March_2003

WHO WANTS TO MARRY A GAY MILLIONAIRE?

If you do, you'd better make sure it's for the right reasons, because these guys aren't wealthy for no reason. Instinct tells you all you need to know about landing the millionaire of your dreams.

Here's the good news: Men with money are everywhere. What's more, most of them are just regular fellas who, like every other gay guy, just want to find someone to share their lives with. (Okay, stop rolling your jaded eyes.) And they obviously have to be intelligent, somewhat stable and sophisticated to make their millions, right? Basically, there's hope for all you guys looking to meet a man who has everything - everything, that is, except a boyfriend. So what's the bad news? Well, it's not necessarily "bad," but more a word of admonishment for all of you gay gold diggers out there. So, you're attractive. Big deal. There's a lot of attractive men out there. All those stories you've read about rich men only going after "trophy" boyfriends, they're a bit exaggerated. They happen, sure, but they're a lot rarer than you think. And just like someone's looks, they fade much quicker than you'd expect. Nope, you have to be a sophisticated man yourself to land your very own Daddy Warbucks these days. (Oh, and you're better off only using the term "daddy" if you decide to dabble in leather.) And because we're sure that every Instinct reader is cosmopolitan and well-educated - we can dream, can't we? - we caught up with some very influential and rich men and asked them whether a "regular" guy like you would have any chance in hell with them.

WHERE THE RICH MEN ARE

Like we said: they're everywhere. As one gay millionaire, or "gay milly" as they're sometimes called, put it, "There are more people out there who have money that you wouldn't suspect have money." In other words, well-to-do homos can usually blend in with the crowd. They're usually at a point where they don't need to impress anybody anymore, so they dress casually and aren't being driven around in limos all the time. This revelation is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it means that you don't have to necessarily head to New York or Los Angeles to bump into a milly. (Besides, you'd assume that quite a few other guys would be thinking the same thing and the competition would be, uh, stiff.) However, on the other hand, that means you'd have to rely on chance, or find out where the wealthy gay men in your 'hood hang out, to actually meet a financially-secure fella. That's where Jill Hankoff and the Gay Millionaires Club (www.gaymillionairesclub.com) comes in. It's not the only way to get introduced to someone who has a private jet, but it's easier than going up to everyone in a bar or restaurant and asking them to show you their assets. Hankoff says that GMC was developed back in 2001 because, "Clients hadn't been meeting people through the typical channels. They just want to meet a great guy." Join the club, you may be thinking, which is exactly what these guys have done. "They want partners just like the rest of us," Jill states matter-of-factly, "it's just that they don't have the time to play the usual dating games. These guys are successful for a reason, and it's not because they waste their time." What Hankoff provides is more than a dating service. "My clients like the idea of having a personal shopper, me, do the leg work for them." Jill's "work" includes finding "applicants," usually younger guys who she feels are what gay millys are looking for in a boyfriend. "The process is free for applicants because most of them don't make the cut anyway," she points out. How do you go about making "the cut"? Well, aside for looks (don't forget, these are men we're dealing with), intelligence, being able to carry on a good conversation, knowledge of current events, healthy past relationships, and having your own personal goals are all considered. There's an application process and then Jill interviews you herself. "And if you lie," she warns, "I will find out." Obviously, the major thing Jill is screening for are guys who are just looking to be taken care of; trust us, you'll have better luck at the local hustler bar. Therefore, you have to think about why Jill should put her reputation on the line to introduce you to one of her clients.

WHY, OH WHY?

Jill admits the name of her company is a bit misleading; it seems to put the emphasis on the financial aspects of these men. "It's really just a cute name," Jill admits nonchalantly. "You think that if I called it the Wanna Meet a Sincere Guy Club? I'd be getting any calls?" Essentially, the emphasis is on success, of which wealth is just a part. So, if it's not for the money - at least, not entirely - then what are some of the reasons guys looking for wealthy men give? Dan, a 28-year-old writer and GMC applicant, claims that, "Everyone's social circles are limited, and it's good to breathe some life into your routine and meet someone new." He adds, "They just happen to be rich." Dan was aware that many of these guys want to avoid a sugar daddy situation before he even applied with GMC. "I got the sugar daddy thing out of my system at a young age," he says. "Not many people want to be used for their money, and I don't think I could date somebody who didn't mind being used," he claims. Wait, is he suggesting that, when it comes to dating, men should actually respect each other? A pretty revolutionary idea, huh? But Greg, a 30-year-old professor who's had his share of rich boyfriends, points out it really does come down to a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t. "I know I will never make enough to travel around on a LearJet, but my idea of success isn't really based on money. When I've dated businessmen in the past I've discovered that they aren't looking for a guy who is just good-looking, but someone who can compliment their lifestyle. They >> deal with money and talk about finances all day at the office, so when they come home the last thing they want to hear about is anything money-related. They want someone who will broaden their horizons." Uh-huh. We're sure the horizon looks pretty nice already from the deck of his yacht, Greg. And that's just it. Greg points out how some of his friends would tease him when one of his exes paid for a vacation for both of them in Switzerland. "They thought that I was just with this guy for his money," he remembers, "and they didn't realize that I made enough from my job to support myself. Could I take a trip like that to Switzerland on my own? Probably not. But Bill's way of showing that he cared was using his money to make both of us happy." Of course, both of these seemingly sincere guys could totally be bullshitting us, right? In fact, the skepticism surrounding a guy dating someone who makes, oh, 50 times what he makes, is one of the big hurdles. We'd all like to think it is as simple as the rich guy has the bank accounts and the young guy has the looks, but even gay millionaires say it's more complicated than that. Roger, a 42-year-old GMC client who has residences in New York, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City has an interesting take on the whole situation: He points out how it has been his experience that, "Young, good-looking, seemingly well-matched couples have some sort of innate competition," which leads to problems. "Being equally coupled," says Roger, "doesn't mean the two guys have to be matched in looks and financially. Sometimes one is better looking, or one makes more money at his job, or one is older than the other. It's not that opposites attract, but that complimentary aspects attract." Hmm, there's that "complimentary" word again.

