| NEW YORK
NEW YORK The age-old complaint by mature women that men their own age are only interested in pretty young things was turned on its head at an exclusive speed-dating session in New York.
At "Natural Selection Speed Date II: Sugar Mamas & Boy Toys," held in a posh club on Manhattan's Fifth Ave, it was a chance for wealthy older women to have their choice of younger men whose only qualification was their good looks.
"Now it's the women's turn," said Janice Spindel, who calls herself New York's most exclusive matchmaker and who screened more than 5,000 male applicants before winnowing them down to 20 "boy toys," all of them under 35.
The 20 women who took part in Thursday evening's event were all older than 35. Every one earned at least $500,000 a year or had a minimum of $4 million in liquid assets.
"Why can't a woman who has money get a really hot little boy toy?" asked Spindel.
As champagne and cocktails flowed freely and with a romantic New York City skyline for a backdrop, organizers with stopwatches and whistles made sure the women and the prospective "boy toys" changed partners every few minutes.
"All the men that were there were exceptionally good looking nice gentlemen. They were funny. They were bright," Gail Garrison, a 44-year-old blonde who owns a clothing design company, told Reuters after the event.
"I don't know whether people made love connections or not but on a professional level I made two great connections," Garrison said. "There were a couple of great guys that I'd like to get to know better as a friend, and if something more comes of it, then great."
The event was the idea of Jeremy Abelson of Pocket Change, a newsletter that caters to those seeking luxury goods and services in New York and Los Angeles. Abelson drew fire from some quarters last year for arranging a similar speed-dating evening pairing rich older men with beautiful young women.
The women for Thursday's event did not have to be particularly good looking, Abelson said. As it turned out, "many are drop-dead gorgeous and they also happen to be loaded." They included a 50-year-old owner of a marketing firm, a theater producer and a fashion designer.
Garrison said the format could be challenging.
"In a situation like speed dating, which I had never done before, you're in the middle of a sentence and 'Oh, whoops got to go.' But you're all given the choice to be in touch with someone," she said.
Jordan Weinstein, who was more than a little surprised to make the 20-man cut, didn't really turn up looking for love.
"My expectation was to come away with a good story because all my co-workers are expecting that," he said.
(Additional reporting by Robert Campbell; Editing by David Storey)