TONIGHT things get steamy in BBC1 drama Gold Digger as toyboy Ben and wealthy 60-year-old divorcee Julia enjoy a skinny dip in her outdoor pool.
But is Julia out of her depth in their romance as the six-partner hits its midway point?
Her three grown-up kids certainly seem to think so, suspecting 34-year-old Ben is purely after her money.
With the TV series gripping viewers, Laura Stott speaks to a real-life gold digger. Adam, 29, confesses all…
"I didn't plan to be a gold digger when I grew up — I wanted to be a successful actor, still do. After leaving school I moved from Plymouth to Manchester and enrolled in drama school.
I’m a good-looking guy, and talented, so I presumed it was just a matter of time before I took Hollywood by storm.
I got an agent and landed minor parts, but years passed and my big break never came. I had huge debts, a career going nowhere, lived in a dirty flat-share and was miserable.
To earn extra cash I handed out food samples at festivals. I hated it, it was a slog and beneath me. Then I worked with a girl who kept talking about the loaded older bloke she had met online.
He was paying off her credit cards and buying her designer shoes. She had sex with him but said it was worth it to stop stressing about money.
That planted the seed. I started to wonder if a rich woman could be the answer to my money worries.
I might not have made it in the movies yet but I suppose you could say that playing the role of devoted boyfriend to Carolyn, my current 61-year-old “girl” friend has been my most successful role to date.
My first foray into gold digging was an eye-opener. Naively, I hadn’t considered that financially secure women with a decent disposable income to lavish on a partner would all be far older.
Initially I signed up with a dating app for “arrangement”-style relationships. I was flooded with messages from women, mostly in their fifties or sixties, who wanted to meet me.
I’d always had girlfriends my own age. But some of the mature ladies still looked hot in their profile pics and I was surprised to find myself thinking I definitely “would” with 58-year-old divorcee Sylvia.
We exchanged flirty messages and arranged dinner at a smart restaurant in Manchester.
In the flesh, Sylvia did look her age, but as we drank champagne and ate steak I found myself forgetting the wrinkles or that she was older than my mum.
After she paid for dinner, we went back to her hotel. Her room at the five-star Lowry Hotel was amazing and the sex was quite a turn-on, a bit like a fantasy of going to bed with your best mate’s Milf.
Truthfully it was the swanky surroundings that put me in the mood as much as Sylvia.
The next morning we went to Harvey Nichols for brunch and Sylvia bought me a cashmere jumper before we said goodbye. I didn’t care if the shop assistant was wondering if I was her son.
When I got home to my tiny rented room in Oldham, the bin was overflowing, it stank and it was freezing. The contrast to the previous night of luxury was stark.
I knew which I preferred. Rich women would be my passport out. In November last year I quit the age-gap dating apps after realising that for longer-term liaisons I had to take a more subtle approach.
I had to be more in control so women didn’t think of me as a novelty they could dispose of when bored. I wanted a nice home, security and cashflow on tap — permanently.
When women hook up with older, richer men no one bats an eyelid, but when it’s the other way around, people still find it shocking or taboo.
I started scouring regular dating sites. Rich women have a certain look, similar expensive haircuts and clothes, and real diamonds.
They are usually divorced, lacking in confidence and surprised when I message them. It sounds awful but it’s helpful if they are vulnerable.
My trick is to ask them about themselves, flatter them, listen and get them to open up. I’ll ask them to Facetime me so I can see their house in the background, literally getting my eyes on the prize.
Afterwards I’ll check on Zoopla to see what it’s worth. When all the flirting has paid off, I’ll suggest dinner.
On dates I never dress or talk like their sons — it’s familiar shirts and pullovers like their ex-husbands wore, just on a younger, fitter body.
They are usually divorced, lacking in confidence and surprised when I message them – it’s helpful if they are vulnerable.
I’ve learnt what topics of conversation to focus on — think intellectual not Instagram, and phones away.
I’ll talk about my “acting” and exaggerate my career, maybe discuss plays that are on in the West End to make me seem mature, creative and intelligent. I mug up on the online reviews beforehand.
I always pay for that first dinner, to silence any alarm bells about my motives, before suggesting a nightcap in their room.
As the relationship develops I’ll drop hints about countries I’d like to visit, cars and clothes designers I love — then sit back and wait. After they fall for me, I rarely have to put my hand in my pocket.
Kids are the biggest hurdle. If your rich mum is dating someone your age it’s unlikely to go down well, is it? They get suspicious, and scared I’m going to nick their inheritances — fair enough, really.
Sons are worse, because they are usually angry mummy’s boys.
It’s important to suggest meeting their children early on to face the music, you look more genuine.
HE WENT BALLISTIC
Luckily I’m still on my agent’s website for acting, which helps me look legit when they Google me. If they ask me about current work I just keep it vague.
I’ve made some rookie errors. For six months I was dating a divorcee called Christine.
She’d bought me a £2,000 watch, we went to Spain business class and she’d even set me up with a monthly allowance and credit card. We had said we loved each other and I was hoping to make things permanent.
Then she told her son, who was two years older than me, I might move in. He went ballistic.
He found my social media accounts and saw photos of me in bars with Lucy, an ex I was still occasionally seeing when I was seeing his mum.
He also traced me to my flatshare in Oldham. Not good when I’d taken his mum to a smart Air B’n’B in Manchester once or twice and pretended it was my place.
Christine was devastated, and I did feel awful about it. I did genuinely care about her.
I know people will judge me but I’m not all bad, if I say I love someone I do mean it. Perhaps it’s the security and lifestyle I love as much as the person, but that’s OK, isn’t it?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting nice things in life, and I’m hoping Carolyn, my current other half, will support me in re-focusing on my acting career.
It might require a bit of a financial investment from her, but she can easily afford it. I’ve been surprised to find how much I enjoy dating older women and playing a submissive role.
Perhaps it’s the security and lifestyle I love as much as the person, but that’s OK, isn’t it?
They are more direct, especially in bed, have the money to dress well and take care of themselves and I do find that sexy.
Carolyn has Botox and a personal trainer and looks better than some of the twentysomethings I know. We both get something out of it — I make her feel young, independent, sexy and a bit rebellious.
Carolyn doesn’t get on with her 26-year-old daughter, which is a bonus — if she wants to mother me instead that’s fine, as long as she still wants sex with me too.
I’m currently spending a lot of time in Carolyn’s £2million house. She got it in the divorce settlement.
My friends are all starting to get married and think I’m having a “phase” but I want to settle down too, just in a different way to them. I haven’t told my mum about my mature girlfriends yet.
She’s been on her own since her and my dad split a decade ago and it sometimes crosses my mind that if she was richer she’s the type of woman I’d be prowling the dating apps for.
Do I see a future with Carolyn? Absolutely. But would I be with her if she didn’t have money? No.
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