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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Part One: The Arrangement

The New York Times reporter captured The Arrangement, but imperfectly, as:

A monogamous business-associate-with-benefits deal in which he pursues an entrepreneurial project with a young, beautiful, intelligent woman. He provides financial backing, mentoring and networking; she provides sex, fun and, inevitably, a bit of worshiping, all of which make him feel virile and influential. […]

Sam runs these relationships with an explicit business plan, a set budget, measurable goals and quarterly reviews. From the outset, the contract has an end date. It’s a brilliant, if contrived, way to protect his pride. The contract specifies that the romance and sex are to end by the preset date, so there’s no break up, no rejection, no bruised ego. She’s not dumping him; the gig’s just over.

I described it as:

It is a business approach to a relationship. It creates shared but distinct incentives for the woman and me. It is efficient. It protects feelings. It is contractual and consensual. It respects the financial power I have, and the sexual power a woman has. It does not interfere with my work. It does not interfere with a woman’s goals. It embodies honest communications. It works for me.

A series of Arrangements consumed several years. I found the relationships productive. I was proud of them. The New York Times reporter said I was “like Pygmalion, smitten with his own creations.” That is true. It is a kind of after-relationship love. Yes, a lot of it stems from a self love. But I feel that it is a very honest love. And the pride in my past relationships can endure for a long time. I think.

An Arrangement is an entrepreneur, a business plan, and an investment.

An Arrangement can start in two basic ways. Sometimes it starts with an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is a woman with a goal in mind but seeking resources. Sometimes it starts with an Arrangement. An arrangement is a new business project. Most often it is a hybrid where I find multiple entrepreneurs and projects and pick.

This is like business development. Sometimes a new project starts with a person. Then you look for a business plan to pair with that person. Sometimes a new project starts with a business plan. Then you look for a key person to pair with the plan. Usually it is a hybrid where you have several entrepreneurs and business plans from which to choose. Either way the result is pairs of entrepreneurs and business plans. The goal is to choose the most appropriate entrepreneur and business plan for an investment.

An Arrangement is an investment. For both the investor and the entrepreneur. There is risk. There is return. There are commitments. If it is too easy on any side, it does not work. If it is riskless and without return, it does not work. Both must have a stake and something to contribute.

The basic terms are this:

  1. A preset term, usually 12 months, mutually renewable for a second 12 month term.
  2. A goal with quarterly evaluations.
  3. A preset consulting contract, say $6k per month plus expenses, usually valued at $100k per year.
  4. A time and space commitment for 1:1 meetings. On my schedule.
  5. A separate co-investment contract with terms and gating factors specific to the project.

When looking for entrepreneurs there is a candidacy process.

In Asia candidates are easy to find. Room Salons are where women sing and drink with groups of businessmen. Sex is usually not involved. There are other places for that. Such “other places” are so easy to access that Room Salons do not have to provide sex. Room Salons set membership exclusivity obscurity, referrals, limited seating, and high pricing. Women there are usually in their early twenties to early thirties. They may make between $1000 to $10000 per week for their conversation and company (the figure is adjusted to a US norm based on average per capita income, it is actually less in local currency.) The amount is based on popularity. Popularity is based on personality and physical attractiveness. The women know their high revenue opportunity is limited in time. The smart ones prepare for the future. Of course most do not. But a typical success case is to be mistress to a businessman. The goal is to have the patron buy them a house and a small business. Typically the business is another room salon or a retail shop, usually for clothing. Between the two provisions they are independent. The business generates small cash flow. The house gives them a place to live and an emergency asset. There are many Room Salons and many women in them. Social norm in that social segment allows this to be discussed easily. Women who are entrepreneurs in this environment stand out. So they are relatively easy to find.

In America candidates are difficult to find. Social norm makes it difficult to discuss an arrangement early on. There are no places to find pools of woman in a relevant situation. Bars are inefficient. Brothels are suited to different situations. Independent women are difficult to find randomly. Business associates are risky to approach. This changed dramatically with the Internet. Sites like “seeking arrangement” allow you to find women looking for sugar daddies. But because it is online there are downsides. In Asia you meet the women among their peers and other customers. So there is a built-in quality check. On the Internet you only see self-written profiles. Such profiles may be very deceptive. On the Internet you also find too many women. The diversity of what they seek can also be too high. It is like 300 types of breakfast cereal at the supermarket. It fosters a mindset of optimization which is not helpful.

Once candidates are found, some percentage will not want my kind of arrangement. They may want a more traditional one such as a house and business, long term mistress. That is a risky course for a woman because her man may be fickle. Or the man may not deliver at the end of a long relationship. (It is unreasonable to expect a house and business at the beginning of a relationship.) The high transaction value forces a big upfront investment by the woman. Which may not pay off. So some women will find my arrangement better. It requires less upfront. It has a more predictable outcome. It does not leave her with long term security. An Arrangement improves her life so she is more likely to be able to advance herself. It reduces dependency on men. Instead of increasing dependency.

I feel the Arrangement empowers all parties. The Arrangement makes expectations clear. I will write more about it. About what it’s like to live through it. And about some of the woman who have shared Arrangements with me.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy that I stumbled (again, not so accidentally but out of sheer curiosity upon your blog. I hope you do write again. Soon. About your arrangements. Success stories, not-so success stories, etc.

1/17/2010 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigmund's blog was enormously helpful in clarifying my own thoughts a few years ago. Hope you write more, Sam.

1/22/2010 7:55 PM  

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