It began, reports Early Show national correspondent Jess Glor, with a personal ad on Craigslist.
A young woman asked, "What am I doing wrong? I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25-year-old girl. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half-a-million a year. ... $250,000 won't get me to Central Park West," one of the city's swankiest addresses.
"I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker," the ad continued, "and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? Where do you single rich men hang out? What are you looking for in a mate? I am looking for marriage only.
Please hold your insults. I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it."
The ad got a response, Glor says, but probably not what she wanted. Someone composed an e-mail and sent to friends -- a wicked e-mail that's become a sensation on the Internet, and around water coolers."
A man claiming to be a Wall Street trader wrote, "I qualify as a guy who fits your bill. Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me is, plain and simple, a crappy business deal. What you suggest is a simple trade: You bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. But here's the rub: Your looks will fade, and my money will likely continue into perpetuity. You're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next five years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35, stick a fork in you! In Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold."
If that's not enough, Glor adds, he closes with two zingers: "You could always find a way to make your own money, and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation. If you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know."
Neither the poster, nor the e-mailer, has stepped forward, Glor notes.
On The Early Show Wednesday, two dating experts debated the merits of each point of view. Nicole Beland, deputy editor of Women's Health magazine, and Matt Titus, founder of the matchmaking service Matt's Little Black Book, went back-and-forth about it.
Beland says she's "appalled, shocked, horrified, embarrassed. I would never want any man to think this is what most women are looking for."
"I think it's great," countered Titus. "Give her credit. She's overt about what she wants. The sad thing is, though, she's probably not going to have a relationship filled with love. It's probablyl not going to happen."
And on and on they went from there.
To see their entire exchange,