Urbandictionary.com defines a gold-digger as a man or woman who uses their sex appeal to get money from the opposite sex. The term was borrowed from the California Gold Rush of the 1890s, when miners flocked to the area with hopes of striking gold and becoming millionaires overnight.
But what is wrong with wanting a man who can afford a little luxury? And where does one draw the line between wanting financial security and plain old materialism?
According to Laban Wesonga, who has been in a relationship with a gold-digger, the figures by Steadman are conservative compared with the reality on the ground.
Wesonga, who works with a bank in Nairobi, had dated his ex-girlfriend for close to four years before he realised what she was truly like.
Things were going well and Wesonga had even introduced her to his family as his fiancée when he unexpectedly lost his job. She left him almost immediately, saying the relationship was no longer working.
A year later, Wesonga got an even better job and when she learnt about it, she came back and asked that they give their relationship another try. But Wesonga would have none of it. “She was only after my money. She calls to check on me but I have no time for her,” he asserts.
Like Wesonga’s former girlfriend, there are, indeed, women who remain in a relationship only for what a man can provide. But it is important to note that women involved with older men are sometimes unfairly labelled gold-diggers simply because society has certain criteria for an acceptable relationship.
Among these is that that a couple should be fairly close in age, class and to some extent even looks, such that a person who is considered too pretty or handsome for their partner’s “league” is viewed with suspicion.
But gold-diggers — both male and female — have no respect for such things and live strictly by the motto, “No romance without finance”.
Ambitious and calculating
The typical female gold-digger is an unapologetic, daring go-getter who knows exactly what she wants. She is ambitious and calculating and will stop at nothing to have her way.
She is the type who earns a Sh30,000 salary but lives in an apartment whose monthly rent is Sh40,000, wears designer clothes and Sh10,000 Coco Channel perfume, complete with a Sh5,000 hairdo.
That’s not to mention her designer shoes and other accessories. She knows presentation is important if she’s to nab the calibre of monied man she’s after. Nothing local is good enough for her.
These women know how to get the fine things in life, and like them or hate them, you have to give it to them for their ability to manipulate men.
A typical gold-digger will get a man to accompany her shopping, where she will load her trolley like there’s no tomorrow. When she reaches the till, she’ll “realise” that she is Sh5,000 short and turn to the man, who serves as her mobile ATM.
“I want”, “ I need and “I must have” feature prominently in her conversations. As Joel Mwangi, a lawyer, puts it, “She doesn’t bother with you if you have nothing to offer, but as soon as you start to make headway in your career, she calls you up.”
However, every woman will tell you that she likes to feel special, and that actions speak louder than words.
When asked whether she would date a broke guy, Wanjiru Ndung’u, a nurse, immediately sought a clarification.” Define broke,” she said, before adding, “Do you mean jobless, or a low-income earner?
After a brief silence she replied, “No, I wouldn’t. “
Wanjiru, like many women above 25, is looking for a man who will put food on the table. But before she decides who to settle down with, she has to know about his financial position.
But how does a man spot a gold-digger?
According to Larry Madowo, a TV reporter, you can tell gold-diggers during the introductions at, say a cocktail party. “They pay keen attention to men who are in ‘impressive’ professions.”
“Miss Take” has no time for jobless or roke men. Her goal is simple: get in, get rich, get out. She likes living it up and a prospective man’s responses at such functions help her gauge whether his income is enough to sustain her expensive lifestyle.
“Girls from the rural areas make the worst gold-diggers. They come to the city and come up with schemes for financial success,” says Mwangi, who has encountered this breed of high-maintenance women. He notes that university students are no better.
“Campus girls seemed to be more impressed by the chap who drives to class,” he says. “Whether the car was stolen from his parents’ driveway or borrowed does not matter; the point here is that image is everything.”
While it is generally accepted that the man pays for drinks, dinners, flowers and jewellery, gold-diggers add to this list holiday trips to the coast or a fully furnished house or apartment, preferably in a nice suburb.
Historically, women have always sought wealthy partners who can provide for them, putting financial security above factors like romance, love, looks, and/or chemistry.
However, gold-diggers will use every trick in the book to achieve their aim. And since their sole aim is to get rich, some don’t limit themselves to one man and end up juggling different partners. After all, “the more, the merrier” goes a common saying.
