Considering that I live in a dilapidated tenement most Americans would consider “squalor,” I could certainly use some extra cash. While I don’t believe that money buys happiness, it could certainly buy me my own clothing line, television network and film-production company — three things that would make me supremely happy. If I could only find a millionaire spouse to support my endeavors, I could be the Kimora Lee Simmons of the avant-garde.
But finding a millionaire is no easy task. Now that Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? is off the air, my options are slimmer than ever. Although Manhattan boasts more millionaires per square inch than possibly any other place on earth, it also has a staggering female-to-male ratio: 100 single females to eighty-one single males. Thanks to these frightful statistics, many city women are forced to settle for jobless men who think a date consists of a forty of Schaefer and a slice of pizza the woman buys for herself. As Lauren Bacall pointed out in How to Marry a Millionaire, “Most women use more brains picking a horse in the third at Belmont than they do picking a husband.”
Personally, I tend to date the jobless and insane. My friend Liam once observed that I have the same taste in men as Squeaky Fromme. Perhaps it’s time I formulated a plan of action for meeting and marrying money.
Luckily, the Learning Annex offers a class titled “How to Marry Rich” (subtitle: “The Rich Are Going to Marry — Why Not to You?”), which promises to reveal just such a plan. But could a two-hour seminar transform a veritable street urchin into the kind of woman that attracts old money?
Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).
– $49.99 class fee
– $13.95 Learning Annex registration fee
– notepad and writing utensil
– appropriate evening attire
In this portion of your report, you must describe, step-by-step, what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.
On the way to class, I ran into my friend Will. “I once slept with a yuppie,” he told me. “I felt like a class traitor. She and I both knew it was wrong. It was not unlike sleeping with a crack whore.”
The unspoken caste system of New York City dictates that artists and yuppies rarely engage in coitus. Breaking this mold would be my greatest challenge.
I thanked Will for his insight and continued on my way, arriving at the midtown office building where the class was held. I was fifteen minutes early. Embarrassed even to be there, I tried to slink past the clerk at the front desk.
“Which class are you here for?” he asked loudly.
“How to marry rich,” I whispered.
“Classroom L,” he said, pointing to a room in which one dude and several women between the ages of twenty and fifty had begun to assemble. “I’m hoping to get a lot out of this class,” the lone dude announced to no one in particular. I sat next to a fortysomething redhead in a nurse’s uniform. Immediately, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. Fidgeting excessively and muttering to herself, she removed her shoes and started digging through her purse in a crazed manner.
When all of the seats were filled, our instructor, matchmaker Shoshanna Rikon, strode into the room. Clad in a pinstriped mini-suit, the kind Heather Locklear might have worn on Melrose Place, she exuded an air of sexy elegance. Everyone whipped out a notepad and sat up. “If anyone can’t hear me over the air conditioner,” announced Shoshanna, “please let me know.”
Immediately, the nurse screamed out, “I can’t hear you!”
After turning off the A.C., Shoshanna began the lecture. The first order of business was where to find Mr. or Ms. Moneybags. “Location, location, location,” she professed. “If there’s a line out the door, it’s probably a good choice.” She suggested hotel bars and well-known spots like the 21 Club,
Millionaires don’t like fake, chipped or patterened nails.
where you can obtain a hamburger for twenty-one dollars. I started to get the feeling that marrying rich was not unlike all other business ventures: you’ve gotta spend money to make money. She also suggested pretending to shop in upscale men’s clothing stores while secretly browsing for bachelors.
“Where are these places?” the nurse hollered out. “Can you write them down on the chalkboard? You’re going too fast. I can’t take notes.”
Shoshanna distributed a handout that listed various fancy events where one was bound to meet millionaires. Among them were The Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Benefit Gala and The Hamptons Film Festival Closing Party. “If you can’t afford these events, try to get someone to take you or volunteer for the committee that organizes them.” According to Shoshanna, once you finagle your way into one, you will get on mailing lists and make connections for getting invited to future galas. As Shoshanna continued, the nurse interrupted a good ten times to ask nonsensical questions.
“Please save your questions until the end of the class,” Shoshanna requested politely.
Insufficiently discouraged, the nurse immediately chimed in again. “If we go to these things, everyone there is gonna know that everyone in this room has no money!”
Having dealt with serial interrupters in the fellatio class I attended earlier this year, I knew that if someone didn’t quash these outbursts, they would never end.
“Could you please stop interrupting,” I said firmly.
