Some dating advice for Murdoch
LAST Monday, two well-coiffed ladies of a certain age (50s, with work) sat down for a pre-dinner drink at the Sunset Tower Hotel. I was at the next table, doing what any good reporter does when his companion is late: Eavesdropping.
They chit-chatted about the normal stuff (holiday shopping is exhausting, simply exhausting) and turned to the topic of men eventually. "You know, Rupert Murdoch is back on the market," one woman said. "You should go for him."
I almost choked on a cocktail peanut. Rupert Murdoch: Sexiest man alive?
The Sunset Tower ladies giggled, too. But I started to wonder: Just what does Mr Murdoch, 82, plan to do for companionship now that a divorce from his third wife, Ms Wendi Deng, 45, has been finalised?
With the ink barely dry on the divorce, which was completed in New York on Nov 20, a couple of Mr Murdoch's confidants responded to my phoning around in a predictably chilly fashion. He is not seeing anyone, they insisted. He has no interest in romance at the moment - that juicy USA Today tidbit about his masseuse, who is actually an osteopath, is hogwash. Click.
Ms Julie Henderson, chief communications officer for 21st Century Fox, one of the two media companies of which Mr Murdoch is chairman, had no comment for this column. The same for Mr Steven Rubenstein, an outside PR adviser to Mr Murdoch.
The notion of Mr Murdoch as a romantic prize is not far-fetched. Sure, his Australian mumble makes him (extremely) hard to understand. Yes, he's a workaholic with feisty adult children. He is also the world's most powerful media mogul with wealth estimated at US$13 billion (S$16 billion).
And if you think elderly men can't attract dates, consider Mr Sumner Redstone, 90. I last saw him on Nov 2 at an outdoor cocktail party before a Los Angeles County Museum of Art gala, where he was propped on a sofa under a heat lamp; three young women (late 30s?) were fawning over him. Fawning and cooing.
Still, Mr Murdoch may be interested in finding a new companion sooner than later. Age has clearly been on his mind.
"Can we all live to 120 or more? Probably not, but our children for sure," he tweeted last month, referencing a Wall Street Journal article on genetics. And a new female friend may help give his image a boost following widespread speculation about Ms Deng's romantic entanglements.
Mr Murdoch, with three marriages now behind him, seems to need a little advice in the dating department. So I made a few calls on his behalf.
Patti Stanger, the star of Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker, which is based on her mate-finding service in California, was eager to help.
"Most billionaires are control freaks, at least by my experience," she said. "And, with three divorces, he seems to be doing something wrong. I would need to figure out what that is and break him." Like a horse, apparently.
Her advice? Avoid gifts of cash, credit cards, condos or cars - the Four C's.
"Those are gifts for a wife, not a girlfriend," she said.
Mr Murdoch, at least early on, should avoid going on dates to places that may bring up bad memories of Ms Deng. (Mental note, interested ladies of Los Angeles: Skip the House of Pies).
Ken Solin, a dating columnist for AARP's online magazine, warned him to resist trying to make himself appear younger by deploying 50 shades of grey - dyeing his hair various tinges of brown, black and auburn. He does have a poor track record in this department: "Rupert Murdoch debuts new hair", intoned a Huffington Post headline in 2010.
"There's nothing sillier," said Solin, who is also a dating coach and the author of the books Act Like A Man and You Gotta Have Heart. "Don't try to be something you're not," he said. "Don't start wearing jackets with your shirt hanging out.
"And no tight jeans."