Coming from someone who was happily sent off with two strange bailiffs in an Escort by a previous boyfriend, having men ‘buy’ me – from clothes to household bills – is about as far removed from my life as cock fizz to Anne Widdecome. Without getting all feminist and donning my ‘fuck off’ slippers, I don’t get it. I’ll buy my own Primark knickers thanks. But it seems ‘rinsing’ is becoming a lucrative choice for females wanting the finer things in life without the hard work involved.
For anyone not in the know, ‘rinsing’ is basically about women meeting up with wealthy men, adding them as contacts in BBM, and then dropping massive hints about holidays/gifts/bills that need paying in the hope that one of these contacts might just take the initiative and send the money over. There’s no relationship and no sexual contact, and this is made clear; it’s a business contract whereby men get to lavish attractive young women with whatever they desire for the thrill of pulling the wallet strings. So we follow Jeanette, Danica, and Holli, watching them – in the words of C4 – ‘charm, persuade and manipulate men to buy what they want’.
‘Rinsing’ is basically about women meeting up with wealthy men, adding them as contacts in BBM, and then dropping massive hints about holidays/gifts/bills
The main theme in this documentary seems to be around female emancipation and the idea that men have ‘been in charge for so long, it’s about time things changed’. We see Danicka trotting round Harvey Nichols in her Louboutins, adding everything from a tumble dryer to a Britney Spears DVD to her wishlist, desperately hoping one of her contacts will snap up one of her reasonably priced items. And sorry, this is women exerting power? Sorry, but if you have to hang about waiting for someone else to buy you something, you’re not in charge, you’re a tit. I might have to do two nightshifts and two day jobs, but at least I don’t have to rely on Raul from Latvia to deposit £3 in my current account for Tena lady. Apparently it does have a name though – ‘damsel in distress’ syndrome. Because nothing says ‘buy me a dyson’ like a lost little woman standing in Debenhams like a bewildered fawn carrying a dachshund.
Like everything in life, there are various levels of rinser. Holli, bless her, is at level shit. Working as a dancer at Mansfield’s ‘premier nightspot’ Wonderland – cue shot of her gyrating like Alan Partridge in an empty Tuesday night club to ‘entice the customers in’ – she uses her job to swop numbers, befriend men on facebook and arrange dates to rinse. Part of this strategy also seems to involve stomping through Mansfield in stilts, walking like she’s negotiating dogshit wearing a built-up shoe. On the plus side though, she has some success. Holli manages to make £900 throughout the month in cash – because men pay for her company and small talk – with added gifts on top. ‘This is my business plan’, she says, wafting some bubble writing on a Wilkinson’s jotter in front of the camera. Even more disturbing is her ever-supportive mum who thinks the whole thing is a ruddy bloody great idea, even perching on the end of the bed while Holli takes her first dominatrix skype. ‘Oh you were brilliant’, she tells her daughter, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. ‘Brilliant’. Now I’m all for my daughter doing what makes her happy in life. If she wants to be a singer, an artist, a physician, a barrister - it’s all good to me. But if I ever thought I’d be sitting on a single bed watching her call a fat man a ‘worthless fat pig’ while he fiddles with the old Spurt Reynolds, I’d be having a word.
Perching on the end of the bed while Holli takes her first dominatrix skype. ‘Oh you were brilliant’, she tells her daughter, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. ‘Brilliant’
It’s ok though, because Holli’s got bigger plans. She wants to be an author, and she has big plans for her work. ‘How to be a Golddigger’ is a manual aiming to show young girls how to make a living from wealthy men. And in other news, Toni Morrison is shitting herself.
There’s an even darker side to this though, which becomes apparent when Jeanette, a Liverpudlian single mum of two – travels to New York to meet a contact for a shopping trip. During the course of the day he gets increasingly more affectionate, and she’s not having it. ‘Don’t be mean’, she laughs, elbowing his creeping hand away. ‘Mean?’ he replies. ‘This isn’t mean. Piss me off and then you’ll see mean.’ As predictable as mould on cheese, it goes from bad to worse, culminating in a massive row. But Jeanette, ever the pro, never gives up on a good rinse. And she wants a Louis Vuitton bag. So she arranges to meet him by the store to allow him to apologise ‘in dollar’, ending in her being stranded in New York with a very angry little fat man and reflecting on her poor childhood. And in that moment, I sort of get it. Secondhand clothes, no money, bullied in school – it becomes clearer why this aesthica is so important to her. Then you hear her talking to a wealthy businessman about the spiral staircase in her penthouse flat (she lives in a two-bedroomed flat in Liverpool with her kids) and you realise it’s all just fantasy and sadness. And the cold, dead eyes of a shark.
Perhaps I’m being unfair and unduly moralistic. I’m a little too far on the other side of this story perhaps – I’ve always worked, always provided and never been in a position where someone else has paid my way in life for me (apart from my mother, and I still maintain that maths tuition and swimming lessons don’t count). The thought embarrasses me and I’d like to be able to teach my daughter that if she wants something, she can buy it herself. Because it feels fucking great. But as long as there are beautiful women and wealthy men desirous of their time, there will be rinsers.
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