“What do you mean?” she asked, taken aback by my boldness.
“Stop interrupting. It’s driving everyone here crazy.”
“You’re a pain in the ass,” she shrieked. “Don’t sit next to me!”
“Who here wants her to stop interrupting?” I asked. “A show of hands?”
A few hands edged nervously skyward.
“Okay, everyone be nice to each other,” pleaded Shoshanna. I scooted my chair away from the nurse and looked down at my notebook. I was so nervous about getting attacked after class that I was barely able to take notes. But remarkably, there were no more interruptions.
Moving on to style, Shoshanna suggested we try to emulate the savoir faire of socialites. “First impressions are very important. Men are extremely visual. When it comes to makeup, less is more.”
According to research, millionaires don’t like fake, chipped or patterned nails. So if you’re looking for a rich hubby, leave the Lee Press-Ons at home. Also according to research , here’s another big shocker , millionaires like thin, hot women. Shoshanna recommended we study the pages of Avenue, a glossy lifestyle magazine for Manhattan’s affluent and socially powerful. She passed a copy around. When it came time for the nurse to pass it to me, she hurled it at me, barely missing my head. Calmly, I collected the magazine and turned its now-crumpled pages. I observed the little black dresses and pointed pumps of the ruling class. My wardrobe of psychedelic micro-minis and colorful platform shoes would apparently not fly in their social circles.
The next order of business was how to find out if your potential mate is rich , without him or her knowing it. “Look at his shoes,” Shoshanna advised, “Or when you’re talking, casually flip over his tie and check out the brand.” Millionaires, she told us, must engender a certain amount of respect. What they wear is “the uniform they put on when they go to battle to make money.”
“Also, get his card and Google him,” Shoshanna cautioned. “He might tell you he’s a CEO, but he might actually be a CEO for a company that’s in the basement of his mother’s house.”
Once we covered the basics of finding a millionaire, Shoshanna addressed the various methods of getting him “hooked.” Among the
My relationships have always started in bed.
rules: don’t fight with his family, don’t call a million times a day, don’t waste his time, and don’t sleep with him right away. “Let him wine you and dine you,” she recommended.
This concept was so foreign to me that I’d actually forgotten the option of being wined and dined existed. Having spent the majority of adulthood surrounded by free-loving artists who can’t afford dates, my relationships have always started in bed.
As the class wound to a close, Shoshanna opened the floor to questions. I raised my hand.
“What I don’t understand is how do you start talking to a millionaire,” I said. “Say I’m at the 21 Club having a Budweiser, and I see a cute, rich man. What do I say to strike up a conversation?”
“It’s really simple,” replied Shoshanna. “All you have to do is say, ‘Hello, my name is—'”
“Yes, and no cheesy pickup lines like, ‘Hello my name is blank, do you come here often?'”
“I have a question,” piped another student. “If you go on a date with a millionaire, who pays?”
“Never pay,” said Shoshanna.
“You don’t even do the fake reach for the purse?” the incredulous student asked.
“Nope. You can do something nice for him, but never pay.”
“Awesome,” the student replied, jotting feverishly in her notebook.
After fielding a few more inquiries, Shoshanna dismissed us and wished us good luck in our ventures. I hightailed it out of there to avoid an afterschool throwdown with the nurse. Heading home, I laid down a plan of action for my first millionaire hunt.
Quantify the effects of the experiment.
I called my friend, Amy, who agreed to meet me at Brooks Brothers, where we would pretend to shop for Father’s Day presents while covertly trolling for wealthy bachelors. I tied my hair back, slipped on a little black dress and headed uptown, a modern Holly Golightly in search of a gentleman caller.
As I waited for Amy outside of Brooks Brothers, my eyes were drawn to the window display. It contained mannequins clad in blue trousers emblazoned with little green whales. I’m not so sure I could ever fuck a man who wears such silly pants, I thought. Amy arrived and we ventured inside. Seeing very few bachelors, we wondered how long we could loiter until the salespeople got suspicious. After draining my girl-lizard in the very clean Brooks Brothers bathroom, we left and headed to Grand Central Station. We’d planned on paying a visit to the Oyster Bar, but noting the lack of elbow room, we opted for the Tropica. Taking a seat at the bar, I noticed everyone but us had bowls of peanuts. “Maybe only the rich people get peanuts,” I noted. “Maybe I can pick that bachelor up by saying, ‘Hey buddy! Slide them peanuts down here!'”
