Amy Green, a 27-year-old PR manager, and her stylish female friends can typically be found on a weekend evening dressed to impress and relaxing in a bar located in one of London's most fashionable neighborhoods.
Despite indulging in pricey cocktails, the initial action for Amy and her companions is not to engage in conversation with each other; instead, they immediately redirect their attention to their illuminated phone screens, preoccupied with altering the "geolocation" settings on the numerous dating applications they have downloaded.
By resetting their location to the affluent neighborhood where they are presently situated, it creates the impression to potential matches on the dating app that the women live in the same lavish area. This tactic enhances their likelihood of being matched with a man who also resides in that upscale location.
Amy says: "By changing my dating apps to the fancy part of town where I am, and restricting the radius to within a kilometer, I can usually see all of the single men in the immediate area."
"Last weekend, I met the girls for drinks at Shoreditch House, a private members' club in East London [and part of the exclusive Soho House group]. It was fun going through the available men."
Amy's purpose for swiping on the dating app is not purely for amusement; she is methodically seeking a specific type of partner - one who is financially well-off. Shoreditch House happens to be a lucrative location for her search.
"Yes, there were the usual struggling actors or hipsters, but among the other guys we swiped through were also creative rich types who were looking for matches. I spent most of my 20s paying for everything on dates, and it got boring."
"So when my friend told me to download Hinge, a different app, saying 'the boys are very generous on there', I tried it — and was amazed to find she was right."
After reading the previous statement, you may have developed a negative perception of Amy. However, she is simply joining the ranks of an increasing number of British women who are weary of the tedious, unfulfilling, and expensive ordeal of contemporary online dating.
If Bridget Jones were in search of love in 2023, it's probable that instead of documenting her experiences in a journal, she would be skillfully manipulating the algorithms of dating apps to improve her chances of encountering a financially successful romantic partner.
Evidence of this phenomenon is evident through numerous single women who boast publicly on social media about engaging in similar behaviors.
Influencers are utilizing popular TikTok hashtags, including #hingeprofiletips and #hingedating, that have garnered millions of views to impart advice on how to attract a wealthy partner. These tips range from selecting the appropriate photos to use, applying specific filters when conducting searches, and even identifying particular bars to frequent.
These women are disillusioned with dating men who are financially struggling and sharing expenses on dates. Consequently, they do not perceive anything dubious or immoral in their conduct.
Amy says: 'I want to earn a decent salary, I'm career-driven and have a great life. Why shouldn't I be aiming for top-tier men?'
Her objective is simple: to locate the man of her dreams who possesses his own residence, holds a stable profession, and ideally, dwells in the affluent neighborhood of Kensington in West London.
Amy says: "A friend first did it last year. She was in Edinburgh for work, staying in a posh part of the city. She was amazed at the calibre of men she was matching with."
"I told myself: "Amy, you are single and living in London — why not give it a go?" So I changed my dating profile to Kensington and couldn't believe the different calibre of men I matched with."
Amy resides in the outer regions of West London, which are not as exclusive as other areas, and has previously been involved with men who were inclined to take her to a local pub and anticipate that she would split the expenses.
"I spent years as a magnet for the wrong sort of guy. Some had poor hygiene, bad manners and would use me as a cash machine, 'borrowing' money that they never repaid."
"Kensington men look well-groomed and as though they shower at least twice a day. You just know they'd be nice to your mum. But, more importantly, they don't look as though they'd expect you to go halves on a date."
Amy aspires to meet someone like the affluent comedian, Jack Whitehall, who is considered "posh." Therefore, being a working-class woman from Bournemouth, Dorset, how does she plan on encountering a prosperous partner?
"I tweaked my profile so I'd appeal to these kinds of guys. I uploaded classier pictures, including one of me in a well-known bar on the Greek island of Mykonos..."
"As for tricks to attracting these guys? I've put that I'm into hiking. In real life, I don't mind going for a walk with friends but I've never set foot on a trail path, let alone a mountain — I prefer nice restaurants and bars."
"I've also said on my profile that I'm into reformer Pilates. It's a rich-girl gym class on complicated, expensive bits of machinery. Let's gloss over the fact that in reality, I can't touch my toes."
"Men are fascinated that I like to stretch my body. It's all an illusion but it really gets them talking to you. The Kensington boys I've swiped with have loved it."
Amy takes pride in the fact that she has progressed from dating men such as personal trainers and car salespeople to individuals with professional backgrounds such as lawyers and finance professionals.
"My two significant relationships in my 20s were with men who weren't as career-driven as me. I want the nice home, the car, holidays several times a year. I need to be with someone who has the same aspirational outlook."
"Recently, I've been seeing a guy who lives in Chelsea. On one date, we went to a chi-chi Mexican bar and the bill was three figures, thanks to countless margaritas at £15 a cocktail."
"He was happy to pay it, and even texted me the next day to make sure I was OK. We've been on several dates, and I'm taking my time — he's showing all the signs of being a keeper."
"After all, I know I'm ready to settle down and why not with a man who can take care of me? Another guy I've been seeing is super nice. He's in property management and lives in Kensington. I joke to friends that I have to be careful not to let my posh accent slip."
What's so special about Kensington? "It's my dream target really. The guys are hot but also wealthy. I have done my due diligence in other smart areas, but the men weren't really my type. I have to fancy them too."
Ella, who prefers to remain anonymous, is a 27-year-old who claims that her success story is evidence that this daring approach can indeed be effective.
Similar to Ella, Gemma Hall, a 27-year-old civil servant, has analyzed the type of men that she desires to allure.
"I started changing the settings on my phone when I was in New York for a weekend five years ago. I was astounded by the quality of men contacting me."
