When I published my second novel, Bought, I was anxious to promote it. The book was my attempt to fictionalize a lot of research I’d done for a magazine story about hookers and also a way to examine the lives of women who weren’t quite prostitutes because they didn’t, say, spread their legs for wads of cash but nevertheless allowed men to pay their bills. I was fascinated by the double standard that exists—the way women judge other women for pursuing such a lifestyle when nearly every female alive participates in this dynamic in some form or another.
It seemed, at first, a lucky break that my book release coincided with the economic crash of the late aughts, because women were turning to means of survival they hadn’t previously considered. Suddenly I started to hear about websites that actually connected these women with potential benefactors. So Bought got a lot of publicity, if not a lot of sales—who wants to buy books when they’re losing their jobs?—and in the process of promoting it, I came into contact with a number of these women. Keep reading »
There’s one thing that really, really sucks about college. Yes, there’s no way around it: college costs an insanely large amount of money for which I personally think it’s borderline inhumane to even charge. It’s my silly little opinion that education should be a basic human right and therefore should be free. Unfortunately, almost every major academic institution in this country disagrees with me.
But even beyond the tuition itself, as soon as I arrived here I felt the very distinct pain, depression and slight panic that comes with the knowledge that your bank account is significantly dwindling. First, there was the cost of books that neared $500 (for my first semester alone) and this even accounted for scouring the internet for the best deals on used editions. Then there was the whole “going out” thing. Somebody would suggest going to a nearby sushi restaurant, or maybe catching a concert or show. Torn between being social and being frugal is not a fun place to be, especially when trying to make new friends. Keep reading »
Writer Melanie Berliet wanted to take the plunge, quit her day job, and pursue freelance writing full-time. No steady paycheck, no health insurance, no safety net. So Berliet joined SeekingArrangements.com, a site which pairs young, female 20-something “sugar babies” with rich, older, male “sugar daddies” for a relationship based on gifts, including luxury items and cash. By stipulating the bling or Benjamins are gifts, the site technically doesn’t promote prostitution. Although Berliet said she was concerned about “walking the line between dating and prostitution,” she eventually convinced herself that in many species “mating rituals [often involve] the exchange of gifts” and “suspected gold diggers like Heather Mills or the late Anna Nicole Smith … were merely following their evolutionary instincts.” Keep reading »
This weekend’s New York Times Sunday Magazine had a lengthy feature on SeekingArrangements.com, an online dating site which matches affluent men (or at least men willing to shill out what money they have) with women who are willing to trade companionship and often sex in exchange for money, gifts, and other perks. Half of these sugar daddies are married, while the vast majority of the sugar babies are in their ’20s. The best news of all for these guys? Sugar babies outnumber sugar daddies 10 to 1. Brandon Wade, Seeking Arrangement’s 38-year-old founder and chief executive, says, “We stress that these relationships are mutually beneficial. We ask people to really think about what they want in a relationship and what they have to offer. That kind of upfront honesty is a good basis for any relationship.” Keep reading »
I like to think that I’m reasonably independent. I’m a modern woman, following in the charming footsteps of Mary Tyler Moore (I even have a little beret, but I don’t throw it up in the air, because I’m afraid I’d lose it). I like my work tremendously. As a result, I’m inclined to regard myself as fairly different from Melissa Beech, who recently wrote on The Daily Beast about her sugar daddy who “pays for a killer wardrobe,” as well as her apartment, and about $5,000 worth of expenses per month. As readers decried her for being “a prostitute,” “selfish,” and “classless,” I congratulated myself on working for a living and not having to rely on an older man to cover all my expenses. Keep reading »