“Rev., please don’t eat the peanuts,” said Amy.
Next to us, a woman sat doing legal proofreading, effectively cockblocking us from the two attractive men at the end of the bar.
“She needs to save that for the office,” Amy said.
“Yeah, you shouldn’t proofread while drunk.”
“Rich people work too hard.”
After imbibing two beverages at the Tropica, we left to seek out greener pastures. We made our way to Beer Bar, which Shoshanna had recommended since it’s attached to the Met Life Company. Even though I’m extremely bothered by Met Life’s bastardizing of Snoopy in their ad campaigns, I was willing to forgo my principles.
On the Beer Bar’s patio, we saw several fetching men clad in suits. We sidled up to the bar, where the bartender handed me what appeared to be an overpriced Dixie cup filled with Stella Artois. “Maybe the class should given us a tutorial on the dine-and-dash technique,” I said, noting the inflated price of uptown beer.
Amy looked frustrated. “Why can’t we be slutty? Slutty is how you get guys.”
“I know. I have no idea what to do. Normally I just wear a skirt that’s cut up to my ass cheeks, and I don’t have to bother with introductions.”
A blonde girl standing next to me at the bar turned around. Excited that anyone was making contact with me, I perked up. “That’s a really cute umbrella,” she noted. “But could you please stop stabbing me with it?” As she spoke, I marveled at the fact that her mouth barely moved. I couldn’t believe she was producing sound.
“Excuse me,” I said, laying my umbrella down. Still, she and her beau moved to the other side of the bar.
Time passed. “I can’t believe any of these people have penises or vaginas,” I said, observing the crowd.
“Uh, oh, I’m suddenly really drunk,” Amy said. “I didn’t eat dinner.”
“And I’m not drunk enough to actually talk to anyone,” I said.
“Of course, I’m only attracted to the one dude here who probably doesn’t have a job,” Amy noted, motioning to the back of the patio, where a long-haired young man who looked like a sullen version of American Idol‘s Constantine Maroulis was nursing a beer.
We sauntered inside and sat down at the bar. Amy struck up a conversation with a nerdy-but-cute Texan who was
|The evening had been a total failure.
sipping a gigantic beer. He explained that he was on a break from work and he would have to return shortly.
“I’m really on my last leg,” I whispered to Amy. “This is way too exhausting.”
Hours had passed, and we’d met only one bachelor. Like most rich people, he worked too much. He finished his drink and cordially wished us goodnight.
The evening had been a total failure, but no one said it would be easy or quick.
The next morning I called my friend Claudia, who is in a much higher tax bracket than any of my other friends. She would actually be considered a rich person had she not taken out exorbitant student loans to attend the most expensive school on earth.
“You know all of the rich men are in the Hamptons this weekend,” she said.
“I know, but I’m on deadline. There have to be at least a few in town.”
We agreed to meet at the Mandarin Oriental bar in the Time Warner building at eight.
Throwing caution to the wind, I tossed my more conservative little black dress aside in favor of my only piece of vintage couture &223; a pastel Pucci mini dress given to me by Claudia. I tied my hair back, threw on a pair of pink heels and pulled out every woman’s secret weapon , smoky eyes.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Mandarin, we were the only people there. As we sat at the abandoned bar, I confided in Claudia. “I’m terrified of speaking to rich people. I’m used to only talking to crazy artists.”
“Wait — you’re assuming the rich aren’t crazy?”
“Well, this place is dead. Do you want to go somewhere else?”
At Claudia’s suggestion, we swung by the W Hotel Bar in Times Square. It was filled to the rafters with extremely cheesy singles who were all much younger than us.
“No millionaires here,” Claudia sighed, whisking me out of the bar.
Our next destination was the Hudson Hotel bar, which looked like it had been decorated by the inmates of an insane asylum. Baroque chairs mixed with Plexiglas chairs mixed with bizarre chairs made of giant wooden logs. We found no millionaires, but Claudia took several photos of me sitting on the crazy furniture while people ignored us.
“Have you ever been to Pastis?” Claudia asked.
“Oh, we have to go. I’ll bet that’s where everyone is tonight.”
We hailed a cab. “This is like extreme sports,” Claudia noted as I twisted my ankle on the cobblestones of Little West Twelfth.
“I know. It should be on ESPN 8 , millionaire chasing.”
The kindly hostess at Pastis told us that the bar was too crowded and that we’d need to wait five minutes until a few people left. I felt like a small child waiting to go on the Dumbo ride at Disney World. After a few minutes, several drunk people came pouring out and we gained entrance. As we entered the bar, a young man leapt in front of me.
