A young woman finds an older man on a dating Web site. She's drawn to him. What can it be? His age and experience? His Sean Connery-like looks? The fact that she's got bills to pay at the University of Houston and he has agreed to pay for her education just for the pleasure of her company?
I know what you're thinking, because I was thinking it, too. These two are gonna go get hitched and live in a fairy tale, just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But the sugar daddy (a.k.a. old guy) isn't a john. The sugar baby (a.k.a. young woman) is so not a prostitute. This is just a mutually beneficial dating arrangement.
And it's a handy arrangement for those looking to avoid student loans. According to a release from Seekingarrangement.com, 67 percent of graduating college sugar babies -- yes, it seems there is a statistic for college sugar babies vs. the ones who aren't in school -- graduated debt-free last year. Ranking the schools they graduated from, University of Houston came in at Number 7. That's something to be proud of. I guess.
We tried to ask Seekingarrangement.com a couple of follow-up questions along the lines of, oh, "a) How in the hell do you come up with a statistic like that, and b) do you expect us to actually believe it?" but alas, they did not return our call.
The Sugar Daddy concept has been around for eons, but Seekingarrangement.com was created back in 2006 by a guy named Brandon Wade. There was a Wall Street Journal Q&A with Wade, CEO of the company, in 2011. Wade told the WSJ he started the Web site out of frustration because here he was, a guy making six figures with degrees from MIT, and the women of the online dating world were ignoring him. His mom always told him that if he got real educated and made a lot of money, women would be lining up around the block. And they weren't!
For some people, this might have been the time for a little introspective thinking. What am I doing wrong here? Am I coming off as someone not to date via e-mail? Do I smell? Am I a guy who really thinks that the only way to get a woman is to show her all my shiny toys and say, with jazz hands, in an extremely creepy voice, "This could belong to you."
Well, Wade was striking out on the dating field, so, being a clever guy (did he mention he went to MIT?), he just started looking for young women to help out financially and mentor while they dated, according to the WSJ. Then he took that whole concept and went live with it in 2006.
Now you too can go online to this or one of the other sites dedicated to helping older rich men and young women get acquainted.
Some men on the site state they're open to negotiation -- am I the only one thinking of Memoirs of a Geisha right now? -- and some tell you then and there that if you are deemed worthy of being this man's girlfriend/personal assistant, you will not only get the dreamboat pictured in the blurb, you'll also get a monthly stipend of $1,000 to $3,000. After all, he's got the money, and he's just a giver.
There's another charmer on the site, Chance, who lists his income at more than $1 million and offers $10,001 to $20,000 a month for the right woman. From his profile picture, it looks like the right woman will be blond or brunette -- he's got one on each side -- and will look a lot like Barbie.
Wade acknowledges that some of the media -- can't think why -- liken this setup to prostitution. The trick is, as long as the sugar daddies aren't paying the sugar babies immediately and directly for sex, it's a legal gray area. Maybe it toes the line toward the oldest profession in the world, but it's not entirely clear if the line actually gets crossed, according to a story from the Huffington Post.
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If you're a pretty young Houstonian and education isn't really what you're after from your sugar daddy, there's always a boob job. Sugardaddies.com, the outfit that touts itself as the "original" site for those looking for a sugary lifestyle -- they started in 2002 -- conducted a survey of more than 200,000 members and the study revealed that breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery sugar daddies are buying.
And among the top 10 cities in America for the number of sugar babies that have sugar daddies buying them plastic surgery is...come on....rhymes with "Shoeston"...you got it!
Seems Houston-based sugar daddies and sugar babies alike feel that education and plastic surgery are sound investments.