Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sugar Daddy update

Six weeks after "Melissa Beech" wrote her Sugar Daddy tell-all at the Daily Beast, and three weeks after my own essay examining the outraged reaction, the folks at Slate's "XX Factor" blog continue to debate the social, economic and moral implications of Sugar Daddydom.

Why do they continue to obsess over this idea? Frankly, most of them are artsy "creative" types who once sneered at the crude allure of Mammon. Liza Mundy writes:
My own favorite, albeit fictional, example is the playwright-actor played by the playwright-actor Wallace Shawn in My Dinner with Andre. Back when he was a rich kid living on the upper East Side, the Wally character marvels, "all I thought about was art and music," and in this he was strikingly like Ellin and her cohort, or really any writer who grew up in upper-middle class comfort. But now that he's a middle-aged writer, and knows how hard it is to keep the lifestyle to which he'd become accustomed, "all I think about is money."
Here is Ellen Tarlin:
And, believe me, some days I kick myself because frankly, it never ever in a million years occurred to me to marry for money or even to look for a guy with money or even to think about money. . . . I was always attracted to artists: actors, musicians, filmmakers, writers.
More than being poor, I was terrified of being ordinary, normal, middle-class, like everyone else. . . . I remember saying to my punk high school boyfriend . . . that I was worried that someday I'd end up living in the suburbs married to a fat doctor. Would that I was married to a fat doctor now! Preferably one in private practice!
Which is to say, there is a generous helping of sour grapes on that envy salad.

1 comment:

  1. I figure you pick a mate that resonates with your needs and goals. If you want to create, you will only "see" creative people, and will pick one to make a couple with (or try to). If you want security - or social position - or access to lots of money - then you have a criteria for building yourself an intimate social niche. It might or might not look much like a family, depending on whether you are thinking of a family or not.

    I would caution most SugarDaddy seekers, though. Getting picked means you are devoting yourself to being evaluated as a person - on your eye-candy appeal, on your virility image indicator value, or on your concubine/courtesan/call girl professionalism. This is *not* the road to self fulfillment.

    And the lady that now wands the security of a doctor's home? She should pray that this is one more wish that never comes true. Being a spouse is a life-path as constrained and dedicated as any other. As far as I know, there are no easy answers.