The Man Shop

*Image by Runs With Scissors via Flickr

This post was written in jest. If you are offended by strong female opinions, jokes about the dating market or the battle of the sexes, please read no further.

I remember an urban legend that did the popular rounds a couple of years back. It described a Craigslist ad, unabashedly detailing its writer’s requirement for a ‘Sugar Daddy’ in return for her services as a Trophy Wife. She got a response from a potential Sugar Daddy sort who explained that since what she brought to the deal (looks) was a depreciating asset while his contribution (money) was an increasing asset, the deal did not make sense. He proposed a ‘rental’ agreement as opposed to her ‘buy’ offer.

Back then, it caused a lot of mirth among the men who read it, one of whom gleefully forwarded the entire thing to me as his reaction to XX Factor. It made me mad enough to write a post, which unfortunately, I never ended up publishing. So now, here for your mirthful pleasure (and please read with a huge, big scoop of salt), I present – The Man Shop. So in the traditional dating market, women are coming up short on account of their fading looks as compared to men’s increased earning capacity? But now that women are wearing boardroom collars (and carrying matching handbags with corresponding purses), this relationship economy is turning on its head. The man is now available on sale just as well and my gender has always enjoyed shopping. Let’s look at what The Man Shop has to offer: When we go window shopping, we find the following on display:

Perfect Provider

Cost: Not for sale. This one is for display purposes only, showcased in fairytales & myths fed down countless generations to women.

Maintenance: An elaborate production of movies, books, maxims, wise-women sayings.

Lifespan: The length of one romcom/ chicklit novel/ fairytale.

Benefits: What are the benefits of being with a guy who is not commitment-phobic, lazy, insensitive, selfish or mean but is courteous, romantic, egoless & forgiving?

Risks: Delusion. Unrealistic expectations.

Okay, let’s move on to the actual wares on display.

Trophy Boyfriend

Cost: Moderate to High depending on the circles you move in. Rich, successful men like having women fawn over them (actually all men do). It’s not impossible to acquire one of these so long as you’re willing to bury your pride and keep from getting too fond of him. The tricky part is the competition with the other women. Wear your clearance sale-fight cap. Maintenance: High. They are fickle and whimsical (or maybe that’s an affectation, just because they can). Be ready for high upkeep of beauty, wit, intelligence (or stupidity, whichever caught his eye about you). Lifespan: A week at best. If he’s still there after that, the chances are he wasn’t a trophy in the first place (and is hanging on to you for dear life). In the far chance that he falls in love with you, he’ll still be too used to too much female devotion to make a really good partner, short-term or long-term. Let go if he doesn’t. Benefits: He looks good, he makes you look good and he’s perfect for turning your nemesis/ex-boyfriend green with envy. Risks: None. P.S. – Remember to treat these men like ice-cream. If you get one, enjoy him while he lasts and then forget about him.

Pedigreed Pup: (A version of the Trophy Boyfriend with an impressive degree)

Cost: Expensive (unless a rare one is going slumming for the fun of it, you generally have to match their status symbols) Maintenance: HighΒ (fragile egos, tight schedules) Lifespan: A few weeks. Benefits: Flashy, impressive Risks: Reneging on their deals with all tracks covered. P.S. – Read the fine print.

Toy Boy

Cost: Moderate (generally impressed/overawed by the financial edge you have) Maintenance: Low to Moderate (will look up to you for advice, for directions on how to live their life etc) Lifespan: A couple of months. Benefits: Willing to be puppy-dogs Risks: Messy if they fall in love with you. P.S. – Never treat a Toy Boy as a Trophy Boyfriend. If he’s that flashy and he’s dating you, he’s probably got an older woman fixation in which case you’re the prize.

Married Man (If this offends you, move on to next item. If a product exists & this one certainly does, assume there’s an interested buyer)

Cost: Low (desperate for any crumbs of the perks of the hallowed bachelor days) Maintenance: Very lowΒ (especially since you have more options than he does) Lifespan: As long as you can stand it Benefits: Unrestricted Freedom Risks: The wife finding out. Let’s not talk about conscience; it could be all you hear for the rest of your life.


(Friend-with-benefits if you may please) Cost: Moderate (Even going by the premise that most men are always ready to f@#$, relationship history irrespective,Β the species is a little rare on account of the fact that some men can’t stomach the same attitude in women) Maintenence: Zero. That’s their key selling point. Lifespan: As long as you can both sustain it (or till one of you gets married, in which case see case above) Benefits: All the comfort and convenience of a friendship. No judgements over nature of love life, career or monetary status. Risks: Loss of a friendship; awkwardness if one decides to get married (and presumably both keep in touch after) and the big one – if you can come and go as you please, so can he. * To be continued when further stocks arrive.

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