The story begins in Chicago, where a career woman entering her mid-thirties realized that she wasn't meeting anyone she could marry. Being of average looks and figure, she was unlikely to attract the attentions of trophy-wife-hunting alpha males, but she nonetheless wanted to marry a successful man with a career and assets comparable to her own.
A single thirtysomething woman's nightmare, right? All the men your age are either married or suffer massive personality disorders. You've gone through the rounds and have been introduced to your friends' brothers, co-workers, ex-boyfriends ("but I'm sure he would be great for you") and found nobody that made your heart go a-flutter.
Should you let desperation drive you to settle for Mr. "Oh-You'll-Do?" instead of Mr. "Oh-My-God-I'm-So-In-Love?" Many women do. Do you begin the endless cycle of dieting, makeup, tae-bo classes and elective surgery in the vain attempt to emulate the models and actresses that glamour/fashion magazines suggest you "should" look like? Many women do. Do you take out lonely-hearts classified ads, in the hopes that single, attractive, emotionally and financially stable men spend their weekends reading, well, lonely-hearts classified ads? Many women do.
For those of you who employ them - how are those strategies working out for you?
This enterprising lady understood that playing the conventional mate-hunting angles was a fool's errand for a thirtysomething woman not blessed with the genes of a Playboy playmate or unlimited access to plastic surgery.
When a game is stacked against you, you can either play along and endure mediocre payouts, or you can change the game itself.
Creative networking: She began to research the names of publicly-traded companies whose headquarters were within a 20-minute driving radius from her home. Armed with a short list of two dozen of the area's most prominent firms, she proceeded to purchase one share of stock in each company.
As a company stockholder, an investor is entitled to attend annual shareholders' meetings - an invitation she took full advantage of. Care to take a guess at what kind of people attend stockholder meetings?
That's right. Men.
Specifically, men who own stock and are solidly middle/upper class, men with professional careers and an obvious interest in investments - certainly an excellent first-screen filter you won't find in a single's bar or in the classified ads. Post-investor-meeting socializing leads to introductions, introductions lead to dates, and in the space of two years, the woman is happily married. Whatever financial return she realized with the stocks she bought, this was definitely an investment that paid off.
In the meantime, her thirtysomething co-workers are still reading Cosmo magazine articles on the next great thigh-slimming technique or mind-games to drive their commitment-shy boyfriends to propose. Still running on the beauty treadmill competing against younger, prettier faces, still complaining to each other that "all the good men are taken."
Does it sound mercenary and calculating? Of course it does. We want romance, we want chance, we want mystical connections and we want the kind of true love that materialize when we least expect it ... true love that blossoms into a lifetime of bliss. Fairy-tale stuff, right?
But evolutionary biology has tilted the game against most of us. Only men with massive wealth, and women with extraordinary beauty and youth can passively command broad access to romantic/sexual opportunities.
For those of us who were not dealt a royal flush in life's game of romantic appeal, we have a choice: be proactive and MAKE interesting connections, or be reactive and hope for a miracle.
If you don't like the hand you are dealt, perhaps you're sitting at the wrong table. Many people spend their lives cursing Fate, God or their genes for their romantic 'bad luck.' The resourceful migrate to the table where their hand holds an advantage and rake in their jackpots.
Fate is what you make of it. The foolish are resigned to theirs. Are you?
Addendum: The first and most frequent question I'm asked is "That's a cool story and all for women looking for high-value single men, but are there good places to meet desirable single women?"
Indeed, of course there are. But I'm sorry, a good fisherman never reveals his prime trawling grounds. It's against the code - the value of information is inversely proportional to the number of people who know it.
By way of encouragement, I will say this: think long and hard about the psychology of your ideal partner, and by extension, her social habits. If you have a modicum of imagination, your trawling grounds will become quite obvious.
Play the game right, and the question won't be about finding attractive romantic partners, but choosing the one that represents the best possible future for the both of you.
Good hunting, gentlemen.