November 19th, 2012
Working (badly) in PR, you really can have it both ways. Come up with a dodgy PR story which fits perfectly into a perceived stereotype and narrative, and you can guarantee you’ll have heads the length and breadth of the country nodding in ‘Itotallyknewit’ agreement.
On the flipside, engineer a stereotype-busting storyline, and you’ll be just as sure to bank the resulting headlines. Take, for example, a story which hit the Daily Mail on November 15th:
Ten ways to leave your lover: ‘I’m not ready for commitment’ is the line used most by women when dumping their partner, while men go for ‘it’s just not working’
“Wait a second,” I pretend to hear you cry, “It’s normally the men who hate commitment amiright?!”. Well, we’re given an answer to that too:
You know when your relationship is not working out. But how do you tell your partner they are dumped?
A new poll reveals just how women and men call time on a love affair.
And the results reveal big differences in the sexes over how to give a loved one the push – and the reasons they give for the split.
Women are far more concerned about letting a man down gently – trying to soften the blow with emotional reasons for the split.
So women are using the lines most often associated with men, but they’re using them because they’re actually all thoughtful and womanlike. This kind of ‘having it both ways’ is actually a trick often favoured by two-bit psychics and cold readers, oddly enough – “you’re a warm, friendly person to those you like but the people you don’t like won’t enjoy being on your bad side”. In the right hands, it can slip through almost unnoticed, giving the recipient the unknowing choice to choose the part which suits them and discard the rest.
Dating site SeekingArrangement.com asked 1,000 of its male and female members why and how they would dump a partner.
Going against the stereotype of the commitment-phobe male, the most popular line used by women in ending a relationship is: ‘I’m not ready for commitment yet.’
The second most popular is: ‘This is going too fast for me.’
Interestingly, money – and the earning power of their partner – is far more important to a woman than a man.
‘You don’t earn enough money’ is the third most important reason on the women’s list, whereas it doesn’t feature at all on the men’s list.
It turns out that a dating website has found women aren’t interested in commitment, and don’t think a serious relationship is important, but do think it’s really very important to have lots of money. It’s almost like the entire findings of the dating site’s survey suggest that there are plenty of women out there – horny, frivolous women – who want nothing more than a man with money to have some fun with. Why on earth would SeekingArrangement.com want to spread such a message?
Or to put it another way, why would ‘SeekingArrangement: The Elite Sugar Daddy Dating Site for those Seeking Mutually Beneficial Relationships’ want to spread such a message?
In case it isn’t obvious what a Sugar Daddy Dating Site is about, the blurbs are helpful:
- The Modern Daddy – You are always respectful and generous. You only live once, and you want to date the best. Some call you a mentor, sponsor or benefactor. But no matter what your desires may be, you are brutally honest about who you are, what you expect and what you offer.
- Goal Seeking Sugar Baby – Attractive, intelligent, ambitious and goal oriented. Sugar Babies are students, actresses, models or girls & guys next door. You know you deserve to date someone who will pamper you, empower you, and help you mentally, emotionally and financially.
Leaving aside the site itself – which has a slightly creepy vibe, but consenting adults and all that – it’s fair to say the source of the story has a monumental impact upon its validity.
For one thing, and given that we can’t see the data behind the survey, it’s in no way certain that the findings are genuine, and free from the biases of directed questioning. In fact, in the absence of any reference to the survey on the company’s website, it’s not even certain that the survey even took place.
What’s more, even accepting for a moment that the survey is genuine and the findings accurate, we still have a hugely selective sample size – those who have chosen to be part of a website where attractive young women are paired with rich older men. It’s fair to say this is quite a self-selecting audience, and in no way indicative of a wider population – akin to surveying 100 people at a comic book convention and then announcing that 100% of the national population visit comic book conventions. It’s nothing short of nonsense.
A final note – we are given, as ever, a tasty soundbite from our spokesperson:
SeekingArrangement owner Brandon Wade said increasing numbers of online daters jump quickly from one relationship to the next.
He said: ‘They meet someone they like, have some fun and then quickly moved on.
‘If you are going to be a success dating online you have to learn how to end a relationship without causing too much fuss.
The other message to come#mce_temp_url# from this survey is that women like men with money. It has always been so.’
If the name Brandon Wade sounds familiar, he has featured on this blog previously. He’s also behind the site WhatsYourPrice.com – where users can bid on first dates with each other – which in July 2012 sent out the following press release:
In the event of a tragedy like the Dark Knight Massacre, who would you want by your side on a first date? One online dating website asked their members what they would do on a first date if they found themselves in danger, and the answer may surprise you. If you are holding out for a hero, dating someone who is generous, but not necessarily wealthy, may be the difference between life and death
During the Dark Knight Massacre, three men lost their lives to save the lives of their girlfriends. But what if you were on a first date, and you had only just met? How do you differentiate the courageous from the cowardly? According to the results of the survey of over 20,000 generous male members, it’s by generosity, but a man’s generosity is not defined by the size of his wallet. In fact, men who make between $80,000 to $150,000 per year are more likely to take a bullet for you on a first date.Those who fall outside of that income bracket, are significantly less likely to put their well being over that of their date’s, on a first date.
WhatsYourPrice.com is the first online dating website where generous members can bid on a first date with an attractive member. The website launched in April 2011 and currently has over 400,000 members worldwide. “Our website is known for generous men bidding for the chance to spoil and pamper women on a first date,” says Founder & CEO, [redacted]. “Not only are they generous, but most of the men who use our website are also gentlemen. A gentleman opens doors, pulls out chairs, and puts their well being above that of their date, even in the line of fire.”
I have attached the press release for your review, and the full study is available by request. To schedule an interview with Founder & CEO, [redacted], please send an email to [redacted] or call [redacted].
Thank you for your time and consideration.
What’s more, Brandon went on to defend the move against criticism online:
It just goes to show – in a world as murky, shady and often immoral as Bad PR, nothing is off limits if there’s money to be made.
PS: If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I’ll be giving a number of talks soon: