Because I prefer raw fish to all other forms of dead animals, I chose a sushi restaurant near my house. I assumed that on a Saturday night the place would be packed and the chatter of the restaurant would mask any awkward silences if it turned out we had nothing in common. Or, that there would be enough other people around and I could spend the rest of the dinner making witty, sparkling observations about our fellow patrons. Unfortunately I was wrong. We were literally the only people in the restaurant besides the staff.
The date got off to a very bad start. When I ordered a rainbow roll, Tony launched into a diatribe about how he preferred individual pieces of sushi or sashimi to rolls, since they were far more authentic and urbane. Maki was, apparently, for the little people. I was fairly certain that calling him pretentious would ruin my chances of ever being his sugar baby, but I have no doubt that irritation was written plainly on my face.
Suddenly the first flaw in the whole charade was obvious: being a sugar baby was almost exactly like being a whore, but with none of the simple transactional interactions and all of the pretense. Instead of pretending I cared about anything but the money for an hour or so, a sugar baby relationship would involve pretending that I didnâ€™t care about money at all for as much time as I was to spend with my sugar daddy.
After his little rant against all but the individual pieces of sushi, I managed to steer the conversation onto his work. This, also, was a mistake. Because Tony was a tattoo artist, he had taken it upon himself to judge all other tattoos. Naturally my self-inflicted jailhouse-style work did not pass muster. When I informed him that I had done them myself he reacted the same way a surgeon might, had I told him I’d removed my own appendix. His expression went first to confusion, then outright anger, as if I had insulted him personally.