Bambi Seeks Mr. Big – The Tawdry World of Natural Selection Speed Dating

Bambi seeks Mr. Big – the tawdry world of Natural Selection Speed Dating

By Lisa Earle McLeod

The official verdict is in. Rich men want great-looking women, and gorgeous women prefer wealthy men.

At least that’s the premise behind Natural Selection Speed Dating, the tackiest thing to hit the singles scene since toupees.

In case you’ve been off the market for a while, speed dating is the modern equivalent of a cotillion.

It works like this: You sign up for an event catering to your age group. There are an equal number of men and women. The women sit at numbered tables; the men rotate from table to table every time a bell rings. You spend three to six minutes with each person, so by the end of the night you’ve had 20 to 40 dates.

All in all, it’s an efficient, relatively painless way to meet a potential match without trolling the bars. And it’s become a pretty mainstream fixture of the singles scene.

But while speed dating was originally invented by rabbi to help young Jewish singles meet others within their faith, the upcoming Natural Selection Speed Dating event in New York City is anything but spiritually based.

Unlike typical speed dating events, which segment themselves into categories like “Young Christian singles” or “Single professionals ages 42-57,” Natural Selection Speed Dating is being marketed as “exclusively available to qualified wealthy men and beautiful women.”

And how does one gain entrance to such an elite event?

For men, the only criterion is wealth. Men ages 25 or below are required to have a salary of more than $200K per year, if you’re between 26 and 30, you need to make $300K, and if you’re older than 30, you must prove that you’re knocking back at least half mill a year in order to attend.

Women, on the other hand, are required to submit five pictures for judgment by “famed matchmaker” Janis Spindel. Lest a Plain Jane thinks she can skate through with a winning personality, the Web site clearly states, “No additional information will be accepted.”

This isn’t a porn site or mail-order bride service. This is a real event being sponsored by a reputable magazine, “cordially inviting” people for an evening “honoring the age-old union of wealthy men and hot girls.”

It’s probably not surprising that the entrance fee for men is $500 but the “girls” only pay 50 bucks. I guess it’s only fair to charge less for a child’s ticket.

Why don’t we just call this thing a brothel and be done with it?

However, as disgusted as I am by this tawdriness, there are actually some pre-wired survivalist instincts behind this oh-so-gross, yet oh-so-common, male-female dynamic.

Dating expert Lisa Daily, the author of “Stop Getting Dumped” (Plume, $12), says, “Our biology compels us to seek out the best possible mate we can snag for our own. For men that means beautiful women with good genes. For women that means the best provider we can live with.”

Maybe all those cave wall hieroglyphics were actually prehistoric personal ads: Beast-killing man seeks wide-hipped, healthy female for tribal status symbol and reproduction as quickly as possible. Or: Weak but attractive breeder seeks mate with enough resources to protect future offspring.

But just because we have animalistic instincts doesn’t mean we need to be limited by them, or create events reinforcing them.

I’d like to think that a man smart enough to make $200K a year would want a woman who sees him as more than just a paycheck.

And any woman who hooks up with a man only interested in physical beauty needs to realize, there’s a built-in expiration date to that contract.

I thought about staging a protest outside the event, but who am I to stand in the way of true love? After all, if he’s rich enough for her and she’s good looking enough for him; they probably deserve each other.

© Copyright 2007, by Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of “Forget Perfect: Finding Joy, Meaning, and Satisfaction in the Life You’ve Already Got and the YOU You Already Are.” Contact her or join her interactive blog at

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© Copyright 2007, by Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved.

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