Toronto
3 min

In defence of screwing the rich

Poor KFed is sure taking a bruising over Britney and all for being a bit of sponge. Like this was something new in the annals of relationship. The poor guy is just trying to be a good capitalist — buy low, sell high — and all he does is get slammed.

What happened to rewarding initiative? We used to like gold diggers and treated them like hookers with hearts of gold.

Remember Carol Channing? Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes singing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”? Those babes were big-hearted urban innocents, rendered pure by the intensity of their greed.

Nowadays gold diggers are considered, like maybe, one step up from paedophiles. A little more than a year ago, New York magazine lead with a campy piece about a woman who had made off with an “heirless millionaire.” “Was she rescuing him from the clutches of an evil lawyer or just digging for gold?” screamed the headline.

That same year, Kanye West tore a strip off the species with his hit, “Gold Digger.” His musings were perhaps a little crass (“Now I ain’t saying she a gold digger/ But she ain’t messin’ with no broke niggas”), but he was definitely on to something.

We’re all gold diggers in the sense that we’re aware of our partner’s socioeconomic status and we fact-check it ruthlessly, usually through labels, titles and professions. But we prefer to believe that we’re loved for ourselves alone and not our yellow gold, meaning no sharing allowed. You’re supposed to make it on your own in this rough and tumble world.

Which strikes me as totally unfair. Where’s the community feeling? One of the great tragedies of my life is that nobody has ever offered to keep me. No sugar pops, no sugar tarts. No pledges to keep me complacent and carefree. Nada. Not when I was young and pretty, not when I was cynical and suave. I feel like such a failure, like I skipped a stage in the gay life cycle. (Oh well, at least I’ve covered waitering and retail.)

My uppity nature and disinclination to screw old may have had something to with my failure. But still, shouldn’t somebody at least have asked?

It’s funny how we sneer at people like KFed, Anna Nicole Smith and other upwardly mobile money freaks. For centuries their’s was the capitalist way, not just socially accepted but entrenched. I mean, they used to call it marriage — but still.

Check out almost any Victorian novel and you’ll find that the economic motive was paramount in most amorous relationships. There’s a great scene in a Trollope novel where the sister of an impoverished but ambitious politician approaches the richest woman in England on behalf of her brother and suggests a union between the poor guy and the rich woman. She’s completely blasé about her suit. This is, after all, what rich heiresses are supposed to do, spread the wealth around.

For years it was more common for homos to couple outside their class than within. Maybe they had control issues or something, but famous homos like EM Forster and Christopher Isherwood invariably married down. Forster hung out with a policeman and Isherwood with a series of German rent boys.

Nowadays, few people venture outside their social class. We’re all still gold diggers but our digging has taken on a highly conservative cast. It’s aimed not at bettering our financial circumstances but at preserving them.

Check out The Globe And Mail’s weekly gay gossip column (that would be the Friday real-estate section) and just look at all the middle-class gay couples who have married from within their class and and are now buttressing their social station by building a house commensurate with their status. Nobody is wasting their surplus cash on a houseboy.

That would be too obvious. You’re allowed to chase the gold as long you don’t make your lust or your lucre too obvious. That was Anna Nicole’s sin. Not that she went for the money but that she was so blunt. Her diddling with a super-old guy just because he was super-rich exposed certain unpalatable social truths. Gold digging is caricatured as a sin against love, a betrayal of an intimate personal connection, but its true crime is to expose the wildly arbitrary nature of the rich-poor divide.

Any successful gold-digging operation, after all, entails a transfer of wealth out of one class and into another. The poor get richer and the rich get fucked. Anyone with any stake in the existing system would prefer to avoid that. The fact that the exchange is greased by sex shouldn’t obscure the very real power plays at work.

Sociology aside, it wouldn’t hurt any of us to consider our crasser monetary motives. Modern relationships are so overburdened with emotional and sexual expectations that a pause to consider their practical implications might lend a welcome note of do-ability to the whole affair.

At the very least it would make the sexual calculus far easier. Will you still keep me — and a roof over my head — when I’m 64?