Are you worth your Cost Per Orgasm?

Originally published at Daily Life, 17 August 2014

Dear all women,

The very notion of human value has a long and dignified history, until the first time someone swapped money for another human being over whose body they could exert complete control.

However, in these more sophisticated times it’s often difficult to know exactly how much someone is worth in dollar terms – which are the only terms that matter.

And sure, there are some useful rules of thumb – you’re worth 70% as much money as a comparable man, for example, going by the accepted gender disparity in Australian salaries – but what if you want to know specific dollar amounts? Are you economically worth it, in the eyes of men (which are the only eyes that matter)?

Well, you’re in luck!

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Dawson Stone – a brilliant economist and sociologist and definitely not a sad, terrified little man peddling pick-up culture nonsense on the internet – has come up with a helpful metric by which men can work out whether you’re worth ejaculating inside of.

(The site is here, and you can click on it if you must, but remember: your clicks are only worth 0.7 of a man’s click, and why must you women go disturbing men with your intrusive page views?)

“Here is how it works. You tally up 100% of the money you spend on a woman during the course of ‘dating’ her and divide that amount by the number of times you have sex with her.”

He then breaks it down into how the sort of shitty semi-male who doesn’t even realise how much women are just wasting their time when clothed might fare:

“If you are a traditional beta male, you buy a woman three expensive dinners at ~$200 each, and try to close her on the third date. If you were successful and had sex twice, your CPO would be $300 ($200 * 3 / 2). As a beta, there is a decent chance you don’t even close. You could argue that you should only use the money spent on her (divide the numbers in 1/2) and your CPO is still $150.”

Because he is awesome and cool, he explains that his is obviously better. And why would he – a forty-something year old man who’s attempting to sell his patented pick-up tips on the internet – have any motivation to mislead you?

“I have diligently tracked my CPO for the last 4 months. It was $44.15, $20.82, $36.75 and $37.20… My CPO might seem a bit high, but in my defense, I always have 1-2 women in my monthly rotation that are out-of-towners. In fact, in my most recent 4-month period I had an unusually high number of women (eleven) that were out-of-towners. Most of them are struggling college students, so I do buy their plane ticket. But I plan in advance and can usually get a ticket for between $200-$250. If it wasn’t for this variable, my average CPO would be closer to $10-$12.”

Numbers don’t lie, ladies. And it’s worth remembering that these are American dollars, so at current exchange rates you should really be looking to get a man off at least once for every $12.91 he spends in your vicinity.

Now, there are worthless semi-men who might respond “But Dawson, what if I disagree with the notion that all romantic interactions with other people can be reduced to a direct financial exchange, since I am not a broken, hideous monster angrily cry-wanking on a blog about how scared I am of women?”

Because Dawson is very, very smart, he’s already thought of that.

“Sex is about money! If sex wasn’t about money there wouldn’t be alimony, child support, pre-nups, palimony, engagement rings, and weddings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I could go on forever.”

And that’s a great point: so the lesson that Dawson Stone has taught us is that sex is, frankly, too expensive.

Why, not only are we internet sex-alphas expected to break a $20 note every time we shrug one out, then there’s also alimony, child support, and weddings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Heck, I could go on forever!

Fortunately, there’s a cheaper way to get the most bang for the least buck for awesome cool guys like Dawson that find dealing with women an onerous and tiresome condition for getting the sex to which they’re naturally entitled.

A 60-sheet box of Kleenex Facial Tissues Extra Care is a mere $2.40 (and they’re the ones with aloe vera in them – go on, treat yourself!). Divide that by 20 orgasms (at three sheets per: one to collect the ejaculate; two for the lonely, lonely tears) and it gives you a CPO of a mere 12 cents per orgasm! You can’t beat that price!

You’re welcome, Dawson. No need to thank me – not least since I’m sure you’re already across this, in both a metaphorical and stickily biological sense.

Wash your hands before writing your next economic opus, though, there’s a good chap.

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Should relationships last ’til death do us part?

First published in Daily Life, January 14, 2013

“I wasn’t looking to get into a relationship at all,” she said, as we gently agreed that we were no longer seeing one another, “but when someone like you comes along, you can’t not at least try.”

