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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In the Wake of the Dark Knight Massacre, Dating Site Claims Rich Men Will Die for You

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Opportunistic gain in the wake of a tragedy? PRICELESS.
  • Opportunistic gain in the wake of a tragedy? PRICELESS.

SF Weekly was recently forwarded a press release from online dating site WhatsYourPrice.com that begins, "In the event of a tragedy like the Dark Knight Massacre, who would you want by your side on a first date?" It then goes on to say, "During the Dark Knight Massacre, three men lost their lives to save the lives of their girlfriends .... Men who make between $80,000 to $150,000 per year are more likely to take a bullet for you on a first date. Those who fall outside of that income bracket are significantly less likely to put their well being over that of their date's."

Uh, so this press release is almost as offensive as the tacky photos on its website. The blog Bad Pitch thinks so too, commenting, "In the aftermath we assumed, naively, that the nation's collective shock would stop anyone in their right mind from trying to tie their pitch into this tragedy."

Well said, Bad Pitch, and furthermore, how are men more of a catch if they are willing to be a hero? Can men aspire only to be bullet-absorbing meat sponges? Can Enrique Iglesias be your hero baby because he is a man?

And how about that income bracket? According to WhatsYourPrice.com's "survey research," $80,000 to $150,000 marks the sign of a chivalrous, traditional fellow harking back to olden times -- a gentleman who lays down his pulse to rest the way he would his cloak over a plague-ridden puddle. "For you, m'lady." A man of honour with a "u." A man of sacrifice.

Despite the extensive research that no doubt went into WhatsYourPrice's survey, I spied a recent post in the New York Times linking empathy to income level in regard to the upcoming November election. And there was also last year's cultural study cited at MSNBC.com that noted, "[Rich people's] life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish." Really, you can just Google, "rich/poor empathy" and there will be about 5,000 hits disproving WhatsYourPrice.com's claim.

I've never saved anyone's life. I've fantasized about it. A day before WhatsYourPrice.com's pitch was passed along to me, I had even written it in my journal over an ex of mine. Embarrassing, but so is your journal.

None of us know what we would have done, but I wasn't the only one to consider, "Would I have saved my loved one?" To die heroically for someone you love is, in essence, the ultimate romantic gesture, and it's something that's been written about for ages, from Shakespeare to Tolstoy to Cleopatra to Homer, and on and on.

Amanda Lindgren, who says she owes her life to the heroism of her boyfriend, Alex Teves, is quoted, "I wish I could have protected him the same way he protected me."

Any psychologist can spot my hero fantasy for an ex and call it part of my grieving process over the loss of that relationship. I come from a low-income foundation and have often heard friends with similar backgrounds make similar proclamations of "forever" and "dying" for their significant others. Is it the mark of low-income status to dream about sacrificing oneself for  love? Are rich kids also dreaming of dying for loved ones? Is heroism the mark of being a man? Of being a woman? Of being a codependent queer journaling away over her twelfth cup of coffee?

I've dated a few girls from rich families. We have differences. How could we not? No matter how bohemian a lifestyle, no matter how "broke" a young person from a rich family is, no matter their chosen "gritty," "authentic" neighborhood experience with the benefit of cheaper rent. Our sources for compassion are as varied as our cultural differences and our spirits, and, as Stuart Smalley says, That's okay. But, hey, what's-your-face.com: When you say, "Rich men are more likely to take a bullet for you," it insults us all.

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Rose Tully

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