It's depressing that "I got a sugar-daddy" is becoming a new subgengre of young-woman memoir. And pursuing it under the guise of a a social experiment doesn't make it much better.
The latest tale of "what's-an-amoral-nominally-thoughtful-gal-to-do?" comes from Vanity Fair, and concerns a young woman who becomes a "sugar-baby" on the website Seeking Arrangement, "partly as a social experiment and partly out of genuine desperation." Her rationale?
I was frustrated with my job, which offered little upward mobility, and was thinking about quitting it to pursue my goal of becoming a full-time freelance writer. Holding me back were my lack of savings and my fear of sacrificing a regular paycheck. If I had a hefty allowance from a generous benefactor, though, I figured that I could take the leap comfortably. The idea of wealthy older people supporting struggling younger ones is nothing revolutionary, after all-look what Peggy Guggenheim did for Jackson Pollock or the Tuohys did for N.F.L. star Michael Oher. So what if I had to tap into my inner geisha to secure a patron?
She feels some slight qualms, but justifies the "social experiment" by reasoning that the objections to this sort of thing just come from our collective prudishness and insistence on equating sex with morality. Really, she thinks, beauty for money is just an evolutionary prerogative! "I took a deep breath and posted my profile, determined to focus on New York–based single men claiming to be worth at least $10 million."
She dates a bunch of men whom she proceeds to mock.
When the waiter arrived, I ordered a very necessary glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Hank requested sparkling water, explaining, "I'm high on life." I wanted to tell him, "Abstemious people don't impress me," but instead I smiled and encouraged him to order for both of us.
Wait, you're saying that the older men who pick up girls on a sugar-daddy website aren't all winners?
One man complained that his disability made it difficult for him to pick up women. Another had a fetish for submissives and wanted to pay me $4,500 a month to help him realize his fantasies. An attractive couple wrote me seeking a regular "third." By the time Darrell, a divorced man in his late 40s worth between $50 million and $100 million, contacted me, I was relieved to hear from a potentially worthy candidate.
However, the author finds herself unable to sleep with any of the rich men, tempted though she is by the swag and potential for "spoiling." Even when a non-client asks her out, "a man on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans" who has her picked up in "a chauffered Bentley", she finds that...money just isn't enough! "Ultimately, I realized that I'm not that progressive, or that, for whatever reason, being financially independent means something to me. Even without the safety net of a sugar daddy, I took a risk and quit my day job-a decision that rendered me unemployed, uninsured, and uncertain about where the money for next month's rent would come from." Brave, right? We, too, have struggled with not being "progessive" enough to prostitute ourselves to rich men, and "for some reason" want financial independence - but have never gone so far as to bravely renounce the former. Maybe because we hadn't signed up to be sugar-babies in the first place.
Here is the article's final paragraph:
By seeking out a man who could provide for my material needs, I thought I was simply following my evolutionary instincts. In fact, there's another biological impulse that I didn't consider, and wasn't even aware of until I spoke to Dr. Helen E. Fisher, a research professor in the anthropology department at Rutgers University. Her pioneering work has shown that love is not an emotion but a drive, and that what we experience as love triggers the brain's reward system in much the same way cocaine does. In the search for a desirable partner, it seems, we can't rely on any one factor alone. Despite what eHarmony might claim, there's no special formula that can help us find the person who will give us that perfect buzz.
"Autumn Rhythm", it ain't. But, oh wait: Jackson Pollock demeaned women, too. In the name of social experimentation, one presumes.
Desperately Seeking Sugar Daddies [Vanity Fair]