Craigslist: What Am I Doing Wrong?

Silly post this evening.

I don’t usually post or forward urban legends or humor emails I receive. Truth be told, I don’t get many of these any more – it’s as if the world went through 10 years of forwarding silly email as they got used to the medium, and that silliness has past.

I thought this email was fake, but I did this Google search, and I was able to verify that this was, truly, a legitimate Craigslist posting recently, and a legitimate response. So enjoy… it has exactly the right mix of humor, social commentary, and financial reference for my tast.

Here is the original Craigslist posting:

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m a beautiful
(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy.
I’m not from New York. I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 – 250. But that’s where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won’t get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she’s not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

– Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won’t hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I’m 25)?

– Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I’ve seen really ‘plain jane’ boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I’ve seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What’s the story there?

– Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows – lawyer, investment
banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

– How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for

Please hold your insults – I’m putting myself out there in an honest
way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I’m being up front about it. I wouldn’t be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn’t able to match them – in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 432279810

Alright. Funny, right? Sick? Disgusting? Ridiculous? Hilarious? New York? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

This post received a number of responses. However, this one is worth reading.

Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament.

Firstly, I’m not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your
bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here’s how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here’s why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here’s the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity…in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won’t be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you’re 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold…hence the rub…marriage. It doesn’t make good business sense to “buy you” (which is what you’re asking) so I’d rather lease. In case you think I’m being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It’s as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as “articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful” as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn’t found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn’t need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you’re going about it the right way. Classic “pump and dump.”

I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

New York is a magical place.

Update (12/1/2007): I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. It turns out that this woman ignored the obvious right thing to do, and decided to respond. Her use of technical financial terms is bizarre and incorrect, but I’m guessing she was paraphrasing with some help from friends who had more knowledge about high end finance. In any case, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

From the “Best of Craigslist”, the post titled “To the gentleman who called me a depreciating asset

To the gentleman who called me a depreciating asset
Date: 2007-10-11, 8:23AM EDT

Dear Sir,

I must confess that I was somewhat taken aback upon reading your email. Indeed, it has taken some time for me to sufficiently recuperate from my surprise. Lest your confidence quickly inflate for little reason (as we know is the predisposition for Wall St. types), allow me to hasten to reassure you that the source of my surprise was neither your candor nor the accuracy of your perception. Indeed, it is your “claimed” success in light of your poor grasp of economics which has me baffled. If the standards required to meet with financial success on Wall St. have sunk so low, perhaps I should indeed “make my own money”, except for the fact that the effort/reward ratio is far too high for my liking – especially when so many of your ilk have displayed a far more cogent grasp of market realities than you have.

By now you are likely scratching your ever-vanishing hairline in confusion, so allow me to elaborate, dear man. To build some credibility I will tell you a bit more about yourself. Though you did not mention the details of your occupation, it is clear that you are an investment banker and not a trader, as any good trader would understand that human courtships are based upon a semi-efficient open market, and not an investment banking cartel. However, your inability to grasp the realities of the dating market is not surprising, given that 90% of the population are senior singles in maturity to you. Not to mention that you have successfully employed the tools of collusion and market manipulation rather that true acumen in your supposed wealth generation.

If your grasp of finance were not a minority partner with your ego, you would realize that the “outflows” associated with my depreciating “assets” are quite certain, and therefore subject to a low discount rate when determining their present value. In addition, though your concept of economics evidentially failed to move past the 1950s, advancement in plastic surgery is not subject to the same limitation. Thus, with some additional capital expenditure, the overall lifetime of “outflows” generated by these assets is greatly increased. Sad that Ashton Kutcher has demonstrated understanding of the female asset class which you, in all of your financial “wisdom”, have not.

You, on the other hand, are, given the uncertainty of the Wall St. job market, more of an inflation-indexed junk bond with an underwater nested call option. Though you may argue that you are more of an equity investment, my monetary minimums required from you do not change, and if you are unable to pay them, I will liquidate you without the benefit of a chapter 11, just as you would me.

Because your outflows are so much more uncertain with respect to mine, I require additional compensation in the form of a underwater nested call option on your future assets. I say underwater because, even taking into account the value of your junk bond coupon payment to me, the value of my “outflow” is in excess of the market price of your equity (which is quite low due to its riskiness associated with your poor grasp of finance and my existing claim upon your junk bond coupon).

I must thank you though for raising the question, despite the reputation cost of subjecting your weak logic to such widespread scrutiny. This took either considerable courage or ignorance on your part- and we’ll give you the benefit of doubt, just this once. My current boyfriend (a trader who lives in Central Park West, of course) and I thoroughly enjoyed discussing your response and we wish you the best of luck in your unhappy pursuit of that elusive market inefficiency.

Since it’s on best of craigslist, once again, I have to assume it’s legit. Ah, New York.

42 thoughts on “Craigslist: What Am I Doing Wrong?

  1. Dear Bookend Brother,

    I know the guy who answered this add. He graduated a year ahead of me at Cal.

    It’s hilarious.


  2. This guy’s response was excellent. Honest, informative. The questions he raised about why she hasn’t had any success raised several good points. If I were him and she did contact me, I’d have to see her from afar before we ever exchanged words.

  3. I sent this out yesterday to a bunch of friends too. It’s sad in its hilarity!

    The response that I received from an unnamed girl is the following:

    “But assuming that’s all she brings, then the dude that responded totally helped her out. If she has x years of good looks left, she should find a guy with x years of life left. Easy! And just think of the inheritance potential!!”

    I miss NYC 😦

  4. Pingback: humour for the day « Thoughts and Words Ill-Sorted

  5. Pingback: craigslist posts « the gracelist

  6. I think the guy is not a good businessman as he is just using his theoretical knowledge. Look at it this way….if you marry her and have children, you are investing in your childs furture already because it is always better to have good looking children than not so good looking children. And it her claims are true then what more do you need than beauty and brains?

  7. Dear Whore;

    I appreciate your honesty. At 500K a year, you’ve tagged your coochie at an astonishing $1369 a day! Quite modest, aren’t we! But I admit, I’m still intrigued at what such an astonishing figure might offer, and would hate to miss out on what must be the best lay in the world. So I’d like to go for the daily rental plan to satisfy my curiosity before taking the big plunge on a nominal lease plan.

    But before I commit to a rental though, a few questions, dear.

    Having seduced and rented an embarrassingly large number of women, I must say you really need to explain your pricing. You humbly find yourself spectacularly beautiful, but really now, that just your opinion. Just last month at the Novahotel disco in Bangkok, I had 25 different Russian Anna Kournikova look-a-likes offer a rental price of $150 a night.

    As a man, I imagine my beautiful meter is far more subjective than yours. Since you’re American, the odds are miniscule you’re even close to as beautiful as them, let alone ten times more beautiful to justify $1369 a day!

    So is it your sexual performance? Just in the last month, in Thailand and the Philippines I’ve paid $30 a night to at least half a dozen girls who could star in porn today. Are you 45 times better to command $1369? Hmmmm.

    Is your snapper gold plated and does it shoot fire? If it only shoots darts and smoke cigars, I’ve already seen that for free at Long Gun in Bangkok.

    Maybe you have some magical pink taco that changes transmission fluid, carries my golf bag, baits my hooks, and morphs into a different 21 year old every night? That might be worth something, I imagine. $1369? Well…

    Also, you seem naive to the game. Men don’t pay for sex, we pay for the women to leave. It sounds like you expect to come back every day! Good grief!! The excitement of newness fades quickly, sometimes in an afternoon, so surely there must be some decelerating price scale as the days add up. Please advise.

    Lastly, you don’t speak do you? I don’t like to talk to whores, and avoid cocky ones like the plague, which you clearly are.

    Maybe you’re actually some package deal. Do you have a fleet of hot girlfriends that give great BJs or something? Because in Pattaya a threesome is just $60, and some of those girls sucked it so hard my ears wiggled and the bed sheets went up my butt. So what does a $1369 hummer feel like? Really. I’d like to know.

    Geez, prostitution can be so difficult at times. This is hard work.

