“He pays me to be his friend”…REALLY???


by Kenneth Justice

~ Last night I shared a train with a Sugar Daddy, his Sugar Baby, a young woman whose parents are dead, a conductor who kept forgetting what car he was in, and a few other strange characters. I’m not sure how I keep finding myself sitting next to such unusual people during my travels, but last night was perhaps one of the strangest trips to date.

People are lonely

For nearly two years I’ve been writing about the loneliness and depression that has become an epidemic throughout the Western World, last night’s train ride was more confirmation that people all over the place simply want friends. The Sugar Daddy who sat behind me (his sugar baby sat in front of me) even admitted as much to me, “I pay her to be my friendhe said. Emphatically they denied that they have sex, “He’s never asked me to sleep with him once, he’s never even touched me inappropriately” she said

Their arrangement is simple; he gives her money every week, takes her on shopping sprees, bought her a car and maintains it for her, and takes her on trips when she wants to go out of town. In exchange she sets aside huge blocks of time to hang out with him at dinner or at her house….and she listens, “Oh my god can this dude talk!” she said, “He’ll talk my head off eight straight hours every Thursday when he comes over, I barely get a word in!”

Watching them interact with each other during the seven hour train ride, they acted like a brother and sister who would bicker, make fun of each other, yet had an affectionate level of respect for each other. Although, how much respect she could have for the dude I’m not really sure; after all she’s taking his money every week simply to be his friend.

Whenever the Sugar Daddy became distracted in conversation with the doctor sitting next to him in his row, she would start whispering to me how her friends all believe she should simply have sex with him and marry the dude,

“My friends think I should take him for all he’s worth. He’s got six cars, a big house, and if I married him I’d be financially set for the rest of my life” she said, “But I’m not attracted to him at all! You see what he looks like and you see me, do you think the two of us would ever date in real life?” she asked

It’s a strange world in which people pay others to be their friend. If we’re going to be honest, isn’t that what most of the counseling profession is; people who are paid to be friends and listen?

Working in the human service field for so long I had a front row seat to see how lonely people were; many of the people who came to the rehab clinic I worked at were lonely more than anything. Sure, many of them had addiction problems, however the same story I heard time-and-again was that every weekend they were bored and lonely so they ended up at the bar or out looking for drugs to kill the time.

I feel so guilty taking his money, I actually thought I was going to have to put out this weekend at the hotel, but not once did he even suggest that we sleep together” she said

I was so enthralled with this strange dude who would pay a chick to be his friend that I got my calculator out and started adding up all his expenses over the past year. At first she thought I was being rude, but then even she started wondering how much the total output would register;

—-) $1200 Spring shopping spree

—-) $7500 cash throughout the year

—-) $6000 automobile purchase

—-) $3000 per year for her gas (he fills up her tank each week)

—-) $1000 Summer shopping spree

—-) $3000 Weekend trip (the one they were returning from)

—-) $7500 Restaurant bill (they go out to dinner three times a week)

That was a mere sampling of the things she could think of off the top of her head, I’m sure the entire list is quite a bit longer.

As I sat and pondered all the money this dude was dishing out for a friend all I could think about was one simple thought, I’d be his friend for a whole lot less money. In fact, I don’t even charge my friends at all. Although it is nice when they buy me a cup of coffee.


Categories: Culture & Society

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57 replies

  1. Love people watching! Sounds like you’ve got some great characters for a new book.

  2. wow… I’m quite shocked…

  3. This might be the most depressing post I’ve ever read. Or maybe “tragic” is the word I’m really thinking of.

  4. I think friendship, beyond sex/marriage/partnerships etc, is the highest form of relationship that humans can have . . . in marriage we tend to allow ownership replace friendship. . . we start out liking to be/do things together . . . usually end up in bed and screw the whole relationship up with ownership. . . .

    I am finally (at 72) getting my wife to realize that just hanging out and BSing is far more important than whether I mow the damn lawn or she cooks a proper dinner . . . friends first! the other stuff will happen when needed. . . . .

    I can see the guy buying a friend . . . these days they are in very short supply . . .

    • “I can see the guy buying a friend . . . these days they are in very short supply . . .”

      True that.

      The demands and conditions we place on one another has a way of ruining beautiful friendships. I was just discussing this with a blogging sister last night.

