To review previous episodic segments of “Bad” go to Titles and Themes on the right column of this home page, click on Select Categories and then click on “Bad”.
RECAP: Jennifer Baylin is twenty-one, enrolled in Boston University, and in love with her college boyfriend, Trent. As they make love, Jen gets a call from the ER. Her older brother Dixon has overdosed again. Jen drives to Massachusetts General Hospital and there she meets Dixon’s social worker, Molly Connor, who states the facts: Dixon needs an immediate detox program, but it’s expensive. State grants are hard to get and there’s a two month waiting list. So that leaves an out-patient thirty-day program for eight thousand dollars. Since Dix is a waiter with no insurance, Jen must deal with this. Why? Because she feels she owes it to him. Dix cared for her when she was young, and when their mom left. Now HE needs her.
Jen asks Theresa, her college roommate, to borrow eight thousand dollars for Dixon’s program. Why does she ask Theresa? Because Theresa has loads of money from rich sugar daddies she’s dating, and Theresa suggests that Jen do the same. It’s fast cash.
Meanwhile, Molly has pulled some strings to get Dix into Hope Gardens Rehab Center and Jen tells the social worker she will come with the money, drawn out of a non-existing inheritance. She then tells Dix that state grants will fund his detox. Now she’s committed to raising the money.
FAKING ORGASMS and entering Sugar World [Part 3 of 14]
We’re in my bed. “You okay?” he asks me.
I don’t answer. I fake that I am. Like I faked an orgasm five minutes ago. First time with Trent, ‘cause I’m feeling so out of it…so deceitful. I haven’t even started the meet ups and already I feel like I’m cheating. But how can I tell him? How can I explain that I signed up on FindingSugar.com, and within a day, I had booked five interviews with five potential benefactors. If I can just get through this next month or two, I will own my life again, Dix will have kicked his habit, I’ll graduate, and Trent and I can think about a future together. Two months out of an entire life? Yeah. Sure. I can do that.
Trent’s stopping. He knows I’m not with him. Damn.
“What’s with you?” he asks.
“Sorry. I just can’t get my mind away from Dix.” Well, that was sort of the truth. “But don’t stop. It’s your turn.”
“It’s still yours.”
“No, I came.”
“No you didn’t.”
“You could tell?”
“With you, sure.”
Wow. Trent knows me. We are tight.
I picked Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the last place any friend would expect to find me. I’m a vegetarian. And this place? Perfect for five meetings; five nights in a row, same place, same questions, with pleasant décor, quiet for talking, enough menu meat for any testosterone hero. And there’s salads for me.
So I’m sitting in the lobby waiting for Door Number One. I made each date for eight o’clock but I’m getting here ten minutes early to check out how the guys will run their time. If they’re early, like me, I’m important to them. If they’re late, well…they’ll have to explain and I’ll see how I feel about it.
I glance at my watch, the gold Skagen Dad gave me for high school graduation. It’s one minute after eight, and a single man is walking through the front door. Oh God, it’s him, a guy named Bill, looking twenty years older and twenty pounds heavier than his picture. And where’s his hair? Theresa warned me about this bait-and-switch thing. You pick a great photo, and get a lousy “real-life.”
But that’s part of it, I suppose. I’m someone else too, named Starlyn Bay. And I’m wearing the first of my ‘I’m-a-fun-and-sexy-girl’ costumes. Theresa took me shopping yesterday. So tonight I’m in red, with a skimpy short skirted dress and matching shoes. I’ve never worn red in my life. And Bill? He’s wearing brown; brown jacket, brown pants, a tan shirt, no tie and brown plastic glasses. If he had hair, it might be brown. Can’t tell. Not enough of it. And it looks more gray.
A smile lights up his face when he sees me. Guess he likes the way I look. I show well. I’m a sports girl, with breasts too big for comfortable jogging, which is why tennis and I parted ways in the tenth grade.
