TIME Leaders

This is How Much a Date With Ben Bernanke, Formerly the World’s Most Powerful Man, Costs

Ben Bernanke Gives Speech At Brookings Institution In Washington
Alex Wong—Getty Images

Want to talk quantitative easing and fiscal policy over cocktails with the man who held the financial balance of the world in his hands for the last several years? Too bad, he’s taken.

Some financial wonk out there just paid $70,500 for a lunch date with Ben Bernanke, former Federal Reserve chairman. Bernanke, who led the Fed from 2006 to 2014 and was TIME’s 2009 Person of the Year for his role in guiding U.S. policy during the financial crisis, donated his time through the website Charitybuzz. Proceeds from the meeting will benefit the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, another key player in the financial crisis, is a slightly less sought after lunch companion. His date went for $50,000, according to CNN Money.

Neither lunch price compares to the going rate for some private-sector bigwigs Charitybuzz has auctioned. Someone paid $610,000 to sip coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook for 30 minutes.
[CNN Money]

TIME relationships

Why Women in Relationships Turn a Blind Eye to Attractive Men

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Kevin Dodge—Getty Images/Blend Images RM

A study shows that coupled-off females focus more on a man's negative traits—as long as they're not dating him.

Men have one less reason to worry about their girlfriend or wife’s wandering eye. According to new research in the International Association for Relationship Research’s journal Personal Relationships, women in relationships focus on the negative qualities of attractive men they aren’t dating.

In other words, a woman in a relationship is biased against a man she could potentially be interested in if she were single. This notion is already supported in research about looks — studies have shown men and women in relationships are less likely to pay attention to attractive people they aren’t dating — but now, a group of social scientists has set out to prove the same may be true for heterosexual women’s interactions with attractive men.

Researchers conducted three experiments on the participants. In the first two experiments, women were asked to recall behavioral traits of good-looking, potential suitors. Undergraduate women, both in relationships and not, were presented with pictures of men deemed — scientifically, of course — attractive, along with scenarios like whether they were late to appointments (boo!) or bought groceries for grandma (aw!).

After the photos were removed, the women were asked to write down which scenarios they recalled. In two out of the three experiments, researchers found that women in relationships were more likely to remember negative behavior exhibited by hotties when compared to their single counterparts. In the third study, women recalled the less-than-ideal traits of attractive men more than they recalled those of people they would not date, which in this case were other women (who were used as a control).

This isn’t an all-out win for people in relationships, though. For one, the study isn’t based on actual interactions — women were merely presented with pictures and information about the potential mates, though in one study they were convinced they were chatting with the men. Another obvious limitation of the study: researchers only surveyed heterosexual women.

Regardless, the study hints that a woman’s relationship status can make her immune to a man she might otherwise find good-looking. Good news for boyfriends and husbands everywhere.

TIME society

Dating Show Contestant Reveals He Murdered Wife And Mistress, But Is Still Looking For Love

Ladies, he's single

When it comes to looking for love, maybe skip the dating shows and hitch a ride on the hook-up truck instead.

While honesty is usually the best policy, Sefer Calinak, a man looking for love on a Turkish dating show, missed his chance to meet a potential wife when he got a little too open and honest too quickly.

The 62-year old shocked the audience of Flash TV’s The Luck of The Draw by admitting — on air — that he had murdered his first wife and later killed a lover with an axe during an argument.

Calinak said he killed his first wife, a cousin, when they were both 17. As is common with young love, things didn’t work out. Less common, Calinak killed her and was sentenced to 13 years in prison, serving four before being released due to an amnesty.

He then started an affair with a married woman and when she refused to leave her husband for him, they argued and he “accidentally” killed her with an axe. “I killed her after she tried to kill me,” he said according to Hurriyet Daily News. “She was accidentally killed when I swung the ax.” He then served another six years in prison, before heading to the bright lights of television to look for love.

According to USA Today, the show’s producer knew that Calinak had murdered someone, but he was allowed to appear on the show because he had served his legal sentence.

In the game show’s defense, the host did ask Calinak to leave after he confessed to the second murder.

As for us, we’re sticking to that cupcake on Tinder.

[Via USA Today]

MORE: This Is the Most Glorious Way to Respond to Creepy Tinder Advances

MORE: E.T. Is Right Here: Lost Atari Cartridges Unearthed in New Mexico Dump

TIME

China’s Tinder Plots IPO in the Shadow of Anti-Porn Crackdown

Chinese officials launch a ceremony to d
Chinese officials launch a ceremony to destroy thousands of pornographic books and video materials in Beijing on April 24, 2011. AFP/Getty Images

China's dating app has 120 million user profiles, some of which may be too hot for Beijing

China’s dating app Momo has 120 million users, a possible valuation of $2 billion, and an ongoing flirtation with U.S. banks, eager to get a piece of the action should the company go public on a U.S. stock exchange, but a few of the racier user profiles have investors on edge.

