By LUCY ORMONDE
When Zara Phillips was in Australia earlier this week, she told journalists the story of how she met her husband. It was 2003 and she was at Sydney’s Manly Wharf Bar with her cousin (Prince Harry, no biggie). Mike Tindall was sitting at the bar and, well, it “went from there”.
It’s the kind of story you wouldn’t mind sharing at the first meet-and-greet with the family. Not quite as romantic as ‘love at first sight at the Eiffel Tower in Paris,’ but definitely less awkward than telling your family that you met your soon-to-be husband when he bid for you in an online dating auction.
Because that’s something that could actually happen.
So. There’s this website in the US called What’s Your Price (dot com). It’s a dating site with a difference. And that difference is that the men pay women to go on dates with them.
The site describes itself as the “only online dating website where money can buy you love- or at least a first date.” Jezebel describes it as the World’s Worst Dating Site.
Users register in one of two categories – those who want to ‘Date Generous People’ (i.e. women wanting to date men with money) and those who want to ‘Date Beautiful People’ (i.e. men who have wallets full of cash). The Generous People bid to take the Beautiful People on a first date (we assume they pay for the date also) and the Beautiful People pocket the cash.= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
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The site’s creator Brandon Wade said that What’s Your Price was not a new concept – and that celebrities and firefighters have been participating in charity auctions for years. He compares it to eBay for dating:
“It’s just another way of approaching dating, in addition to the tools that are already available out there,” he told the Daily News.
The users are divided into two categories – “the generous” who are willing to shell out some dough and “the attractive” for those who want to get paid for the first date.
The second date, he promised, is up to “the generous” to get with his own skills and charm.
But dating experts have likened the site to prostitution.
“What we’re saying now is women are like cars,” Patrick Wanis, a human behavior and relationship expert said. “We can go shopping for cars, we can shopping for girls .”
Dr. Seth Meyers, a relationship expert who wrote Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription”, said that the minute the dollar bills changed hand, the relationship was doomed for failure.
Even the most self-conscious men, he said, should be able to find partners through another means.
It’s the creator’s belief that the exchange of money will encourage people to date differently. “By offering a little incentive, attractive members are more inclined to take a risk on someone who isn’t their usual type, and if the date goes sour, at least they won’t be going home empty handed.”
The question is, can the Generous People get a refund and a reply paid envelope if their date’s a dud?
What do you think of the idea of biding for a date? Would you try it? Would you date online? How did you meet your partner?