Now in our booth, my entire world has shrunk down to Bill’s brown teeth and bad breath. Already I know he’s off my list, and I’m thinking that had I met him under any other circumstances, we never would have ended up here. Or any other place. But right now he’s thinking we’re on the yellow brick road. So he ordered the Cowboy Ribeye, my Caesar and a thirty dollar bottle of wine. I guess the best I can do is make this “date” as entertaining as possible. Yes, that’s the plan: polite conversation, while avoiding all personal questions.
Bill smiles again. Wish he hadn’t. “Uhhh, Starlyn…”
“You like domination?”
Night number two. Same place, same time. Bill was obnoxious in ways I never thought existed. He dove right into his sexual preferences, an in, an entire hand up his butt, which ended our meeting-of-the-minds after cheese cake. Anything about fingers in butts, or anything in butts, sends shivers through me. I’m just not into that. Some girls are.
Anyway, I’m hoping for more subtlety with Jeffrey, like asking me where I grew up, what I’m studying, stuff like that. Theresa said this kind of arrangement should be relaxed and trusting. Otherwise, it’s just prostitution. Still, at some point, the money exchange will have to be addressed, and I don’t feel relaxed at all about that. In four days, Dix’s down payment is due. I hate ticking clocks.
Oh, here he is, Number Two: Jeffrey Saunders. But he’s late, by twenty minutes. Still, he actually looks like his picture, with a body I might find attractive. He’s not bad looking either. And he’s apologizing for my wait. This might work.
“So, where did you grow up?” he asks. It took the man an hour to get into a conversation about me. Up until now, our world has been about him – the wealth of his family, his exciting career as a sports agent, all the famous people he meets and knows, that he plays polo, like this would impress me.
“Upstate New York,” I answer.
“Yeah? How was it up there?”
What a dumb question. His attention is now fully focused on his filet. My words are just filler.
“How was what?” I reply.
“You know, high school, dating… You’re a knock out.” He’s still looking at his food. “You were a cheerleader, right?”
“Actually I was very shy and didn’t fit in. I was more into running, and gymnastics.”
“Gymnastics? Fantastic.” He moves meat to his mouth. And I can hear him thinking, ‘Tight bod. Great in bed.’
His reaches for his wine. “Your allowance, what were you expecting?” That was abrupt. But I’m glad he brought it up and not me. I pretend to be confident. “Five thousand, before our next date.”
Now, he looks at me. “Before?”
“Isn’t that how it works?” Why am I feeling dirty about this?
“After a while, sure. But how do we know if we’ll be compatible?”
God! He wants a test drive! Forget him! “Actually Jeffrey, I don’t expect we would be compatible at all.”
He nods, sips his wine and goes back to his steak. Our conversation, and date, just ended. He’s pretending it didn’t.
It’s “meet-up number three” and I’m getting tired of Caesar salads. Tonight I’ll order a plate of vegetables, although I’m not hungry at all. When I’m tense, I lose my appetite, which probably explains why I don’t gain weight. At five, five, I’m a constant 100 pounds, which Jeffrey confirmed with me last night, before we stopped talking.
Dennis just arrived, seven minutes early. I’m smiling. He’s smiling. I stand. He stands. I’m three inches taller. Okay, height’s not an issue. I just hope he’s nice.
And now that we’ve talked for an hour, I know he is nice. But one thing is bothering me. I ask him about it. “Is that a wedding ring, Dennis?”
He said ‘married.’ That was not in his profile. “Dennis, are you married?”
“Yes and no.”
“I see a yes on your finger.”
“We’re separated. We don’t know how it’ll work out.”
“Does your wife know about your expensive dating?”
“Isn’t that something private?”
“I specifically noted that I would not be dating married men.”
“We’re not talking long term here, Starlyn. Two, three months of fun and companionship. You help me out. I help you out. Then it over. Why would you care if I go back to my wife or not?”
