In the summer of 2018, Tatum was working at Starbucks in her Ohio hometown when she met a man, she calls her sugar daddy.
I'd been working at Starbucks for four years. One summer, a man by the name of John made a habit of coming in twice a day for coffee: once in the morning, and once mid-afternoon. John was a tall, handsome, 50-year-old single and confident man. He wore black every day. Black pants, shirt, sports coat, and even aviators.
The way he looked had me hooked instantly. Because of where I’m from, a small town just an hour outside of Ohio, the only available and single men seem to work on farms and herd cows all day.
I made John’s coffee every time he came in, but I never got the courage to talk to him until one morning, when I was feeling spontaneous. I wanted to find an excuse to talk to him, rather than just say, “John! Your order’s ready!” So I asked him, in a sassy yet flirtatious tone, “Are you coming back for your second drink today, John?”
He immediately responded. Looking straight into my eyes, he said, “Do you want me to come back?”
“Yes I do," I said. "I want to make your Grande vanilla latte.”
"Well," he replied. "Only if you’ll give me your number.”
John and I quickly exchanged phone numbers and went our separate ways. We both had to get back to work.
The next day, John texted me and asked me out to dinner at this really nice steak house called The Goat. I knew that I was going to respond with a yes, but I wanted to wait a little to answer. I wanted to keep my cool and show that I was confident too. But the only thing I could think of was how fast my heart was beating. Questions started flowing through my mind. “Will people think of me as a gold digger, being seen with a man who is 28 years older than me?”
And I couldn’t help but wonder: “Am I getting a sugar daddy out of this?”
I was living at home, but I couldn’t tell my mom or dad. My mom would kill me and then follow that up with a “that's so un-lady like." I didn’t even want to think about what my dad would have to say. So, I told only my best friend, and she helped me get ready for the first date with my new so-called sugar daddy.
It was a 75-degree summer night, so I chose to wear a white dress with floral print. The dress stopped at the top of my kneecaps but had a deep V-neck on the upper part of the dress. I wanted to show that I was classy, but could look hot. I was nervous. I knew I needed to look presentable while with him — he was a successful businessman who knew a lot of people in our hometown.
He picked me up at my house. Our car ride to the steakhouse started off a little awkward, but it didn't stay that way for long. He complimented me, and even opened the door for me as I got into the car. "What a gentleman," I thought. "Am I really going to have to start dating older men to be treated the way I like?"
I knew there was a large gap between our ages, not only because of the way he looked, but the things he found interesting, like ‘70s rock and roll music. I thought to myself, “What the hell am I going to say about ‘70s rock and roll?” I wasn’t even a thought in my parents mind in the ‘70s.
“Just act mature and cool,” I told myself.
At dinner, John ordered three different appetizers and a bottle of my favorite red wine. I had surf and turf, while he had a large ribeye followed by crème brûlée. It was the most expensive dinner I had ever had.
After dinner, he drove me back home, opened the car door for me and said to me, “Here kid. Here’s $200 for gas money and necessities for school. Save it. You’ll need it for when you drive back to KU.” Then he kissed me.
The night ended. I walked into my bedroom and jumped onto my bed. What a way to end my last summer night in Ohio. I still talk to him about every two weeks, but I haven't seen him since that night.