    Warm Regards,

    Brett Tate

  8. VERY funny! He forgot to point out in the equation the fact that if he marries her, it seems pretty clear that his 500k a year will diminish (he would have less for himself). So her beauty is not only a depreciating asset but one that will not help him to maintain his own assets… :))

  9. O gawd. you should have a follow up on this. The woman actually answered back. its on the best of craigslist. Go and look!

  10. Oh That’s Rich,

    Fantastic. Found it. I will write a follow up post. Her response is too good not to share. Unfortunately, it confirms her lack of either scruples or intelligence.


  11. Disgusting. This man (dare I call him that?) treats all women like whores, not just this one. See his horrendous book about exploiting women listed on Amazon. It’s people like him that have made sexual harassment cases so easy to win, though, so I guess there’s probably plenty of women out there lining their pockets with men like him. I would imagine the women in question wrote the craigslist ad “tongue in cheek,” but the man’s reply is all-too-true. No wonder I have wanted to join a convent all my life, until I finally moved to France where – for the first time in my life – I was treated with real “beauty and respect.”

    No wonder the rest of the world calls American men “Barbarians.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Pig.

    • Dear Catherine,
      Well I don’t know about this man’s past responses to other women. You seem upset he treats this particular woman like a whore…when she is the one selling her body.

  12. Pingback: Craigslist: To the Gentleman Who Called Me a Depreciating Asset « Psychohistory

  13. Reply to Catherine Todd:

    “I would imagine the women in question wrote the craigslist ad “tongue in cheek.”

    She makes it perfectly clear that she’s a gold digger, but don’t let that stop you from defending her.

    No wonder I have wanted to join a convent all my life, until I finally moved to France where – for the first time in my life – I was treated with real “beauty and respect.”

    Well you can stay there for all I care, don’t forget to revoke your American citizenship and never come back. Or you could try to stop generalizing men in general. Just because you seemed to attract the wrong type of man for you doesn’t mean we’re all assholes.

    No wonder the rest of the world calls American men “Barbarians.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Pig.

    Again with the generalization, and again if thats the way you feel please feel to never come back. France can have you.

  14. ok. wow. I came in to find out what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to marry the man I am in love with, and I got this. Wow. I’m a woman and I have to say that I find women like the gold digging two bit whore gives the rest of us women a bad bad name. Second no relationship or marriage should be based off looks and money. What about feelings? That is what is wrong with the world today.
    Second not all men are barbarians. Women are just the same if not sometimes they are worse than men. If you don’t understand what I am saying let me spell it out for you.
    Women always have their hands out asking or demanding the man pull out his wallet. Simply because we were programmed that way counting back the centuries that was the way it was, the men worked outside the house and the wife did all the house work and took care of the children. TImes have changed people.
    Benjamin Brown was right, no one deserves to be catagorized or labeled. That girl caused all the anomosity simply from her add. Second if she had a boyfriend and what not why place the add in the first place? Obviously he is running out of money. She must be getting ready to move on. Who is the next victim? How many males or females have been victimized by her? How many diseases has she spread? And what the hell was she thinking? Who knows and as far as I’m concerned I think she is the bad apple for women, must have been hard to grow up and not have a clue how life really is simply because I’m sure she had everything handed to her.

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  16. It’s the world’s oldest profession. If you need help figuring out how to perform your job, when your job is this ancient and simple, then you’re not very bright. Anna Nicole Smith managed to land a wealthy husband without any help and while expending little effort.

    All this woman has told us is that she’s dumber than Anna Nicole Smith.

    I sincerely hope she never procreates, especially not an “oopsie-baby.” Someone that narcissistic is incapable of truly loving anyone but themselves: which is probably why no one wants to marry them. People don’t like to be objectified, even when they objectify others.

  17. get-out-of-here! you got me to comment! typically, a smart woman does not usually like to marry a rich man, because she thinks she could not keep tight control on him! she wants a man who has to labor to maintain the relationship and family alive and well! so this way he will always be around without much effort from her. hence the sex manipulation.
    conversely, a practical man marries to have easier sex, without the use of much energy, which can then be directed to moneymaking for the benefit of the family (wrong calculation in modern cultures where men have to constantly labor to keep or gain recognition at home, hence sex).

  18. Haha – brilliant! This “exchange” has made it into the an example used by Prof. Dan Ariely in his course on behavioural economics. Will be bookmarking your blog, Adam, for future reading. Thanks for posting.

    And kudos to the chap who responded! Making 8,000 students laugh… Priceless 😉

    warm wishes

  19. There are many interesting points to this argument (both subjective and objective). First we know that while his evaluation of his assets (besides salary) are not clearly specified in dollars in his response, they do have a specific value based on some market measure. Her beauty (self proclaimed) are not based on a specific and exacting measure but instead on an “opinion” (hers apparently) and subject to evaluation of her potential “investor” (suitor). If he marries her, his asset value is immediately cut in half (assuming community property rules apply) so he loses 50% of his net worth as of the date of the marriage and she gains 50% of the value of his portfolio and could leave with that (and the house, car and kids and oh yeah – the dog) should the marriage fail (as it most certainly would). he on the other hand would not leave with 50% of what she brought to the party as no court n the land could/would award him 50% of her assets (beauty). Even though theoretically his assets could lose value in a down market, that is purely speculation while the possibly of her beauty asset would depreciate is a certainty. While her sexual talents might also be construed as an asset she brings to the table, her ability to perform and her interest in performing (post menopause) would also certainly wain and an unspecified rate. No matter how you view this situation, it is definitely a NO WIN venture for him and a definite NO LOSE for her.

  20. Professor Dan Ariely from Duke referred me to this discussion. I am not sure if it’s appropriate to call out, but it seems the lady in question fits the label of a gold-digger. Why else would she want to ‘trade up’ when she has a boyfriend in Central Park West? Maybe what she needs is to target potential mates on the basis of their real estate holdings, scalp upper east side with a placard, or buy a mailing list to hedge fund traders. I wouldn’t be surprised if she resorts to banner ads targeting hedge fund managers.

  21. Maybe the lady is right. You should not read too much into her words, for she is materialistic. And being materialistic isnt “bad” at all. There must be guys equally materialistic like her, which probably suits her the best. We are just being judgmental here. We shouldn’t be. We better accept ourselves the way we are. If everyone gets absolutely frank about himself, this world would be a much better place.The problem is never what we are, but what we pretend to be. I hope this girl finds someone just like her.

  22. Reblogged this on Letters to my Gestalt and commented:
    Funny situation presented to me from my behavioral economics course about a woman trying to trade her beauty for a man’s wealth. But she has tampered with the societal norms by making this seem like a financial transaction…she is less likely to marry who he wants now.

    • Would love the update now, seeing as the original post appears to be from 2007! (Side note: Who the hells seeks advice like this via Craigs List – and aren’t you busy with other things, like making money, thinking of the person who replied??) All good stuff for the example Prof. Dan Ariely brought up regarding the move from social to market domains…. I did always find it interesting to vie for trying to get someone else’s reward versus making your own way. Seems the latter far easier! (Any linguists/language analysts out there who comment on the major discrepancy between the woman’s first and second posts – must have been written by two different people…) This is an old exchange but for fun’s sake (yes, “fun’s” sake) may be worth it for the rest of us. 🙂

  23. This is so funny… this idiot Benjamin Brown tells me I should “go to France and stay there” because I object to the way women are all-too often treated in our American culture. I’m not the only one that objected to that, so good old Benjamin would have quite an exodus on his hands if he were the one refusing “residency” based on his own “requirements.” These kind of narrow-minded people love to tell anyone who doesn’t think exactly like them to “get out of the country” when we live in a DEMOCRACY, like it or not. You, sir, are the one that needs to GO if you don’t like it!

    Lucky for me (and other women like me) Mr. Brown has no authority in this area. Unlucky for any woman that gets involved with him, as soon as she finds out what he’s like once his facade is blown and the “honeymoon is over.” What a jerk. Thank God I don’t know people like this in my own personal circle, which includes people from all walks of life. But few if any like him or the one this article is about.

