Before New Year's Eve, Know Your Date's Credit Score
It's not enough to Facebook-stalk your date. At some point during the first date, before the second glass of wine, you'd better pop the question: what's your FICO score? From NYTimes:
As she nibbled on strawberry shortcake, Jessica LaShawn, a flight attendant from Chicago, tried not to get ahead of herself and imagine this first date turning into another and another, and maybe, at some point, a glimmering diamond ring and happily ever after.
Her musings were suddenly interrupted when her date asked a decidedly unromantic question: “What’s your credit score?”
“It was as if the music stopped,” Ms. LaShawn, 31, said, recalling how the date this year went so wrong so quickly after she tried to answer his question honestly. “It was really awkward because he kept telling me that I was the perfect girl for him, but that a low credit score was his deal-breaker.”
Yikes. That's what I call being awfully choosy. (Although I imagine -- without a shred of evidence to back this up -- that men probably fare worse under this scrutiny than women.)
But maybe this is just an instance of the new kind of "openness:"
Executives who run online financial advice forums say that topics about credit and dating receive hundreds of responses within minutes of being posted. Alexa von Tobel, founder and chief executive of Learnvest.com, a financial planning firm, said that members are more interested in credit scores than ever before.
“It’s the only grade that matters after you graduate,” she said.
Josephine La Bella, 25, who works at a payroll company, likes to tackle the delicate subject head on. Ms. La Bella, who has vigilantly monitored her credit score ever since graduating from Rutgers in 2009, has found that broaching the topic of her own credit score causes her suitors to open up, too.
In August, Ms. La Bella recalled, while at dinner in Bayonne, N.J., a date blurted out his credit score on the first outing. Instead of making things more awkward, she said, a really productive discussion followed. Since then, Ms. La Bella tries to bring up the topic soon after meeting someone.
“I take my credit score seriously and so my date can take me seriously,” she said. A handful of small, online dating Web sites have sprung up to cater specifically to singles looking for a partner with a tiptop credit score. “Good Credit Is Sexy,” says one site, Creditscoredating.com, which allows members to view the credit scores of potential dates who agree to provide the numbers.
On another site, Datemycreditscore.com, a member posted on the Web site’s home page that others should to “stop kidding” themselves and realize that credit scores do matter.
Honestly, there's nothing new here. In fact, this kind of analysis is pretty old-fashioned. In the late 19th and early 20th century -- before urban populations and general migration created seas of rootless young folks -- you'd never think of dating, much less marrying, someone who was a stranger to you. Knowing the other person's "people" and general financial situation was non-negotiable. It was what was quaintly called "reputation." And it's coming back, thanks to technology.
In fact, technology isn't changing us as much as it's changing us back. Don't post Facebook photos you don't want public? How different is that from fearing social ruin from an indiscretion back in Henry James' day? And what is texting but a version of the epistolary culture of a century ago?
Okay, may have gone too far with that last one. But the point remains: we've only recently had a culture that prized "privacy." Mostly, for the important folks in our life, we wanted to get all up into their business.