“Whatever you into, your woman gotta be into, too, and vice versa—or the shit ain’t gonna work, it ain’t gonna work. That’s right. If you born-again, your woman gotta be born-again, too; if you a crackhead, your woman gotta be a crackhead, too—or the shit won’t work.”—Chris Rock, Bigger & Blacker (1999)
He’s a self-made millionaire, a grey-haired man in his late forties. She’s 26 and drop-dead gorgeous. We watch them—and judge them—as they get out of the red Ferrari and walk into the trendy restaurant on boulevard Saint-Laurent—you know, the one on the east side of the street, just north of Sherbrooke. Those of us who judge the rich guy do so because we think he’s a creepy lecher who should be with someone his own age. For god’s sake, look at her! She could be his daughter!
Whatever we make of the rich guy, and his intentions, our judgement of the bombshell on his arm is invariably harsher. It’s harsher, in part, because anyone with the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old knows that using people is wrong. We all know—spontaneously, without analyzing—that Kant was on to something when he said that we should never treat another human being like an instrument, like a means to an end. We look at the rich guy and something within us wants to cry out: “You fool, you stupid fool! Can’t you see what’s going on here? She’s only with you for the money!”
But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if she loves him—really loves him—and not for his money, but for who he is? What if he tried dating the blue-blooded daughters of the North American elite? What if these Ivy-League-educated trust-fund gals found all of his talk about business and bling boring? What if they found his intense preoccupation with status graceless, gauche, and gross? What if they found his obsession with money thoroughly unattractive? And what if he found their company and conversation equally nettlesome?
What if all they wanted to talk about—over fair-trade coffee at Starbucks—was books, boring books, and documentaries, tedious documentaries, about suffering, suffering in faraway places he can’t pronounce? What if they went on and on—till he thought he was going to bleed out through the eyes—about that fucking long weekend they spent in the Third World volunteering for an NGO?
What if the golddigger on his arm is the first woman he’s met who really appreciates all of the sacrifices he’s had to make to get to where he is? What if she’s the first woman he’s met who loves money and status as much as he does? What if their relationship is actually based on a solid foundation of shared values, profound respect, and mutual understanding (they’re both golddiggers, after all)?
What if they’re in love—really in love? My guess is that they almost always are. And that’s a beautiful thing, really it is. Because everyone needs to find love in this broken and burning world. And yet so few of us do. So when we see two people who have momentarily found love, “what we do,” writes Tony Hoagland, “is natural: we take our burned hands out of our pockets, and clap.”
—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2016)