Another Perspective

In Praise of Gold Diggers

Her reptilian ways may seem cruel, but a gold digger in truth is a social reformer.

By 11.15.05

All hail the gold digger!

She's beautiful, intelligent, and very often has a master's degree or better. She's the type of girl the intelligence and diplomatic corps wish had a stronger love of country...and foreign ambassadors. She is cold and calculating. She is steely; the modern world of pop romance, Hollywood, and pulp literature all scorn her. She cares not at all. She is a man-eater. She is hated by all but one, but that one makes all the difference. And yet there is something wonderful about the gold digger when she appears in the press or in the movies.

Seeing her strut upon the scene in all her brutal, breathtaking calculation, she is the great American counterpoint. She is the cool and graceful Pygmalion's Galatea, set apart and upon the pedestal of the dwindling horizon of today's romantic landscape; she gives us a sense of proportion, an alternate point of reference with which to judge our present course on the cultural sea of love, sex, marriage, and the erotic.

Pop culture has destroyed the truly romantic and erotic nature of sex by stripping reason from the equation. Boys and girls are now taught to fasten their own chains of ignorance and error in the dank Bastille of modern romance. The gold digger is so refreshing because she uses reason, faulty as it may be, to the exclusion of goofy, daft modern melodrama. She sees love, marriage, sex, and eroticism like Bobby Fisher sees a chess match. Her reptilian ways may seem cruel, but in truth she is a social reformer. She is an emancipator, striking the chains from a million hearts. She lights a new path, one where reason has at least a smattering to do with love. She makes the truly erotic possible again. When Bo Derek struts her gold-digging stuff in Tommy Boy, when she slides her slinky finger along the portly Brian Dennehy's ill fitting blazer, people feel they can love again -- truly love with their heart, their body, AND their mind.

But the plucky gold digger stands alone before a vast army shrouded in pink smoke and warm breathy mists. Consider the various pop-cultural powerhouses, all promoting the same message: love is a passive animal reception of pleasure; it is a tummy rub; it is blind; it is mad; it is giddy. The WB has a host of shows dedicated to the proposition that all flings are created equal. First, there was Buffy, then Charmed, Smallville, One Tree Hill, and old standards like Dawson's Creek. Each show promotes the idea that love and sex have no point, no goal. Women and men are suddenly struck dumb and begin copulating. Lovers are chosen based upon a near bovine criterion: whom did I first bump into in the cafeteria feed line at school?

Picture the gold digger giggling champagne through her nose as she watches the WB, and sigh with relief that cool blue solace can be found in her cold and knowing eyes. She has standards; she has a checklist; she can focus her attention on a wealthy man with all the delectable searing heat of a laser beam because, unlike our WB-lets at the trough, her mind is engaged, making her all the more serious and erotic. No blubbering vagaries like "I don't know if our souls are ready for each other's secrets" or "don't say anything" can be heard in the throws of the gold digger's bedroom escapades.

Bless her heart! She put serious purpose back into sex and the erotic. Granted, her purpose is a little creepy, but it is a small price to pay to be rid of the sad emotive wallowings of modern pop romance.

To think on the gold digger is to blur for a moment the poor focus of sexuality in film. Eroticism is dead because reason is seen as the enemy of sex; only the animal passion is authentic sexuality. But the gold digger, you, and I know that to remove reason from the erotic is to lower sex to the level of bodily function. Any two-minute segment of There's Something About Mary, or really any prime time sit-com, confirms the death of eroticism in sex that accompanies removal of a serious end beyond pleasure alone.

The gold digger is deadly serious. She knows sex has a purpose. She looks into the other and sees, knows, understands, reaches out, and, well, takes and manipulates -- but the point remains the same: at least she's serious. That's what makes her sexy.

So all hail the gold digger! And God save the WB!

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