"Everyone is looking for handsome, rich and charming men but there are less and less of them to go around." So says one of the comely women profiled by the NY Post's Page Six Magazine who openly admits to hunting a rich man — and, these days, failing. The money isn't flowing and as a result, neither are the free drinks and fancy dinners that a certain subset of beautiful women, in time-honored fashion, take as their due. What's weird about it is that admitting this doesn't seem to embarrass them at all.The money/beauty tradeoff is nothing new — the thing is, there are just as many lovely women, apparently vying for an ever-shrinking number of big spenders. "There's much more competition,'" says one self-described golddigger. Adds another: "'When we go out there are usually four guys buying us drinks. Now there is only one...Guys just aren't going out as much. Plus, men aren't buying bottle service so there are no tables to invite women back to.'" Ted Morgan, co-author of How to Marry a Multi-Millionaire: The Ultimate Guide to High Net Worth Dating, says, rather distastefully, "There is an increased sense of desperation among women about dating, and men can sense this." As to less permanent relationships, a piece in today's Telegraph says that wealthy men are cutting back on mistress-associated costs, too: "More than three-quarters of the adulterous multi-millionaire men surveyed said they planned to spend less money on gifts and treats for their lovers, and 82 per cent planned to cut their regular payments." Of course, it goes both ways: "Will I knowingly date somebody who is in the sh—ter right now? Probably not," says "Sammy." Basically, it's a straightforward barter system and everyone needs to pull his weight. What's weird is that none of the women seem prepared to rearrange their social lives: they'd rather vie with more competition at the same pricey bars each weekend than maybe take up a hobby or date the way the rest of us do. The thing is, all the women quoted in the piece are employed — real estate brokers, models, even women who themselves work in finance. And yet the goal of marrying — or at least dating — up seems so entrenched that even as they're fully pragmatically aware of the situation, they can't break out of it. If that's a dream to someone, it's depressing enough — finding everlasting love with a Mr. Big who — whoops! — also happens to be a gazillionaire is unlikely. But the pragmatism is more dismaying still. If there's an upside to this financial devastation, hopefully it's that some people will be forced to reevaluate, get lives that have nothing to do with Carrie Bradshaw and, maybe, be the happier for it. Desperately Seeking Sugar Daddies [Page Six Magazine] Wealthy men cut gifts to mistresses during financial crisis [Telegraph]