In 1994 in New York City, I was accosted by a man who called himself "Howard the businessman." He told me that I deserved to be wined and dined and dressed in velvets and pearls. Sex, he claimed, was not his interest because he was happily married with children. As proof, he showed me the photos he carried in his wallet. Then he added, "That whole thing with Tonya Harding was a frame-up. The papers got it wrong. Do you need money? Now?" He pulled out two twenties and tried to hand them to me. I thanked him but refused.
I was young and unsure then, but as I've gotten older and been offered the chance to have a Sugar Daddy, I have continued to refuse. Why? Because I would much prefer to be the one doling out the gifts. If I were to suddenly become wealthy, I would love to be a Sugar Mama.
I have a thing for those hot, young, earnest men who call themselves artists, and I'd like to help them out. And there are all sorts of ways to lend a hand. Dixie De La Tour, the founder of Bawdy Storytelling, once had a young bike messenger she kept in steak and champagne.
"But," she says, "it was more of a feeder-type thing. No cash changed hands, 'cept for me and the waiter."
Ryan Andrews, a filmmaker, had an older woman who supported him. "She would take me out to her house in the Hamptons, all expenses paid, and in return I would have only one duty to fulfill for the entire weekend. Great deal!"
I agree -- it's nice to know that satisfaction is guaranteed.
In such an arrangement, I'd rather give than receive because I prefer to be in control of my money. And I am not alone. In fact, certain enterprising women have shifted the meaning of what a Sugar Mama is.
Sugar Mama. 1: strong, independent-minded woman. 2: female force that persists with determination. 3: takes responsibility for her well-being. 4: laughs at herself when needed. 5: loves herself and plays to win.
Kerry, a 26-year-old guest poster on GetRichSlowly.org, agrees with that definition. She says she is "a Sugar Mama and is proud of it." She is the sole provider for her household and has been for the past three years while her husband pursues his lifelong goal of getting a college education.
We're likely to see more of this, at least partly because of recent changes in the economy related to gender and the workforce. According to The Atlantic, "females make up 60 percent of college enrollment, and women dominate today's colleges and professional schools. Of the 15 job categories expected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are filled primarily by women."
Of course, not all is sweet in Sugar Mama land. Some folks believe that a woman who pays for a man's lifestyle is being taken advantage of. Musician Nick Culp asks, "How 'bout Lady Liberty? I think it's safe to say she's being mooched offa."
Also, some men feel that allowing a woman to pay for them would be demeaning. Yet even that gender issue has undergone a change. Judge Muscat says that "the only people I know who are 'kept' by female benefactors are transmen."
Whether you believe being a Sugar Mama is wining and dining a fine young thing or just bringing home the bacon, the beauty of our ever-evolving culture is that you are free to make up your own meanings and pursue your desire. It must be said that there are many who would like a Sugar Mama of their very own, which is easier said than done.
SugarMomma.com is here to help those on such a quest. Listen to the site's advice and you just might have someone like Beyoncé sing to you: "Let me be, I wants to be, I gots to be your suga ma-ma-mama."
The Sweet Spot is a weekly blog column about alternative sexuality by Ginger Murray, the editor of Whore! Magazine. Check back next Monday for more.