Wanted: Rich sugar mamma
Washington - Wanted: Sugar mamas, or women over the age of 40 with at least $5m in the bank, interested in dating gorgeous men aged 29 and under.
Rich, beautiful people, turned off by the crop of lonely hearts thronging online dating sites, are honing down their wish list hoping to woo soul mates with cash in the bank or looks to die for.
And savvy American entrepreneurs are cashing in on the trend creating websites or setting up special dating events tailored for the rich and beautiful.
Some suitors who turn to these sites want looks and aren't worried about money while others are looking for a sugar daddy or, as an upcoming speed dating event in New York touts, a sugar mama.
"Online dating has become mainstream over the last couple years and prior to that only the boldest, the bravest and the most desperate were found on these sites," said Jason Pellegrino, creator of HotEnough.org, a new dating site that only accepts applications from people who rate eight or more on a scale of one to 10.
"The problem for a good-looking person who goes on the traditional dating sites is that you're putting yourself into an average or less dating pool and it just doesn't work.
"So HotEnough.org is more or less filling a void in the industry."
Applicants must submit three pictures, including one full body shot, and are rated by active members who must give them a score of eight or more in order to be admitted. Once they're in, they can e-mail other "hotties", as Pellegrino calls them, for $10 a month.
Since its launch in November of last year, the site has attracted more than 1 000 members and 15 000 new applications are pending, said Pellegrino, 33, who works as a project manager for a construction company in New Jersey and who was elated to make it onto his own website. He rated 8.2.
"To a certain degree, the site is definitely shallow, but I think when it comes to dating everyone is shallow," he said. "We all have an image of someone we would date and we also have that same image of someone we would not date."
Samantha Diane Schultze, 26, of the eastern state of Pennsylvania, said she turned to HotEnough.org after several dismal experiences with dates picked from traditional dating sites.
"I was very disappointed with the online dating scene," she told AFP. "I'm looking for someone that isn't so beautiful... someone like me.
"I want someone spiritual, open-minded, sexy," she added. "I want a Mr Right."
Schultze said she has exchanged e-mails with a few prospective dates on HotEnough but plans to take her time in choosing the right guy.
"I'm picky, what can I say," she said.
Attracting the rich and beautiful
At Pocket Change, a weekly online newsletter that lists the most expensive goods and services in the New York area, the aim is to create publicity-filled one-time dating affairs that attract only the rich and beautiful.
One such event in February for 40 very rich men and 40 very pretty women proved so successful that organisers are now planning another one in May, this time for rich women and handsome men.
Eligible women must have at least $5m in the bank and their prospective dates must be handsome and under the age of 29.
"I think it's a fantasy for so many men to find a woman, to marry an experienced older woman and have her be your sugar mama," said Jeremy Abelson, 26, president of Pocket Change.
"In the first event tailored for rich men and wealthy men we had multiple men who were worth over $100m and the women were also the cream of the crop," he said.
"For the Sugar Mama Speed date we'll probably attract about 10 000 men and about 500 women."