The Wall Street Journal reports that some of the photos could run afoul of China’s widening crackdown on internet pornography. A reporter from state news service Xinhua logged onto the app in a popular bar district of Beijing and reportedly found scantily clad women “wearing bikinis to show off their physiques” and profiles suggestive of escort services. The salacious details may not shock users of dating sites the world over, but in China, the pictures can trigger regulatory crackdowns. Web companies Sina and Sohu.com have seen their publishing licenses revoked for explicit content.

In an email to the Journal, a company spokesperson insisted the company supported the government’s crackdown and would expand its team of internal censors from 60 to 100 employees, saying its commercial interests were “totally incompatible with lewd and sexual content.”

[WSJ]

TIME Sex

Another Study Shows That ‘Hookup Culture’ Is a Myth

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Paul Bradbury—OJO Images RF/Getty Images

Parents had just as much sex in college as their kids are having now

A gaggle of sociologists and think-piece writers have been saying that young adults don’t have time to invest in relationships and therefore are treating their romantic lives with reckless abandon and having sex with random strangers. But despite pundits’ outcries that the moral fiber of America is decaying as college students ditch dating in favor of “hookup culture,” it turns out the sexual practices of millennials aren’t that different from those of their parents.

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research compares a survey on sexual practices from 1988-1996 to one from 2004-2012. Researchers from the University of Portland found that respondents from the later survey did not report more sexual partners after the age 18, more frequent sex or more partners during the past year than respondents from the earlier survey. “We find no evidence of substantial changes in sexual behavior that would indicate a new or pervasive pattern of non-relational sex among contemporary college students,” the researchers conclude.

In fact, most people are still having sex with a regular partner rather than with random people. According to the new study, 78.2% of those recently surveyed reported that their sexual partner was either a spouse or a significant other, compared to 84.5% in the survey from the ’80s and ’90s. The researchers chalk up the differences in responses to the earlier set of people surveyed containing a higher proportion of married people. This isn’t surprising news since marriage rates are going down and people are getting married later.

We’ve known for a while now that the media hype surrounding hookup culture is overblown: Less than 15% of college students “hook up” more than twice per year—and that definition of “hook up” ranges from kissing to intercourse. Almost a year ago I wrote that the sex lives of college students today aren’t all that different from their parents and their grandparents, citing surveys from the 1960s and 70s that show students were having as much sex then as they are now. But despite all the evidence to the contrary, there’s been so much coverage of this nonexistent new hookup culture that some students are feeling left out if they are not having tons of casual sex.

So parents, don’t worry. Your kids aren’t doing anything you didn’t do in college…Well, except for maybe sending naked SnapChats.

TIME Dating

Here Are the 10 Best Prom-posals of Prom Season

Because a text message that says "yo, prom?" just doesn't cut it anymore

It’s the first week of May, which means it’s time for allergies, Cinco de Mayo sombreros, and elaborate romantic gestures by barely post-pubescent teenagers! That’s right, it’s prom-posal season, the most awkward time of the year.

If you don’t know already, prom-posals are when high schoolers ask each other to prom with the level of pomp and circumstance that rivals an actual engagement. Some high schools are gripped by prom-posal hysteria and some aren’t. For those who have found their high schools littered with rose petals and graffiti this week, you’re not alone.

Of course, kids have been asking each other out in elaborate ways ever since the romantic comedies of the ’80s and ’90s gave us all unrealistic expectations of prom (thank you, She’s All That.) The first official prom-posal of recorded history occurred in 2001, or at least that’s the first one to make the papers, but over-the-top prom-posals have become even more frequent in the age of social media. Because what’s the point of asking someone out if you can’t post pictures of it?

Here are the 10 best prom-posals of the internet, courtesy of the @ThePromposal Twitter feed.

The History Buff One:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/457575787802398720

The One from the Knight and His Noble Steed:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/462332950890045440

The Worst Pun One:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/456246403279626241

The One for Someone Who Loves Frozen:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/452159128862228480

The One that Kills Two Birds With One Stone:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/451165277330608128

The One That Says “Booty” Too Much:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/450764132925853696

The One That Was Delivered by Hedwig:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/450386797722628096

The Wishful Thinking One:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/448905107019943936

The One That Put Chicken Nuggets on a Car:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/449952797086474240

The Filthy Truck One:

https://twitter.com/ThePromposal/status/455837883078017025

Because nothing says ‘love’ like a dirt-encrusted truck.