    • I went to your site . . .

      you are a young and beautiful black woman . . .

      I am an old and (broke) scarred up white man . . .

      Drop all expectations and we two could become great friends . . . no?

  5. Loneliness is an interesting feeling (to watch that is). The extent we would go to have someone listen to us? Hmmm
    reminds me of my days in the university.

  6. That is strange. Is there another way of looking at this, though? Isn’t the Sugar Daddy in this case controlling the woman? He has bought her by buying huge blocks of her time. After all, time is all that we truly have that is “ours.” I think in reality our society has become more money driven and many people think that everything can be bought instead of earned or freely given. Perhaps that is where the real depression originates. Just a thought. Great post and strange story, but somehow I am not surprised by it.

  7. This is shocking to me and surprised by the gentleman’s gentleness.

  8. Money isn’t bringing her happiness, but sure is making her life easier.
    You and your strange stories. 😎

  9. There is a lot we don’t know about the circumstances of this couple. Viewing it solely based on the money changing hand, reduces it. The chap may have many reasons why he has a female companion, having someone outside of your usual circle doesn’t necessarily imply loneliness. Given that he appears to have a large disposable income it could be no worse, financially, than me treating someone to a coffee and pastries or several pints in the pub because I genuinely like them. £15 three times a week at a coffee shop or boozer may equate to their lifestyle.

    Consider as well, if you were to ask this chap if he was doing this out of loneliness, he could be taken aback. Personally, I think that the terms sugar daddy/sugar baby are becoming too commonplace for deeper malaise in society.

  10. Wonderful post Kenneth. A great wake-up call for us all. I don’t find your article depressing. I do find it raw, poignant and real. I don’t read ‘loneliness’ as the issue, nor a lack of self-awareness. More a lack of moral compass, direction, self-respect and grace. Sounds like a great idea to extend your hand of friendship for free. Then again, it strikes me that you and the majority of the human species are already doing that. I salute you, dear Kenneth, with my daily cappuccino 🙂

  11. This world gets sadder by the day.

  12. “As I sat and pondered all the money this dude was dishing out for a friend all I could think about was one simple thought, I’d be his friend for a whole lot less money. In fact, I don’t even charge my friends at all. Although it is nice when they buy me a cup of coffee.”

    When someone has to pay someone to be their friend, you know it will end as soon as the money runs out.

  13. Hello Kenneth the way of viewing counseling is an eye opener!

  14. Some people use drugs, others sex for intimacy/friendship, in this case plain and simple money.
    Not shocking by any means.
    What is disappointing is that one of the most basic human necessities, that of camaraderie, companionship, is being lost.

    Thank you for sharing.

  15. Yes perhaps people pay trained professionals to talk every day but this is not the same. This just seems sad to me, for both of them. I hope he finds a real, genuine friend and I hope she finds a job she can feel proud doing.

  16. I think a lot of people shop for the same reason.

  17. Wow. Just wow. Fascinating. However, it seems to be working for them… if both are happy with the arrangement, why not.? Strangely, I have absolutely no problem with this. 🙂

  18. Lonliness is a terrible thing, I can kind of understand people with the means, paying to avoid it.

  19. I’ve known several women with sugar daddies, and even been offered that option years ago by a wealthy business man, but I do not have it in me to charge others merely for my company and definitely not for access to my body. Short term this arrangement may work for them but when any type of relationship is based off of money or convenience it lacks the basic trust and respect you need for long term success. It’s a sad state to find ourselves in, knowing that our society has forgotten to teach the value of true friendship. The ripples of discontent this lost effort has created will continue to push us further towards dystopia.

  20. It is her time, her mind, her conversation, her ability to listen — all hers to share (or sell) as she sees fit. I believe it is perfectly fine as long as both partners mutually agree upon the arrangement. Contracts work very well for this. Good for her AND him. So the money runs out and the companionship ends….don’t make the mistake of inserting “friendship” where companionship sits– only the two of them can decide to move from companion to friend and that move is also a choice each makes.

  21. I want to know how that relationship started. Did she just answer a Craigslist ad? Would she put out if he wanted her too?

    I once read a blog written by a sugar baby who did so to pay for college. Definitely not my cup of tea, but to each their own.

