On a typical weekend evening, you’ll find PR manager Amy Green, 27, and her glamorous girlfriends dressed up to the nines and ensconced in a bar in one of the swankiest areas of London.
But after ordering expensive cocktails, the first thing they do isn’t catch up with one another — they each turn to their glowing phone screens and busy themselves resetting the ‘geolocation’ on the myriad dating apps they all have installed.
This makes it look, to any prospective ‘matches’ on the app, as if the women live in this very luxurious neighbourhood — and increases their chance of being partnered with a man who does, too.
Amy says: ‘By changing my dating apps to the fancy part of town where I am, and restricting the radius to within a kilometre, I can usually see all of the single men in the immediate area.
Last weekend, I met the girls for drinks at Shoreditch House, a private members’ club in East London [and part of the exclusive Soho House group]. It was fun going through the available men.’
PR manager Amy Green, 27, and her friends reset the ‘geolocation’ on the myriad dating apps they all have installed
But Amy isn’t just swiping out of curiosity. She’s conducting a carefully targeted search for the ‘right’ sort of Mr Right — in other words, a man with money. And Shoreditch House proved a fertile hunting ground.
‘Yes, there were the usual struggling actors or hipsters, but among the other guys we swiped through were also creative rich types who were looking for matches. I spent most of my 20s paying for everything on dates, and it got boring.
‘So when my friend told me to download Hinge, a different app, saying ‘the boys are very generous on there’, I tried it — and was amazed to find she was right.’
Now, you might have formed a negative impression of Amy from these very frank words. But she’s merely doing the same as a growing number of British women, tired of the draining, emotionally vapid and costly process of modern internet dating.
Had Bridget Jones been looking for love in 2023, she wouldn’t have been writing in a diary — she’d have been manipulating dating app algorithms to engineer her odds of meeting a wealthy suitor.
The proof can be found in the many single women who openly brag about doing the same on social media.
Under TikTok hashtags viewed millions of times, such as #hingeprofiletips and #hingedating, influencers are sharing ways to snag a man with money — what pictures to post, filters to set on searches and even specific bars to target.
Fed up with dating their cash-strapped male peers and going halves on dates, these women don’t see anything questionable in their behaviour.
Borina Vokou, 36, filled her profile with snaps of herself on exotic beaches, wearing bikinis — and pretty soon she began seeing a Chelsea chap who worked in banking
Amy says: ‘I want to earn a decent salary, I’m career-driven and have a great life. Why shouldn’t I be aiming for top-tier men?’
She just wants to find her ideal: a man who has his own place, is in a secure career — and, preferably, lives in Kensington, West London.
Amy says: ‘A friend first did it last year. She was in Edinburgh for work, staying in a posh part of the city. She was amazed at the calibre of men she was matching with.
‘I told myself: “Amy, you are single and living in London — why not give it a go?” So I changed my dating profile to Kensington and couldn’t believe the different calibre of men I matched with.’
Amy lives in the less elite outskirts of West London and previously dated men who were more likely to take her to the pub — and expect her to pay.
‘I spent years as a magnet for the wrong sort of guy. Some had poor hygiene, bad manners and would use me as a cash machine, ‘borrowing’ money that they never repaid.
‘Kensington men look well-groomed and as though they shower at least twice a day. You just know they’d be nice to your mum. But, more importantly, they don’t look as though they’d expect you to go halves on a date.’
Amy’s dream man is the ‘posh’ comedian Jack Whitehall. So how does she, a working-class girl from Bournemouth, Dorset, go about finding a wealthy mate?
‘I tweaked my profile so I’d appeal to these kinds of guys. I uploaded classier pictures, including one of me in a well-known bar on the Greek island of Mykonos…
‘As for tricks to attracting these guys? I’ve put that I’m into hiking. In real life, I don’t mind going for a walk with friends but I’ve never set foot on a trail path, let alone a mountain — I prefer nice restaurants and bars.