TIME relationships

Why ‘I Have a Boyfriend’ Is Still the Best Way to Turn a Guy Down

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Getty Images

An argument for efficiency by a feminist

You’re out with your friends at a bar, and a guy comes over and starts talking to you. You exchange pleasantries and start chatting. But it soon becomes clear that you’re just not that into him. What’s the best way to turn him down without being a total jerk? A 2013 XOJane column that went viral over the weekend by Alecia Lynn Eberhardt makes the argument that the age-old excuse of “I have a boyfriend” (whether it’s true or not) undermines a woman’s autonomy by suggesting she’s unavailable because she’s “taken” by a man. Eberhardt pulls a popular quote from Tumblr to explain why this excuse deprives a woman of all agency:

Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest.

While in theory I agree with this sentiment, I’m going to still argue for the efficacy of the “I have a boyfriend” excuse. When I am out with my friends at a bar trying to enjoy myself, the last thing I want to do is take precious time away from my friends to explain to a stranger why I have no interest in him. Eberhardt’s sketch of how this debate might play out sounds exhausting:

“I’m not interested.” Don’t apologize and don’t excuse yourself. If they question your response (which is likely), persist — ”No, I said I’m not interested.”

“Oh, so you have a boyfriend?”

“I said, I’m not interested.”

“So you’re a lesbian, then?”

“Actually, I’m not interested.”

“You seem crazy.”

“Nope, just not interested.”

Et cetera. You could even, if you were feeling particularly outspoken, engage in a bit of debate with the man in question.

I don’t have the patience to get into debates with every man who hits on me. I’ve used the “I’m not interested” excuse before only to be regaled for 10 minutes with stories as to why I should be interested. I’ve seen men sit down at a table with a friend, put their arm around her even after she’s said, “I’m not interested.” I even had a man try this strategy while I was on a date with a boyfriend who was sitting across the table from me.

If, on the other hand, you say, “I have a boyfriend,”— even if that’s a bald-faced lie — guys will flee pretty quickly. Some will say, “So?” But that debate can be ended pretty quickly with “I don’t cheat” or “he just got out of prison.”

So yes, if you think you’re dealing with a rational person who will leave you alone after you utter “I’m not interested” or if you feel like spending your night engaged in spirited debate, do the empowered thing and don’t lie. But that’s often not the case, and while I consider myself a feminist, I’m also someone who cares about efficiency. It’s not my obligation to educate men in bars about society’s gender issues. I want to enjoy my evenings. So I’ll be sticking with “I have a boyfriend” and go home still believing in equal pay, leaning in and that a woman should win the presidency in 2016.

TIME relationships

Dating: Women Believe What They Hear About a Guy’s Reputation

New study shows that women reject men based on negative spin, even when the information is the same

When it comes to relationships, women tend to believe the hype about men they’re considering dating. Researchers found that women change their opinion of men when they’re presented with a negative or positive spin, even if the information is exactly the same.

Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal found that women were more highly attuned to information about potential mates when it was negatively framed, even if the facts were exactly the same as the positive framing. In other words, women are extremely susceptible to spin.

They presented participants with two statements about potential mates that said the exact same information in different ways. For example:

“Seven out of 10 people who know this person say he is kind”

vs.

“Three out of 10 people who know this person say he is unkind.”

The information is the same, but the framing is different, and the women were much more likely to reject mates who were framed negatively. The researchers concluded this is probably because of “parental investment theory,” or the notion that women have to be pickier about their mates because the consequences are higher for picking the wrong one.

So what does that mean for guys who get mixed reviews on apps like Lulu that rate men? It means they should clean up their act, because one negative comment could be enough to turn dates away.

TIME career

Leaning In at Work, Traditionalist at Home: Women Who Hide Their Success

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Retro housewife Bojan Kontrec—Getty Images/Vetta

Why we need to stop worrying about emasculating men

I once hid my raise from my live-in boyfriend for a full year before he found out. I was already the decision-maker in our relationship, and I didn’t want him to feel bad that he made less than I did.

It’s the kind of scenario we hear often: ambitious, hard-charging women purposely shaving off a couple digits when talking about money with their partners. Women who subtly downplay their accomplishments in order to protect their boyfriends’ egos. Those who play the damsel in distress to cater to some caveman-like need to save. Even toning down an online dating profile – deleting accolades and advanced degrees – to sound less “intimidating” to potential suitors.

“I would let him make the decisions even when I knew they weren’t the right ones,” one friend told me recently, of her (not coincidentally) now ex-husband.

