Once upon a time, I was young and stupid and thought that dating a 40 year old man in an “open relationship” would be interesting.
Well, I was right on one account. It was interesting all right.
It’s Sunday morning and believe it or not, I did not go out last night. Instead, I spent the evening painting my nails in anticipation of today’s rendezvous with Date #4. Nevertheless, I’ve dusted off a little something from the archives for this morning’s dose of dating amusement: a first date disaster like no other.
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 rather Bohemian, 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’d have to have sex with your philandering but powerful older man in order to be a good mistress. And this, no matter what sort of penthouse said sugar daddy might have had in store for me, is a bridge I’m not willing to cross.
A hundred years ago, if I was cancan dancer at the Moulin Rouge say, and Toulouse Lautrec was a wee bit taller, I might have gone for it. But nowadays? No thank you. Unfortunately, catching a sugar daddy at his game it harder than you’d think. It’s quite easy to meet an older man for a drink—a powerful older man—and not realize that he’s a rather perverted philanderer who has no business cavorting with a woman half his age.
And I know all of this because I’ve done it. Wishing to spare any and all unsuspecting females the trouble of making the same mistake, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out the warning signs. And so, without further ado, He Might Be a Sugar Daddy:
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’d 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 our 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 fall back plan!”) to the rude (“Get the hell away from me you creep!”) but in the end, I settled for a terse, “Not interested.”