On the other foot

On the other foot

Last night my roommate and I watched the first episode of the new Fox “reality” series “Joe Millionaire”. It’s not something that’s usually up my alley, except I was curious as to how they pulled it off. For those who don’t know, the premise is that they take a good-looking guy who makes $19,000 a year as a construction worker, drop him in a French chateau, bring in 20 beautiful women, and tell them that he recently inherited $50 million and that he’s seeking his perfect match. Yes, I know that they’re deceiving the women, but it makes an interesting sociological point.

It’s interesting to watch the women light up at the sight of the chateau, how every single one gushes that her dream since childhood was to be a princess, how they all gasp and giggle at hearing he’s worth $50 million. One common thread running through most of them was that during interviews, they almost invariably talked about the money and the lifestyle and the guy’s outward appearance and gave little consideration to the inner man.

Several women said that it was very important that any guy they date be passionate about his work and be ambitious. Why? Okay, there’s nothing wrong with loving your job. I love mine. But isn’t it true that the most ambitious men have no time for anything but their ambition? What I’m hearing is that these women want a guy who cares more about something else than them.

Paul and I kept laughing during the show at how the tables were turned. So often, the media portrays men as the shallow ones in a relationship. We’re told time and again that all men care about are looks and they don’t give a thought to anything else. That’s obviously a stereotype and not true. But here we have the opposite stereotype. There are some (many?) women who care only about the externals, such as money, looks, and power.

As I said while watching the show last night, give me $100 million and there would be some women banging down my door. (You’d have to double it because I’m not as good-looking as Joe Millionaire.) The sad thing is that many of those women wouldn’t even know that it was the money really motivating them; they would justify to themselves in their minds all kinds of reasons why it’s not the money, but the man.

The goal of the TV show is to see if the woman that Joe Millionaire picks for himself will remain interested in him when she finds out he’s dirt poor. The other question is whether she’ll be able to trust him after she finds out he deceived her.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli