College is fun, I can’t deny that. There’s booze, boys and rigor. But I also can’t deny that we’re in a bubble of our Ivy League hook up culture, and for the most part, going back home blows. Of course, there are the exceptions — kids that pretty much just resume partying back at home or in Cabo — but in my case in cookie-cutter suburbia, it’s pretty damn boring. There’s nothing to see, and no one to flirt with since they don’t have the “safety” of being a Cornell student. I mean, what if they’re a dingy drug dealer fronting? With this in mind, during my first winter break home, I sought out my friends who stayed home for college and asked them how the hell they stay sane. One of my friends let me in on her little secret of fun…that also generated a few thousand dollars for her: escorting.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, this is one of those things that turns into prostitution or something really dangerous, right? Wrong. Escorting is not as glorified as it seems to be, especially if you’re not a high class one, and especially if you’re in a suburb in the middle of nowhere. But hey, I had a bit of retail addiction my freshman year, and I needed to fund it in some way. So I created a profile on SeekingArrangement.com, named myself “Natalia,” and got straight to business with the help of my friend. I wrote about how I was a college-educated, young, perky, bubbly girl who would love to “get to know you.” This arrangement site is basically where old, unhappy and married men try to pick up young girls in order to build a sugar daddy / sugar baby relationship.
In simple terms, this is basically where you get spoiled and go to the mall, financially supported, and you’re not explicitly expected to do anything (but everyone knows you’re banging behind closed doors). Being the virgin that I am, I knew that I wouldn’t in a million years fuck one of these men, but I definitely thought that I could take advantage. You see, my friend made money off of the initial “date,” where you get to know the potential sugar daddy. Kind of like speed dating, but you normally get compensated $100 or so for an hour of dinner.
I decided to give it a try. After getting hundreds of messages from gross guys speaking in vulgar terms, I finally found one that seemed faintly educated and wanted to meet up near me. We agreed on $150 for a lunch in a fancy Italian restaurant. I wore a white dress, pushed up my boobs and put on red lipstick. I wanted this guy to think he was gonna go home and fuck innocent little me, like the “18 and Abused” scenes on porn.com. He gets there, and I almost vomit a little because of how repulsive he is. Everything about him: his clothes, his car, his smell. Everything made my insides churn. He talked about his wife and his kids (who were my age), and talked about some other shit that I was too bored to listen to. The entire time I was just thinking about how damn sorry I felt for him and his family. This guy was old enough to be my dad, he IS someone’s dad. What if his daughter found out? I ended the conversation early, and grabbed the envelope with $150 and the box of chocolates he bought me. Of course, I blocked his number after that and never spoke with him again. One hour for $150 and a small loss of morale, I was okay with that.
Another time, this guy from Texas was really, really infatuated with me. He particularly liked that I was college educated, and we talked via the website for a while. He asked for a few nudes, and to my surprise I obliged (this was my first time sending a nude picture) from the neck down. It was oddly…empowering, to be so anonymous. He asked me to fly to Texas with him. He said we could have a weekend relationship, where each weekend I would get $2,000, a hotel, and all the material things I could ever ask for. Although I was very obviously going to say no, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it. I politely declined, and he offered to have a no-strings-attached phone call “introduction” for $300. This, of course, I agreed to. We had a 10-minute phone call, he venmoed me $300, and we never talked after that. No phone sex, he just wanted someone to talk to, and he could afford to buy a conversation.
After that instance, I decided to stop doing what I was doing. I cancelled a few more “introductions” that I had set up and acted as if nothing ever happened. Sometimes I forget it even happened. I guess I stopped because it was all too fast, and the money felt so dirty. Technically I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and it wasn’t that I felt cheap or anything. I think people should be allowed to exploit themselves if they so choose. Besides, I tried to think about it as entertaining these old men in their bored lives. But even though they grossly expected more, which is never okay, it also didn’t feel okay to take advantage of them. After this experience, I realized how damn easy it is to exploit my looks for power, attention and money. Sure, I’m cocky as hell, but it’s warranted. People literally will pay money to feel like they can get the girl of their dreams, and damn is it fun to play that part.
The Empress is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sex on Thursday appears periodically throughout the semester.