Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Men/Boys/Girls #1

Remember when I was always complaining about being broke, and then I didn't complain about it anymore? Did you notice?
A sugar daddy is a rich guy who showers a younger girl with money and gifts in return for companionship. My sugar daddy "hired" me as an "English teacher," which meant he wanted me to look pretty and meet him twice a week to walk around arm-in-arm, go to the movies and have fancy dinners. He paid me a fixed amount every time we met, sometimes extra, and usually brought me flowers and gifts. I never so much as kissed him and I got about 120,000JPY/month. For like a month.

Sugar Daddy was a Japanese CEO in his 60s. He was handsome enough, fit, and he wore good suits. Not my favorite suits, but tailored and Brooks Brothersish. I love suits and read GQ and critique them on trains, but I can't say what a suit says about a man. Every older man I have ever known who wore a suit all the time was boring or an asshole, usually both. Foreshadowing.

It was the hardest job I have ever had. We had nothing to talk about but he wanted me to talk the whole time. He was always acting mildly displeased by random things I said. I mentioned that I did taekwondo and he said "I don't know about such a strong womans!" I said I liked art and he gave a strained smile like he knew my kind. He liked Mariah Carey and romantic comedies. If I couldn't think of anything to say fast enough he would lean back, look at me critically, and ask, "Bess, are you tired?" I'd have to smile big and cry, "No! Just relaxed!"

The outfit and face I wore the first time we met (I know, brillz)
He spoke English well, but the gap between his speaking and listening skills was incredible. I've been doing classroom and private lessons for a long time now but it was enough to put me at a loss. Every single thing I said had to be repeated so many times. Once on the train I almost cried because he made me say something like "I ate pizza there" in a loud voice for almost five minutes. But he never wanted anything that would actually help his English.

He was always suggesting shopping trips and gifts for me. It's unbelievable, but I didn't take advantage. His money saved me, but gifts, I couldn't deal. Once he took me to an amazing stationery store and told me to pick anything I liked for me and my friends. I was so uncomfortable, but he started acting irritated that I wasn't picking anything, so I took two cards. He was pissy for like ten minutes and wouldn't stop asking why I don't like gifts.

Don't just say it with flowers!
One night over blowfish he asked me what he should give me for Christmas. As always I got super awkward. Under pressure, I finally confessed that I like art supplies. He decided that because I'm a writer, I need a fountain pen. I have no use for a fountain pen. I tried to explain that I am the kind of "writer" who scrawls 50 pages in cheap notebooks every night (then sobs "NO GOOD, NO GOOD, NOT A GENIUS" and goes to bed), and the pen would waste ink and soak through the paper. But he just got really patronizing and said I didn't understand the value of nice things.

I decorate bars with nice things.
The next time we met, he took me to Tokyu Hands. I was done for. The thought of him buying me gifts was nauseating until the gifts were art supplies. So I picked a sketchbook, and then I went to pastels and started choosing colors I needed.

His reaction was crazy. "Bess! What's this? Why you want such a things? It's such a small things." What?! I was confused by his irritation so I quit with two colors. He asked "How about pencil?" I didn't realize he meant pen, so I was like, sweet, graphite pencils. But of course he was even more disgusted by those. Finally he steered me to the pen case and basically bullied me into this 17,000yen Waterman fountain pen. Then he bought me a leather case. He spent so much money on me but he just wanted to buy what he wanted to buy for me, whether I was interested or not. I imagine that's how it often is with sugar daddies.

(Not that I wasn't happy with that bag of stuff once I got on the train, and the pen is very pretty and I bragged to my friends, but I never use it. Then there are the bears)
Sugar Daddy worked me to my last nerve. I was always waiting for the Moment. On our second date he couldn't find the restaurant and when we went down a street with a few love hotels I almost had a heart attack. He had a habit of starting sentences with "So, Bess..." followed by a long pause and my stomach dropped to my heels every time. It's not that the thought of sex for money freaks me out that bad, but not knowing what I was in for made me anxious.

Still, he was generally civil and polite to me and supported me when I was down to my last 1000 yen and rent was due, so I did my best. I never gave up on trying to get to know him, looking for things we could talk about. And after the pen, I was even thinking I could try to roll with some more shopping.