“Because you might not, and I don’t want to be the reason.”
“If it’s not you, it will be someone else.”
“You’re right, Jeffrey. I want it to be someone else.”
“I don’t know what to say. I thought you’d be different.”
“I am different. That’s why I don’t date married men.”
I stand and leave. I hate deception. Even when it’s mine.
It’s interview date number four and I’m already dreading it. Theresa was right. This is speed dating, with the cart before the horse. Upon meeting, we already know where it’s supposed to go. We agree that the relationship will have a predetermined end, with a negotiated exchange of money for time. Sex is supposed to be mutually enjoyed, but refusing it will probably end the contract. Sugar fun is all about honesty, but it’s not necessarily brought to the party. Like any new relationship, there are always hold-backs. There are hidden agendas and personal secrets, and desperate needs to be fulfilled. The only consolation, is that perhaps most of the downside will be avoided before it ends. Whereas, with regular dating, a break up can drag on forever, with unfinished business festering the heart.
As a sugar baby, I have no heart. I am a flowered buggy with no baggage. I am a fun ride with no place to go. And that’s the way I want it.
Brandon just stepped in. Interesting. He’s dressed quite nicely, in what looks like an expensive French or Italian suit and tie. His hair is impeccable, as are his manicured nails. He smells nice too. Okay, he’s gorgeous, like a walking GQ magazine cover.
I stand to greet him. He six inches taller, with wide shoulders and strong hands. Yes, he’s a dashing warrior, and I’m glad I wore black. We make a dazzling couple.
“Starlyn, you are as beautiful as the voice I heard over the phone. Why aren’t you in the media?”
“I haven’t graduated, Brandon.”
“You look older. You should be on camera.”
Brandon’s profile said he was in television, but no more detail than that. We’re all undercover in this sugar world. Brandon might not be his real name. Starlyn isn’t mine. So much for honesty in Sugar World.
Brandon ordered the fish of the day, and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut. I had my vegetable selection and we shared a Crème Brulee with coffee. Dinner was great. We swapped stories and histories. Brandon is his real name, he’s divorced, has two grown children and works for NBC News as a producer. He travels a lot, so there’s little time for a committed relationship. But when he’s in town, he wants intelligent conversation and a fun companion. Intimacy would be expected of course. He made that clear.
I then enumerated my list: No married men, no S&M or bondage, no group sex (although I’ve always fantasized about that) and no dating on the nights before college tests. He just smiled. I think that meant he agreed.
A moment later, he pops the question. “And what would we consider an appropriate exchange?”
“The other girls are getting $5000 a month.” This time, it’s easier to say that.
“Yes, I know about that plan. But I’d rather go P4P, starting tonight.”
“Oh, you are new at this.”
“I never said I wasn’t.”
“Pay-for-play. Five hundred.”
“You’re offering to pay me five hundred dollars for sex tonight?”
“I think that would be fair.”
“Brandon, I’m not an escort.”
“I wouldn’t call you that either. It’s just another way of exchange.”
“No!” My voice raised. “It’s different. That’s not what I’m doing.”
“But it is, Starlyn. And if you stick with it, you’ll be a very rich young lady.”
“You’re telling me, that for five hundred a pop, I’ll make a load of money.”
“Yes. I have many friends that would double the candy.”
“Well…not tonight.” I stand and grab my purse.
“I don’t think you’d like my company. I’m sorry this didn’t work out. Thank you for dinner.”
I march out of the restaurant. I feel like crying. He thinks I’m a whore.
You know, I’ve never been a girl but it’s intriguing to pretend I am as I write this.
You ladies out there, I’m defintiely interested in YOUR point-of-view. If you were put into this exact situation, how would you deal with these men? Would you keep pushing forward on this mistress adventure? Or call it quits?
And for the gentlemen, if you had the cash, would you consider sugar dating? (Or is regular dating not that much different?)
Part 4 publication date: 12/16/11