"Some might call it prostitution. I call it a 'mutually beneficial arrangement' that pays for my killer wardrobe." We just call it bizarre: a college student justifies her life as a professional mistress on The Daily Beast. Her verdict? Beats waitressing!
"Melissa Beech" is a college student from a privileged background. "I was blessed to have been raised with class, sent to the best schools, and taught to be well read, well spoken and well traveled." Yet the world of higher learning proves a rude awakening!
But when I got to college, I spent the first two years straining for financial independence. I tried working, but in retail, surrounded by temptation all day, I spent more than I made. Waiting tables was exhausting. I went on several job interviews, but all of the internships were unpaid. As my years in college wore on it was evident that the job market was sliding into decline. When the economic climate grew worse, my friends panicked that their resumes and high GPAs wouldn't be enough to give them a leg up on the competition, and my goal became getting my foot in the door before everyone else.
What's a girl to do? She goes on an interview and the guy - "in his early thirties, single and successful" -offers her a job as his mistress instead. Turns out the dude's in this businesslike world of mistresses and sugar-daddies where, as in 18th century London, these arrangements are understood.
There's even a social networking website that connects sugar daddies and their beneficiaries. This man told me about it: SeekingArrangement.com. He had been referred to it by a close friend who was a hedge fund manager. At his urging, I logged onto the site and looked at his profile. It didn't have a picture, for privacy reasons. But it did contain information: his marital status (single), the industry he worked in (media and communications), and-a key element-his salary (seven figures). I was encouraged by the fact that the website vets its clients and offers only Certified Sugar Daddies, whose tax returns have been carefully examined so you know that you're getting. I also learned that he was attracted to bright, smart women-he wasn't in the market for the dumb bombshell. His profile said he wanted more of "a Jackie Kennedy than a Marilyn Monroe." I fit the type.
Basically, she'll be his girlfriend, and he'll support her. She asks that they wait to get to know each other before sleeping together; he accedes.
As for the allowance, he doesn't just cut me a check. He simply ensures that I need never worry about expenses. I rent a $1,600 apartment in the city, for which he pays the rent in full. I carry an AmEx Black card in both our names, and use it for things like shopping, spa trips, manicures, and tanning; the bill goes to him. And the company car I drive costs him around $700 a month for the lease and the insurance. I've even managed to build up a little nest egg over the past year – at his insistence – putting away around $12,000. All in all, he probably spends in the ballpark of $5,000 a month on my lifestyle.
It seems hard to believe that this scenario could actually inspire moral outrage, even from those who consider it to be prostitution: neither party is married, and the arrangement is, as she says, mutually beneficial. (And if she and her benefactor are suffering from the now-official recession - as many mistresses apparently are - she gives no indication.) More than anything, it seems odd and unsatisfying - a bloodless compromise between a relationship and a business transaction. But whatever one thinks about her choices, her justifications ring false to any young woman who's been strapped for cash in college - which is to say, most of us. Retail tempted her? Waitressing exhausted her? Please. These easy rationales lose her a lot of sympathy pretty quickly. And her defensive claims that although "he didn't hire me for the internship position, but because of him I have had several internships at well-known PR companies, and have plenty of networking opportunities, shoring up my future prospects for when I graduate this spring" don't win much sympathy, either. If this was all some plan to bolster her resume, it seems like there are more direct ways - and this can't bring much comfort to the qualified young women who failed to obtain the same jobs because, while they may have been restrained enough to work a retail job, they didn't have the prescience to nab a sugar daddy. If she wants to be some emotionally disconnected rich guy's mistress, it's her prerogative - it's not like couples haven't been doing this for centuries - but attempting to justify it on professional grounds is an insult to the rest of us.