August 02, 2006

Between The Covers

Ladies, with The Season in high gear, it's time to take stock of plans to land your moneyman. And you super rich guys, the competition for you is so intense you may think you can relax maxing out your credit cards for the ladies. Think again guys, especially if you've got gray hair or, better yet, from their point of view, no hair at all, because maybe you're going for chemotherapy and you're prime meat — financially loaded and not too far from death.

As Ted Morgan and Serena Worth [what a name!] argue, successful men are sexy but with few exceptions vain and clueless about the machinations waged by the GDs (gold diggers) out to marry them and secure an inroad to inheritance by having children.

Though How to Marry a Multi-Millionaire addresses itself mainly to the under-35, on-the-make-and-take gorgeous, the AARP set need not despair, since the nation's four best trolling sites for titans of treasure — Manhattan, Palm Beach, Aspen and the East End (Southampton leads) — present plenty of senior-circuit opportunity.

But ladies, you've got to be savvy and that means either being a chippie or getting enhanced to look like one, and — ta da! — following the advice in this book. Not to worry if your mark is "butt ugly" — anyone looks good "standing on his wallet." The bottom line is: no one with less than $10 million, and the mantra is: "We want love but we expect money."

Counsel comes courtesy of a book that claims to be, as its subtitle puts it, The Ultimate Guide to High Net Worth Dating. It's an outrageous, sardonic send up of how-to-succeed books as well as a tongue-in-cheek (when it's not elsewhere disposed), semi-serious manual that provides a hilarious and sobering look at American acquisitive culture. A false note is struck when the authors repeat a rumor that Lee Krasner sold some of her works as Pollock's to "build up her own reputation" — not her style — but for the most part, they are on the mark.

"Marrying wealth is a time-honored profession. It is best distinguished from the World's oldest profession by one important fact. It is older." Short chapters make for easy reading though they contain some repetition. Morgan and Worth seem particularly keen on having women tolerate men who like to suck toes, and they strongly recommend blow jobs as excellent insurance against straying.

This being a guide, How to Marry A Multi-Millionaire is full of boxed-up do's and don'ts: "Stay at home until you are thin," and check out the two Manhattan diet doctors preferred by GDs in the know: both permit Special K cereal, but there are "principal differences" between them, including the fact that "Dr. Greenberg is dead." Also, completely shave your pubis, and watch out for girlfriends — good sources of info but potential rivals.

Helpful hints abound, among them converting to Judaism — "Two of the greatest gold diggers of all time did just that — Marilyn Monroe (for Arthur Miller) and Patricia Duff (for Ron Perelman)." And be sure not to confuse sex with marriage, even if your man has bought you an apartment in Donald Trump's Central Park South "Mistress Building." Married men and "toxic bachelors" and their children and lawyers can make life hell. Of course, you could do what Patricia Ward (36) did with 77 year old, two-time stroke victim Gene Kelly — make him dependent, then cut his family out of the will.

Where to look? Charity benefits are great for reconnoitering, but don't buy your own tickets — con a friend or just sneak in, not too hard if you skip the dinner and premier and go just to the "after-parties." Need an opening line? How about "Nice tie!" or "Great band!" but "don't say this unless there is one."

In any case, keep going, even if the phone doesn't ring. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? The authors don't know the answer to this mystery that has tantalized generations but do know that "if a man does not call you, he does not exist."

Ted Morgan identifies himself as a "happily divorced" partner in a large and prestigious Wall Street firm, Serena Worth as a lifestyle coach for women who's married to a high-end investment banker. Without pictures, it's impossible to know if Serena embodies the book's blonde WASP ideal, but not to grieve: brunettes can always get a dye job and ethnic features can be erased by cosmetic surgery. Good hunting.

How to Marry a Multi-Millionaire by Ted Morgan and Serena Worth, Specialist Press International, 203 pp., $14.95.

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