How I Know My Rich Older Man Will Buy Me Anything and Everything I Ask For: Part 1

I had avoided let­ting my older fiancé, Patrick, buy me a condo or pay my rent. That part of me that wanted to remain finan­cially inde­pen­dent was crit­i­cal to my sense of well-being and self-esteem. It was also a way of pro­tect­ing myself, should he decide to leave me. But he always paid for every­thing else: vaca­tions, flights, fancy din­ners, week­end get­aways, and incidentals.

Christ­mas was com­ing up and he wanted to sur­prise me. I told him he always did a very good job of sur­pris­ing me and as long as he avoided real estate, I looked for­ward to his gift. Mean­while, I shopped for the per­fect leather jacket and white silk scarf for him that year. I wanted to show him that I could spoil him, too.

I found the per­fect jacket at Neiman Marcus—it was a black Ralph Lau­ren Pur­ple Label lamb jacket made in Italy. It was gor­geous and far too expen­sive for my bud­get, but I bought it any­way and put in on my card. Even at a high-end store like Neiman Mar­cus, this jacket raised eye­brows, and I was given spe­cial treat­ment in the pri­vate lounge area where a glass of cham­pagne was pre­sented to me as I pon­dered my decision.

A cou­ple of weeks before Christ­mas, Patrick called me at my office and said he’d like to take me to din­ner at a restau­rant in Win­netka, a posh north­ern sub­urb of Chicago. I loved the north­ern sub­urbs, built along the shores of beau­ti­ful Lake Michi­gan. I had dri­ven along the lake many times by myself when I was in the throes of grief and loss, after my younger ex had abruptly left me. I found it sooth­ing and I imag­ined myself liv­ing there someday.

Patrick picked me up out­side my office and we drove up Lake Shore Drive. I was look­ing for­ward to a new restau­rant. Traf­fic was smooth that late Wednes­day after­noon and as we entered the exclu­sive vil­lage of Winnetka—one of the top 15 rich­est zip codes in the United States—I real­ized how good it felt to be out of the city. Patrick pulled the car up to a beau­ti­ful white stone build­ing with a canopy and dark green car­pet lead­ing to the entry. It didn’t have any sig­nage, but I assumed it was prob­a­bly a pri­vate din­ing club.

We stepped inside and an older, very well-dressed man greeted Patrick like they were long-lost friends. Hand­shakes, back-slapping, head nods, hol­i­day greetings—it was all very merry. I was intro­duced to Bill, who looked me over rather closely and then asked us to step into a pri­vate room.

Inside the room were racks of furs arranged art­fully, with over­stuffed chairs and sofas strate­gi­cally placed near dif­fer­ent sta­tions. Man­nequins adorned in coats, jack­ets, vests, stoles, and capes made from beaver, fox, rab­bit, leather, mink, and coy­ote stood under a ceil­ing stud­ded with lights that reflected off mir­rors and raised plat­forms, meant for fit­tings and 360-degree views.

This was cer­tainly not a restau­rant, and once again, Patrick had arranged a sur­prise that left me speechless…