Saturday 26 May 2012

The Pimp and the Cash-Strapped Students

Brandon Wade, CEO of
One of my undergraduate friends spent a day a week as a sex worker in order to maintain herself while she studied.  As she was not British, she was not awarded  the maintenance grant that the state bestowed on its undergraduates back in 1980 so that they could spend time reading books without incurring humiliation or danger.

One day my friend  was beaten up by a sado-fetishist and took a job as a barmaid instead. But although I was horrified by the thought of her being mauled by moneyed men, I agreed with her when she insisted that there is no difference between prostitution and a marriage in which a woman with erotic capital serviced a man whose only capital was financial.

Athenian Undergraduate funds her studies
Brandon Wade, the American founder of the fastest growing "Sugar Daddy website", used by thousands of young women attempting to pay their way through university (, says there is nothing demeaning about either deal:  a rich man buying sex with students isn't “very different from a rich husband or boyfriend giving money to a wife or girlfriend.”  Wade admits that he founded his company because it was hard for him to get laid without offering "presents" or money. 

Female PhD student at the University of Pompeii
Wade is obviously very pleased indeed with the British government for abolishing state subsidy of fees in Higher Education. He has just made a major marketing push into these islands. But his unedifying business has also given me an insight into ancient social history. Perhaps it explains why all the famous ancient courtesans were so incredibly well educated. Was Pericles actually paying the fees for his odalisque Aspasia to attend the sophists’ lectures? Had Theodota persuaded Alcibiades to pay Socrates so that she could attend the famous dialogues? Was Rahab, the clever harlot of Jericho in the Book of Joshua, secretly saving up to study the Torah?

Maid Marian, MSc (Forestry), class of 1167
Just to prove how cool and "now" prostitution is, Wade  publishes League Tables showing how many female students he pimps at North American and UK universities:  more of what he calls his "Sugar Babies" (my stomach heaves) attend NYU than anywhere else; in the UK, the University of Kent has just been edged into second place by—of all places--Nottingham.  

The city which gave us Robin Hood, the hero who stole from the rich to feed the poor, is now to find fame as the home of young women performing sexual acts on rich men in order to get the education which  in any civilised society would be theirs by right. Or perhaps this is not such a new development. Was Maid Marian dating Robin (or even secretly servicing the Sheriff of Nottingham) simply because she needed to fund her Masters in Forestry?


  1. "...the education which in any civilised society would be theirs by right." Absolutely.

  2. ‘It’s not madness we need to flee but prostitution’ wrote the English poet Auden (W. H. Auden. The Enchaf├Ęd Flood. 1949. In The Complete Works of W. H. Auden: Prose iii. Faber & Faber, 2008. 91). Prostitution of virtuous works to ignoble ends of self-glorification, monetary gains or worse (the worst forms of simulation) has become the hallmark of contemporary society.

  3. Well, I am in total agreement with you both. Thanks for the supporting remarks!