What Would You Do For Money?Posted on: Feb 10, 2016
What would you do for money? If you’ve got bills to pay and you’re short on cash, how would you make money quickly? List a few unwanted presents on e-Bay? Or go one step further and get up at the crack of dawn to flog some tat out of the back of your car? Maybe start working in a bar in the evenings and weekends?
Would you feign affection for a man old enough to be your father?
I was shocked when my friend told me about a news report on the rise of UK students signing up to ‘sugar daddy’ dating sites. One claims to have 250,000 student sign ups, attributing the surge in popularity to the recent rise in tuition fees. Sites like Seeking Arrangement are vague about the exact definition of a ‘sugar daddy’, dealing in euphemisms like ‘Money isn’t an issue, thus they are generous when it comes to supporting a Sugar Baby’ (the term ‘Sugar Baby’ just made me vomit a little bit).
It seems modern students are a lot more blasé when it comes to capitalising on their youthful good looks and lack of inhibitions. Last year, Swansea University conducted a survey of almost 7000 students to gauge their attitudes towards working in the sex industry. The results were unprecedented – over a fifth said they would consider sex work (a definition that includes non-contact activities such as web cam work and glamour modelling) and 45% said they would do it to avoid debt.
Apparently these girls (and boys) think they’ve found an easy way to make money. They obviously don’t fancy slinging shots at a sticky-floored SU to fund their Uni lifestyle. But it seems they are willing to cross what is, for me at least, a huge line in order to graduate with as little debt as possible.
When I was at Uni I cleaned toilets and meeting rooms in a big office building to make my pocket money (always with the feeling that my mop was mocking me – it was emblazoned with the name ‘Freedom’). So far, I haven’t had to supplement my freelancing income with any other jobs, but I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up to a temping agency or do a few hours a week at the local supermarket if I had to.
I have taken my clothes off for money in the past. Well, I’ve changed into a flesh-coloured thong in a cupboard in a freezing town hall to pose for a room of lovely old people to draw my gangly form in charcoal. Hardly a sensual striptease. Twenty quid an hour, cash in hand - much more than I was earning in my crap job at the time. I certainly didn’t feel exploited or compromised, and as someone who attended a yawn-inducing number of life drawing classes at Uni (on the other side of the easel), I can vouch for the fact there’s nothing remotely sexy about it.
The ‘sugar babies’ seem keen to deny that what they’re doing is prostitution, some even claim it’s empowering. I can’t help but think that once you’ve had that kind of ‘arrangement’ with someone, where, let’s not beat around the bush, you’re selling your looks, company, and potentially body in return for a quick buck, you’ll never be able to look at yourself in the same way again.