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Apparently it's tougher now, than any point in history, to marry an old rich dude for his money. Trophy wives reportedly now have to have start-ups and multiple degrees to make them more desirable to the crotchety old dudes who want to marry them. In an article brought on by the debut of the show Trophy Wife (which isn't even about trophy wives) tonight on ABC, the trend of the refined trophy wife was spotted by The New York Post, who explain that not all trophy wives are created equal.

While Kate, the fictional character in the show, is the more conventional California version of a "trophy wife" — blond, tan and a party girl — the real-life equivalent here on the East Coast is more sophisticated. Designer labels, bespoke beauty treatments and extravagant holidays are still part of the package — but so are advanced degrees and business start-ups.

This isn't the first time we were warned of the the smarter, more successful trophy wife. Human BlackBerry Tina Brown spotted this trend back in July. "What’s interesting about the new crop of billionaire-geezer engagements is that formerly termed 'cupcakes' are out of style," Brown wrote. And Brown was not afraid to name names, of these ambitious younger women: 

Wendi Murdoch, a glamorous dynamo whom I have always found extremely engaging, was the harbinger of this billionaire dating trend. She has an MBA (from the Yale School of Management), and so does the next Mrs. Soros, who started an Internet dietary-supplement-and-vitamin-sales company and now has developed a "web based yoga platform." Leonard Lauder’s charming fiancée likewise is a businesswoman of substance.

This whole business of naming names, and reducing these women's accomplishments into old man bait is mildly depressing and just seems nasty. That's partly because there's an implication is that despite these various and impressive accomplishments, these women just want to be taken care of or that their accomplishments will always be less than their husbands'. And perhaps more disturbing, there are the women who don't mind being painted into this caricature. 

"I said: 'I’m going to be a trophy wife,' and everyone thought it was hilarious," Julie Lin, who calls herself a Trophy Wife 2.0, told The Post. "I took a step back and thought: ‘What’s so wrong with that?' ...They’ve [this new breed of trophy wife] shattered the myth of the bimbo with the designer handbag, because they are educated, worldly and ambitious. They’re role models." Well, let's not go that far. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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