3 min

Digging for gold

'He can't get enough of me'

Credit: Mia Hansen

I recently vacationed with an older friend of mine and we both brought along our new boyfriends. I’ll call my friend’s date Ralph (names and some identifying details have been changed for this story). Ralph was friendly enough, but it took me all of five minutes to figure out Ralph’s agenda with my friend, who I’ll call Brian.

Brian is a wealthy man. He owns a big house, a business and a beautiful cottage. He’s also handsome and in excellent shape for a man his age (mid 50s). Brian is also a nice guy, and would make a good catch for anyone looking to have a relationship with a stable older man – or anyone looking to cash in on the generosity of a lonely older man with more money than common sense when it comes to dating.

Enter Ralph. Ralph is an underemployed waiter with a drug and alcohol problem, with little on his mind except the latest line of fashion from Club Monaco, and more of a lust for Brian’s money than Brian. All Ralph talked about for the three days we spent together was what he wanted to buy and what was in and what was out for the fashionable fag.

“I’m such a good shopper; I always get the best,” he bragged over and over. “I got these shoes on sale for only $200. And this shirt, it only cost me $150 and it’s the latest in Hugo Boss.” On and on he went. Listening to Ralph made me want to ralph.

My friend liked to be affectionate with Ralph. Lots of “sweeties” and “honeys” thrown into the conversation like they were high school sweethearts. Ralph looked more embarrassed by it than flattered, and talked over Brian whenever he felt like it, as if Brian weren’t even there.

It’s not that my friend couldn’t see what the “relationship” was all about; he’s not that dumb. He just didn’t care. He wanted companionship and sex, and if he had to spend a little cash to get it, so be it. Buggers can’t be choosers.

Ralph talks about how Brian had taken him shopping and how he looked forward to the next shopping expedition.

“I’m really good at spending other people’s money; you really have no idea,” he told me. Oh yes I do, I thought to myself. Perhaps a few trips to Holt Renfrew for the occasional shopping spree was cheaper than paying a rent boy by the hour, so maybe Brian thought he was actually saving money in the long run.

What was remarkable and sad, was Brian’s ability to pretend it was anything other than what it was. All Brian’s kind words and gentle displays of affection were met with subtle contempt that sometimes bordered on open hostility.

I once heard them argue in the bedroom.

“Not now,” I heard Ralph say in a loud and angry voice. “You want it all the time and I’m not in the mood.” It seems you can buy sex, but you can’t buy respect.

A couple of months after the trip, I ran into Brian and asked about Ralph. Turns out they’re still together and still going shopping.

Ralph is not the only person who knows how to find and manage older men. Meet Stephan. Stephan is an attractive 20-something twink with a bigger dick than brain, although he doesn’t see it that way. He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else and looks down on the world. He’s at least smart enough to latch onto someone dumber than himself with a bigger wallet than intellect.

He met my friend David about three years ago around David’s 70th birthday. Stephan threw himself at the old man by walking straight up to him in a bar and propositioning him within the first five minutes. He also did what no one else wanted to do – pay attention to him and tell him he was attractive.

“He thinks I’m sexy,” David told me after their first night together. “He can’t get enough of me.”

David really ate it up and within two weeks the kid had moved into Dave’s big, luxury condo and made himself comfortable. He redecorated, persuaded Dave to buy some new furniture, and within less than a month, Stephan had traded in his minimum wage job for Dave’s PIN number and stopped working permanently.

Dave has tried to send him to school, but he flunked out. Over and over again in the first year they were together, he got him cushy, career-oriented jobs, but Stephan always got fired. But he has perfected the fine art of napping on Dave’s sofa with the dignity you would expect from a rich person’s cat.

I don’t believe for one minute that it has ever occurred to Dave that the kid might be using him. Dave wrote the kid into his will and is leaving him everything. He’s looking forward to many more years together and loves to talk about all the things they’re going to do together. I guess what’s important to him is that he has someone – anyone – who he thinks loves him and he’s happy.

I don’t think these kinds of relationships are unusual or unique to gay men. How many married men have wives who hate them, but married them for their money?

The reality is that as long as there are lonely people with money there are going to be gold-diggers with ambitions. Everyone needs money, and everyone needs love. Couple the two and you have a nice pay-per-view romance that can satisfy the needs of both lonely rich people and hustlers in need of a new pair of $200 shoes.