You may have heard about people who try to marry money. Michelle Miller examined this age-old phenomenon's modern incarnations, including speed dating, millionaire-dating Web sites and a televised millionaire matchmaker.
Speed dating for the very rich: It shouldn't surprise you. There are more millionaires than ever, and no shortage of people who want to share their success.
But one event in Manhattan last week turned the old idea of a gold digger on its head.
"We are hosting a speed date exclusively available to ultra-wealthy women and hot young men," said event organizer Jeremy Abelson.
One female in attendance, Gail Garrison, said she is a 44-year-old fashion designer.
Another said: "My name is Vivian Cha. I'm 47 years old. And I'm a physician."
Nancy Richards said: "I'm 50 years old. But my motto is '50 is the new 30.'"
"I'm open to dating men that are younger, whether it's five years, ten years, 12 years," Garrison said.
What did one of the younger men there have to say? Paul Janka, 27, said: "I want to be coddled, yes."
"There are a lot of people who are gonna say, 'That's disgusting.' Anytime you integrate money into dating, people are going to say, 'That's disgusting.' And it's usually by people who don't have any money," Abelson said. "The fact of the matter is money is a very big part of dating, period. End of story."
Does Abelson have a point?
In the 1953 film "How To Marry A Millionaire," Marilyn Monroe said: "I'd rather marry a rich man than a poor man."
And long before that film, the pursuit of wealth, for many, was a top priority.
"A good rule of thumb is minimize your contact with the non-rich," said Charlotte Hays, author of "The Fortune Hunters, Dazzling Women and the Men they Married."
Hays has her own theories about the courtship of a former first lady.
"Jacqueline Kennedy was engaged to a very WASP-y guy with wonderful credentials … before she married Kennedy. But it wasn't real money," Hays said. "But Kennedy came along and it was real money, and so, she went for that."
Are these women happy though?
"Well, I think they are happy. It's not a role that would make a lot of women happy," Hays said. "This job - you have to obey the golden rule. And the golden rule is he who has the gold makes the rules."
And finding the golden goose, or gander, is getting easier. Or at least more direct. There are a number of Internet sites that allow subscribers to meet the rich. One, called seekingmillionaire.com, is actually free for the millionaire-seekers, as long as they're good looking, according to founder Brandon Wade.
"I think most other sorta millionaire-dating Web site[s] focus only the millionaire aspect, whereas in Seeking Millionaire, I think the website … clearly states that it's not only wealth that you need to have, but, you know … you probably should also have beauty," he said. "So it's really balancing those two factors, wealth and beauty."
"I think … that's really the big difference. I think there's just a lot of dating websites out there. And really focusing on just wealth is one thing, but wealth and beauty being two of the most important thing[s]," he said.
And are the guys beautiful?
"If they are wealthy, then they don't necessarily need to be beautiful," he said.
For those who want a more hands-on approach to meeting money, meet Patti Stanger, star of the cable TV series "Millionaire Matchmaker." Every week, she helps her clients wrangle wealthy men.
"You're really taking the love out of the process," Miller said.
"Okay. Let me ask you this question. We live 10-to-15 more years longer than men. Right? So we have to think about our financial security," Stanger said.
And in a world where women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, Stanger says fortune hunting is a must.
"And maybe there's no family. A lot of us have never been married, over the age of 35, and we don't have kids. Who's taking care of us?" she asked. "We don't live in Asia, where we live in the home for 100 years. And we're revered as the elders, the wisers. We're tossed aside. You better start thinking about your financial future."
Because nobody else is if you don't. And if you think that's unromantic, I'm sorry. That's a fact of life. It's realistic. I care about women. And I don't want to see them get hurt.
No one got hurt at the Sugar Mama speed dating event. But none of the women CBS News spoke with found romance, either.
It's hardly surprising. The word "love" can be hard to hear in a society where money sometimes talks loudest of all.
Copyright 2008 CBS. All rights reserved.