It started as an innocent joke. My friends and I had just had a night out in our college town and we were discussing the events at a hungover Sunday brunch. Afterwords, fueled by gossip and bottomless mimosas, we went shopping, giggling about how we were scared look at our bank accounts and check how broke we were in between swiping our cards. We joked that we were living lives we couldn’t afford, and that we should get sugar daddies. But that joke put an idea in my head, and as my roommate and I headed back to our apartment, we just couldn’t shake the idea of being sugar babies.
Did you know there are like a million sites for this? I definitely didn’t. It’s actually kind of creepy. My roommate and I laughed as we looked at older men’s profiles and descriptions for a few minutes. Some guys were over sixty, and they would admit to being married and looking for “someone fun to make them feel young again,” (ew). As we sat there giggling, we couldn’t help but look at the allowances these guys were willing to spend. These established older men were willing to spend a couple grand a month, literally just to get “dinner” with them once a week.
Still having giggle fits fueled by alcohol, we both made profiles and got messages from guys pretty much instantly.
Then, it happened. This adorable engineer in his early thirties sent me a message. I am a total sucker for geeks and this guy seemed sweet in the nerdy kind of way. We messaged for a little bit until I decided to give him my number. I mean, this guy was the entire package. He was good-looking, smart, funny, and he was clearly established, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to afford to be a sugar daddy. Right?
I deleted the account I had made just a few hours before, but I still kept talking to this guy. I told myself it was no big deal just to text someone. As long as I didn’t meet up with him I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
He sent me a text asking if I was available for dinner the same night. I panicked. I texted my roommate freaking out. My fingers were shaking as I typed “Is this prostitution? Am I a prostitute now?” Then I got another text from the guy saying “there are no expectations.” Then another one saying he “just wanted to get to know me.” As I flipped the fuck out on the phone, my friend calmed me down. “Is he cute? You liked him while you were talking to him right? What’s the worst that can happen?” (Uhm idk? I get murdered or charged with prostitution?) Despite that fact, I had kind of liked him up until now. I texted him back and agreed to go to dinner. He made reservations at the Ritz Carlton for us to watch the sunset while we eat.
On any normal occasion, I would be over the moon. A super romantic date with a guy I didn’t think I would hate spending time with? Hell yeah! But internet dating is kinda sketchy as it is, and to make it even sketchier, I met him on a sugar daddy site.
Still conflicted about whether or not I should even go, I drove to our dinner date. (I’m not one to pass up new experiences, and dinner at the Ritz at sunset was really hard to say no to). I decided to pretend it was a nicer version of a Tinder date. Worst case scenario, I get a nice dinner, funny story, and dip out as fast as possible afterward.
After I arrived, he texted me and told me he would be late, and to order a bottle of wine for the table while I waited. Idk if you have ever bought a bottle of wine for dinner at the Ritz, but they aren’t cheap. I settled on a $100 bottle and began to drink away my concerns while I waited for this guy. When he finally showed up, I didn’t know how to react and I seriously considered bolting for the door. There were a couple brief moments of awkward silence while I contemplated how my life got to this point, but then I realized I was already there and it would be really hard to turn back now. My rush instincts kicked in as I started to animatedly talk to this stranger.
The conversation was easy. I am majoring in engineering and he is an engineer so we talked about that for a long time. We shifted into what he does in his spare time, what I do, where we’re from. Typical first date conversation — except we were at the Ritz…and he was ten years older than I was…and I wasn’t sure what he was expecting out of this date. What if he wanted me to come home with him? Is that how these things work?
Two hours passed and we were still talking and eating and enjoying the wine, and I almost forgot that I met this guy on a sugar daddy site. Almost. But it was still there in the back of my mind, nagging at me. I gathered that with working sixty hour weeks, he didn’t have a lot of time to meet new people. He had also just gotten out of an engagement with a girl he dated for eight years. It turns out, he was just a lonely guy who wanted to spend time with a fun, outgoing girl. A younger girl, mind you.
As the date came to a close I realized that these things normally end with getting compensation. I hoped that if I didn’t say anything he just wouldn’t pay me. I didn’t want his money. I had just enjoyed a really nice date with a really nice guy — that didn’t seem like something I should get paid for. He walked me to my car and we talked about possibly meeting up in the future. As we walked, I noticed he slipped cash in my purse. I was paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do or say. I tried to insist that I really didn’t need to be paid, that I enjoyed our time, stammering and stuttering the entire time. He just laughed and got back to talking about our possible hiking plans. I was starting to kind of like him, but then he paid me for my time and something shifted in my mind. Despite the wad of cash, I was worth more than that. Not money. Respect.
It was mortifying. I drove home with a pit in my stomach, feeling guilty and crying. I really liked the guy, but I don’t think I can ever talk to him again. I love being wined and dined as much as the next girl, but getting paid at the end just didn’t sit right with me.
It’s crazy how something so extravagant as cash, can make you feel so cheap. But hey, as least I got a nice dinner out of it?.
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