April 13, 2023

Cancer Sugar Daddy


Last night I read in the New York Times Magazine about a sugar daddy website, and decided it’s time to write about my cancer sugar daddy incident. But first, let me share with you a quote from my book by Wafa’a, a single lymphoma patient:

“Cancer makes you feel really alone, and you just want to be held and feel loved. Or maybe it is a coincidence, and I’d just really want those things right now even without cancer, and it’s just part of being twenty-four. I want to matter to someone else. I want to feel like someone is thinking about me. Since being sick, I’m just looking for a bit of stability, and I think maybe having someone to love me is it. You can’t control life so maybe you can just date and control that, but you can’t control that either.”

I’m happily married now, but Wafa’a’s words cut to the core of my four years of being single and slogging through cancer alone. Not only was I lonely, but I was seriously scrimping to pay my medical bills. I’ve never been spendy but my pasta and rice routine was a drag; I hadn’t been in a restaurant in months and was craving a little cancer luxury to quell my cancer solitude.

I met a really sweet guy who was way too old for me (50!). “Just one date,” he pleaded. He knew about my cancer and how hard it was financially, so I made a deal. “One date only: You wine and dine me. I’ll be your arm candy, and give you one kiss.” Agreed.

It felt like prom or New Year’s Eve, taking a long bath and trying on outfits before our date. He took me to a small, expensive French restaurant. We ate quail eggs, salty lardon, savory Foie Gras bread pudding (sorry PETA readers), and quince tart. He was boring and a bad kisser. But I didn’t care. It was only temporary; I knew I’d resume the world of (semi)-normal dating after that evening. Some might find it depressing or disrespectable, but to me, it felt like a glimmer of hope, a chance to get out of my garden apartment, eat decadent food, and join the living.

Have you ever been single with cancer or while managing another kind of illness? What was hardest about it for you? Did you daydream about your life being different? Lastly, cast your honest vote: On my date, was I a tramp or a princess? Would you ever consider doing the same, or have you?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook


  1. Morgan S Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    I’d do the same, why not? It’s not like either party was being blind-sighted. Is that the term to use, I dunno? Sometimes you just want to feel special.

  2. anonymous Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    neither tramp nor princess fits here. it’s far too complex for such a simplistic label.
    i’m single, and have been living with stage 4 cancer for 5 years now. i daydream alot (not as much as i used to though) about things being different. dealing with this alone isn’t easy. and yes, we all want to matter to someone.
    for me personally though, i have found that being with the wrong person for the wrong reasons is worse than being alone.

  3. Robin Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    Being single through everything has been pretty hard, but at the same time I don’t think I could ask anyone to go through it all with me either. I’ve had a few not quasi-boyfriends, but never made anything serious out of things, and part of the reason is not wanting to make a person be there through all the testing, the meds that are just off, the moods… And I can’t imagine meeting someone new, and just randomly going a date, and then trying to explain being sick… its hard enough to do with just making new friends.

    As for your date… I would do the same. I’ve already looked through craigslist maybe a dozen times looking for that kind of a random date, just never had the nerve to follow through.

    Also, I’m sorry to have missed you on Saturday. I made it out for the first couple hours; the whole event was incredibly touching.

  4. Kelly Kane Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    I read that article yesterday too!!! I was like, damn, I don’t think they want 26 year old, slightly overweight, cancer survivor, that prefers sneakers over stellettos to wine and dine. Whoops!

    I’m having an ADD moment, so I’ll respond to your questions because I was one of the spinster cancer patients you mentioned… and damn, all I wanted was someone to spoon with once and a while. More later when I’m fuctional.


  5. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 8:31 PM

    When I read Robins response, something leaped out of me that felt PollyAnna-ish - a rare state of mind for me, but here goes. Robin, if our paths had crossed on Saturday night at that truly amazing event for Ric, you would have seen me sitting on the couch in the lap of an incredible man, who happens to be my husband. I don’t feel badly for signing him up for this cancer shit - he chose it when he said yes to dating me. We’d both rather not have it in our lives, of course, but there is a lot more to me than cancer and he wants it all.

    It took a damn long time to find him; I stumbled hard through the trial and error process of how to disclose my cancer. But I just want to let you know, you deserve a great man, if you want one. Did you know there are more than just postings for blow jobs and marijuana hook-ups on craigslist - that is where I found my husband!

    Polly Anna moment finito! Hope you are well Robin!

Leave a Comment