  22. That made my heart hurt in a much too idealized way; this is a great post.

  23. I watched a Lisa Ling doc last night about Sugar Daddies and Babies. I feel sorry for both parties involved. Most of the babies have had difficult pasts, and little other support systems. Most of the Daddies are sad older dudes needing companionship. While I understand the rationale of both parties, it wouldn’t be a lifestyle I could live with. How can these women actually feel like they’re making it “on their own” through being paid for their company? What will they tell their future children? How do they not feel like an object, or a user for that matter? Still, desperation is real in people and if this helps them get through a rough period in their lives, it’s not my position to judge them.

  24. I used to know a man. He was a very good friend of my fathers. He had money and always had plenty of young girls around. He told me once he had one for cooking, one for cleaning, and one for sex. It seemed to work out pretty good for him and the girls.
    Later on, I was his cleaning girl for a while. It was nice while it lasted. I was young (15). He let me use his car, bought me lots of new clothes (jeans were for the barn!), took us all out to dinner, etc. I cleaned his house, I had a schedule worked out where it only took me a couple of hours a day. The rest of the time I went to school (right across the street) and worked at another job (peeling shrimp for so much per pound- he hated that cause I wore jeans and smelled like shrimp when I came in). 🙂
    Everything was fine til first the girl he had for sex left. He was on the lookout for another, but then the girl who cooked for him left too.
    I was the only one left and he started hitting on me. I wasn’t into that at all, so I had to leave.
    When I told my father why I left, he looked at me funny and asked “what did you expect”?
    Yeah, I guess I should have known better…
    I was more than a little pissed off at the both of them.

  25. Can’t help but think of that quote (usually attributed to G. B. Shaw) where he asks a woman if she will sleep with him for a million dollars (she says yes), then asks if she will for one dollar. “What kind of a person do you think I am?” she says. “We’ve already established that; now we’re just negotiating the price,” he replies. I think they are both making a mistake and short-changing themselves.

  26. During the World Cup here there was a college girl that set an arrangement with a European man for 2 weeks. He was coming and wanted her to rent places and stay with him and be with him throughout his entire trip. She was going to be paid $20,000 for this I believe. This one however, was for sex and all. And she wasn’t even a prostitute. A middle-class college girl.

  27. Beats working 9-5 having to deal with a shitty boss.

  28. I think the thing that makes this situation seem bad is that she talks about him in a disrespectful way. If she truly was his friend, money or not, it would be different.

    I don’t necessarily think there is something wrong with two people hanging out together and one being more economically advantaged paying for it…bottom line the friendship has to be true. I had a buddy who made more money than he knew what to do with…I had none…so he paid. We shared common interests and did things together. Neither was interested in a relationship. In fact, he had a long distance girlfriend who he would go see every other weekend. The friendship never was in question or a problem to any of us.

  29. amazingly interesting,
    Kenneth you know that you have the potential to write a book with all the interesting stories that you post on your blog.
    Keep up the good realistic work .

  30. Your stories get stranger all the time, Kenneth.

    But the reality is that friendship is a strange thing. Loneliness is an even stranger ‘affliction’.

    Being of a very solitary persuasion and almost hermit-like in my desire for my own company, I find it very odd that people feel uncomfortable with just their own company. I am often alone, but very rarely ‘lonely’. I am quite satisfied with my own company and in retirement, spend many hours on solitary pursuits.

    Maybe it’s the way we’re brought up? Maybe life has changed with modern technology and social networking.

    Story for you………40-something years ago (at a family birthday dinner at a function centre to celebrate my 21st), I met a man on the way to the public conveniences. Yep. He introduced himself (he was at a wedding function) and then invited me out for dinner the following week. We actually met at the restaurant on that first date (which was close to his inner city apartment). I lived in the outer suburbs closer to the country actually, so it made sense to meet at the restaurant rather than him pick me up and take me home again. This restaurant dinner was the start of several weeks of wining, dining, walks on the beach, romantic evenings over wine & cheese at his apartment)…….and not one suggestion of a more intimate relationship………I never thought anything amiss at the time……..then, he took me out for the sweetest restaurant dinner…….and told me his fiancé was coming back from overseas and this would be our last social outing.

    He was just lonely and wanted some company while his fiancé was away. I’m sure no one would ever believe it was purely platonic, but it was.

    Loneliness is a very sad state of affairs. I’m so glad I rarely encounter it myself.

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