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Nathan's column: What's your bid?

Minneapolis, it seems, is a popular place for people who want to mix money up in their dating lives.

A few weeks ago in this space I wrote about a survey that found Minnesota was one of the country's hot spots for finding a sugar daddy. Now it seems Twin Cities residents are signing up in droves at, a dating website that promises to remove the complications from matchmaking by allowing users to bid actual cash for a date with people they find attractive.

It's kind of like crossed with a livestock auction, which probably wasn't one of the slogans the site considered but definitely should have been.

It works like this: you see someone who catches your fancy, you offer up a few bucks to get their attention and if they like your profile and/or your offer of cold, hard cash they accept. Off you go, presumably to live happily ever after in a relationship that may or may not involve periodic bank deposits.

It's a good, old-fashioned courtship. If you were being courted by an ATM. Or Donald Trump.

It's possible you find this methodology questionable, but the site has its reasons. Dating sites that encourage people to get together based solely on things like common interests, mutual attraction or any other non-financial forms of compatibility, it argues, might set users up on first dates where one person has unrealistic expectations or ulterior motives. "We both like the Lord of the Rings movies," one non-compensated (or compensating) dater might think. "She's my Precious. My PRECIOUS!"

And, obviously, things go downhill from there.

On the other hand, the site argues, dealing with people who are willing to spend hard-earned cash for a few hours of companionship really weeds out the creeps.

The logic is pretty flawless when you think about it like that.

Signing up for the site involves answering some hard questions about yourself. Almost immediately you're asked to classify yourself as either a generous person who makes bids for dates or an attractive person who accepts bids. This seems to ignore the possibility that being generous all by itself makes you attractive. Although, maybe the site just believes the fact you're willing to bid on a date with another human being kind of cancels that out any kind of inner beauty.

Based on a brief examination the site's membership seems to be made up mostly of exactly the kind of user base you'd expect when one of the options for the type of relationship you're seeking is "sugar daddy/sugar baby." One user who goes by the name ClassyLady99 has a profile photo in which she's wearing a Halloween costume-style schoolgirl outfit with a Playboy logo on the pocket. Which seems about right.

Maybe I'm being short sighted. If you can find happiness paying people to go out with you or watching reality television or eating tacos with shells made out of Doritos, who am I to tell you you're wrong?

Bid away, Minnesota.