If you wanna ride, just name your price
Don’t play cheap with your heart, don’t make a bet
If you can’t write the check for me, for me
‘Cause I can be bought, but you’ll pay the cost
If you can afford me
— “If You Can Afford Me,” Katy Perry
“What’s Your Price” is the name of a new Internet dating web-site. Probably, the most honest and innovative site in online matchmaking.
With the abundance of dating services on Internet, we’ve already gone through a variety of cultural shocks. Some indecent matchmakers went overboard with the idea of real companionship with the slogans like “No strings attached, hook up for sex tonight” or “find girls for sex now”. Others came clean with the commercial foundation of true romance, offering hunt for ‘Sugar Daddies’, ‘Sugar Mommas’, ‘Millionaire dates’, ‘Wealthy mates’ and ‘Forbes husbands’. Nothing new. ‘Dynamic’ women are looking for financial support from generous men, who are looking to support them. And the notorious sites are arranging the mutually beneficial agreements between the ‘Sugar daddies’ and the ‘Sugar babes”. The revolutionary innovation of WhatsYourPrice.com is that it’s the first site to actually put the price on sugar. Real price, in dollars and cents. It is the first ‘Pay-Per-Play’ dating bazaar, an official dating e-bay.
And now media accuses this site of solicitation of prostitution. Is it really so?
In fact, WhatsYourPrice.com is all about paying for the first date! The deal is negotiated by two parties, delicately labeled ‘the generous’ and ‘the attractive’. ‘The attractive’ provide appetizing photos and typical dating-site profiles, but they also include the amount of money they’d accept to go on a date. ‘The generous’ browse the profiles and place bids. Once an offer is made, ‘the attractive’ can accept, reject or counteroffer. Once ‘the generous‘ won the item, they go on a date. The site offers helpful first date etiquette tips, and also provides a strict guideline “No sex on the first date!” So ‘the generous’ are paying an average of $150 just for the pleasure of spending time with a woman who only dates if there’s a profit involved. No sex for ‘the generous’, except maybe a chance of sex sometime in the future if they are able to successfully charm and seduce. But isn’t that what every first date is about?
Still, why this brutally honest site is linked to prostitution? Is it because of ‘the attractive’, putting dollar amount on their priceless being? But what about bachelor/bachelorette auctions – a great tradition, usually featured in respectful charity events? While going out with someone for a good cause is more commendable than getting paid for dating, neither should be compared to prostitution.
Is it because of the WhatsYourPrice’ name and the slogan: ‘Everybody Has a Price’? Yes, that’s a little graphic, but it definitely worked for the site’s marketing, as controversy is the cheapest and most beneficial form of advertising.
Again, bidding on a sexless first date, why is this new service so aggravating for public? Maybe, banning sex from official services makes it even more irritating? Because, while selling sex is shameful but kind of customary, commodifying companionship is even more destructive to human dignity.
But why blame WhatsYourPrice.com? It is pretty common to pay for arranged dating, just the price is hidden. People pay a monthly fee to go to Match.com, (and maybe never meet anyone), on Zoosk people pay for credits to be able to write messages (and maybe never get a response),for a night of speed-dating people pay $50 to meet 10 to 15 potential mates (and if they are lucky, 1 or 2 will be remotely interesting). So, rather than pay site owners and event organizers, maybe giving money to an actual person who goes on a date with you, is fairer?
Hence, the site may seem quite justifiable. The idea of injecting capitalism into relationship is older than capitalism itself; arranged marriages from the beginning of time were based on fiscal security.
As for the other ugly side of dating services – trading sex – WhatsYourPrice.com claims it absent. But can they prove it? Does everyone follow the first amendment “no sex on first date”? Yeah right. The site is definitely being violated, as well as the majority of Internet sites. Even good old Craig’s list, a free community classified service, made to post jobs, housing and used furniture, became a leading site for solicitation of prostitution. But don’t blame the site – blame its visitors.
And again, why a practical web-service, built on the intersection of cupid and cupidity, hooking up the world’s laziest dudes and most
cynical women, is considered so sinful? Maybe, because it is kind of an ‘exclusive club?’ To join, you need to be either attractive (and most probably financially challenged) or wealthy (and most definitely less than handsome). Most women, attractive or not-so-much, like the idea of extra income for going on innocent dates, though most of them will never publicly admit it. And those who do admit it may be not cynical enough to declare that they will settle for forty bucks and a lobster dinner. As for the other – ‘generous’ – party, it represents the most painful economic inequality. Not only rich guys get to drive nicer cars, live in bigger apartments, and dine in better restaurants, – they get to date hotter women. Deep pockets compensate for ugly looks, boring personality and Viagra-dependent age. While money can’t buy love, it can certainly help foster it…That is unfair to a poor guy, who may be better looking, funnier, more charismatic and better lover.
And so, general public does not like such web-sites. It is very likely that these sites (regardless of their self-description) are asking members to whore themselves out.
Craigslist’s “adult services” section has been shut down in the US, but prostitution on the Internet is still alive and well.
Internet prostitution is a safer and easier alternative to cruising the streets, so the world’s oldest profession has reinvented itself for the digital age.