Throughout history, women have been accused of being gold-diggers, seeking out well-off men for the sole reason of profiting from their wealth.
For the gold-digger, the last thing sexual relationships are not pegged on is love or physical attraction — what comes first on their list is what they stand to reap from the man they cast under their spell.
Besides earning the gold-digger tag, these women have been branded many unsavoury names and often compared to blood-thirsty ticks which feed on their unsuspecting prey until they have had their fill before moving onto their next victim.
But not everyone agrees with this definition, arguing that the relationship between a gold digger and a rich benefactor is a symbiotic one, one that would never take off unless both parties were assured of profiting from each other.
“It is hypocritical to say that it is the woman who takes advantage of the rich man. Every man in such a relationship is aware that it is all about his money and in return for his generosity he gets himself a woman who is indispensable, attends to his every whim and treats him like a king. Theirs is a give and take relationship,” argues Sharon Mutheu.
Whatever your argument, there was an era, now long gone, when the term ‘gold-digger’ was used to refer to that young, curvaceous bombshell that shamelessly went after a moneyed wrinkled octogenarian who had no idea what to do with his mind-boggling millions.
Think Anna Nicole Smith, God rest her soul in peace, the once stunning blonde who got married to 89-year-old billionaire J. Howard Marshall in 1994. She was only 26 when she walked down the aisle, hanging onto the arm of a man 63 years her senior.
Eighteen months later, hubby passed away, leaving her embroiled in a lengthy court battle for his estate with his son. All along, Anna Nicole, who had posed for Playboy a couple of times and was even declared Playmate of the year in 1993, insisted that her marriage to Marshall had not been motivated by money — but we all know better.
Today’s gold digger has since evolved, shifting her sight further afield. Her target is not necessarily that man who is old enough to be her grandfather, given that nowadays, there are an increasing number of young millionaires out there who are too busy making the next million to deal with the time-consuming technicalities of a serious relationship.
This increasing crop of wealthy young and middle-aged men is an attractive package for the modern gold digger because she not only gets the cash, but hopefully, a passably good-looking and younger man to boot.
Unlike the headline-grabbing Anna Nicole who dropped out of school at 17 to get married, the 21st Century gold digger is educated, with a degree or two under her belt and holds a fairly decent job.
In fact, there is nothing sleazy about her, so you would be wasting valuable time digging for incriminating information about her on the internet. Everything, from her hairstyle to her high heels screams ‘class’ and no man would mind being spotted around town with her.
Those in the know will tell you that bagging a rich man is no easy feat, that it takes more than just flashing a ‘come hither’ smile and batting the eyelids suggestively – any woman can successfully do this if she puts her mind to it. The assignment is more demanding and requires the hunter to do some serious homework, the most important being to identify where to find the prey.
This woman knows that the probability of bumping into a millionaire at her local supermarket only happens in the movies.
She is therefore aware that hanging out at the local night club will only get her noticed by the wrong men, (those who do not fit the ‘rich’ bracket) and therefore has to upgrade her socialising haunts and start frequenting the joints of the rich. She also has to be ready to spend a tidy sum of money while at it, at least before she catches the attention of a rich man, because there is nothing cheap about the places that moneyed men frequent.
Also, if you must play the part, you must also look it, and this is a part that the gold digger knows how to play to perfection. She must show that she is interested, available but not desperate because men have a way of spotting desperation from a mile away and will either take merciless advantage of you or steer clear of you.
This woman is no wall flower either. To be noticed, she is aware that she has to stand out in an understated way. Since most rich men belong to the club of the cultured, they also expect their woman to exude sophistication and class, so if your idea of standing out means dying your hair red or green, you don’t cut it.
This woman knows that the millionaire can have just about any woman he desires, so she cannot afford to look like ‘just anyone’. She must look like the millions she is targeting. This means comfortable shoes, (read flat and boring) are out of the question and so is blow-dried hair since it is impossible to style and there is always the danger of having the smell of something burnt trailing behind you for a couple of days.
Three-month old cornrows are also out of the question for this woman, who must always have her hair looking impeccable and tastefully styled. Her wardrobe must flatter her figure, which is regarded as her greatest selling point.
This means baggy t-shirts and blouses, whether they hold a designer label or are the hottest fashion items, should not be spared a second glance.
Every choice one makes comes with a price and a responsibility, and for the gold-digger, this price and responsibility is greater than that of the ordinary woman whose relationship is motivated by something else other than money.
Being in a relationship with a rich man, especially a self-made rich man is no fairy tale. This man understands only too well the rigours that accompany the process of amassing wealth especially if he had to do it from scratch. Irrespective of all his wealth, he is frequently forced to cut short much needed sleep, has had to deny himself a number of luxuries to get where he is today and even though he forms part of society’s top cream, to remain there, he must continue working hard.
Such a man is certainly not ready to spend his hard-earned money on anyone unless he is assured of getting his money’s worth in return. The woman must therefore give him a couple of solid reasons on why he should spend his money on her.
For such a man, it is not enough to look beautiful and elegant, he expects the woman to be at his beck and call at all times irrespective of illness or crippling fatigue.
