Romances between rich older men and beautiful, young women have gone on for centuries. But in 2008, the tables may have finally turned.
In Manhattan Thursday night, a speed-dating event sought to pair wealthy older women with younger, attractive men.
“Older women with younger men is absolutely becoming an emerging trend, says Jeremy Abelson, CEO of Pocket Change, an upscale living e-newsletter, and organizer of the event. (See the CNBC interview at left.) “The reason I feel so good about what we’re doing is because we are supporting the fact that it's the women’s turn.”
The event was held at a posh, intimately lit bar atop a Midtown high rise. Women had to be older than 35 and earn a minimum salary of $500,000--or have at least $4 million in liquid assets. The men, however, were judged solely based on their physical attractiveness.
“All I hear all day long is that ‘Oh, I’d really rather date a guy younger, who can keep up with me,” says Janis Spindel, a professional matchmaker and author. “So you know what, it was really time to give the women a turn.”
Spindel helped Pocket Change narrow down the 6,000 male applicants and hundreds of female applicants to just 15 attractive men and 15 wealthy women.
Women who pursue men more than seven years their junior are sometimes derogatorily referred to as “cougars,” because of the perception that they’re on the hunt. But times are changing.
Well-to-do middle-aged women are tired of seeing male counterparts with girls half their age, so at Pocket Change’s Sugar Mamas & Boy Toys event, these successful women got a shot at seeing how the other half lives.
“At a certain age, the trophy wife syndrome is so prevalent," says Vivian Cha, a 47-year-old physician and speed-dating contestant. "The older man, in his 40s or 50s, goes for the younger blond bimbo, who’s 20 or 30 years old. We older women sort of get thrown to the dust, so I think this is a great idea.”
Attractive young men seeking their own Mrs. Robinson jumped at the chance to meet a woman with more “experience.”
“I’m definitely interested in being surprised or wowed," says Paul Janka, a 32-year-old writer who authored an online guidebook for men called "Getting Laid in NYC."
"If anyone’s going to do it, it’s some of these women who have the assets and the resources to put together exceptional getaway vacations.
"Some of these more mature women have a lot of bedroom experience under their belt, so to speak, so that could be interesting to explore, too,” he adds.
The idea of choosing a mate based on bank accounts or appearance may seem shallow to some, but not to Pocket Change’s Abelson.
“I think any time you imply that money has something to do with love, people get all up in arms about it, but it’s a fact of life,” she said.
For some, it’s a fact of later life.