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September 20, 2012

On what it's like to date a model

What Is It Like to Date or Marry a Fashion Model?
Dating a model is pretty interesting. As a couple and as a man, you are immediately accorded utterly absurd amounts of social consideration. Any time we were out, we'd get special treatment. Not just from service people but just regular people. People would regularly offer to let us cut in front of them in lines at restaurants, grocery stores, even once at the DMV(!) when we happened to go together. Of course we could get into clubs, although this is not as great as it seems because every two-bit wannabe pickup artist would try to chat "us" (really just her) up when we were just there to dance and have a good time with friends. Probably the biggest benefit is that we always stood an extremely good chance of being offered upgrades to first class when flying. Airlines look for well-dressed people to offer first-class upgrades to when seats are open, and dating my girlfriend had led me to up my game in terms of dress so I always wore a jacket and tie when flying, so we were a pretty good-looking couple (well, she was—I was a chump in a nice suit), and we would always get offered the first-class upgrades. And we flew a lot, because my job is pretty portable and she would have shoots all over the world. I eventually decided that dating a model was potentially a cash-flow-positive arrangement in that during the seasons where we traveled frequently enough, the value of the first-class upgrades we would receive (sometimes thousands of dollars) actually exceeded the amount of money I spent taking her out on dates or covering for her fraction of the rent (more on this below). Speaking of money, her finances were always a mess. I've heard this is often an issue with people who work in industries where you get irregular lump-sum payments for your work. She would get huge checks every few months, but on a highly irregular and totally unpredictable basis. And as a contractor, she would be responsible for handling her own tax withholdings (which she would never do), so she would always have a huge unexpected tax bill in the spring that she would freak out about, and each time she was only saved in the nick of time by the next check that (luckily) came in the mail. I was brought up to be pretty good with money, so I tried to help her keep her finances in order, but she never understood why she should put away about 45 percent ("That's like half my earnings!") from every check to account for the self-employment taxes that would be due at the end of the year. After being together for a couple years, I got a good sense of how much she earned over time, and I tried to explain to her what she should try to think of as her average income stream over time and to keep weekly expenses in line, but it was something she just wasn't very interested in. Instead she would go on partying and shopping binges in the weeks following getting paid and the rest of the time scraping by when she wasn't. Luckily, I made the wise decision to keep our finances completely separate even when we started living together and "splitting" the rent, which more often than not turned out to be me footing all of the rent for that month and her paying me back months later when she got paid. But like I said, sometimes this was offset by the tremendous material consideration in the form of airline upgrades or hotel room upgrades when we would go on vacation. . . .