"They redefined my understanding of being 'wealthy'. I got taken to a private members' club for dinner and drinks — the cocktail bill alone must have run into hundreds of pounds."
"When I got home, I did a bit of a life appraisal. I'm from a loving but ordinary background and I craved the trappings of wealth I'd seen. Why shouldn't I? My family have always joked I have a penchant for the high life, despite growing up in a three-bed semi. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to how I could actually live this life."
"I started a careful 'rich girl' transformation. I'd buy designer outfits discounted online, had my hair highlighted caramel colours instead of tacky bottle-blonde, and began posting pictures of myself in discreetly wealthy locations. I'd change the location on my app to wealthy areas of London such as Knightsbridge and Notting Hill."
"Before long, I was dating a trio of guys on rotation. One was a banker working crazy hours in the City. Another was a media lawyer and the third worked in PR."
"Over a year, I went skiing in Canada, holidayed on a yacht in Ibiza and spent weekends in Norfolk at my lawyer boyfriend's second home — all for free."
"I'm now in a committed three-year relationship with the lawyer, and was thrilled when he proposed last month."
"He knows about my humble background and is unfailingly polite when he visits my family home... As for his family, they think I'm a breath of fresh air, which I suspect is code for 'pushy' and 'not one of us'."
"But their son loves me and I genuinely love him, too. I'm hoping for a low-key wedding this summer. Does he know about my clever ruse to snare him? No — and he never will. What he doesn't know can't hurt him."
"But it really is all thanks to the wonders of technology — and my determination to track down and target a rich husband. If that makes me a gold-digger, I'm not bothered . . . I can't understand why more women don't do it."
"Like Ella, civil servant Gemma Hall, 27, has studied the men she hopes to attract. 'Richer men tend to be quite active,' she says. 'They enjoy the great outdoors and you have to go along with that, really."
"But you'd never get me out of bed for wild swimming or that other posh weekend obsession: the park run. I also find wealthier men behave more like gentlemen. They wouldn't dream of leaving you to make your own way home."
According to Gemma, it is customary for her to be collected in a Mercedes or BMW prior to each of her dates.
Typically, the dates take place at high-end restaurants where a single meal can cost hundreds of pounds. It is noteworthy that neither has Gemma ever extended an offer to pay nor has she ever been requested to do so.
"I advise finding out what they do for work before a date. Usually, you can grasp their salary bracket by their profession. Google is handy for that, too."
"I also look at their clothes in their profile pictures. If there's a distinct lack of leisurewear, you know they have money. For the same reason, on my profile I use pictures of me dressed up."
Despite being single and residing with her parents in Manchester, Gemma has a particular spot she likes to frequent for her matchmaking endeavors, namely the prosperous and lush area of Alderley Edge. This region is renowned for its celebrity inhabitants, as well as its upscale bars and restaurants.
"Where I live is pretty ordinary. I'm not a snob, and have had a lovely upbringing, but it's the kind of men I meet. They're awful. That's why I changed my settings to Alderley Edge, where all the footballers and celebrities live."
"I needed to improve my chances of finding someone decent to settle down with. Dating men from these areas is a very different experience — not that I go out with someone from my own area any more."
"One man I saw for four months insisted on paying for everything. He even gave me a lovely silver bracelet — I checked and it was a good three-figure sum — for Valentine's Day. We'd go on lovely days out together to fancy hideaway villages, it was such fun."
"I like getting wined and dined for free. I get to drink champagne and eat extravagant platters of seafood, knowing it isn't me paying for it at the end of the date. It's a lovely feeling."
Onlookers may speculate whether these eligible and well-to-do bachelors have certain expectations from Gemma in exchange for all the extravagance and pampering she receives, but she claims that it is not the case.
Borina Vokou, a 36-year-old business owner residing in London, shares a similar view. She had been married in her late twenties for a duration of five years, and following her divorce, her friends taught her how to match with potential partners "correctly" on dating apps.
"I changed my location to Chelsea for security reasons. I have an unusual name and didn't want guys to track me down too easily. So it was essentially by mistake that I came across the high caliber of men using dating apps in the neighborhood. I was pretty stunned."
Borina adorned her dating profile with pictures of herself on tropical beaches, flaunting her bikini-clad figure, and it didn't take long for her to attract the attention of a man who lived in Chelsea and worked in the banking industry.
"He took me to very expensive restaurants around London, such as at the Shard. We had a weekend at a boutique hotel in Cornwall, too, just a couple of weeks after we started dating."
"It was out of the question I'd contribute financially. He lived in a riverside apartment, and was keen on taking things further, but for me it fizzled out after a few months as the physical attraction wasn't there."
"Most men aren't curious about the location change, they're more into talking about themselves."
Borina has gone beyond just using dating apps to find a wealthy partner. She also uses a technique called "Tinder targeting" to fund her vacations. "Last summer, I was planning a trip to the South of France. So, I changed my location on Tinder to St Tropez, and I was amazed by the number of wealthy men who appeared on my screen," she says.
"Apart from my flight ticket, I didn't pay for a thing while I was there. It helps that I speak French. I got taken out to dinner every evening by a few different men on rotation."
"I'm going to Ibiza this summer and I'm going to do the same thing again. But I'm not sure I'd do this to meet Mr. Right, given I was economical with the truth. It might mean awkward conversations down the line, and you never know what the men might be hiding, too."
Someone who is unfamiliar with online dating may believe that these women possess more audacity than the social-climbing character Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair.
Amy says: "Some friends are a bit alarmed by my approach to dating. But I wanted a wealthy-ever-after. For me, it's about their mindset. I want to find a man who is generous but ambitious. I'm not going to meet someone like that in my hometown. So why on earth shouldn't I target the neighborhoods where I will find him?"