Some have managed to acquire lavish homes in the suburbs and furnished them with subsequent returns from the “treats” they offer unsuspecting, generous men.
“Since she is only interested in getting what she wants and has no regard for the other person’s feelings, she’s no different from a call girl,” says Newton Onyango, a city businessman.
According to hubpages.com, a gold-digger will never select a destination that is kind to a man’s wallet. So if she’s too good for the occasional take-away chicken and chips from a casual joint in town and only suggests expensive restaurants, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship before you run into debt trying to please her.
There is a saying that behind every successful man is a woman, but sometimes it might just be a gold-digger, who will be willing to stay and play for as long as the man can pay.
Occasionally, you will find a man who has fallen prey to gold-diggers more than once. This makes one wonder whether after the first time, they fail to see it coming the second time because they are too busy thanking their stars for getting the perfect “trophy” this time, much to the envy of their friends.
When a man realises that his girl always pushes the dinner check over to him (never even once offering to pay), if often she’s out shopping for shoes or always complains how the ATM is be out of her way, it’s time to take another look at the relationship.
But times have changed, and gold-digging is no longer the preserve of women. Although figures are not readily available as to the number of male gold-diggers, today, women are just as likely to find a man latching onto them for their money.
Some men love money and the trappings of success but either lack the qualifications to help them get there or are simply lazy, so they would rather catch a free ride than pay for their own. And like the female gold-diggers, this breed of men knows that it takes stealth to marry wealth. They tend to prey on lonely, older women who are well established in their career.
“Being able to run a few errands on for a woman gets him into her good books,” offers Sheila Ndwati, who swears that she can tell a gold-digger from a mile away.
Meanwhile, Arnold Mwite, whose friend preys on single women at the peak of their careers, offers some insights regarding the victims: “The higher up the ladder, the more needy they are,” says Mwite.
His friend drives around in his girlfriend’s car and she takes care of all his needs. She has “pimped” (taken care of) him up so well that he now owns a boutique in town.
The male gold-digger is no different from a con man, and just like his female counterpart, he is aware that his physical appearance counts a lot toward keeping the relationship going. As a result, he is always sure to be in tip-top shape.
There is a general belief that women who get involved with such men are usually so desperate to be loved that they cannot see the telltale signs. And indeed, there are cases where a women will readily give the helpful lad her car keys and trust him to cash checks on her behalf since her diary is packed.
But it is notable that in some cases, a woman might well be aware of the man’s intentions but will ignore this it if the emotional gains from the relationship outstrip what she loses materially. Often, wealthy women have no qualms about funding a gold-digger in exchange for their company if that person is particularly attractive and makes them look good.
While male gold-diggers are not hard to spot, their targets are even easier to spot!
Generous women who don’t seem to mind splashing money around and enjoy glittery objects and expensive life are easy prey for male gold-diggers. They don’t mind paying for the dinner or fuelling the car and will readily take the man shopping for some presentable clothes.
The attention he attracts makes them even more generous, so a nice “expensive” bit of arm candy may not be such a bad trade-off.
Thus begins the transformation begins. The gold-digger’s ego receives a major boost, what with well-manicured nails and crisp suits bought by their partners.
“It costs money to look this good, and if I’m going to be her escort, she needs to sort me out,” I heard a gold-digger say in self-defence.
Male gold-diggers always insist on the woman buying the drinks but suggest the places they should can go and things they should buy.
But what happens when the money runs out or the woman can no longer keep up with a gold-digger’s expensive tastes and needs? Like his female counterpart, he will not stand by her when the hard times arrive. That handsome face will turn into a twisted nagging frown and it won’t be pleasant!
They are smart know how to getwhat they want. They dress to impress and won’t be found in any cheap bar or club! But when busted by their prey, they are quick to accuse her of not treating them right, or even failing to appreciate them! Make no mistake, all the while they have someone else on the side.
According to a recent article the UK Telegraph, men are bigger gold-diggers than women. And research there shows that the tide is turning, with many men willing to be financially dependent on their partner.
While it might be a good thing that more women are taking responsibility for their financial future, this could very well be the reason for the rise in the number of male gold-diggers.