In the rare event that she convinces him to walk her down the aisle, she should not think for a moment that her new ‘Mrs.’ Status will change anything. The only difference is that she will now be living in the same house and will be sporting his ring. He will still expect her to live up to the image she presented him while she was doing the hunting, otherwise he will feel conned and it will not be long before he unceremoniously drops her.
This means she must continue being impeccably groomed, never suffering from bad hair days, keep doing those excruciating sit ups to keep the tummy flat, never be far from his side and always be at hand to play hostess to his steady stream of friends and clients.
She will also not be allowed to suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome, which is said to be the cause of those dreadful moods in women. The man will also expect her to constantly be in an infectious, upbeat mood and courteous, otherwise she will be no different from other women.
Despite all the trapping of wealth, this woman must live in constant fear of the possibility of the ‘other woman’ upstaging her. This places undue pressure on her to remain relevant in this man’s life for as long as possible because the fact is that her beauty and figure will eventually suffer the ravages of time that even make-up and some extreme cosmetic work cannot hide. This is when the younger and snugger-looking woman becomes a real danger.
Obviously, unlike other women, this one cannot afford to age gracefully and has to work harder to fight off the flabbiness that is characteristic of ageing.
Unlike the ordinary wife who enjoys the luxury of indulging in the occasional cream-coated cake and a generous amount of meat swimming in rich gravy, this woman must watch every mouthful she chews, painstakingly counting the calories to ensure that she doesn’t go past size 12.
For this woman, approaching middle-age is akin to a curse because now she has to deal with the wrinkles and possible midriff bulge which is a no-no in her line of work. As for the one who succeeds in convincing the wealthy man to divorce his less trendy wife and marry her, she should be aware that the probability of him taking on a mistress is high; after all, she has left a vacancy that needs to be filled.
This woman must also develop nerves of steel and an impervious don’t care attitude especially if she lands herself a much older man. She has to be ready to endure accusing glances whenever she is in public with him because the fact is that he will want to parade her around and even expect some public display of affection. Since he holds the purse strings, he is the one who will determine the form this affection takes no matter how embarrassing.
Unlike in so-called ‘equal’ relationships where the woman is given room to call the shots once in a while, in this case, the man’s word is law; the woman’s feelings and opinions don’t count. You can therefore imagine how frustrating it is when you are really dying to say something but cannot because you know that it will neither be appreciated nor acknowledged.
Obviously, everything comes with a price. If you feel that all this is too steep a price to pay for a lavish lifestyle, then you are certainly not gold-digger material and will have to roll up your sleeves, and work harder to rake in your own millions. No longer a woman’s domain it would be unfair not to point out that the ‘gold digger’ title is no longer exclusively a woman’s domain.
With more women rapidly scaling the corporate ladder and earning themselves six-digit salaries, as an impressive number run their own thriving businesses, a few ambitious men are turning the tables and are going after the wealthy women with the sole intention of getting at their money.
This men should, however, be warned that having a toned abdomen and squeaky clean teeth may not be enough to worm themselves into this woman’s long-term affection because she is no air head.
He must be intelligent and certainly not a stay-at-home couch potato otherwise the only feeling she will have towards him is contempt. If his intention is to marry into wealth, he must show signs of responsibility and proof of self-reliance as well as a healthy self-esteem and poise that are capable of winning over his future in-laws.
The other side of the world in Russia, women take the business of millionaire hunting so seriously, that they are willing to pay to have someone teach them the techniques of netting themselves a wealthy man.
Some business-minded individuals are aware of this and are cashing in on this growing need. According to the July 19, 2007 edition of The Times, one such Russian man is Vladimir Rakovsky, who has been conducting courses on how to hook up a rich man and hold onto him for the past 10 years. The Times points out that his courses are oversubscribed and even extend to select resort hotels in Egypt.
For $200, (approximately Sh13, 200) a course, he promises that one will develop into “a strong, successful self-confident woman; a player who can skillfully manipulate a man; a woman who make a man feel that he’s in charge.”
The women are also taught how to dress in a manner that is bound to arrest and hold their target’s gaze besides learning to walk as if they are on the catwalk modeling high street fashion. Besides this, they are also taught the art of seduction, including how to shed off their clothes in “an alluring yet sophisticated manner” in step to Britney Spears’s ‘I’m a slave 4 U’.
According to Rakovsky, men come in three varieties - a little boy, a mature man or a carefree bachelor. Once a woman identifies which type the object of her desire is, she can then change her character to compliment his.
Apparently, the little boy wants a self-confident, mature woman who will take care of him, while the mature man is attracted to a woman who seems shy, timid and ignorant. Rakovsky says that these ‘qualities’ appeal to this man’s protective instincts. As for the die-hard bachelor, a woman who behaves like a carefree teenager does it for him.
As long as a woman correctly identifies these types and understands what makes them tick, then she will have the man firmly in her grip.
However, if she is to successfully hold the attention of that fabulously rich Russian man, she also has to be physically attractive, well-groomed, fit, selfless, interested in sex, educated and indispensable.
The writer notes that Rakovsky, whom she describes as middle-aged, overweight but rich, is married to a 23-year-old former model who helps him teach the women the techniques of ensnaring wealthy men.
Even more interesting, the women who enroll for these courses are anything but broke, in fact, they are successful in their own right, earning high salaries, some even running their own companies.