She Thinks She’s Made of Candy
Hugh Bassett looks into the murky world of ‘Sugar Dating’
Shock and revulsion at UCL as we broke the story of how our Uni places 10th in the UK league table for applicants to ‘sugar daddy dating’ website SeekingArrangement.com! Or perhaps not so much.
For as the Tab revealed the scandalous statistic, the perma-outraged legions of Internet commenters were decidedly quiet, which was the real shock. This is The Tab. Anyone with an internet connection and fingers can have their say on whatever’s in the news at the time, and that say usually devolves into ‘You’re worse than Hitler you giant Hitler Nazi!’ within at least three comments (Seriously, go and have a look. One of my friends received one that just said ‘kill yourself’ posted after a pretty harmless article. She declined their offer).
Yet so far, the Sugar Daddy article has garnered a grand total of two responses, one stating quite eloquently that it’s ‘their body’, and another simply saying ‘Who wants to be my Water Baby? (No, me neither). Not exactly the Victorian fire and brimstone we were expecting.
Even taking into account that there may have been an international ‘angry computer-based people with not much on’ convention that day, it seems more likely that the whole issue of ‘sugar daddy dating’ is less of a moral quandary than previously thought.
In essence, the site allows ‘generous’ older gentleman to be paired with attractive younger ladies. ‘Generous’ is a euphemism beloved of founder Brandon Wade, a fortysomething entrepreneur who revealed to Internet magazine Business Insider he didn’t have his first kiss until he was twenty-one. He clearly picked the term up from his ‘Tiger Parent’ mother, letting slip a few of her words of advice: “study hard, and when you grow up you’ll be generous, and then you’ll have options”. No doubt she was overjoyed when her son went on to be described as an ‘e-pimp’. Wade’s own personal revelations have done little to assuage fears that the site is not often used to find true love: around 40% of the site’s ‘daddies’ are married, and university students are given free membership if they sign up with their establishment’s email.
Brandon Wade pictured with his frumpy old bag of a wife Tanya.
The fact that ‘babies’ are often given a monthly allowance in what they are told to refer to as a ‘mutually beneficial relationship’ has given rise to allegations of prostitution, and Wade has already fallen foul of Internet payment giant PayPal.
Yet is this online version of ‘prostitution’ any different from what’s been going on real life since the dawn of time?
Rich older men have always been able to quite easily enter into ‘mutually beneficial relationships’ with younger women. Ask any fourteen year old boy what his biggest annoyance is and he’ll reply that all the good looking girls at school are going out with older guys. Ask any evolutionary biologist why this is and they’ll reply that it’s down to human nature. If we think of ourselves purely in reproductive terms, younger women are likely to be more fertile, and older men are likely to have amassed more power and wealth in order to support a family. Wade himself sums up where the problem lies: “I think people are offended as these sites are so brutally honest about it”.
Financial security is a large part of many relationships. Last weekend my friend and I spent many a hilarious hour constructing me a Guardian Soulmates profile (because yes, even awkward people who spend most of their time inside writing for the Internet have trouble finding love), and after getting past forty-five minutes of making progressively weaker sex jokes in the ‘about you’ section, we realised that many of the options in the ‘looking for’ section were indicative of a trend: there was ‘Resourcefulness’ ‘Ambition’ ‘Financially savvy’, and surely Wade’s favourite ‘Generosity’, because presumably ‘Rich blokes who will buy you shiny things’ is over the word limit. All SeekingArrangement.com is doing is loosening up the terminology.
They won’t keep you warm at night, but they will pay the heating bill.
I know a girl who has been ‘tactical dating’ for years, only through non-technological means, and if you called her a prostitute she’d be shocked. I think she much prefers ‘trophy wife in training’.
According to the site, female students get on average £5000 a month from their respective daddies. That’s five thousand English pounds! Do you have any idea how many Pot Noodles that is? Screw it, you’re getting p-a-i-d, you could even splash out on Super Noodles, you classy kid. These gals are getting enough cash to ‘make it rain’ like a boss in the privacy of five-star hotels for doing what most people do in the bins outside Moonies for half a jaeger-bomb. No wonder so many university students are joining, it clearly takes brains to realise that the regret of both is going to be fairly equal, so you might as well get a few extra pennies while you’re at it.
As student loans and the cost of city living hang over Gower Street like so many malevolent clouds made of anger at our parent’s generation, it’s likely that our current position in the Sugar Baby league table will only increase, and perhaps it’s not entirely a negative thing. Well, at least we’re higher than Oxford.