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[whitespace] Marilyn Monroe
Gold Fingered: Ms. Monroe, pictured here in 'How to Marry a Millionaire,' never denied that diamonds were a girl's best friend.

Can buy me love?

The rich are going to marry someone--why not you?

By Dara Colwell

Considering the influx of SUV-cruising, twentysomething Gapsters into the Bay Area, your chances of meeting a millionaire at Starbucks are as good as meeting one while waltzing through the racks at Neiman Marcus. But maintaining a millionaire's interest (especially if he's old money) is a different matter altogether. Expert Ginie Sayles--courtesy of the Learning Annex--knows how to pave the way straight to the altar.

Sayles--a former single welfare mom now married to oil money--struck it rich on the seminar circuit, preaching the gospel of snagging seven-figure spouses for the financially forlorn. A dead ringer for Debbie Harry, with an infectious, sweet Texas drawl, Sayles introduces her "How to Marry the Rich" seminar, which has hit the pages of Marie Claire and Cosmo, with a mild disclaimer. "The value of human life, the worth of a human soul, cannot be measured by money," she coos. "But we're talking about lifestyle. The lifestyle of a human being is often measured by money." The audience, a collection of white-collar men and women from San Francisco, smiles awkwardly, ready for the pitch. Sayles' course--each bullet point marked with a fat red dollar sign--outlines who the rich are, where to find them and how to lure them into a healthy prenuptial agreement once you've managed to wrap their Tiffany-inspired sentiments around your little finger.

First off, Sayles identifies four types of rich mates--or "RMs"--who are willing to marry outside their financial class. Listening, boys? Women tend to come in the following flavors: the well-dressed divorcee smothered in assets; the conservative, gala-going widow; the crusading, rebellious heiress; and the aggressive businesswoman who regards marriage as the ultimate merger. And for the girls, three distinct types of rich heirs exist: the novelty-seeking, easily bored Lothario; the guilty heir who desires a struggling woman for emotional (and no doubt, sexual?) solace; and the outcast, a rich bad boy whose status-infused name does little to hide his outsider standing within la familia. And, finally, there is the self-made man--a money-making machine who prefers marriage to dating because it takes up less time.

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Rich Tips: Ginie Sayles offers instructional audiocassettes for hopefuls who wish to skyrocket to the top.

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Having identified the rich, the next step, of course, is to find them. Alongside attending major art events ("opening night only!" Sayles insists), auctions and sporting tournaments, frequenting roulette tables and crashing the odd five-star hotel social, Sayles also recommends joining the Jewish or Episcopal faith, becoming politically active and, if possible, getting a job in journalism. "It's the best job of all to meet the rich," she says shrewdly. "All you have to do is come up with an angle and then you've got a reason to do the interview." Shucks, I thought to myself, I need to start dreaming up a few good angles and heading toward Hollywood . . .

Now, while finding the rich may lead to a bit of a goose-chase, attracting them clearly requires effort. What is next, Sayles says, is the makeover. "Why, even Cinderella needed a makeover. Then she had the moxie to crash the hottest party in town. Think of me as your fairy godmother--YOU can now go to the ball!" she gushes with unadulterated Doris Day enthusiasm. (When Sayles speaks, it's almost useless to resist conversion. The cadence of her speech, like a horse galloping through butter, is as smooth as a church sermon.) A makeover involves acquiring the right ZIP code--literally putting yourself in the thick of richness; possibly changing your name; definitely changing your clothing to 100 percent natural materials, whether or not your outfits are knockoffs from Ross "Dress for Less" or Macy's; never wearing diamonds if you're a man; and basic, down-to-earth good manners--which means being as kind to the gardener as you would to the boss.

Keeping an RM interested is the final step, and it involves some mercenary measures. "The rich are the most mercenary of all," Sayles says, suggesting a number of calculated tactics to keep your RM on his or her toes. First, never be a yes man. Always disagree with at least one subject in the course of an evening. Second, date as many people as possible. "The rich want to date the desirable--if a wheel isn't turned, it rusts. Fill up your time with the opposite sex," Sayles advises, drawing the analogy that dating skills, like entry-level job skills, need honing. Third, never provide for an RM what he can hire others to do. Never do the dishes, never take out the trash and never let him see you sweat. Finally, follow the money, "because money never lies," Sayles grins. "Watch where they spend it, because it reflects what they care about most." Then, if their money is being spent elsewhere, cash in on the relationship and hock that diamond ring on your way to Ibiza.

Three hours later, Sayles begins losing the money thread and branches out to universal, inner richness. But, catching herself, she quickly returns to the evening's theme. Her conclusion: "The rich have to marry somebody," she says, squeezing her husband's hand. "Why not you?" Convinced, but not sold, I inch my way toward the door, thinking, "Maybe I'll go to Macy's."

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From the December 20, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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