Then, one day, Sugar Daddy tried make a date with me a few hours in advance. I don't do same-day meetings because at any moment I might be passed out in a bed across town next to my dead phone. By the time I caught up with my messages, he had called me twice, left messages, texted, and sent two emails. The last email said, "Beth, do you live in the Mars? How can I reach you quickly?" UM, TRIPLE MY PAY IF YOU WANT ME ON CALL, IDK. I was really soothing though and wrote him that I can't always get my calls right away and that's why I don't do same-day appointments and I'm really sorry blah blah, and suggested a meeting the next day. He replied, "Sorry, I'm busy. Maybe another time." I wrote him another apology and never heard back. That was the end.

I was mad and offended, which is how I can make such a shameless post! I think he was unreasonable and unprofessional. He offered me a long-term arrangement and then dumped me when I didn't answer the phone fast enough. One more jerk in a suit!

Clearly I am not cut out for the Sugar Daddy business which is a great disappointment. I always wanted to try it and thought my dream had come true, but it turns out I can't cooperate with it. I tried so hard and it was frustrating. How difficult can it be to let someone buy you things? Does anyone want a pen for 5000 yen? Because I'm broke.


γ•γ‚‰γΎγ‚Š said...

Oh that does sound stressful, but I guess that's the trade off for getting money for being a cute lady ^^

I am like you, I don't like taking expensive gifts. I guess he was just used to ladies happily taking expensive gifts from him.

I hope you can get some money! It's not fun being broke >< Anyway thanks for sharing your interesting story.

injaku said...

Going off the pallet you have provided. I'm going to suggest that a lot of his behavior is driven by a deep feeling of insecurity. Keep in mind I am not stating whether his feelings/actions are right or wrong, simply attempting to explain them.

If he is a typical Japanese older male he knows that his English isn't very good, feels insecure about it, and doesn't really want to face it. So rather the accept this fact he shifts failure to learn or understand when you speak on to you. Which means he will make no progress, since he can't accept there is something he needs to learn, and makes you feel pretty crappy.

As far as the the age and race goes, he knows that you are sexual, or at least feels at some level, that your age and race make you more sexually desirable then him. Japanese racism cuts both ways and you are a young attractive European woman.

All he has is money. So he attempts to express his feeling toward you with said money, by buying you gifts. In his mind the more you allow him to spend the more you allow him to show his true feelings. Keep in mind he has LOTS of money relative to you, so what seems expensive to you is actual cheap to him. So you refuse his gift, gift giving is a much more important part of Japanese culture then it is American culture, you are insulting him. I have gotten in to trouble refusing gifts without all the baggage this relationship has.

I know you accepted cheap gifts (at least to him), but since they are cheap it doesn't really allow him to show off and if anything is almost counter productive. It doesn't allow him to stabilize his perceived imbalance in the relationship.

Finally you "ignore" his messages, which given your refusal of gifts/feelings and his own perception of the value imbalance can only mean to him that you are ignoring him. He is hurt and leaves.

I suspect this is not the story he tells himself. He would most likely tell himself he left because you are ungrateful.

Beth said...

Injaku, thank you for sharing your thoughts! I might have been too busted at the time to analyze as well as I thought I could, and your comment is making me think a lot.

I am always happy to be seen as young and attractive, but it's creepy when someone wants to spend a lot of time with you and yet doesn't seem to consider you a real person no matter how much you try to relate.

The first time I met him he brought his assistant, who had been the one to correspond with me and arrange everything. They freaked out over me and called for a celebration. After a couple of drinks, the assistant revealed why they were so happy:

"We met many teachers! And some were OBEEESE, or not so YOUNG, or she was BLACK...the last one was a CHINESE! So we are so happy now! You will be a FINE TEACHER."

I sympathize with everything you wrote, but I don't feel sorry for him at all because he consistently dismissed any chance to respect me as a person and that grosses me out. I felt more tolerant at the time but once he'd dumped me for something so unreasonable I started to realize how unsavory the whole thing was.

I still don't see anything wrong with the arrangement in principal. I'd try it again. I would love to have handled it better but it just wasn't easy for me and I'm not sure it ever would be. Which is fucking stupid because there are plenty of things I want and few things I like less than typical old businessmen. WHY COULDN'T I MAKE IT WORK I DON'T KNOW

Beth said...

And by the way, I met him through an employment ad in the teaching section of the job classifieds in a magazine. It was something about a Japanese executive seeking a female English teacher for nice dinners twice a week. I knew right away that looks and charm would be a factor but I still did cling to the hope that we had a professional relationship, even after the first meeting.


