Sugar What Now?

I read an article today that made me want to meet the author. (Link:

In case you don’t have time to read the article, the long and short of it is her sharing her experience in paid dating. She graduated from Princeton and decided to enter sex work instead of searching for a corporate job. She looked to it as a way to escape the uncertainty and monotony of finding and keeping a regular 9-5 job as well as her way of expressing her sexual liberation. I want to meet her, not because she’s inspiring or a great writer, but because I want to fix her.

I’m a problem solver and the way she writes about herself, her clients, and her experience shows me a problem, easily solved in theory but not maybe in practice. The core of the problem is her internal whorearchy; the idea that some sex workers are better than others. Based on this article, I think the author would make a perfectly reasonable provider. She’s attractive, willing to meet the job requirements, a little lazy but with great potential should she decide to formalize her sex work and take control of her interactions.

I mean, she isn’t even able to operate under the standard terms for paid dating (sugar daddy and sugar baby) because the terms don’t feel empowering enough. Instead of looking into other options with perhaps a better fitting dynamic, she simply changes the terms in her own mind to sugar dick and sugar cunt. I admit, I really don’t like the terms baby and daddy either, they make me uncomfortable both with the implied power dynamic and the age play connotations. But cunt and dick are even worse because they establish a combative relationship before client and provider even meet and they certainly don’t change the fact that with only one benefactor at a time, they have the power.

That’s only the beginning of her issues with paid dating. She and I share a common experience: paying dates unwilling to pay. She felt comfortable initiating the compensation conversation up front, I didn’t. She got paid, I didn’t. Unfortunately, her paying dates didn’t stay paying dates for long and she had to terminate the relationships (good boundaries, bad business model). Often, men who offer cash for relationships instead of seeing escorts have higher demands and offer lower compensation than their dates are willing to exchange. Mismatched emotions cause friction and, most of all, the shame benefactors feel at ‘having to pay for it’ generates intense cognitive dissonance. When her clients began to feel that dissonance, she simply left them. Unfortunately that is a common occurrence in paid dating, or so I’ve gathered. The problem for the date is that this creates financial uncertainty and demands more emotional labor than they’re getting compensated for.

She also feels contempt for her clients. Unfortunately I see that in some of my colleagues as well (not many in my circles, but some) but it doesn’t interfere with their ability to provide consistently high quality service. Her contempt is less damning than her laziness, however, the two creating a combination that does not lend itself well to a thriving practice. She makes noises about the therapeutic aspects of the work and alludes to pleasant clients but they ring hollow in between disparaging comments and the silver lining to her paid dating career doesn’t come until the last paragraph or two of the article.

Being an erotic services provider isn’t for everyone but I think it could be for her IF she steps up her game and formalizes her practice. She’s shown a willingness to follow through on the primary responsibilities and her nod to the quality clients she seems to have collected recently tells me that she could be sustainable. She needs to acknowledge that what she is doing isn’t ‘seizing power and control’ it’s giving it away to men with money because she doesn’t control the circumstances. She relies on a single third party website to generate all of her clientele, she doesn’t have any safety policies whatsoever, and she uses her Princeton degree as an excuse to avoid investing in her brand.

So while I don’t exactly have a ringing endorsement for this young woman’s professional activities, I see potential in her and I hope she recognizes it, too. I think she would be a hell of a lot happier with a broader client list, clearer boundaries, and some sort of long term plan but who am I to tell someone about their own experience?