“I never reveal where I got my PhD on a first date,” said another, who is an Ivy League grad.

“I think my biggest fear in a relationship,” a New York editor quipped over brunch recently, “is emasculating the guy and ending up alone.”

It’s a feminist by day, traditionalist by night way of life, and it would make our Second Wave mothers cringe. By day, these women are successful and self-assured – part of a cohort dominating the working world and outpacing their male peers in college and advanced degrees. The under 30 set are outearning their male counterparts in nearly every major city in America. And when it comes to married couples, the number of female breadwinners has been steadily rising: 24 percent of wives now make more than their husbands.

And yet when it comes to their romantic lives, these women are unabashedly shrinking violets, their behavior influenced by age-old stereotypes about men, women and power that have simply not shifted as quickly as the working world. They’re also being influenced by a bevy of advice books – including a new one, When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women, by financial advisor and journalist Farnoosh Torabi.

One part financial manual and two parts primer in retro-femininity, the book is a guide, she says, for single women whose success may intimidate potential suitors. Rule No. 1: Face the Facts. And the facts, she explains are clear. “When a woman makes more than her man, the odds are stacked against her in many ways: she’s less likely to get married, more likely to be unhappier in marriage, and there are many psychological and sexual costs,” writes Torabi.

Torabi is wrestling with the contradictions of a particular cultural moment: women are less dependent and passive than ever before. And yet, as Ronald Levant, the editor of the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, put it recently, “men are stuck” – caught between caveman-like desires to protect and provide, and the fact that more and more women are the ones doing the providing. One recent study found that men subconsciously suffer a bruised ego when their wives or girlfriends excel — regardless of whether they are in direct competition. Another survey, from Pew, found that 28 percent of Americans believe that it is “generally better for a marriage if the husband earns more than his wife.”

Where that leaves us? If you believe Torabi, with a complicated set of rules to follow – lest we end up, as the Princeton Mom warned, a “spinster with cats.” Not only must we achieve at work, we must stroke our partner’s ego. We can land the big deal, but we still must play the damsel in distress. We can go to Pilates, but might still consider asking him to lift that box – to make him feel like a man. Oh, and we may be the primary breadwinner, but we should still let him pay in public (as Torabi often does with her own husband) – even if it’s coming out of a joint checking account.

“Calling it stroking his ego can sound controversial, but money is a huge source of power and self worth for a lot of people,” she says. “So you have to understand that.”

Or better yet: you can reject it altogether.

Yes, men have been breadwinners for 10,000 years. They’ve been conditioned to be dominant. Hunters, gatherers … you know the drill. But let’s give dudes some credit.

College-aged men and women almost universally say they desire unions in which housework, child-rearing, ambition and moneymaking will be respectfully negotiated and shared. There are plenty of men – as a recent Cosmo survey on the topic helped made clear — who would happily date a woman who made more money than they did (and like it). (Of more than 1,000 straight men ages 18 to 35, nearly half say they’ve dated a woman who made more money than they did. Fifty seven percent say they are “more attracted” to a woman who is ambitious at work.)

We are, as the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher recently told me, “in a time of tremendous transformation.”

So here’s a rule for when you make more than your male partner: Don’t believe everything you read.

TIME apps

New Messaging App for Couples: Share Selfies with Your True Love

Just in case you thought the world didn’t yet have enough messaging apps, dating website HowAboutWe has introduced a new one made just for couples. You&Me, launching today for iOS (and coming soon to Android), is a bit like a private Snapchat for you and your beloved. Users can share not only text, photos and stickers, but also music pulled in from Spotify or Rdio. The app also has a unique twist on selfies called “Halfies,” which allows a couple to combine two halves of two different photos to form a single image (example below). For more intimate (or explicit) exchanges, users can send “secret” photos that are obscured by steam until the user rubs it away. This is supposed to make the image sexier—or at least make it less awkward if you unknowingly open a raunchy photo in public.

You&Me
HowAboutWe

“We realized that there weren’t any messaging apps that fully support how couples communicate today — through text, music and rich media — so we built one,” HowAboutWe co-founder Aaron Schildkrout said in a press release. “We created You&Me as the ideal communication resource for people in love.”

Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule that you have to find The One before you download this app. Some early reviews indicate that it might be more fun to use with a best friend. For now, it’s only a one-on-one experience, though, so you’ll have to choose your You&Me partner carefully.

HowAboutWe is hardly the first company to make a messaging app for lovebirds. We’ve written previously about Pair, now called Couple, which offers similar features and boasts more than 2 million downloads. Relationship app Between has 5 million downloads. You&Me has a bold visual flair, though. If you’re into halfsies, this may be the app for you.

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