Monday, 23 June 2008

Sam: What price for love?

A little while I was asked to comment about a woman who put a date with her sister up for sale on ebay, it’s a bit of fun but got me thinking.

Here is a person who is literally putting her sister’s love up for sale – well of course that’s the idea, the actual chance of the highest winner being a person that she is going to fall in Love with, is, in my opinion, pretty low. Though on the other hand James Blunt’s sister did find love through ebay, but then that was the chance to transport to her a funeral in Ireland.

I think this raise a really intersting issue of the commodification of love – or put another what price would you pay for love.

It’s been happening for a while, starting with old fashioned dating agencies, and then really hit the big time with internet dating which is now globally worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year. To put my hand up I am part of that process – people pay me to teach them the skills to help them find love.

But it really hit me when I was chatting with one of my clients (who is rather minted) and he casually told me he had joined a top end dating agency and forked over £10,000 for probably 4 to 5 dates. There are matchmakers in the states who apparently charge $100,000 to help millionaires find love.

Now when I think about love, I really find it hard to put a price on it. Love is one of the most important things in my life, so to me it is really priceless. But I guess that’s why collectors pay so much for rare artworks, there is nothing else out there quite like it, or quite as important to them. So if something is priceless, and it goes up for sale, then people are potentially going to be willing to pay quite a lot of money for it.

Personally I think love is something natural and should really be free, perhaps like air. But in today’s world where love seems to be increasingly hard to find, then it clearly becomes worth something (otherwise I wouldn’t have a job!) and potentially a lot. So what do you think? What price for love?


Tina said...

I think about 5p, the cost of a text saying 'Hey, I miss you'. Or a million pounds. Somewhere inbetween.

thene said...

I had the luck to fall for someone of another nationality. You want to know what the US government charges for love? Think of a number and double it. Shit. :/

badgerdaddy said...

I'm not a fan of internet dating at all; it takes away the potential for chemistry in most cases, and even the chance to be Mr Right Now. And where's the fun in that?

Also, it really fucks me off to read how many women like "long walks in the country, followed by a glass of wine in a country pub next to a blazing fire – or I'm just as happy with a bottle of wine and a DVD!"

Really, I must have read that line a hundred times, and I'm still not even vaguely convinced by it. No-one I spoke to with that line on a profile seemed vaguely interested in country walks...

I digress.

I was in Sheremetyevo airport once, outside Moscow, and I heard a large group of American men talking. It took me a couple of minutes, but it dawned on me that one, a particularly loud and irritating man, was coaching the others on etiquette at meat markets. Places where women are invited to meet wealthy American men who are just too damn busy to find love by actually spending time with people, so they jump on a plane which is going to a country with some of the world's most beautiful women in it.

It was a horrible thing to listen to, that talk. I ended up feeling ashamed to be male. He actually said: "You can't show these girls pictures of your jet, they won't be impressed, they'll think who is this guy?" You think?

Bring back the Iron Curtain, I say.

PS: The only real price for love is patience. That's all. Like Phil Collins said, you can't hurry love. Or was it curry?

Anonymous said...

There are two main resources in the world: time and money. I think that people spend money on love in exchange for spending less time. For example, when a dating agency screens through possible matches for you, that's a time saver. Or when I buy a book on men, I can skip spending time on failing relationships and have a better chance of getting it right sooner.
Badgerdaddy calls for patience. Well, that's another word for time, isn't it? So essentially he's just suggesting spending time instead of money.

badgerdaddy said...

The pedant in me is saying it's not another word for time, but I know where you're coming from, 'nonymous. Part of what I'm getting at is being patient brings, in theory at least, quality rather than quantity. Money, in this case internet dating, brings quantity. Unless you're me.

Ys said...

I was lucky and I found love. It only cost me a few quid every weekend at the bar as I drank a couple of vodkas to up my bravado to finally give him my number - six months down the line ;)

When my single friends ask where you go to even meet single guys/girls, other than the let's-shag/grope-in-a-dark-nightclub, which is just so old once you're past twenty-five, I have no idea where to suggest. Pubs? It's where I found my guy (he was the barman), but I don't see many single men in pubs who aren't heading out to the cattle-market that is nightclubs in town. So maybe these days finding love does come with a price tag?

Like I say, I count myself extremely lucky. I know many others who are alone.

Silicon Limey said...

Internet dating is fine, so long as you7 meet up quickly enough. No more than a few days of emails before a meeting are essential, otherwise one or other of you builds up a mental image that doesn't reflect reality.

As for clichés in ads well yes, they are dull. But better than the alternative - I enjoy getting depressed that the takeaway recognises my voice, sitting on my own in pubs and cinemas, eating for one and drinking for four or desperately surfing Craigslist Casual Encounters to email desperate Lithuanian women.