Having survived a first date disaster like no other, I’d like to spare my fellow unsuspecting females the trouble. In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck,” I offer the following diatribe:
“He might be a sugar daddy.”
I’m talking about the older man. The philandering, but powerful older man. In particular, the philandering, but powerful older man who wants you to be his mistress. And before we get started, I should report that just typing the very word “mistress” makes me cough and sputter.
When I was younger and very much enamored of Belle Époque Paris, I thought it might be cool to be somebody’s mistress, albeit in an abstract, Moulin Rouge “Hi, I’m Toulouse Lautrec and I’d like you to meet my girlfriend” sort of way. But there are several things wrong with this picture.
For starters, Toulouse Lautrec was French, so he wouldn’t have said “hi.” He would have said “bonjour.”
Secondly, Toulouse Lautrec was short, so I would have never gone out with him in the first place.
Thirdly, in order to be somebody’s mistress, you have to lounge around in your negligee, smoking cigarettes all day. I don’t smoke, and I don’t actually own any negligee. Maybe you get negligee when you sign on to be somebody’s mistress (a year’s supply, perhaps, and more for good behavior?), but I rarely trust normal men to pick out clothing for me, let alone men with questionable morals.
Finally—and this is real deal breaker—you have to have sex with your philandering, but powerful older man to be a good mistress. And this, no matter what sort of penthouse said sugar daddy might have in store for me, is a bridge I’m not willing to cross.
Unfortunately, catching a sugar daddy at his game it harder than you’d think. It’s easy to meet an older man for a drink—a powerful older man—and not realize that he’s a perverted philanderer who has no business cavorting with a woman half his age.
I know all of this because I’ve done it, and I’d like to point out the warning signs:
If he says he’s generally “tied up” in the evenings, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he’s relieved to hear that you’re a freelancer, and that you’re generally available in the mornings or in the afternoons, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he orders expensive drinks and encourages you to do the same, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he informs you that he comes with baggage, specifically an “open relationship,” he might be a sugar daddy.
If he refuses to disclose the conditions of this “open relationship” unless you agree to a second date (a second date that will undoubtedly involve copious amounts of alcohol), he might be a sugar daddy.
If he lies about his age and turns out to be a full ten years older than he’s originally stated (making him nearly as old as your father), he might be a sugar daddy. (Why do you think they call it a sugar “daddy”? It was at this point in the conversation, by the way, that I learned what its like to gulp Chardonnay.)
If he compliments your looks, way beyond the First Date Protocol, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he asks how often you go to the gym, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he keeps leaning in and touching your shoulder, although it’s perfectly warm out and there’s really no need, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he continues leaning in, so that the bar tender can’t overhear what he’s saying, he might be a sugar daddy.
If he gets you talking about your previous boyfriends, and then acts all understanding and supportive as you explain why those relationships didn’t work, he might be a sugar daddy. (Do not for a minute think that he’s just a “nice” guy!)
If he bemoans the fact that you live with your parents, and informs you that you’ll need your own place for “this” to work, he might be a sugar daddy.
In conclusion, folks, he is a sugar daddy. And he is looking for a mistress.
Of course, I didn’t realize this right away. I just thought, “Well now, he seemed rather keen.” Upon taking my leave of said sugar daddy, however, I received a text. In addition to praising my physique, he emphasized, once again, the importance of having my own place.
It finally dawned on me: this was no ordinary boyfriend-to-be.
I drafted half a dozen replies. These ranged from the sarcastic (“Well great, if this whole writing thing doesn’t work out, at least I’ve got a fallback plan!”) to the rude (“Get the hell away from me, you creepy old man!”).
In the end, I settled for a terse, “Thank you, but I’m not interested.”