There is a new trend facilitated by the digital age: young college girls seeking sugar daddies to pay their college tuition. An offshoot of the enormous online dating market, the search for a sugar daddy seems a particularly disgusting reflection Americans worshipping the almighty dollar. In fact, it almost seems an oxymoron that women would do something so stupid in exchange for becoming smart.
A lot of debate about this trend has focused on the weak economy, but the truth is it’s always hard to find a job and stand on your own two feet for the first time. A friend I went to college with (in the booming 90s), a gay man, turned to stripping for a while, and worked for a male escort service. Yes, he was having trouble finding a job, and he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life – and he wanted real money, not $15/hour.
I also watched the Today show piece about it, and again, I must say I’m not convinced that the economy is to blame. Part of this is because the women featured sound disingenuous about their backgrounds and their future plans. Experts say that these women will suffer emotional “repercussions” from this. I don’t know if my gay friend feels permanently scarred, but to some degree everything leaves a mark.
When I was growing up, I heard a lot about stripping your way through college, and in fact, I knew a girl from a very well to do background who did become a stripper, and subsequently a hooker, as many strippers end up doing. In this case, though, she didn’t do it for college money, nor was she particularly desperate for money since she had an ex-husband and wealthy parents when she started.
As Sarah Seltzer points out, our country is obsessed with the image of a hooker with a heart of gold, (ala Pretty Woman), which is basically what the cash strapped student fucking for tuition money represents. I’ve checked out this category on porn sites, and it’s a pretty popular fetish. Usually, the men supplying the cash are much older than the women receiving it. So as long as people are willing to pay, there will be someone willing to sell. That’s what I learned from Adam Smith at least.