The return of the Sugar Daddy

Posted on October 28, 2011 by

I have recently stumbled upon another article about Sugar Daddies, a growing trend among the wealthy. I’ve mentioned the habit before, in the first article posted on TC, but I think it deserves its own post.

From what I can gather, the men engaging in this transaction are wealthy and busy, and sometimes married. The women are pretty and charming, but not especially beautiful, classy, or otherwise high-value, and are therefore fishing in waters a bit too deep for them. The men get “younger, hotter, tighter” on their own terms (just as with a prostitute), and the women get access to men out of their league who wouldn’t normally marry them (just as with a prostitute).

By defining this as a sort of elite dating service, they both avoid the social (and legal) taint of true prostitution by entering into a concubinage contract. These parties, in other words, provide a similar service to the old Octoroon Balls with their resulting system of plaçage. The membership’s makeup (mostly older, native white men, and younger, brown, and foreign women) mirrors the pattern.

But, as with plaçage, where concubine infidelity resulted in duels, there’s a twist:

According to employees of SeekingArrangement, there are seven women for every man on the site. At the party, there seem to be two to three women for every guy. The men seem happily dazed, sitting back as women in mini dresses form lines to sit at bottle service with them. As the night wears on, the women arriving seem to grow more beautiful and more aggressive. “Listen to his problems, let him talk about his family or work,” I’m advised by my new friends. I watch as brazen Arielle and Candy suddenly become coy and demure around men. When I ask Nistico what findings are the most surprising, she says it’s how much the men can be hurt by the sugar relationship, “The role reversal is what is so interesting to me. The women are manipulating the men, and if the relationship takes a turn for the worse, the man often ends up being victimized—not the woman,” she says.

In the ladies’ room, Christina is giving a speech from the stall. “Get yours! Ask up-front. Don’t date if they don’t own that business. Network! Is that cocaine on the floor? Someone sniff it up!” It is another illusion unraveling: While the girls play submissive in the club, here in the greenish light of the bathroom, it is clear that the guys are the betas.

This appears a spot-on assessment. Although some of the men are probably alphas looking for a no-nonsense transaction, I suspect most of them are betas who came into money but are still unsure about women. They are keenly aware that wealth is their primary selling-point and have simply given up the pretense of wooing women that they know want them for their money.

I have female relatives playing the same game, I’m baffled by the whole thing. Why would a woman do this instead of marrying someone of her own class, and living a life of settled respectability? Does rising income inequality and middle-class male unemployment play into this phenomenon? When I entered the market I could reject such offers with disdain, but what about young women entering today?

Posted in: Relationships