It was the single sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me, and it was the perfect end to a short but lovely relationship.

Yeah, enjoy it while you can, stock photo models.

Yeah, enjoy it while you can, stock photo models.

Tania* and I had been seeing each other for a couple of months and it had been superb – not least because she is an incredible cook and had a spectacular habit of making us dinner before we went out. We saw bands; we watched DVDs; we propped up bars, stayed at each other’s places, and even had a little weekend away with her best friends. And it was around then that we realised that it wasn’t to be a love for the ages.

It was predictable, really: both of us were not far out of long-term relationships, neither had envisaged getting into anything serious, and it became clear that, much as we liked each other, this was not It.

And so we transitioned into being friends instead (in fact, I’m writing this before attending a picnic she’s throwing). She’s still one of my favourite people and I’m proud to have introduced her to the awesomeness that is Party Down – and delighted to have learnt how to pan fry peaches in brandy.

It’s easy enough to look at a short-lived relationship and feel relatively sanguine about it; but it’s harder when it’s a long term thing that you honestly thought would end in holiday dinners surrounded by grandkids and a tearful eulogy at your partner’s funeral. Sure, we all know that most relationships end – cue the appearance of the oft-cited a-third-of-Australian-marriages-end-in-divorce statistic – but I believe that that US sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage put it best in a recent podcast: “Every relationship ends until you find one that doesn’t,” he said to a fresh dumpee, “and you only know which one that is once you’re dead.”

Yet it’s nearly impossible to see a relationship as anything but a failure once it ends. Why is it so difficult to accept these things might have a use-by date and yet that our lives are still the richer for having experienced them – even taking into account the pain and loss that involves?

After all, a marriage that ends in divorce is invariably described as a “failed marriage” – and I have one of those myself. My divorce was the hardest thing I ever went through, and by the standards of most splits I’ve seen happen it was relatively amicable. However, I had to let go of a 16 year relationship, pretty much my entire adult life, and recalibrate my expectations for everything from having a family to my financial security to my own self-image as A Husband.

And it hurt. It hurt impossibly. And I wasn’t the same man after it as I was going in.

These days, however, I keep in regular (if not especially frequent) email contact with my ex-wife, who now lives in Montreal with our cat, and we’re continually recommending books and records and films to one another. I’ll explain why she needs to hear Melodie Nelson, say, and she’ll send a long nerdy rant about things Prometheus got horribly, horribly wrong knowing that I’ll violently agree with every point. It’s easier for things to be convivial since we’re separated by an entire planet, sure – but regardless of our current status, her influence on my life has been immeasurable. For all of the agony of losing her, I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for our time together – and even at this remove, I’m glad she’s still part of my life.

Conversely, I’m not on speaking terms with my last serious girlfriend and may well never be again. However, the Moon globe marked with the Apollo landing sites that she bought me for my birthday still has pride of place in my kitchen, and those memories remain precious. We may never want to be in the same room again if either of us can help it, but I don’t regret our time together. And I never want to be the sort of person who would.

Because ultimately, every union ends one way or another – until, as Savage says, we’re in one that doesn’t. We get our hearts knocked about, and all of us end up marked by the relationships we’ve had. We love and we lose; and when we lose we cry and we drink and we fuck and we bitch and we promise that we’re absolutely never going to do this again, and then we notice that the bruises have adequately faded, brace ourselves, take a deep breath, and plunge back into the fray.

By the time most of us are in our thirties we’re covered in smudges of old loves and while they fade with time, they never vanish entirely. And while that process can be exquisitely painful – and it is, dear god it really is – who wants to see out their days unspoilt and pristine? Like a good pair of boots, you want your life to be properly lived-in before giving it up.

I would hate to feel that any of the people I’ve loved represented time wasted, because – for better and worse – they’ve been strongly responsible for most of the best parts of the person I’ve become.

Every love leaves its mark and, for all of the pain it’s involved along the way, I hope to be well-mottled by the time I get to the grave. Some loves aren’t meant to last forever, and you know what? That’s actually OK. Because when someone like that comes along, you can’t not at least try.

*Names have been changed.