The idea is that you are “shopping” for your person and you have a fixed amount of “mate dollars” to spend. There are five categories and you can spend up to $100 on each one: kindness, physical attractiveness, creativity, wealth, and liveliness. But you only have $300. At first. And then… your “budget’ is reduced to just $100. It makes you really think about what you want in a long-term partner.
With nothing to do besides lay in the sun and chat, we spent an entire afternoon debating this. The idea is to think pragmatically about dating. Of course we all want a “perfect” partner, (and also love to think of ourselves as perfect, too). But no one is actually perfect… so imagine if you had only $100 to spend. Would you spend the whole $100 on someone really attractive and wealthy, only to have them be unkind, boring, and uncreative? Would you date someone who is really ugly but is super creative and smart? Kind but boring? Interesting but completely broke? It’s REALLY HARD when you have to break it down to specific dollar amounts.
I first thought about how someone who was perfectly equal and average across all of the categories would be. $20 to each. From there I thought about which thing matters least. Wealth is the lowest for me. I do pretty well for myself and don’t want kids so I’m not really looking for a “provider” of sorts. Buuuuttttt, I also don’t want someone who doesn’t care about money AT ALL. Like, I like my life and don’t want to make concessions to be the sole provider: I want a true partner who can also contribute! So let’s give $10 to wealth.
Physical attractiveness brought up more questions. Is it what is attractive to YOU personally, or society’s standards?? Because they can be very different and for me, while yes looks matter, personality matters more when it comes to actual physical attraction. So I gave that one $10.
Liveliness is also interesting. We all giggled, laughing a bit – what is “lively!?” Is that that annoying guy who can’t ever sit still and wants to tell you about his crossfit and protein shakes and bee pollen smoothies and insane morning routine? (Truly sorry if this offends somebody but it’s not my thing!). So we reassigned “lively” as “interesting.” And that’s an important one.
And just how important is creativity? My friend reasoned that she’s very creative so she didn’t need a creative partner. I argued that as a creative, I’d be sad if my partner wasn’t at all creative. I would want someone to brainstorm and ideate with. But if they’re really interesting, maybe you could cut down on creativity? I liked that my friend and I had different views here. Her view that she could be the creative one; my view that I wanted someone as creative as me. It really goes to show that what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.
Kindness is where the debate really kicked in. If someone is really creative and interesting and fun, do they need to be kind, too? (Yes, of course.) But which one is more important? At this point, you have only $80 to spend across the three. (Stressful, right!?!?!?). And just how kind do you want your person to be? Are they volunteering at a soup kitchen every weekend? Are they a bit of pushover? Kind is good but I want someone who challenges me.
Anyway! This really made us all think!!!! We drank several mezcal margaritas and laid in the sunshine and ultimately brought out pencils and paper to write it down because it was so hard to decide how to spend our precious “mate dollars.” Ever the Libra, I ultimately ended up being diplomatic: spending my money across all three, evenly… $26.67 across kindness, creativity, and liveliness.
We kept thinking and changing numbers. I’m an introvert – do I really want someone super lively? Could I cut down there a little bit to have someone a bit more kind, a bit more creative? But then creativity came into question. Do I even really want someone who is THAT creative? Could that get annoying? Would it be fine if they were just really kind? Ugh but not too kind, you need to have an edge, too! I shuffled things around… $20 to kindness, $30 to each creativity and liveliness.
LUCKILY, this is not a real thing – it’s purely hypothetical. But it’s an interesting (I won’t say fun, it was slightly agonizing!) exercise to do, if anything, to get a bit more clear on your priorities and what you want. Could you settle for a less attractive mate if they treated you well? Does it really matter if your partner is that creative? Would you be okay being the breadwinner? Fully supporting a partner? There are no wrong answers here, it’s about figuring out what is best for YOU and where your priorities/non-negotiables are.
Curious – how would you spend your mate dollars!? Tell me in the comments if you feel comfortable sharing!
If I had $300….
- Creativity: $70
- Kindness: $70
- Liveliness $60
- Physical Attractiveness – $60
- Wealth $40
If I only had $100…
- Creativity: $25
- Kindness: $35
- Liveliness: $20
- Physical Attractiveness: $10
- Wealth: $10
Even just writing them down I want to change things around, but that’s what I settled on. 😉