Beth said...

Saramari -

I am super weird about asking for things things. THE BURDEN OF GRATITUDE! It stresses me out a ton. I went out of my way not to get child support when my parents got divorced because it weirded me out so much. It's really stupid.

But actually, I don't mind receiving surprise gifts and I can accept them graciously. I always appreciate the gesture of a gift. It was him taking me out and telling me to pick out things for him to buy for me that I really couldn't deal with.

Also I really did lose my high horse with the art supplies, and that was a huge disappointment because he didn't care. If he really wanted to buy me things to show off, he could have bought me the $150 pastel set I have wanted for ages, a lifetime supply of paper, a bunch of .5 millimeter rolling pens, paint supplies to learn to paint with, and I honestly probably would have thrown my arms around him. But none of those things had the kind of prestige and luxury that he could understand. His idea of prestige and luxury was ABSOLUTELY USELESS TO ME but that is all he was interested in.

Beth said...


how could i be expected to walk around a store with some guy announcing what i want him to buy for me? that made me feel so indiscreet and tacky and weird. i would never do that with anyone. just not my style.

selena said...

Hey Bess, really great post. Thanks for telling us. I think that would be really hard for me too. Did you have more respect for hosts after this situation? It seems pretty damn similar to what they do; make people feel good about spending loads of money in order to feel powerful and charming.

What the assistant said is so gross but unfortunately is not so uncommon. I've run into that fucking horrible racist sexist weightist bullshit in almost every job I've had here, with employers discreetly or not so discreetly hiring on the basis of sex, age, looks, race... don't get me started I'll go on a tangent.

injaku said...

The man was an ass. So I wouldn't feel "sorry" for him, but a bit of pity would be helpful. When I feel pity instead of anger I feel less unhappy and it is easier for me to move on.

Moving on.

If you really wish to work the sugar daddy system you are going to need to expand.

Your problem is that you had only one sugar daddy, which provided him a great deal of leverage.

I have a good friend who is married with children and still manages to hold on to a small cluster (is that the best term for plural of sugar daddies?) to who she gives nothing but "thank yous" and once a year dinner at their expense.

The first and most important lessons is that you need more then two. This gives you the power to walk away should any particular one get to far out of line.

This power dramatically changes the social dynamic. He knows you have choices so is more accommodating and if he isn't you really don't "need" him so can walk.

There is a numbers game here, but you will eventually get your cluster of obedient toddies. Then it is just a matter of maintaining the field with periodic letters etc.

You will have to learn how to take gifts gracefully. Since almost all the favors and cash you will receive will be some kind of gift.

So now you need to start feeding your "possibles" into the system. A good place to start would be Misa's post on how to pick up guys.
She has a nice little cluster of "boyfriends" and so could answer any questions you might have.


Her demographic is a little different, but I suspect it will work just as well for the sugar daddy demographic. At a good point in the conversation complement them on their english and offer them your business card (print some nice ones) "I teach English to Sugar Daddies for outrage fees."

Make a firm set or rules about what you will and will not do. It is easier to do what you feel is right if gave yourself the time to think it through before hand and come to a discussion.

My friend gives emails, phone calls, and very occasional dinners. One sugar daddy likes to leaves diamond jeweler at her house, but not see her. He just likes to know he gave it to her.

jerylynism said...

the reality of it is he probably found another pretty young thing who wanted the expensive thoughtless gifts (and the bears) and who put out.

go getcho selph anotha! <3

Beth said...

selena - it made me understand some parts of the position a lot more. the first time he gave me an envelope of money, i was so overwhelmed by gratitude. it was disorienting and confusing. i needed that money so bad and it made me feel relieved and appreciative and safe and it was unsettling to mix up those feelings with how i really saw him and the situation. it was bizarre to have a random person i felt uncertain of, become the source of something i needed.

Beth said...

injaku, you are intense and i love your comments.

you're so spot on about having more than one. i was absolutely relying on his money when i saw him and that's what stressed me out so bad. i found him by a stroke of luck and if i had lost him any sooner than i did i would have been in a terrible position. i never want to be in that position again with anyone.

(that month seriously sucked!)

your tutorial really does make me want to try it again, haha.

i am fairly certain that i'm just not cut out for it. but a different time with a different guy, maybe. i'll try anything twice.

in case it isn't clear from all i've written here, i don't judge any of the girls who can work this system better. i couldn't handle it but i don't think that makes me a nobler or less greedy person. i'd kill for the skills to work that shit.

