When I first began getting interested in the economy, the country was going through a little downward trend. As the television commentators screamed, foamed at the mouth, and declared that the four horsemen of the apocalypse were saddling up their ponies, my friend Linda clued me into her favorite economic indicator.
Taking me out for a ride on Interstate 81, she pointed out the considerable number of trucks that were clogging the highway. When I asked her why this was relevant, she noted that trucks carried goods and goods went to stores. A lot of trucks translated into a lot of purchasing and thus a strong economy. Sure enough, a few days later, the talking heads were already bloviating about the economy's impressive recovery.
There's much to be said for Linda's truck index, but I've since learned to look at other indicators. While the price of gold or the popularity of T-bills are great indications of the power of the economy, they aren't all that much fun.
With that in mind, I was excited to come across Edward Hayes' "High-End Girlfriend Index." Basically a measure of the popularity of mistresses, the HEGI focuses on a particular type of Wall Street worker who was an outcast in high school and college, but has used his success in the market to attract young women. Hayes notes that, when a rich man divests himself of the trappings of wealth, the last thing to go is the money-besotted girlfriend: "If you're a short, ugly 40-year-old guy and you're throwing over a high-quality girlfriend, you're desperate."
Recently, Hayes has watched as numerous titans have had to surrender their arm candy, convincing him that we are now in serious economic straits. With that in mind, I began looking through the New York classifieds on Craig's List, assuming that recently liberated high-end girlfriends might be searching for their next partner and that wealthy titans might be on the lookout for lower-maintenance companions. While Craig's List might not be the ideal venue for such transactions, I can't afford to eavesdrop in the hunting grounds of the high and mighty, and eBay just seemed a little too commercial.
Within a few minutes of searching, I found a couple of interesting postings, including one from a "ballerina type" seeking an "executive type." She claims to be searching for "a guy that likes the finer things in life (and can afford them)." She is "willing to date an older guy," and really likes "CEO's, Executive VP's and TOP sales types." Finally, she notes that she loves "being on the arm of a successful guy. What a turn on!"
The men's side was a bit more explicit and mercenary, but I managed to find a few promising listings, including "Student sought by handsome benefactor," "I will take you shopping when your husband/boyfriend won't," and "Wealthy bachelor for trophy wife or girlfriend." My favorite, though, was "Wealthy married man looking for a girlfriend," a listing that was simplicity itself, stating "If you [sic] interested in a discreet relationship and don't mind being the woman on the side and being spoiled, then let me know." There's a lot to be said for clear, concise writing!
Obviously, my "Craig's List Mistress Index" needs a little work. Still, not having access to Edward Hayes' HEGI, I have to make do. In the meantime, if anybody wants to help me weed through hundreds of personals ads, I think we could give the Dow Jones a run for its money!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. The "CLMI" is a lot better than his last idea, the "Hysterical Guy Selling Cheap, Cheap Cars" index.
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