The recession has given love a particularly hard time these past few years. (See “Reason #468 why the recession is ruining your love life“). And a few months back, in a clever ploy to get people to remember who they are, online savings bank ING Direct surveyed 1,000 people on which words would come to mind if someone was fixing them up on a blind date with someone described as — god I almost vommed typing this — “frugal.”
Shocker: only 3.7% found that sexy.
Now as someone who has professed her willingness to marry a total stranger for his health insurance benefits, I probably shouldn’t comment on this. But anyway, 15% picked “boring” and 27% chose “stingy.”
Concerned by these sad statistics, NYT money columnist Ron Lieber decided to ask some random online daters for advice. How do you avoid the dreaded F-word? The answer, another shocker: Do what you do regarding everything else in dating profiles. Lie.
Topher Burns, 27, a Manhattan resident who is about to move in with a man he met online, said he realized that he had it a bit easier than heterosexual men who might feel compelled to pay for dates all of the time. But he still took a subtle approach in his online profile by talking about how he loved discovering the newest cheap eats. It shows, he explained, both a love of quality and a respect for value, which seems like a fine message to send no matter who is picking up the check.
So rather than projecting frugality outright, try dropping a classic investing book like “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by Burton G. Malkiel, into the list of things you’ve read recently, suggested Deborah H. Levenson, a financial planner with Braver Wealth Management in Newton, Mass. ,who recently became engaged to a man she met online.
So saying you love “discovering cheap eats” and dropping investing books no one’s heard of should make it clear you’re a saver, not a spender. In a good way.
Interestingly enough, 49% of respondents responded that being frugal was “smart.” And according to the Times article, EHarmony also crunched the numbers for Lieber on 30 million matches it made in July and “found that both men and women were 25 percent more likely to have a potential mate reach out to them if they identified themselves as a saver rather than a spender.”
So really, all that brouhaha about seeming cheap is irrelevant for the majority (or plurality technically I think?) of the survey population.
Of course any woman worth her Gucci clutch knows that a saver is a far better man to have than a spender, yet call a guy another form of the word — cheap, greedy — and there’s no shortage of disgust. I guess the moral of the story here is: men, it’s okay to be frugal as long as you do whatever it takes — pull tricks on the side, sell your sperm, subsist on Ramen noodles — to make sure you can wine and dine a girl.
“Frugality may or may not have anything to do with how much he loves you,” said BJ Gallagher, 61, an experienced online dater and author of several self-help books for women. “But for a lot of women, love looks like ‘Take care of me and give me things.’ ”
“Take care of me and give me things.” I’m just repeating that for emphasis, guys. This is the new recession love story! And hopefully the title of an upcoming chick flick written by Nancy Meyers and starring Kate Hudson.