Selective breeding: Helping rich men meet trophy wives

We've all seen the story, and we know how it goes: a young model finds herself staring down the barrel of 27, the age at which the fashion industry ties models to trees and gives them the Old Yeller treatment. Somehow, using her charm and beauty, she manages to snag a rich man with poor social skills, and the two begin the dance of courtship, American-style. Prenups are signed, wedding vows are taken, and the joyous couple rides off into the sunset, where a house in Long Island or Westchester county awaits.

In the movies, the story takes the form of fashionista and famous writer Carrie Bradshaw and her mythical quest for money man Mr. Big. Never mind that Chris Noth, who plays Mr. Big, is pretty much a male model, or that Sarah Jessica Parker...well, I'm sure that she's considered amazingly attractive in England. Regardless, in the world of Sex and the City, she's the cute one and he's the rich one. And, I'm told, she finally gets him in the movie.

In the real world, the story is more about money than magic. After the wedding, the happy young couple has a couple of cute kids. Then, depending upon the strength of the pre-nup and the egregiousness of his affairs, the ex-model takes a nice payday and the cycle starts anew. Meanwhile, the rest of us are caught asking the same question: how, exactly, did Christie Brinkley end up with him?

I had always assumed that marriage to a model was a natural outgrowth of amazing success; I guess I saw it sort of like the welcome-home pack that universities give to freshman during their first day on campus: "here's your expensive apartment, your Brooks Brothers' suit, your beach house in the Hamptons and...oops, almost forgot, here's your model. Have fun and welcome to Bear Stearns!"

The truth, I recently discovered, is not that far off. According to a recent article in the New York Post, there is actually a huge industry that spends large amounts of time and energy connecting wealthy money men with trophy wives. In most cases, the clubs and bars that host these unions do so with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of discretion. Recently, however, Taj, a Manhattan hotspot, hosted the bimonthly "Fashion Meets Finance" mixer, an event that, as its name states, is intended to bring together the cream of Wall Street and the best of the Fashion industry. Depending on your perspective, this event is either the ultimate eugenics experiment or a matchmaker's dream come true.

Regardless, the event is far from subtle. The invitation states that "Women in fashion need men who can facilitate their pre-30 marriage/retirement plan [...] and men in finance need women who will allow them to leverage their career in the dating industry." The bluntness helped: there were so many RSVPs that the party's organizers had to stop accepting reservations.

The bluntness continued with a clear-eyed analysis of the participants' bona-fides. Male applicants had to state their titles and the companies that they worked for, and were also asked for photos and declarations of salaries. Presumably, the young fashion workers' qualifications were more prominently displayed.

While I find the bald-faced honesty of "Fashion Meets Finance" to be very attractive, I also have to wonder about the underlying intention of these events. As I stated earlier, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is part of a massive selective-breeding program or, alternately, that the whole thing is being set up by a crazy yenta somewhere. In all likelihood, though, it's actually a plot by New York's divorce lawyers to ensure a regular revenue flow!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. Somehow, the idea of soulless stockbrokers hooking up with gold-digging ex-models suits his sense of proportion.
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