WHAT A (RICH) GUY WANTS...

Well, as we all know, men never know what they really want. Jill Hankoff knows that, which is why she's in charge of making sure that her gay millys are getting their money's worth. "Most of [my clients] have enough money for two people," says Jill, who adds with a chuckle, "Some have enough for three or four. Ironically, for gay millionaires, it's not about the benjamins." Instead, they're looking for something long-term. And what have we learned from all of those relationship self-help books that have been unloaded upon all you unsuspecting single men? If you want something long-term, you need to not only find someone who compliments you, but who you can grow with. It would also help if you aren't an embarrassment to take out in public. "It's the Ômillionaire mentality,'" claims Roger. "When you have power and money you have to worry less about sucking up to people or what other people think. You just are who you are. And rich guys are usually ambitious, so why not be ambitious when it comes to finding a boyfriend? I haven't settled when it comes to my professional life, and I'm not going to do it in my personal life, either." Frank, a 48-year-old GMC client and trader, backs up Jill's claim that most of these guys could care less if you live in big houses or drive big cars. "I'm looking to have a fulfilling relationship with a person," Frank professes, "and if they don't have money, they'll have other things to bring to the relationship." Don't get us wrong: looks are important. They're obviously necessary for getting that initial spark ignited. Says Jill, "A lot of our clients would like somebody who's nice-looking, of course, but ultimately that is not the main criteria. They want somebody who's bright, articulate, good-looking - basically a whole package." Jill declares that one of the biggest obstacles is getting guys on both sides to give each other a chance rather than rush into a judgment. Her take on men who make up their minds based on the first few minutes: "The hotter the sizzle, the faster the fizzle."

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?

All of you blue-collar butt pirates out there will be happy to know that even rich guys have trouble when it comes to love. What are some of the issues that arise when you're searching for a daddy, er, we mean successful, stable studpuppy? Jill is concerned with "games," and making sure the losers are weeded out before she sets up a meeting with a client and applicant. "Games are to be played on a computer, not on a date. And don't be something that you're not." Through his experiences, Dan professes that, "Millionaires are looking for actual human beings, not someone who is looking to be taken care of." He adds how it seems difficult to relate to people "without their money being involved." He adds, "They're not looking to impress guys with being rich, it's just what they're used to." The lesson? These dudes know they're rich, so don't let that be the focus of a conversation. They're probably more interested in what you do, or what your goals in life are. So, if you don't do much, don't be surprised if you don't get called back for a second date. The other thing to realize is that being rich is a reality to these guys, not some Pretty Woman-esque fairy tale. Here's Dan's take: "There's a fine line between appreciating someone's wealth and wanting to benefit from it. These guys don't mind spending money on you. There's no point being uncomfortable with it. If they want to buy you something, let 'em. At the same time, when you want them to start paying your rent, that's when it becomes parasitic. They want a relationship with a person who can take care of himself." Doesn't sound like something you're capable of? Then keep fishing for freaks at your local watering hole. So, we'll end with the big question: Can it work? Can a a wealthy gay man who's usually older and a guy who takes a year to make what the other guy makes in a week live happily ever after? "That's why I'm still in business," asserts Jill. "The greatest opportunity lies alongside the greatest need. My experience has taught me that most gay men who are successful don't have the time or desire to play the typical dating game." Except, that's not what Frank says. While he was unsatisfied with the bars and dating services that "never gave me any results," once Jill and GMC got the ball rolling, the "typical" dating game of give-and-take starts up. "When [the not-so-rich guy] invites you out," Frank offers, "he takes you on a date he can afford. It's not the actual date I'm concerned about, but that I get to spend time with this person."

Who would have guessed? Even rich guys have hearts. [INSTINCT]