My 19-year-old daughter and I had a conversation yesterday and she told me something that made me a bit uncomfortable. She said that she wants to be a sugar baby/escort.
Overall, I’m very proud of my daughter. She’s in her second year of college and doing a high-points science course. She’d always been a high achiever in secondary school and looks like she’ll go very far.
As a result of her high marks, she was invited to a science convention in the US where she and hundreds of others will listen to famous scientists speak. The problem is getting a ticket is very expensive — it costs about €3,000 per person.
She said that she was thinking of joining one of those sugar baby/escort sites because the money is very good. She showed me online that you can earn an entire month’s salary in a weekend meeting men, which would very easily allow her to get money to travel to the convention.
Now I know she’s an adult and can do what she likes, but I worry about her. I’ve read bad stories about women being abused, or kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. As well as that, I worry that someone may see her online and start talking badly about our family. Ireland is a small place and being an escort isn’t looked upon too well.
But maybe I’m closed-minded for thinking this way. What do you think?
Mary replies: I share your reservations and I don’t think you have a closed mind. You and your daughter obviously have a very good bond because she felt comfortable enough to ask your opinion about this.
While you rightly say she is an adult and can do as she pleases you will have some influence on her thinking, and so you are weighing up the pros and cons of her embarking on this strange way of earning money.
I have been pondering on this ever since I got your email, and have looked at many websites extolling the glamour of being a sugar baby. However, the more I read, the more anxious I became. The emphasis in all the websites was on exotic trips, fabulous presents, amazing restaurants and financial rewards. All you have to do, seemingly, is be young, beautiful, up for adventure and need extra cash.
However, if something is too good to be true, it usually is. Because in all these websites they managed to say, in one way or another, that most of the time sex would be involved, and while the young girls shouldn’t do anything that made them uncomfortable, the sugar daddy would be calling the shots. So, except for a small minority of cases, the girls would be prostituting themselves, albeit with full knowledge and full consent.
So, it depends on what your daughter thinks of prostitution, if she would be comfortable in acknowledging that she had worked in a similar field, and how she would explain it in future relationships.
Almost all the websites say there is no commitment on either side, and subsequently the girls can pursue regular relationships and have a family. She also has to ask herself if she would be happy for her activities to become public knowledge at some point.
Ask her to imagine if she or her partner at some time in the future were running for public office in some shape or form. Or if they were putting themselves forward for a high level job in the public arena. How would she feel if her past were to be written about in either the newspapers or social media?
The websites I looked at also mentioned that there are what are called ‘salt daddys’, who are the direct opposite to sugar daddys and that makes the whole transaction sound even more seedy and full of potential pitfalls.
What your daughter is contemplating seems a very drastic step to take in order to make some money. There surely are other ways. Just this morning I saw a segment on a TV programme where a young American female paid back a $30,000 student loan over three years using a combination of getting extra jobs, seeking financial advice, moving back home and cutting back on her expenditure — €3,000 seems very small in comparison.
Has your daughter considered approaching a company that she would be interested in working with in the future, asking for help? Or a GoFundMe page? Or a Credit Union loan? Anything seems preferable to me to what, in essence, is selling her body. And if she does, then what happens to her mind?
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