August 9, 2001
Love for Sale
I don't need much. I'm pretty much a "jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou" kind of guy. No, I don't need much, but my hobbies are expensive. I like Italian clothes, German cars, Cuban cigars, box seats, new electronic toys. This is the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed, even if I can't afford it much of the time. Too often these days my reach exceeds my grasp, which is why I've come to realize: I need a wealthy woman to take care of me.
I admire those poor but virtuous couples I see at the bus stop, determined to live on love -- until the rent comes due or the baby needs new shoes. Two can starve as cheaply as one, but where's the fun in that? I admire them, but I don't want to be one of them. Frankly, poverty disagrees with me. Just the thought of taking the bus makes me break out in hives.
When they read the wedding vows and get to the part about "for richer or for poorer," I think: is that a question? I had a girlfriend once who said, "I'd love you even if you were a garbage man." I think of her from time to time, and if she'd been loaded, it might've worked out. As Grandma Ina always said, "Rich or poor, it's better to have money."
Is it ethical to pursue a woman because she has money? I think so. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a communist, and, besides, the Lord helps those who help themselves. All things considered, it takes as much time, effort and obfuscation to reel in a wealthy woman as it does to snag a poor one, so why not set your sights on a gal with a heart as big as her portfolio? Rich girls need love, too, you know.
Finding a wealthy woman is a full-time job. It's not as simple as combing through the obituaries in the morning paper and contacting the next of kin. (It's unseemly. I've tried.) You don't just stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign: "Will work for lunch at The Ivy." You can't send your picture in an e-mail to eligible, independently wealthy bachelorettes and hope to get their attention. You've got to do the work.
My father thought he was marrying into money. It was only after the nuptials that he found out the sorry truth: the dowry consisted of a couple of dilapidated apartment buildings and a company on shaky financial footing. Too bad, but at least he was on the right track.
First wives are good. They've already married "for love" once and have moved on. The idea of being "kept" is not entirely foreign to them. Unfortunately, due to some kind of so-called "law," the River of Alimony stops flowing as soon as you sign on with the ex-husband's ex-wife. By marrying a wealthy divorcée, you get neither.
I let a couple good prospects get away before I saw what their earning potential proved to be. I sold short before they were fully vested. What a revoltin' development. As my stock broker tells me all too often: "Woulda, coulda, shoulda.... You can't marry all the girls." True, but any one of these gals could have been my retirement fund.
I went out with a self-made gal, the president of a big company who was introduced to me as the "$50-Million woman." Strictly dot-com new money, but as my mother always says: "Better nouveau than no riche at all, dear." Mother knows best.
When things were good, we were flying private planes to Vegas or Deer Valley. It was all very ring-a-ding-ding. How do you walk away from that? Breaking up was hard to do, but unfortunately, she elected not to sell her stake in the company after the lockout period ended. All her money was on paper, and when the stock went south, we went back to flying first-class like when we were poor. The draconian cost-cutting measures seemed to unfairly single me out; and I didn't even work for the company! Our relationship was like a margin call -- when the stock hit five, I had to go.
Among gigolos I was strictly small potatoes, but even I have certain standards. I left before they hit bottom. Okay, I admit I was the first one off that sinking ship, but I don't have a damn thing to show for it -- no Porsche, no Prada, no nada. By the time the party was over, she could no longer keep me in the style I'd become accustomed to. I think my union is going to have to crack down and start lobbying for better working conditions.
Of course, wise men (and the Beatles) will tell you that money can't buy you love.
They're just kidding.
J.D. Smith is lurking at the Polo Lounge @ www.lifesentence.net.