Beth said...

jer - he was enough of a dumb jerk to mention to me one time that he'd met another girl from the advertisement. i'd seen him several times at that point. he thought he was complimenting me because he was describing why she was terrible compared to me and how it really showed how amazing i am, but i couldn't believe he'd just casually tell me he was still shopping around. i expected a little more class. i mean shop all you want, fine, but don't tell me about it. who does that? so crass. if i get myself another he'll have better manners than that.

Jen B said...

I like the soul-searching in the mirror shot. Or perhaps the "what was it I came in here for?" shot.

Beth said...

jen b - thanks, i take many photos in restrooms.

My name is MISA. said...

I love Injaku's comments, too. Intense is right! Long and so thoughtful / carefully written.

Wow, my advice was recommended to you? ;) I'm the one who asked BETH for advice on this before. Funny!

I don't actually know about sugar daddies. I don't have that kind of personality. I am awkward to talk to before sex, and I can't imagine wasting time having a dinner I don't even like to eat with a guy I'm never going to have sex with. I sometimes wish I could do it! I would love to be rich!

I would try it... but I would try almost anything. I tried being a hostess once, but hated it. I'm not cut out for small talk or speaking English to people who can't speak English.

Great post, Beth.

injaku said...

Dear jerylynism, while Acom's Razer, 'the simplest answer is usually the right answer' , would give weight to your view it does not seem explain his behavior on that final day. If he had another young thing lined up why would he go into panic mode. When she failed to respond to his first few attempts he would simply called up Young Thing Number Two, rather then send a string of needy messages.

In any case. In his mind he is not having an affair. He is having English lessons from a pretty teacher.

-Beth & MISA
Wikipedia defines the terms "Sugar daddy is a slang term for a rich man who offers money or gifts to a less rich younger person, usually female, in return for companionship or sexual favours."

Putting the age difference aside, Misa already has at least two Sugar Daddies. Men who are richer then her and pay for her companionship. Whether she likes them or not is beside the point as far has having them goes. It does make it much more pleasant for her of course.

I personally would love to find myself an attractive Sugar Momma one day. The main point here is the term "attractive" and here lies the beauty of Misa's train system. It starts with a pool of men she finds attractive and filters down to those willing to fill her needs.

She reversed the standard gender role and is proactively starting conversations with men she at least finds physically attractive, rather then limit herself to men who both find her physically attractive and are willing to talk to her.

It is still a numbers game, but the numbers is filled with hansom men. They may still be asses, but at least they are hansom asses.

To be a Queen of this game, you will of course need to lower your standards and accept anyone who isn't an ass and is willing to provide some kind of help. Even then it takes effort, a strong will to not give in, and the patience to work your way through the asses.

Thank you for your kind words. It is the nectar which sustains my desire to write. Although I'm confused about in what way it is intense. If you could elaborate further I'm always interested to learn how others view me.

Anonymous said...

By intense we mean that you think so much about people on the internet you've never met and never will meet so it's a bit intense. Most people don't write long, in depth letters to people they will never meet because they feel it is a waste of time.

Also, you're wrong. I've never had a sugar daddy in my life. I hate HOT, nice, stylish broke guys. I date university students, hairdressers and broke art history majors. I always have more money than my boyfriends, and it has always been that way, and I don't use guys for money because I don't care about money yet.

Anonymous said...

i DATE hot, nice, stylish broke guys.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and was surprised to come across this post. Mainly because I was in a very similar situation. When I was studying abroad I attempted to teach english through one of those websites that hooks you up with students. This guy was the head of his company too and much older than me. It started with lunch lessons and then dinner and then kept wanting to see me all the time. I was paid quite well for my companionship, but i didn't really receive gifts minus a bunch of money he threw at me once to shop with while he had a meeting. However, things turned scary when he made it clear that he wanted an intimate relationship with me and i would be well compensated for it. At this point in time i stopped meeting him because that was just scary and well gross. So at least your guy didn't push it that far!! It is a very bizarre situation though and the guilt is crazy. Though I guess a beware to everyone, there appears to be a lot of salary men out on those english teaching sites that just want to get with a pretty foreign girl....had another student who wanted to take me to a love hotel once. anyways thanks for you story! - Kate

Beth said...

injaku, what Misa said and also your tone is always very, very serious.

