Sugar What?Conservative vs. Liberal Dilemma

May 13 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew

I was wishing for the return of the rainy season because the sun was unbearable while I headed to work one afternoon.

An intriguing advertisement captured my attention. It insinuated hooking young people with wealthy older men and women, commonly referred to as "sugar" mommies and daddies. Although I have encountered other dating advertisements on walls at the sides of walk streets, this one struck a nerve and I did not know what to make of it.

A series of questions and thoughts came to my mind.

I get the concept of being someone who takes care of the other financially in exchange for intimacy explains the "sugar" part. But parents take care of their children without expecting anything in return, and associating the notable names with gold-digging does not sit right with me.

The agency's role in setting up these dates seemed shady. Although it looked like a business and they probably would get a commission out of it, I questioned the type of dates they set people on. I pondered if people succumb to such ads, take them seriously and make follow-up calls or if it was legal to recruit people for such acts publicly.

Had it not been for money, everybody would have stayed true to their character. Some are okay with marrying off their children, particularly daughters, to wealthy men who are twice their age but not when they are dating them. I believe it relates to the asset entitlement, which will be the long-term benefit as dating is a temporary contract with no guarantee.

Not long ago, I learned financially well-established women were pursuing these setups; it usually used to be the other way around. I do not believe getting involved in any relationship should be a topic of judgement. Dating for love or money is a priority everyone should be entitled to choose.

But this all holds water if the people engaged in the act are of age. The moral value may be debatable but at least these people are precisely aware of their needs and how to get it. However, publicly promoting it sounded immoral.

My concern was that everyone could see it, including teenagers, who are easy prey for such ads. There is a cluster of youngsters gullible enough to take the risk with hopes of having fun or getting quick money to keep up with the trendiest fashion.

Some are pressured into this lifestyle before they scrutinize the matter further. Naivety and lack of experience cause deception and risk of unwanted pregnancies, abuse and lifelong diseases such as HIV-AIDS.

I believe that Ethiopia is a country where a conservative society takes up the majority. The acts considered publicly indecent are what make up the collective rules. Following the norms proves the person accords respect for societal values. Many would argue that these acts are done in public among liberals, while conservative societies do the same thing hiding in the dark.

I take the dark any day than witness it in broad daylight and eventually become desensitized to any indecency.

PUBLISHED ON May 13,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1202]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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