Will Date for Food: Women Who Seek Fancy Dinners

PHOTO: Jessica Sporty, 25, spoke to "Good Morning America" about the lavish meals guys would buy when she went on dates in New York.

It's a stereotype as old as dating itself: women seeking guys for material gain, and guys seeking women for their beauty. But when 25-year-old Jessica Sporty spoke honestly about her brief but calculated plan to date men of means while living in New York, her confession sparked outrage online.

BusinessInsider.com, the website that featured the interview with Sporty last week, eventually disabled the article's comment section, but angry readers continued to vent on other websites that had picked up the story.

Some people called her a "gold digger" and others called her "obscene."

After the fallout, Sporty -- who now lives in California -- sat down with "Good Morning America" to tell her side of the story.

"I'm a traditional girl," she said. "And to me, I feel a part of dating is if a guy wants to take me out, what's wrong with him taking me out to a dinner and me expecting for the bill to be paid?"

Sporty said she joined Match.com while she was living in New York two years ago, and she soon discovered there were a lot of well-to-do guys in Manhattan who were interested in her online profile.

So for a little more than a month she became a serial dater.

During that time, she told "GMA," she went on 30 dates, saving approximately $1,200 because the guys would always offer to foot the bill.

Had one of them asked her to split it, she said she probably would have responded, "OK, no problem."

"In my head, I probably would have said, 'You know, that's not very traditional and I think that a man should pay for the first date,'" she told "GMA."

"New York is really expensive. ... A lot of these experiences I wouldn't have been able to have if I hadn't, you know, been on Match.com and gone through this," she said. "It was my own 'Sex and the City.'"

Of course, women seeking well-off men -- and men seeking beautiful women -- is nothing new on the dating scene.

"Dating first started in early 20th century -- an alternative to the older middle-class custom of 'calling,' where a woman's family invited the man to come [visit]," said Stephanie Coontz, a history and women's studies professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who recently wrote a book about feminism in the 1960s. "Dating gave young people a lot more freedom from parental supervision but it also introduced a lot more commerce into the situation. The woman was expected to give something -- whether deference, admiration or sex."

By the 1950s, there were advice books for men about how to get women's clothes off faster during a date, Coontz said, and in 1962 Helen Gurly Brown's best-selling book, "Sex and the Single Girl," advocated that women use dates to make up for the fact that they're paid less than men.

"I heartily disapprove of it," Coontz said. "I think any time women give men who want to behave badly an excuse for doing so, that's no help to our gender and no help to the kind of relationships I think we want."

Sporty's story provoked online commenters because she was "using one set of gender stereotypes to her own advantage in ways that violate a lot of other gender stereotypes that are going to cause condemnation," Coontz said.

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