“O.K.,” he said. “For now I’ll put you in a taxi.” He kissed me and overpaid a cab driver in advance for my fare.
I felt awful the rest of the evening. Charlie was everything I could want in a sugar daddy—I liked and trusted him, and he would have supported me happily. And yet, when faced with the reality of sleeping with him, I couldn’t mask my apathy.
The following day, Charlie texted me: “Hey! Doing errands in SoHo. Wanna shop (on me of course!) at Prada??? Balenciaga? Just a lark!”
His willingness to spoil me before we had done anything more than peck was startling. And while the shopaholic in me wanted swag, I was unprepared to meet the sex-pectations couched in his request.
I told Charlie that I was getting my hair done that day, and the next time he asked me out I said I was sick. I felt lousy about letting our relationship fizzle, but it would have been worse to prolong it. It was difficult to concede that I might be as much of a sucker for conventional wooing as the next girl, and frustrating to realize that I’d have to find another way to make a living. But it’s one thing to intellectualize something and quite another to live it.
When I started dating through Seeking Arrangement, I thought I was someone who could enter into a relationship for financial reasons and not feel cheapened by it. 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.