Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gold Diggers of 1933

How do you know if your spouse or significant other is just a gold digger?

A reader writes, after reading my entry on mail-order brides, asking how to tell if your spouse is just a gold-digger?   I was a little suspicious about the question, as he claimed his name was "John Miller" and his e-mail address was   You'd think after three wives, he'd be able to spot the trend!

All kidding about the President aside, there are indeed women who by design or circumstance, end up using men for their money, in one way or another.   If you were to ask them, only a few would admit even to themselves they are gold-diggers.  The human brain is very crafty, and we lie to ourselves a lot about our motives in life, and often we do things to survive that we are not comfortable confronting ourselves with.

But that last sentence may in fact be the key to the answer to the reader's question.   Because men lie to themselves as well, thinking that the hot young chick really thinks they are a hunk.   If you can live in reality and not fantasy, it may be possible to perceive other people's motives all that much easier.   On the other hand, you can't go through life paranoid that others are out to get you - that is a sure way to wreck a relationship and create a self-fulfilling prophesy.

As I noted in earlier postings, all relationships and marriages do have an economic component as well as emotional, sexual, and so forth.   People working together toward a common goal can achieve more than two people working separately.   And in terms of child-rearing, it insures the survival of the species.

Of course, in caveman days, maybe that made more sense - Og slays the mastodon, while Uma scrapes the hides and breast-feeds the babies.   Today, we live in a different world.   And there are some spouses who expect to do nothing in a relationship, other than look pretty and spend money.   And some men are OK with this, wanting a "trophy wife" to show off to the other men.   Of course, other men are not fooled by this - the trophy wife is not a sign of the husband's virility, but of the size of his pocketbook, which of course, was the whole point.   If this is your kind of gig, well, expect nothing but gold diggers.

But in other cases, it is more nuanced.   Back in the 1960's, they had something called "Alimony" and a woman could divorce her husband and get the house, the cars, the savings in the bank, and also have the husband cough up most of his paycheck in alimony and child support.    Child support might only last until the kids are 18 or 21 or so, but alimony was a life-long commitment, until the wife re-married.

A friend of mine's Mother cleaned up on this gig, serially marrying and divorcing at least three men, each time ending up with a nicer house, nicer cars, a fatter bank account, and of course, larger alimony checks - and child support. Was she a gold-digger? The gossip around town was that she was, as getting a divorce back then, much less three of them, was largely unheard of.   What always mystified me was why men married her in the first place, as she was a harpy and harridan of the first order - with a voice that was more like a screech and her best years clearly behind her. She ended up as a lonely, bitter old woman, dying unloved.  I guess she won, eh?

My other experience, albeit not directly, was the woman who tried to blackmail my Father. On a business trip to Canada, he hooked up with a young woman who flirted with him and made him feel young again.  As he was hitting middle-age, with children who were an expensive mystery to him and a Lesbian alcoholic wife who just screamed at him, the prospect of spending a little sack-time with a younger woman was hard to turn down.  And in retrospect, I am not sure that a business associate didn't set the whole thing up to entrap him.
But entrap him she did, asking him for money almost right away, and then threatening to expose the affair to my Mother and his boss, unless he paid up. $50,000 is the number I recall my Mother bandying about.  My Dad, being Scots, decided that it was cheaper to endure the wrath of my Mother than to pay a whore $50,000 - although he did pay her a substantial sum before he figured this out.  Of course, that was what that lady was, albeit not in the traditional sense - but she sold herself for money, through blackmail.

So yes, evil people exist in the world.  And yes, some women will marry men just to get citizenship and make some money, as I noted in my mail-order bride posting.

And the key to figuring out whether someone is "just after your money" is to understand human nature, but more importantly to know yourself.  In almost every case where gold-diggers are involved, the person being financially abused is all-too-willing to be snookered in.

It is like these con-artist phone calls from India. I got one from "Chuck" of "Microsoft Security Services" the other day, except that his accent was so thick I could barely understand him.  I told him, "Listen 'Chuck' - if you want to steal money from us Americans, you're going to have to put some more effort into your language skills. You need to learn to speak English more clearly, without that heavy accent!  Learn the language, and you can steal from us with impunity!"  And then I hung up.  I hope he appreciated my sincere advice.

The problem with these phone center scam artists is not the scam artists - scam artists will always be with us.  The problem is that Americans are dumb enough and scared enough to fall for them.  They are scared of the IRS or the local Police. They are scared of their own computers.  So when some guy from India calls with a dubious story, Americans are all-too-willing to fork over money out of fear.  If you are not afraid and at least 10% astute, you will never fall for one of these scams.

And the same is true with gold-diggers.   If you are going to be as naive as my Dad was, thinking some 20-something buxom blonde has the hots for a middle-aged, middle-weight "Dad", then likely you will be fleeced.  "Oh, she loves me for my character!"  - keep telling yourself that.  Of course, there are some women who prefer older, more mature men, mostly because they are economically secure.  Others have "Daddy issues" and prefer older men as well.   So it can happen, I guess.

Knowing yourself is important, and if you know yourself, you have an idea about your spouse as well. If your relationship is so superficial that you don't really understand what the other person is thinking, well, the chances are greater that you are going to get fleeced.

In the mid-1970's, the prenuptial agreement started to be talked about.  About the same time, alimony became a thing of the past - for the most part (they still talk about things like "spousal support" these days).   By the 1980's, the "pre-nup" was more of a thing.

Is this the answer?  I guess it depends on your circumstances.  If you have millions of dollars, then maybe you might be cautious about who you marry.  If you don't have any money, well, odds are, a gold-digger is not going to be digging you.  Of course, some spouses will be quite offended if you ask them to sign a prenuptial agreement, particularly if it is on the eve of the wedding.  Like anything else, it is something to be discussed frankly.  However a frank discussion could lead to the breaking of an engagement.  "Gee honey, it's not that I don't trust you, but simply that I don't trust you.  Sign here, please."

In about 90% or more of divorce cases, however, it is the woman, not the man, who comes out behind the eight-ball. Most women end up poorer after a divorce, while the men get richer.  So as a class, women are doing a shitty job of gold-digging.

And it is sad to see how people end up that way - letting emotional thinking win the day.  I recounted in another posting how I sold my motorcycle to a young guy who just got divorced.  He had a Harley and a Corvette, which he lost in the divorce proceedings (and who knows - they may have been the cause of the divorce proceedings).  So he went out and bought a Camaro and my motorcycle.   As he explained it to me, he wasn't going to let her win!   Maybe a Camaro and a Kawasaki wasn't quite the same, but he was going to have a sports car and a bike and show that bitch!

I was happy to take his money - just as most divorce lawyers are.  The best clients in any family law matter are the ones who are the most emotional.  They will bankrupt themselves just so the other party doesn't "win".