    Sameer, I live near Duke University. How did a “professor from Duke” refer you to this discussion? What relevance does it have to the college or a course there?

  24. I wish I hadn’t gone back and read the rude response from that awful person, Benjamin Brown! Now I’m in a bad mood, over something that was written by him in 2008! Ah, to be able to live in the present and write these jerks off… His response is EXACTLY what I was talking about, in the difference between American males and Europeans. I was truly at home in France and in Europe , in the culture and the mentality. The differences are quite remarkable. And I would consider Mr. Benjamin to be in the “irrational” and downright RUDE department. He’s the kind of person that makes us all want to leave, or get a gun and kick HIM out! Ugh. I hope he sees this and I can find out where he lives. Maybe he’d like to say this to my face! Coward!

  25. Yes, sprungtulips, indeed the advertiser decreased her chances at a $500k male prey. As a female, she violated social norms and got lynched. This would not be so bad coming from a male gold digger. Enjoyed the repartee, though. Good for learning the language of “classy” males and females high up in the economic scale. I am enjoying this microcosm of human nature and survival instincts from the West. Thank you Prof Dan Ariely for confirming to me – as well as to all bloggers – that humans are an irrational lot.

  26. Ariely and this lass point out the obvious, rich men often marry beautiful women, think D. Trump, R. Dangerfield etc etc etc. what Ariely points out is that she is moving the bounds of social contract to monetary contract. Although, physically both end up with the same results, cohabitation, the psychological ends are different. Monetary contracts, although debatably sounder, leave no place for social contracts.

  27. Probably the girl will never know it but best strategy for her is to become Somebody – singer, actress, poet, politician, prominent scientist and earn a good money. Then she will be looked at as not only fading beauty, but a match to really prominent guys.

  28. Pingback: Beauty VS Money « Sherif Maher blog

  29. It can’t be only obvious to me that her reply to his was a form of self-defense.
    I’m sure her surprise is actually a feeling of insult and humiliation.

    Her tone and choice of words changes from her initial post/ad, which is more casual, towards her reply where she used more ‘sophisticated’ words to prove that she’s more than just ‘spectacularly beautiful’ but also intelligent.
    Too bad her reply actually shows otherwise. At least to me.

    It’s more likely that she’s still single at the time of the reply and the words she chose are suggested to her by other people instead of a Central Park West boyfriend. I’d also like to think that the gent who replied to her is actually treating other women who are not up to his money differently.

    Because, well, this woman deserves a cold hard lesson in life.

  30. I would say they both deserve each other to some extent. She is not doing anything “wrong” in the sense that many women do this and are not so honest about it.
    As he would more than likely take her up on a pay as you go basis, then I woud class him as one of the reasons girls like her exist, but as stated above, its a small reach from the oldest profession in the world and will always exist, just in more sophistication these days.

    In reality the situation could work for the short term for her and for the long term for him, although with different women over his life. However, what she maybe misses is that even men like him, or most of them, do probably want love at some point which would never exist in this relationship. He will also want a family based on a wife/ mother who is not an upper class “kept woman” as maybe not the example for his kids and not a great home builder despite what she says. She needs to see this and then maybe look at keeping her honesty to a lower level and try focusing on different areas of her personality to get what she wants, ie her caring side, not caring for money, but for people. Keeping her overall goal the same, but maybe that will alter over time and she wil become the “golden hearted” kept woman…

    I dont like in NY, could not afford it, but Im at the same level in my little part of the world and there is not the same level of this going on. However, I travel a great deal and in South America, Eastern Europe, Asia etc this is rife. Sometimes its fun to get involved but in the end better to stay clear and keep waiting for the X one

  31. So the girl showed her boyfriend the reply from the honest-but-nasty guy. That’s not smart. Actually it’s really stupid.
    The girl’s reply is more likely to be written by her (current) boyfriend who is bellow the threshold she required. Based on the reply I bet he was renting too and was giggling while writing the reply (for other reasons)

  32. For some reason I think that the second answer from that girl was not actually written by her, the style of writing is different to the first post.

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