Beth said...

Kate - thanks for your comment!

What we're talking about is not uncommon. Those sites require you to post your age and gender and you won't get any responses without a photo. I love teaching English one-to-one but I quit because I had almost no students except older businessmen just wanting to flirt with me. I think it used to be easier for everyone to get normal students but there are fewer people with spare cash now and they seem to be businessmen looking for a cute date to talk down to and be fucking boring with.

The last time I did a private lesson at normal rates was the only time I've ever actually lost my temper and walked out on someone. I've never had a short fuse so I realized that stuff was bad for me, haha. It's not even worth the trouble for the rates now anyway.

There are people with much more positive stories than mine and blah blah blah

injaku said...

Thanks, that was very informative. I have gotten surprised looked when people meet me for the first time after only knowing me through my correspondence.

In "real life" my thoughts often out pace my mind's ability to form them into words and I suspect I do not come across so coherently. I also like to image my winning smile takes a bit out of the sting. I thought the "ass" thread was witty and not so serious.

I take the time to write, since you have taken the time to write your blog. It is my way of saying thank you and I hope providing help to a fellow traveler.

I write as much for my own amusement. I keep thinking it would be fun to write a blog, but I am more reactive in my motivation and am not sure I could "keep it up".

Maybe I could post it as a comment and gathered in a blog.

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

I'm really glad you wrote about this as I have a half-finished post about my student days teaching private lessons (or as I like to call it, simu-dating) but can't figure out how to finish it. So little writing is out there about teaching private lessons as a young woman here but from my experiences and those of my friends, this situation seems to happen a lot to young attractive foreigners.

Now that this guy has pissed off after discovering you aren't at his beck and call, I hope you can go on to make more money from these types! It seems you've already established rules for yourself (no same-day meetings etc), so if you can look at it as providing a service to someone who knows what the deal is, I can see you totally balling with a string of these "clients". Although some of the guys may be deluded, thinking that they actually have a chance with you, I suspect most are aware of the boundaries and play out their fantasy within it (not unlike a hostess club customer). Ugh, sorry for the length, this was supposed to be short and sweet!!

Chinese-Canadian said...

The reasons Injaku listed for the reasons behinds the old SD behaviour are absolutely correct. Or, at least correct to the definitions given by my undergrad cultural psychology course.

When Mr.SD was pushing you to pick expensive gifts at the store, all the while announcing it to the whole store, is his way of overcompensating. And when he got flustered and aggravated over your choices of "cheap" items, he probably was inferring that you think that he is not "man-enough" to provide for his English teacher.

Also, since gift-giving holds such weight in the Japanese culture...the cheaper the gift, the stingier they appear. And in practically all of Asia, "face" is the most important concern to people.

Beth, I am so grateful for your post on this! It was an eye opener, though sadly, I doubt I'll ever get a chance at this game...

It is NOT that I have negative feelings and thoughts to girls who do this. I actually think its great that they have such great mental and emotional capacity to play this difficult game.

It's just that..I am Chinese LOL. From the statement Mr.SD's assistant made, it seems like I will have no such luck at this game in Japan :[

Beth said...

Geisha - I know, know one talks about it, and it's so obvious!

If you're a man in a culture where men like you go to hostess clubs, and then you have these websites where you can buy conversation by the hour for WAY less and it's all sorted with photos and ages and names of exotic young things and you can just take your pick, I mean, duh.

I want to read your post!

Beth said...

Chinese-Canadian - But DUDE, you would rake it in basically anywhere in the West! You should jump on that train.

Thank you for the nice comment. I'm surprised that so many people have come out to comment on this post and the discussion has been super thought-provoking for me.

Anonymous said...

"Clearly I am not cut out for the Sugar Daddy business"

^^^^ This.

When a guy starts paying girls for companionship, you need to understand what he is paying for.

It may not be sex, but he wants you to read his mind figure out how to make him happy, and do it always.

Also you need to be on-call for spur of the moment meet-ups.

This guy probably suddenly gets lonely or upset and needs a cute young girl to be there for him RIGHT NOW.

Beth said...

Anonymous -- Yeah, that's what I mean. I'm not doing that for anyone.

Anonymous said...

I like your writing. If you're writing 50 pages a day, that's great. It will get better. And your experience would make a great short story.