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Excerpted from

Dating Up; Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man


Lo-ser \ lii-z&;r \ n: 1 : One that loses especially consistently 2 : One who is incompetent or unable to succeed; also : something doomed to fail or disappoint.

Down-dater \ doun-'dater \ n: A woman of good character, sound mind, solid education, and great ambition, who cannot seem to tear herself apart from starving artists, men with money but no hearts, and all other classes of loser.

So you're a down-dater. You meet unimpressive guys who are beneath you, and you cling to them for dear life, while turning a blind eye to all the fabulous, intelligent, wealthy men of the world.

Welcome to the club.

By the time my best friends and I left Smith College in 2003, we had graduated with honors, gotten jobs in the fields and cities of our choice, and begun thinking about how to invest for the future. We had also collectively dated an impressive string of losers including "Brooklyn Ben," a twenty-nine-year-old aspiring rock star who carried a cloth Smurf wallet with a Velcro clasp; "Little Piggy," the unusually short heir to a sausage fortune, who threw away his parents' money on long weekends in Vegas and didn't own a single book; "The Stripper's Assistant," a used-car salesman with a kid, who accompanied his best friend-a male stripper in army paint-to gigs as a bodyguard; "Virgin Atlantic," an unpublished British poet who still lived with his mom and was more talk than action; "Brad with the Broken Nose," a construction worker with a propensity for barroom brawls; and "Eddie the Drug Dealer"-no explanation needed.

Starving artists, social miscreants, or hell, any guy living slightly above the poverty line were all the rage back in college, when our greatest expense was Corona with lime. But now we're thinking ahead, realizing that our choice of partners will determine our lifelong social and economic happiness, and that a guy's cute spiky hair or vintage LP collection will take a girl only so far. We're determining what's most important. For some of us, it's the ability to quit our job and stay home with our kids one day. For others, it's a husband who works as hard as we do and has earning potential that's equal to or greater than our own. And for others still, it's a four-bedroom house in Bridgehampton with an ocean view. Whatever the reason, suddenly that old phrase of Mom's-"It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor man"-doesn't seem so prehistoric after all.

I'm not suggesting that we run out and get boob jobs, or that we forget about chemistry and marry the nearest millionaire on a ventilator. I didn't go to Gloria Steinem's alma mater for four years to write a book about gold digging. Dating Up is about more than just money. It's about finding a man who is your intellectual equal and wants the same things out of life you do-success, happiness, stability, and financial security. Marrying for money alone won't lead to a life of wedded bliss, but it's time that women stop feeling bad about admitting that money matters. We deserve to be challenged, excited, and (yes, I'll admit it) supported-financially and otherwise-by the men in our lives. Acknowledging that fact doesn't diminish our independence. It just makes us aware of what we need from a partner and gets us that much closer to finding Mr. Right (and ditching Mr. Are-You-Kidding-Me).

Men of quality are everywhere. And the tools for finding and keeping one are only slightly different from the tools you needed to get that dude with the earring who just asked if he could borrow ten bucks for cab fare. These men want all the things in a mate that other men want, plus an added element of refinement and worldliness. They need partners who are comfortable around wealth, who carry themselves with confidence, who have seen the world, and know their Picasso from their Pollock, their Dostoevsky from their Dominick Dunne.

In these pages, you will learn how to locate and keep a quality wealthy man. From looking your best, to educating yourself about wine, art, travel, and literature; from striking up a conversation at the gym or an Ivy League club, to meeting his mother and making her love you, I have gathered tips and tricks from quality men and the women they marry, and put all of them to the test, to make sure that I'm giving you the information you need.

Marrying the right kind of man is about staying true to who you are, while enhancing yourself. It's about knowing the places to meet great men and getting ready to snag one once you do. It's not about being a gold digger or settling for money over love. It's about finding the whole package and knowing how to make it yours.

In my preliminary research for this book, I interviewed dozens of successful, smart, and otherwise happy women, who keep falling into one unsuccessful, unwise, unhappy relationship after another. Most of them know what they're doing to sabotage their own love lives, but feel that eventually they'll grow out of it. Wrong. Dating is like dieting-you can't just say "I'm dying to lose weight, so I think I'll eat whatever I want and hope that I drop fifteen pounds." Likewise, you can't keep dating losers and expect to wake up next to Prince Charming one of these days. You need a strategy, and that's where Dating Up comes in.

Before we move on to dating up, let's explore why we down-date in the first place and how to identify the losers to whom we tend to give our hearts. (Isn't overanalyzing fun? If it had been a varsity sport in high school, I would have been captain of the team.) Here are the ten most common types of down-dater. Recognize yourself? If so, read on.

Tags: Dating