‘I’ve also said on my profile that I’m into reformer Pilates. It’s a rich-girl gym class on complicated, expensive bits of machinery. Let’s gloss over the fact that in reality I can’t touch my toes.
Civil servant Gemma Hall, 27, has studied the men she hopes to attract. She is single and lives at home with her parents in Manchester. But she has a preferred hunting ground — the affluent, leafy area of Alderley Edge
‘Men are fascinated that I like to stretch my body. It’s all an illusion but it really gets them talking to you. The Kensington boys I’ve swiped with have loved it.’
Amy proudly says that she has gone from dating ‘personal trainers and car salesmen’ to lawyers and ‘finance types’.
‘My two significant relationships in my 20s were with men who weren’t as career-driven as me. I want the nice home, the car, holidays several times a year. I need to be with someone who has the same aspirational outlook.
‘Recently, I’ve been seeing a guy who lives in Chelsea. On one date, we went to a chi-chi Mexican bar and the bill was three figures, thanks to countless margaritas at £15 a cocktail.
‘He was happy to pay it, and even texted me the next day to make sure I was OK. We’ve been on several dates, and I’m taking my time — he’s showing all the signs of being a keeper.
‘After all, I know I’m ready to settle down and why not with a man who can take care of me? Another guy I’ve been seeing is super nice. He’s in property management and lives in Kensington. I joke to friends that I have to be careful not to let my posh accent slip.’
What’s the deal with Kensington? ‘It’s my dream target really. The guys are hot but also wealthy. I have done my due diligence in other smart areas, but the men weren’t really my type. I have to fancy them too.’
Amy proudly says that she has gone from dating ‘personal trainers and car salesmen’ to lawyers and ‘finance types’ (stock image)
Ella (who has asked we don’t use her real name), 27, says she’s proof this bold strategy can work.
The executive assistant, from Birmingham, says: ‘I started changing the settings on my phone when I was in New York for a weekend five years ago. I was astounded by the quality of men contacting me.
They redefined my understanding of being ‘wealthy’. I got taken to a private members’ club for dinner and drinks — the cocktail bill alone must have run into hundreds of pounds.
‘When I got home, I did a bit of a life appraisal. I’m from a loving but ordinary background and I craved the trappings of wealth I’d seen. Why shouldn’t I? My family have always joked I have a penchant for the high life, despite growing up in a three-bed semi. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to how I could actually live this life.
‘I started a careful ‘rich girl’ transformation. I’d buy designer outfits discounted online, had my hair highlighted caramel colours instead of tacky bottle-blonde, and began posting pictures of myself in discreetly wealthy locations. I’d change the location on my app to wealthy areas of London such as Knightsbridge and Notting Hill.
‘Before long, I was dating a trio of guys on rotation. One was a banker working crazy hours in the City. Another was a media lawyer and the third worked in PR.
‘Over a year, I went skiing in Canada, holidayed on a yacht in Ibiza and spent weekends in Norfolk at my lawyer boyfriend’s second home — all for free.
‘I’m now in a committed three-year relationship with the lawyer, and was thrilled when he proposed last month.
‘He knows about my humble background and is unfailingly polite when he visits my family home… As for his family, they think I’m a breath of fresh air, which I suspect is code for ‘pushy’ and ‘not one of us’.
‘But their son loves me and I genuinely love him, too. I’m hoping for a low-key wedding this summer. Does he know about my clever ruse to snare him? No — and he never will. What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him.
‘But it really is all thanks to the wonders of technology — and my determination to track down and target a rich husband. If that makes me a gold-digger, I’m not bothered . . . I can’t understand why more women don’t do it.’
Like Ella, civil servant Gemma Hall, 27, has studied the men she hopes to attract. ‘Richer men tend to be quite active,’ she says. ‘They enjoy the great outdoors and you have to go along with that, really.
‘But you’d never get me out of bed for wild swimming or that other posh weekend obsession: the park run. I also find wealthier men behave more like gentlemen. They wouldn’t dream of leaving you to make your own way home.’
Gemma says it’s a given that she will be picked up before each date in a Mercedes or BMW.
The venues are usually upmarket restaurants where a meal can run into hundreds of pounds — and, of course, she has never once offered, or been asked, to foot the bill.
‘I advise finding out what they do for work before a date. Usually, you can grasp their salary bracket by their profession. Google is handy for that, too.
Gemma says it’s a given that she will be picked up before each date in a Mercedes or BMW (stock image)
‘I also look at their clothes in their profile pictures. If there’s a distinct lack of leisurewear, you know they have money. For the same reason, on my profile I use pictures of me dressed up.’
Gemma is single and lives at home with her parents in Manchester. But she has a preferred hunting ground — the affluent, leafy area of Alderley Edge, famous for its celebrity residents and upmarket bars and restaurants.
‘Where I live is pretty ordinary. I’m not a snob, and have had a lovely upbringing, but it’s the kind of men I meet. They’re awful. That’s why I changed my settings to Alderley Edge, where all the footballers and celebrities live.
‘I needed to improve my chances of finding someone decent to settle down with. Dating men from these areas is a very different experience — not that I go out with someone from my own area any more.
‘One man I saw for four months insisted on paying for everything. He even gave me a lovely silver bracelet — I checked and it was a good three-figure sum — for Valentine’s Day. We’d go on lovely days out together to fancy hideaway villages, it was such fun.
‘I like getting wined and dined for free. I get to drink champagne and eat extravagant platters of seafood, knowing it isn’t me paying for it at the end of the date. It’s a lovely feeling.’
And while an observer might wonder if these very eligible bachelors have certain expectations of Gemma in return for all this luxury treatment, she insists it’s not the case.
‘Men who are rich make more of an effort to look after you. They’ve been brought up differently, they’re more charming, know their way around a wine list and don’t assume you’ll put out on the first date. I’ve found your average guy just doesn’t treat women that well. But a cultured man will put you first.’
Business owner Borina Vokou, 36, who lives in London, agrees. She was married in her late 20s for five years. After her divorce, friends showed her how to match ‘correctly’ on dating apps.
‘I changed my location to Chelsea for security reasons. I have an unusual name and didn’t want guys to track me down too easily. So it was essentially by mistake that I came across the high calibre of men using dating apps in the neighbourhood. I was pretty stunned.’
Borina filled her profile with snaps of herself on exotic beaches, wearing bikinis — and pretty soon she began seeing a Chelsea chap who worked in banking.
‘He took me to very expensive restaurants around London, such as at the Shard. We had a weekend at a boutique hotel in Cornwall, too, just a couple of weeks after we started dating.
Borina has taken things one step further by using ‘Tinder targeting’ to cover her costs when she goes on holiday (stock image)
‘It was out of the question I’d contribute financially. He lived in a riverside apartment, and was keen on taking things further, but for me it fizzled out after a few months as the physical attraction wasn’t there.
‘Most men aren’t curious about the location change, they’re more into talking about themselves.’
She has taken things one step further by using ‘Tinder targeting’ to cover her costs when she goes on holiday. ‘I was going on holiday last summer to the South of France. I changed my location to St Tropez, and was staggered at the guys who popped up.
‘Apart from my flight ticket, I didn’t pay for a thing while I was there. It helps that I speak French. I got taken out to dinner every evening by a few different men on rotation.
‘I’m going to Ibiza this summer and I’m going to do the same thing again. But I’m not sure I’d do this to meet Mr Right, given I was economical with the truth. It might mean awkward conversations down the line, and you never know what the men might be hiding, too.’
A stranger to the world of online dating might think such women have more front than Vanity Fair’s social-climbing Becky Sharp.
Amy says: ‘Some friends are a bit alarmed by my approach to dating. But I wanted a wealthy-ever-after. For me, it’s about their mindset. I want to find a man who is generous but ambitious. I’m not going to meet someone like that in my hometown. So why on earth shouldn’t I target the neighbourhoods where I will find him?’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk