Hooking for Food?

I’ve definitely enjoyed my fair share of free meals over the course of the past year and a half (okay, probably more than my fair share) but this is a bit much, even for me.

According to a recent report in Business Insider,

A young New Yorker we’ll call Minerva McGonagall* was tired of dipping into her savings to keep up with her Manhattan lifestyle.

Her $45k salary was not enough and she needed at least an extra $500 a month and sometimes $1,000 to pay her credit card bills and afford her $1,475 a month apartment in Murray Hill.

Then she discovered Match.com– the perfect site for a broke 23-year-old.

“Before I barely had enough money to pay for food,” said McGonagall. “After using Match.com I found I wasn’t going into debt anymore.”

McGonagall started eating out five nights a week using a rotation of different guys she met through the dating site.

Evidently, she stopped eating lunch and cut back on breakfast as well to “maximize” her savings (which, according to Business Insider, amounted to over $1,200 a month in free food).

Call me crazy, but “food hooking” (which is what New York observer has dubbed it) takes online dating to new extremes—unhealthy extremes.

One of the things that really bugged me about Date #4 was that he never let me pay for anything.  We went out five or six times and despite my repeated attempts to pick up the tab (or at the very least pay the tip), the most I was ever allowed to purchase was a cup of coffee, and even then, it was my coffee, not his.

Eventually I worked up the courage to tell him how uncomfortable his “generosity” was making me—its rather difficult to forge a relationship with someone when you’re on totally uneven footing—but he just laughed at me.

(That, in and of itself, should have been a red flag but what can I say?  I took me several months of additional research to realize that men like him—the Impressionists—will stop at nothing to gain the upper hand.)

But back to the 23-year old from New York (whose real name, evidently, is Jessica Sporty).  I was intrigued to read that she and her roommate used a spreadsheet to keep track of their dates (seems it’s the thing to do nowadays) and that they had a five-date cut off to avoid getting too “emotionally attached.”

This confirms my theory that fifth dates either make or break a relationship (and that spreadsheets comprise and integral part of modern courtship) but seriously: five dates a week solely for the purpose of supplementing your food budget?  Even I’m not that bad.

I found the following piece written in defense of Sporty’s behavior:

“Dating for free dinners isn’t unethical or wrong, as long as someone is upfront and honest about their intention so no one is misled in the process,” says Brandon Wade, an online dating expert and founder of online dating website WhatsYourPrice.com where generous members pay attractive members to go on first dates. “However, Match.com is really not the best place to date for free dinners. Jessica Sporty and her roommate would have received much more than $1,200 a month if they had signed up for an account on WhatsYourPrice.com instead. […]

“A large number of men use online dating websites to bait women into having sex with the false promise of love,” says Wade […]. “The irony is in why so many people find Jessica Sporty’s behavior distasteful just because she has succeeded in turning the tables around by baiting men into giving her free dinners with the lure of sex.

The article went on to explain:

WhatsYourPrice.com is the first website to take the charity dating auction concept to online dating. By providing an online dating marketplace where first dates can be bought or sold, generous users can level the playing field by offering an incentive for attractive users to go on first dates with them. This patent pending dating system was conceptualized by Brandon Wade, an online dating expert and self-proclaimed MIT-nerd, who wanted a better way to date beautiful women. Wade is also the founder of successful sugar daddy online dating website SeekingArrangement.com, and millionaire matchmaking website SeekingMillionaire.com.

 Charity dating?  Really?  Now I’m not sure which is worse… “hooking” for food or “selling” your first date to the highest bidder.

This is what I found when I googled "Jessica Sporty"

8 Responses to “Hooking for Food?”

  1. Zak

    I was a few dates in – maybe 10? – when a coworker informed me about this type of behavior (that of Ms. Sporty). It turns out another coworker I actually like was doing this before she met and ultimately married her husband. My view of her has since been lowered. And my immediate reaction was to stop going to dinner with most women, at least on the first date or two.

    It’s sad how many people are out there just to take advantage of somebody else. They think it’s okay until someone does it to them, at which point they’re outraged. The nerve!

    I think if dating like this is as “upfront” as Mr. Wade suggested, Jessica wouldn’t have had nearly as much luck on Match.com, and she would have eventually run out of people unless she wanted to start puttnig out. I’d also like to say Wade is not the one to “conceptualize” hooking. Desperate women and desperate men have long ago figured that system out. He only build a website that peddled in it.

    And in the even we ever meet up, we can split the bill. Or I’ll at least let you buy my coffee.

    Reply
  2. aka gringita

    Fascinating. More than a little appalling, too.

    Good grief. This kind of nonsense is why I am on a semi-permanent dating hiatus.

    Reply
  3. Lyon hostess

    Ok, so I’m not at all familiar with the world of online dating, and maybe what I say will shock people, but while I found whatsyourprice.com very distasteful, I can’t seem properly horrified by Jessica Sporty.

    I do think she is just taking advantage of a situation which she didn’t create. Most men from these sites sound like people who think they can get sex from a woman for the price of a dinner on a first date – is THAT not demeaning? As far as I can see, a date should be just that – getting to know each other, without feeling like you are entitled to get a return on your investment immediately. She’s just playing the same game, but everybody is pointing fingers at her, not the guys who just want to get laid.

    Reply
  4. lifeofaphoenix

    Hooking for food… really? This economy must really be hitting bottom! I dont think Minerva* is too out of line. I dont think she’ll find a good husband that way though. Just sayin’ her ethics may be a bit skewed

    Reply
  5. Lost in France

    Sorry but her real name sounds as made up as her made up name.
    Did she not eat at weekends, or perhaps she collected enough in doggy bags to cover that.

    Reply

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