes me wonder what he’s trying to hide. Does he think he’s mean, so he needs to mention charity work to redress the balance? What’s wrong with brown loafers? Is there something innately shameful about ordering the house wine, or preferring pints to cocktails?

Look, if you’re minted and you want to buy champagne on your dates, that’s fine. If you love your money and want to find someone who will love it just as much as you do, that’s fine too. But that person is not me. If I’ve told you how much I hate pricey cocktail bars, then each time you buy something expensive you just demonstrate that you either haven’t listened or that you don’t care. What’s more, all I see is a huge flashing neon sign that says “I’m RICH! RICH! Fuck what else I might be, I’m RICH!”

It’s not that you can’t spend money on me if you want me to fancy you. It’s that I’ll struggle to fancy you if all I can see is your money. Put away your wallet and show me what you’ve really got.


  • sexandweed says:

    Having enough money to pay the bills is nice. Having some left over to buy a pint or a comic book is great.

    But too much money can fuck you up. There is such a thing as too rich.

    I was working in a bookstore in Los Angeles once when Michael Jackson walked in with his posse. One of his handlers came up to me and said “Michael wants to shop in your store alone, so please clear out everyone.”

    “Hell no,” I told him indigently. “I’m not kicking out my regular customers for some pop star freak.”

    This guy looked at me like I’d just pooped in his Wheaties. It simply never occurred to him that someone would say “no” to his boss. He tried to argue with me but I stood firm.

    The upshot is that Mr. Jackson’s money and fame made him think that he could clear a store and have his way in everything.

    Too much money can fuck you up.

  • Yahooey says:

    The premise of the show sounds like someone did not understand that the opening line of pride and prejudice is satire.
    “IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

  • advizor54 says:

    Money allows us to become who we truly are.
    if i had all the money I wanted would I stay at home all day watching porn and eating expensive cheese, or would I make time to start a charity and actually do charitable work. Would i travel or stay home, with money no longer a problem I can do what I want to do. Anything I want to do. that is why young superstarts (J Bieber) act like douches, because they are, deep inside, douchy people.

    Now, the MJ story is another part of it. Money changes people, and not in the way I described above. People forget what it’s like NOT to have money. My brother-in-law is making serious bank in building houses for rich people. More power to him, he took the risk, made use of his talents, and made it big. Great, but dude, STOP inviting my family to go cruising in Italy with you. Have you seen my car? It’s 17 years old!!! That’s not by choice. I make a decent living but he has fogotten that to others, $200 for a theater ticket is a dream. I buy the last minute back balcony discount seats and sneak in my own M&Ms. He’s still a nice hardworking guy, but he’s forgotten.

    • Vida says:

      My father grew up poor, but has had money for a few decades now. He told me a while back that my husband was foolish for buying a car on HP – he’d got his Audi up front, and now didn’t have to pay any interest.

      I don’t know – he knew we have fuck all… is there something that just makes people forget what it’s like not to have enough for anything you want? I do not know.

  • Mr Archer says:

    This really did make me laugh. All I could think was “well, now, that escalated quickly”. Worse, someone like that is unlikely to change, as the money, and the flippancy will never allow him to. I bet he went home, and thought he had a great time, and a fantastic date. The shame.

  • Juniper3 says:

    Patti does actually have female millionaires on her show. Just not as many. I agree it’s a silly, pretty sexist show. But I do quite like her, she is full of vim.

    I get quite uncomfortable with the m

  • Juniper3 says:

    Sorry pressed send to soon!

    Was just saying I get uncomfortable with the m

  • Juniper3 says:

    Pressed send too soon!

    I get a bit uncomfortable with the money thing too. I like to pay my own way on dates, otherwise I end up feeling like I ‘owe’ the guy something, and I don’t like that. If I’m going to get my rocks off with you it’s because I want to jump you, not because you’ve splashed the cash. I did date a guy who liked to make a big show about what he had/could offer me, but I just couldn’t do it in the end. It was like he thought that was all he had to offer me. Money means nothing, in the end.

  • girl says:

    I also get uncomfortable when men pay for things too much. I guess it makes me feel powerless, and also just brings to my attention the fact that I am horribly broke. Also, I think it’s much more romantic to use your ingenuity and do things cheaply. I’d much rather spend a fiver on a bottle of wine and drink it in a park than sit around in some arsey bar wasting money on expensive cocktails. I think that’s it- it’s the waste of money that annoys me the most.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Yes! That’s a good point, and I’m also a massive fan of picnic in park dates- way more sexual tension when you’re not sat across a table, too =D

  • Meezy says:

    Damn you just passed up an amazing opportunity, no offense. He seemed pretty nice and well off. I suppose I can see how at face value, women getting free stuff from loaded men is problematic but it really isn’t. He gets his ego stroked for buying you things, you get really nice things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to have, and could potentially sell them later in case of an emergency.

    Really, this post is silly. Everyone here seems to be resentful of those with money, even if your language doesn’t outright say it. Not only that, but the implications for women who hustle for a living from this post is kind of gross. I might be barking up the wrong tree here, but there is nothing wrong with accepting money and monetary gifts from a wealthy man. Especially if you’re broke, especially if he doesn’t expect anything, especially if you don’t need to be in a serious long term relationship (which no one does, it’s fine to see someone casually for fun which it sounded like this potentially could have been).

    • Girl on the net says:

      What do you mean by ‘women who hustle for a living’? Do you mean sex workers? Because that’s quite a different scenario – it’s a straightforward transaction between two people in which something is agreed upon.

      In the example above, a guy specifically and deliberately kept doing something that I’d told him I wasn’t comfortable with. On what planet does that make dating him an ‘amazing opportunity’?

  • Jay says:

    What is interesting to me is that as I’ve got skinter (Thanks David Cameron) my wank bank increasingly has scenes involving money (getting a £20 note every 2 minutes by some depraved dudes & seeing how long I’ll last as things get crazier, an old man paying me to let him lick me out, etc etc). My money & sex fantasies have coalesced.
    That’s not quite related to the post, I know.

    • Girl on the net says:

      That’s really interesting. I know of other people who have mentioned money fetishes, or actually getting turned on by the idea of cash. Would you be interested in writing a guest blog for me? I would love to know more! =)

  • Jay says:

    Also, I LOVE Millionaire Matchmaker! It’s one of my best light entertainment relaxing pleasures. Patti is a great personality, & yes there’s some very weird & wrong ideas in the there but also good ones too.

  • Elphaba says:

    I view this cultural thing where men feel they have to pay for dates with extreme side-eye. I actually get a bit offended when a guy insists on paying (I have male friends do this even when it’s not a date). Why shouldn’t I pay my half?

    It’s a little thing, and i’m probably too uptight about it, but it seems to represent some kind of broader, sexist exchange where the dude is just automatically assumed to be “breadwinner”, in a way. But nobody else seems to get as annoyed by this. Some women even expect it as standard.

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