By: Jenny Foughner

I have a hunch. Correct me if I’m wrong (well, don’t, actually… keep it to yourself, but feel free to gloat quietly at having bested me just this once), but I’m thinking that this whole “squaw makes sandwiches while waiting for Big Man to bring home mad scrilla” is a phase out of which humankind (or at the very least, American males between the ages of 18 and 30) is rapidly evolving. I feel confident that there is a revolution afoot, one that is enabling socially advanced menfolk to become homemakers while their professionally advanced ladyfriends score the bread out in the big bad capitalist world. 

This is a huge step for women, of course – even those of us (ahem) who want nothing to do with the 9-5 and the power suit will benefit from a society in which gender roles are malleable – but it’s an even bigger one for you guys, considering you’ve probably never experienced the joy of knowing you’ll one day marry well and abandon the corporate treadmill for good. Forgive me, Gloria Steinem, but it’s just… so comforting. However, this game isn’t without struggle. It takes a while to figure out how to separate the wheat (sugar mamas who want a house husband) from the chaff (well-off ladies who want a man to meet them halfway professionally and personally); only you can know if you’ve found the holy grail, but to get you started, here’s a little diagnostic quiz to give you an idea of where you stand.

1. Does she describe herself as a “career woman”/ “ball-buster”/ other phrase that suggests she aspires to a position of power?

Above all else, if you’re with a sugar mama (or future sugar mama), she’s going to make it clear over and over again that her career comes first, and that she has no plans to sit at home barefoot and pregnant while some man goes out and has all the boardroom fun. She’s probably in a profession that requires cajones (law, finance, anything corporate) and offers a big title towards which she can work (partner, president, CEO), and she probably doesn’t spend her days designing her dream wedding dress and picking out baby names for her future progeny (which isn’t to say she’s an androgynous bitch; she’s just driven and career-focused, and she’s not afraid to show it).

2. Is she older than you by at least five years?

While age isn’t an entirely reliable predictor of sugar mama status, there is a trend (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) of older women with thriving careers dating younger men who (theoretically) won’t be intimidated by a powerful, successful partner. These women want love, affection, and all the gooey stuff that goes along with a relationship, but they also want the freedom to pursue their professional goals without interference from some insecure dude who can’t handle a woman with a big paycheck. Howevvvver (and there’s always a however), older women sometimes want to move a whole lot faster than you do, which is obviously problematic. If she’s itching for a hitching, she might try to make you an offer you think you can’t refuse, but unless you’re ready to take the plunge, there’s no reason to jump into anything too serious just because a life of leisure sounds super awesome right now.

3. Will she pay your telephone, automo- and other miscellaneous bills?

Obviously, if you’re going to be a house husband, your woman is going to have to be willing and able to provide for a family on her income alone. In my experience, women who want to be the breadwinners are only too happy to shell out the cash for dates and other outings (and in doing so offer a big F-U to the gender stereotypes of their parents’ generation), especially if they know their male companions aren’t especially liquid. Every woman with a sizeable income is not going to go out and pay your way through art school, though, so pay attention to her actions. If she’s the kind of woman who wants you as her house husband, she won’t be shy about taking the check at dinner and buying you clothes for that big interview. This is hugely empowering for some women, so if you’ve found someone who loves you just the way you are (poor), then brother, go with it.

4. Do you have any skills of househusbandry (gourmet cooking, excessive cleanliness, a knack for color schemes), and has she ever commented on them?

You can’t possibly expect an all-expenses paid trip to the good life without offering something in return (well, maybe you can, but don’t), so if you haven’t yet learned how to poach an egg or design and build an eat-in kitchen, then you’d better quit the cougar circuit and get yourself a season pass to HGTV. Women are picky, and they want a return on their investments. Your six-pack won’t last forever, so you have to have something besides stamina in the sack to keep her interested past the obligatory one-month fling period. If you do have something going for you – an eye for great art, or a junior certificate in massage therapy, for example – then watch for her to take notice and compliment you on it. If she does, and if she seems impressed, then she’s probably considering your potential as a long-term stay-at-home guy rather than weekend plaything.

5. Does she have a stand-up shower and a separate bathtub?

Okay, let’s say you’ve just met a woman who seems to fit the profile of someone who might one day become your sugar mama. She’s got the confidence and style of someone who kicks ass on the trading floor or fires people on a regular basis, but you’re not sure how to gauge her s.m. potential without asking her straight up if you can be her special man-candy for all eternity. If you manage to get back to her place, then excuse yourself and take a peek in the bathroom. One: in bathrooms, you can find fixtures, and a woman who routinely gets what she wants from life will have some fine-ass fixtures (marble, granite, wood, stainless steel, etc) to fit her fine-ass lifestyle. Two: tubs and showers should not be one in the same, and a successful, mature, well-to-do sugar mama will know this and live it like it is the gospel. If she has a steam shower, then she is absolutely a keeper.

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