In college, I had a roommate named Laura. I did not see it back then, but Laura was somewhat of a troubled soul. Her Mom was dying of cancer and the tragic nature of her situation took its emotional toll. Going away to college gave Laura psychical space from the hardship at home but of course, she carried her mother in her heart and mind.
In the beginning, college was about parties and meeting new people. Fellow college students opened Laura’s eyes to a completely new world, a world of wealth and material things. You see, Laura grew up in a very middle class town. Name brand clothing was Billabong or Nine West, she never heard of Louis Vuitton or even Gucci. It seems hard to believe now, but where Laura was raised, labels did not correlate with popularity. University however, was a different story. Students were plastered with labels and Laura noticed that those who donned came from a much different upbringing then her own. These kids that had carte blanche access to Mom and Dad’s credit card to fund drinks and dinners at upscale establishments. For example, Laura’s next-door neighbor bought new clothes in lieu of doing laundry (why bother?)! Appearing to have money attracted the attention of those students who actually had money and thus a taste of their lifestyle.
Laura was nothing short of obsessed with the notion of becoming part of the élite crowd. This my friends, was the evolution of what one might call: a gold digger. From that time on, Laura only wanted to date the wealthy men on campus. If you drove a BMW or a Range Rover, you were prime season for Laura. Good looks were a bonus, but far from the main requirement. Personality and loyalty hardly mattered if you were willing to buy Laura new Channel sunglasses. She was out for status that she felt could only be bought.
After over a year of dating random well to do men at the University Laura set her sights on a specific man, Peter. Peter was a third year transfer student from upstate New York. His Dad was a famous designer and his family was well connected politically. He drove a BWM and was known for his lavish parties. When Laura introduced me to Peter, she was quick to point out his Prada sneakers and Brooks Brothers shirt. He was friendly and somewhat attractive; Laura felt she had found the man of her dreams. Peter was your typical college playboy. He was used to being deemed important in New York society and knew how to charm women. Peter was not the relationship type but he always enjoyed the company of a lady. He welcomed Laura’s advances but had no real intention of long-term commitment.
Now as I mentioned previously, Laura had some serious business going on at home. After a year in college, right before she met Peter, Laura’s mother passed away. Laura’s grief was profound. In hindsight, maybe there was a correlation between the trauma and the sudden materialistic needs. I am willing to guess that the money and the status served to temporary fill a void in her life. Stockpiling beautiful and expensive handbags was a distraction from the pain she was masking. Yet again, we see how our own problems can manifest in our dating habits and determine the partners we choose. More credibility towards the “fix you first” dating model. Wouldn’t you say?
There is more on Laura and Peter to come. Believe me when I tell you…this one gets interesting.