I browsed through the never-ending cycle of men promoting themselves as the successful saviours of cash poor women. There were thin men and fat men, young men and old men, married men and single men, scholars, directors, doctors, developers, professors and the ever present entrepreneurs. After my considerable years of online dating, I knew to steer clear of the entrepreneurs.
Now, to create Ryder Adeline, as I had dubbed myself. Ryder was the best friend of Jersey Shore’s favourite meatball, Snookie, she writhed on a bar as I watched a rerun. Adeline was from a film I had watched earlier, Blake Lively played a cool ice cream blonde so it seemed somehow aspirational. I needed to keep her short and sweet, yet possessing enough of a sly wink that she would be irresistible to wealthy men and a magnet for the contents of their wallets. “I’m a well travelled, well read young woman with a wicked sense of humour. I take pride in my appearance, and take pleasure in simple things done well”. So far so good. “I am seeking the company of a respectful, intelligent, and motivated gentleman. As with any relationship, chemistry is key” this was my “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. I wasn’t coming across as one of the thinly veiled (or not veiled at all) escorts that littered the sugar baby field, but citing the all important “chemistry”left enough wiggle room for me to change my mind. I ended with “If the spark is there, there is no limit to the fun we can have” ‘or at least until your credit card declines’ I thought to myself. And so there she was, we were two actors playing the same character in different adaptations. Ryder was sophisticated, someone who probably listened to jazz while drinking wine and making risotto; I was searching for discarded baggies down the back of my couch. It was a real Burton/Schumacher split if there ever was one.
Having convinced myself that no-one in their right mind would actually fall for my weekend project, I abandoned my post to survey the bleak contents of my refrigerator. I returned with a steaming bowl of oriental flavoured 2 Minute Noodles in lieu of anything tastier, and like some sort of deranged, iPhone cradling Scarlett O’Hara I vowed greasy faced never to be too broke to order a pizza on a Friday night again. I glanced down at my phone and noticed it was lighting up with an unusual frequency; it appeared that Ryder Adeline was the most popular girl at the dance. There were messages from Hawthorn to Hong Kong, from New England to erm, regular England. The contents of the messages ranged from straight out solicitation (“can I offer u cash plz 4 blowjobs”), to men offering the world just for a conversation. Some were weird (a request to watch me perform household tasks in my knickers for $500), some were downright offensive (many specifically looking for “sluts”, or at least someone willing to play the part), but mostly they were regular guys looking to have a chat.
The first man I exchanged messages with (we will call him John) soon gave me his phone number and asked me to leave messages “dominating and belittling” him. I was a little stumped, but I rallied all in the name of research. After downing the last dregs of a bottle of wine that had survived this long in my fridge by hiding behind a now wilted bag of carrots, I attempted my first message. “You’re, like, sooooo fucking lame” I drawled, “you’re sooooo lucky to have a girl like me even talk to you”. On playback I sounded like a fucking moron, but after a few more takes I had that nasally Kourtney Kardashian monotone down pat. John was inexplicably thrilled with the result, and told me to choose absolutely anything my heart desired… on Amazon… as long it was under $100 USD. It was a weird feeling, had this guy just jerked it to the sound of my drunken insults? He could have just followed me to the pub and gotten the same show for free at 4am on a Saturday morning. Not wanting to overthink it, I chose a gaudily packaged Moschino perfume and mentally added “purchase Moschino pill pot bag” to my to-do list.