Turns out that, as with Microsoft and Yahoo stock, relationships with folk of the male persuasion are really vehicles of investment. So, at least, says a consensus of women, often expressed in a sentence such as "I'm investing in the relationship."
That's not how a small, admittedly unscientific poll of men felt at a recent discussion group I attended. When in a relationship, we men argued, men rarely have a particular end result in the future.
From what I have heard, however, a woman has almost certainly been thinking of marriage at the first kiss, or at least a stable long-term relationship (ticker symbol: SLTR*).
In the quest to amass shares, some women will entirely modify their looks, behavior, readiness to engage in sex. They will smile benignly at behavior that they abhor and sacrifice preferred entertainment in the quest to buy more shares at an increasingly ascending price.
Using this dollar-averaging approach, the female romantic investor aims to acquire a controlling interest in SLTR, with claims to a majority on the board, and an eye to reaping sizable dividends.
Men usually hear of the entire investment scheme when it goes sour: "I invested umpteen years in this relationship." (So that's why the curlers came out and the rolling pin got wielded and the bedtime headaches popped up as soon as she had the ring on her finger!)
To be fair, as women point out, men all have getting to bed in mind, or a friends-with-benefits arrangement, in other words, casual sex (CZX). However, the men counterpose, that's not a long-term goal or an investment strategy.
Yes, I've heard about the guy who argued that he deserved a romp in the hay because he paid for dinner. Frankly, I've never met him. Guy: if you have to argue that you bought the right to sex, you've already lost the argument.
What man is so utterly incapable of sparking an interest with strategic romantic timing in mind that he is reduced to unlikely barter? And when did the language of the stock market and the meat market merge into romantic thinking?
Did Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher have the 1987 movie Wall Street subliminally pumped into the bedrooms of women all across the United States and the former British Commonwealth? I recall hearing that the gerontocrats in the Soviet Politburo cheered during the end credits at their private screening of the movie.
Did Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky replace Gideon Bibles in every hotel room with a copy Candace Bushnell's novel Sex and the City? I found the book so horrifically cynical I could not stomach reading it through to the end.
Silly me, I thought a relationship had to do with a state of connectedness, closeness or even family relatedness. A state that simply is, because one cannot help it. Not a set of stepping stones to the altar or to bed.
It is a state of being with another person that, sadly, sometimes ends. Or is interrupted. Or sours. Other times it happily brings people to physically coalesce or marry. It's not a game, with orgasm or marriage as the goalposts.
On first dates I have paid for dinner because I like to eat. Also, because I have hated to deal with either the math of check splitting or the risk of ruining my digestion with the discovery that she is a greedy, conniving chiseler. I like my romantic evenings free of unpleasantness.
To my mind, sex expresses feelings of affection and attraction. Moreover, weddings make the most sense when the couple intends to raise a family together (see here).
Whereas investing involves the outlay of money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit, there's no profit in romance and relationship. It's all loss. You lose your head and heart to someone else's charms, real or imagined.
Love is its own reward.
* I was unable to find an actual company with the ticker symbols used here; if one exists, no reference to it is intended.