Pour some sugar

Our writer creates an account on a rich sugar daddies website

Why, yes, I would like to be treated to a five-star dinner in San Francisco. And, yes, I would like to fly out to New York for the weekend on your dime. And, sure, maybe I am interested in a new, higher-paying job. Thanks for offering.

Now, would I like to have sex with a married, 55-year-old man in a hotel room once a week, in exchange for a monthly allowance of $3,000? Hmm.

These propositions were all too real when I created an account on the so-called sugared dating website SeekingArrangement. Relationship goals vary, but typically the sugar baby gets pampered in the form of financial assistance or spendy gifts. In return, the sugar daddy—or sugar mommy—gets companionship, which could mean monogamy, casual dating or a straight-up contract based on sex.

My admirers? Predominantly white, lonely men in their 40s and 50s. Some claim to be worth as much as $5 million, others cite annual six-figure salaries.

While collecting 40-something messages over two weeks, I was struck by how nice and respectful these sugar daddies seemed—at first, at least. If you ignore a guy on OKCupid, you prepare for a flood of misogyny or even rape threats. When I ignored people on SeekingArrangement, they sent me good luck for my search.

A few played the dad card, which was super-weird considering they were old enough that they could be my dad. They said things like, “I’m a dad, so I understand your needs.” They tried giving me advice: “I encourage you to take your time, put in the energy and be really selective,” which would be followed immediately by, “Let’s meet IRL tomorrow.”

Some messaged with a list of demands, suggesting they receive tons of requests from sugar babies and that I was so, so lucky to have caught their attention. One detailed his plan to form a harem. His exact words: “If you’re perfect, I’ll take care of you for life.”

A couple of men offered me a job, which I found fascinating. But I wasn’t necessarily special, as one sugar daddy’s whole profile read like a Craigslist wanted ad: “You should be intelligent. Vibrate. Sexy. And not afraid to take chances. You should have really good Internet and a really good computer.”

And then there were the totally normal-seeming, legitimately attractive 30-somethings who detailed their love for hiking, farmers markets and puppies. They were mostly in the Bay Area and, unsurprisingly, mostly in tech. They all hoped SeekingArrangement would fast-track a relationship and skip the frustrations and awkward missteps that come with normal dating—or normal online dating, for that matter.

When I tried to imagine my life as a sugar baby, I first thought I’d be the one taking advantage of men. But that wasn’t right, because they’d also be taking advantage of me. I’d just be a person caught in some sort of losing situation, figuring out how to get what I want, and they’d be doing the same. Nothing wrong with that.

I’m not normally inclined toward dating older men, but for a few thousand bucks a month, maybe I could be.