“Stop!” he commanded and then took a long look at me. “Beautiful eyes,” he surmised. Finally someone noticed! As he moved out of the way, we noticed a dude sporting an eye patch.
“He must be loaded,” I proclaimed.
The place was jam-packed with attractive trendy people. Claudia circled the bar like a shark and snagged two seats. All around us, people typed away on their Palm Pilots. A tall blonde woman next to me was engaged in a text-message argument with her boyfriend, which she relayed to her friend. “I can’t believe he just text-messaged me that!” she cried, staring into her phone.
“I’m not sure there are any millionaire bachelors here,” Claudia assessed. “We’re surrounded by women and gay men.”
“I know. Look at how beautiful that man’s hair is. There’s no way he’s straight.” I eyed a gray-haired gentleman in a navy blazer. “He must be a millionaire,” I said.
“No, he’s a tourist,” Claudia said knowingly. “Okay, Rev., before we leave you have to talk to at least one rich guy.”
“I’m going to be completely rejected, but you’re right.” As I spoke, I noticed an attractive young blonde man in a pink striped button-down. “Now he’s cute,” I noted, “and he looks wealthy.”
“You have to talk to him. We’re not leaving until you do.”
“This is going to be embarrassing.” I took a deep breath and turned to him. “Hi, I’m Jen,” I said, expecting the worst.
“Hi, I’m James,” he said, extending a hand.
I turned to Claudia; my eyes bulged in disbelief. She doubled over with laughter.
James and I commenced small talk. I asked him what he did during the day.
“I’m an investment banker,” he answered.
I have no idea what investment bankers do. I can only deduce that because the job title includes the word “banker,” they must make a lot of money. Because I hadn’t read Forbes or The Wall Street Journal as Shoshanna had suggested, I didn’t know how to respond to James. In fact, I don’t even have a bank account. Instead of revealing my ignorance, I quickly changed the subject, telling him I liked his pink shirt. “Mostly only men over sixty-five wear pink,” I said. “I always appreciate seeing it on young men.”
He in turn complimented the pink highlights in my hair, which I’d done my best to hide.
James bought me a beer and we chatted amorously, our bodies pressed together by the swelling crowd at the bar. Meanwhile Claudia had taken hold of my camera and was photographing various bargoers whom she deemed rich-looking.
Without going into too many details, I admitted to James that I lived a “very strange” life. This didn’t scare him away; instead, he wanted to hear about my various adventures. Talking to him was almost like talking to a really cute alien. When I finally looked up from our conversation, I saw that it was one-thirty in the morning. James’s friends were leaving for another bar; he invited me along. Remembering Shoshanna’s advice to “be a challenge,” I told him I needed to go home and get my beauty sleep. Although I failed to obtain the requisite business card, we exchanged digits before saying goodbye.
Summarize your findings. Don’t forget to attempt to identify possible variables that could result in different findings for others trying to recreate your test results.
As I traipsed into my building at two a.m., past the condom wrappers and the squeaking of giant rats in the walls — who, unlike the rats in Cinderella, would never sew me a ball gown — I felt acutely happy to be home. Suddenly my life seemed preferable to the Palm Pilot frenzy I’d just witnessed. In my elegant attire, I’d felt like a phony. What I really wanted was to go downtown and drink forties of Budweiser with people who really knew me. Part of snagging a man means pretending to be perfect until he falls in love with you, whereupon you reveal yourself to be the asshole that you really are. There are few things more satisfying than being with people who know you’re a giant asshole, but love you anyway.
In Citizen Kane, Mr. Bernstein proclaims, “It’s no trick to make a lot of money, if all you want to do is make a lot of money.” After spending every waking moment fixating on it, I knew he was right. Going from bar to bar in search of Mr. Moneybags was physically and emotionally draining. It would almost be less exhausting to just make the millions yourself. Or visit California and literally mine for gold.
Had I taken Shoshanna’s advice and introduced myself to the first bachelor I saw, I might have been able to throw in the towel after night one. But my fear of rejection served as an impediment to my progress. Her approach had seemed too simple, but in the end, it actually worked. Chances are I won’t marry James, but there’s a tiny chance he might wine-or-dine me. He already bought me a beer, which is a good deal more than I’m used to.
I Did It for Science appears monthly.
©2005 Rev. Jen Miller and Nerve.com