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Whore Next Door: Very Scary Sugar Daddy - By - February 18, 2015 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Whore Next Door: Very Scary Sugar Daddy

When I first posted an ad on Seeking Arrangement, a website for “mutually beneficial relationships,” I knew I was entering the realm of sex work. There would be sex involved, but I liked the idea that I had some negotiating power to only hop into bed if the chemistry, and the financial offer, were right.

But the site was clear about maintaining the faÇade that these arrangements are far closer to traditional dating than anything akin to (gasp!) sex work.

Many sugar daddies and mamas made it clear in their profiles that they were not looking for a professional, and that escorts would be banned from the site.

I wasn't an escort (yet) but I had considered the option, and I was under no illusion that what I was doing was somehow not sex work. I was crossing over into the realm of transactional relationships, and this seemed like a good way to dip my toe in to see if I could hack it.

Some sugar babies demanded cash up front, even just to meet for coffee, but I wasn't that savvy yet. I was a struggling artist trying to survive in San Francisco on minimum wage, so the promise of free dinner was all the incentive I needed to meet strangers from the internet.

Soon, I found myself rushing to a downtown sushi bar to meet a mysterious European man who said he could give me up to $7,000 a month to be his girlfriend whenever he came into town for business.

I wore my tallest red high heels and a low-cut shirt. I was late, as I usually am, so he was already sitting down when I arrived.

He looked and sounded like a bad guy in a Bond movie. He had leathery hands and smelled of strong European cologne. We chatted and drank sake while I put away at least half my weight in raw fish.

He was nice enough, but I had trouble understanding him when he spoke, and there was something about the way he watched me that didn't feel quite right.

As the meal began to wind down, he asked me if I would like to join him in his hotel room. I politely declined, saying I was too shy to do anything on the first date.

It was a lie. I almost always put out on any first date, on or off the clock. He just gave me the creeps, and I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I mean, I ordered green tea ice cream for dessert, but like, as soon as possible after that.

He continued to push the issue, calling me baby and puckering his sneering lips at me.

“Look,” I finally said, using my real voice for the first time that night. “Can't you see where I'm coming from? You're a stranger from the internet. I'm sure you're a very nice guy, but there's a lot of weirdos out there, and a girl has to be careful.”

There was a tense pause. Then he said, in his Bond villain accent, “Look, sweetheart. If I wanted to kill you, it wouldn't matter if it was the first date or the seventh. I would do it whenever I wanted.”

Ice filled my stomach, and sweat soaked the armpits of my sweater.

Before my head could even think it, my body stood up and began to put my coat on. This was exactly the kind of guy I'd prayed not to meet. I was out.

He grabbed my hand and stood up to try and reason with me. But as soon as he stood up, all my fear melted away.

In my giant red high heels, I towered over him by more than a foot. I snickered, not all that afraid of a man so much smaller than me. I wasted no time clomping out the door, still pumping with adrenaline.

Whether we call ourselves sugar babies, escorts, companions, or call girls, we all face similar risks and stigma.

After that episode, I stopped looking for a sugar daddy. I found I preferred the safety of the strip club, or the ability to check references as an escort. Above all, I liked being able to demand a certain amount of money for a certain amount of my time.

I've met other workers who have had successful sugar relationships. But as much as I'd love to be taken to the opera by Richard Gere someday, the sex industry isn't a Pretty Woman fairy tale. It's a business.