Pay to play: Dating site members pay for dates
A new online dating service launched – www.whatsyourprice.com – offers members the opportunity to pay for dates. Remember the days when real life courtship was the ticket to romance? If you do, websites like this may fade those memories fast.It is a new dating service launched in Las Vegas, where intelligence or a sense of humor apparently do not invite a date, but a big fat buck does. Members are split into categories – “generous” and “attractive”.The generous ones offer the money, the attractive ones get the cash – and the deal is sealed.“The idea came about from my own frustrations of online dating. I would join a website, like match.com, I would write to all beautiful girls – as you know, I have high standards, and I would get no response,” said Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of the website, a self-labeled “attractive” member.Wade believes a business transaction lures in the girl of your dreams and ensures she won’t stand you up. But critics ask – isn’t this prostitution?“This generous entrepreneur has provided us with an e-bay for hookers. I think the chances of this girl not actually being a hooker are negative five thousand percent. This girl is a professional. And I don’t mean a paralegal or a gun repair expert,” said comedian and blogger Sara Benincasa.The website mastermind disagreed.“How is this the same as prostitution? It’s completely different. You are paying for the chance at following in love; you are not paying for sex on the first date. You are paying for the chance to seduce, attract, and potentially have sex down the road.”Prices for that chance generally range from twenty to a hundred dollars. To make finding “the one” easier, personal profiles are available. “I’m down to earth, outgoing, very funny, I consider myself ‘as being a nice conversation’.” Benincasa read out loud as she browsed through some of them.There is also an array of photos leaving very little to the imagination.“It’s true – the girls are scantily clad, but there is a reason for that. Men are attracted to that. If they value themselves and they value their time, they’re going to join as an attractive member, and they’re going to demand that, if you’re serious – show me how serious you are. So money becomes a component of showing how serious a person really is,” explained the service’s CEO.But the seriousness of a potential relationship is somewhat disputed by member nicknames, such as Double Trouble, Venus in Furs, and Steffybabes among hundreds of others.“When I am looking for a serious relationship, I don’t initially introduce myself by nicknames like Pookiefeb and Comegetit. I generally say hi, my name is Sara, it’s nice to meet you,” Benincasa joked.Some twenty thousand people have signed up to the website with two thousand dates for cash already negotiated – even though the website hasn’t officially launched yet. This leaves one wondering if this newest dating trend could become a symbol of American free market consumerism taken to the extreme.Dr. Darcy Smith, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, said she thinks the site is fine; people have been doing this since dating began. The only new addition is the honesty behind a price and a loss of political correctness. “If you want to date outside of your normal range then there does need to be some sort of an exchange for that,” she said. “When you’re walking down the street and see an incredibly hot person with a not so hot person immediately what comes to mind, is the not so hot person, he’s got to have money or she’s got to have money.” Critics who call this prostitution are wrong, this is more about someone of a lower attractive class being honest and giving an additional effort to find someone who is more attractive. To take the leap with a more attractive person there is a price. It’s all about honesty, Smith said.