When Megan, 23, was planning her move to NYU in August 2012 for a grad-school program, she knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. Megan put up a profile even before she’d touched down in the city and was invited out by a 47-year-old lawyer.
She worried over the phone to a friend about the costs of living and joked that maybe she’d use a dating site to score a few free meals in her new, expensive city. She spent one of her first nights in the city enjoying fancy sushi and cocktails, and it pulled back the curtain on the privileged world of moneyed Manhattan. It felt just like a normal relationship.” Megan collected an estimated ,000 from her sugar daddy before they ended the relationship on amicable terms. Here’s what I’m offering if you’re interested.” On college campuses across New York, young women are being lured into a world where sex and money intermingle. “Prostitution is black and white; it’s just an exchange of sex for money,” says Angela Jacob Bermudo, public-relations manager for Seeking Arrangement, which encases its matchmaking service in a cloud of euphemisms.
She says she uses the money on bills and modest indulgences, like organic food and an occasional plane ticket home. She says sometimes getting to the point of agreement on the money is often a little uncomfortable. Usually after a half an hour or an hour there might be like a silence in the conversation and then they’ll be like . That’s not something that a man is going to spend for a simple, one-night engagement.” Seeking Arrangement actively pursues college-age students and lures the financially vulnerable demographic with free premium memberships (which provide increased exposure and messaging capabilities) if they subscribe with a dot-edu e-mail address.
Since offering the upgraded memberships in 2011, the site has seen an increase of 58% in its college enrollees.
They now account for 44% of total memberships and are the site’s largest demographic.
The site claims 58,000 sugar babies in the New York City area, Bermudo says.
Official company materials highlight the allure of sugar dating, encouraging students to stop “wasting precious study hours at a minimum-wage job” and to instead connect with a “generous benefactor” who might provide valuable networks and introductions.
“Why hope for financial aid when you can guarantee it with a sugar daddy? “Student loans lead to endless debt, which amounts to more than a new graduate can handle.
‘Sugar scholarships’ provide real solutions to the problem of student debts.” Peppered around the site are advertisements about how this is the gateway to female independence.
“Seeking was created to empower women,” Wade said in a 2012 statement for National Women’s Month.
“A sugar baby is an empowered woman who is tired of dating losers that contribute nothing to her life. Registration for Seeking Arrangement is simple and mirrors most other dating sites, except that here you also choose from a drop-down menu with a desired level of monthly support — an allowance, the site calls it, to “help with bills or tuition, or any other form of pampering such as gifts, travel or meals.” The menu on the path to such goals uses adjectives like High, Moderate, or Practical and even Minimal (less than ,000/month).