“Sugar daddy is looking for a pretty girl to have a weekend out of two.” “Seeking girl for a rewarding adventure (especially for her).” The website Seeking Arrangement proposes to connect men “at ease in life” with “attractive and ambitious young women”. A controversial goal.
“New estimates show that student debt is over $ 16 billion in Canada,” reads a statement in the first sentence of Seeking Arrangements (SA). Boasting the most important Sugar Daddies dating site in the world, the platform prides itself on being “an alternative method of financial support”. His target audience? Students in debt looking for a mature man to support them financially.
I create my profile the morning of January 19th. During the following month, I speak to a dozen men, without ever accepting any financial reward. Today, I write this story in the first person, because it exposes my personal experience as a journalist, and not a reality common to all students who have registered on the platform.
Registration on SeekingArrangement
I indicate that I am a woman looking for a sugar daddy. I provide an email address, indicate that I am over 18 and confirm that I am not a robot. I am then asked to provide a myriad of information: age, height, body size, ethnicity, hair color, employment, education, and others. I am also asked if I have children, if I smoke, and if I drink.
Small precision that will prove useful: I choose not to lie on my profile and indicates that I am 18 years old. I must confess to being concerned that it does not deter some people. I will discover later that this is actually a remarkable asset, as is my “Middle Eastern” ethnicity.
Only twelve hours after creating my profile, I’m already chatting with five different men. They are between 30 and 50 years old and earn an annual salary of $ 50,000 to $ 300,000, at least according to their profile. At the time, I must say that I am surprised at the speed with which I am sucked by the gear SA; the proposals multiply and I end up spending hours looking curiously at the profile of my potential contenders.
During my adventure, I come across profiles of American millionaires like Londoners, young entrepreneurs as retirees, singles and divorced. I am rather surprised to see that several men from the Ottawa area who are registered on the site are receiving $ 50,000 and are working in the public service; far from the glamorous image of the Silicon Valley billionaires I had in mind.
The process remains substantially the same. They send me a message, ask me to send them a photo, before discussing the terms of our arrangement. Coolguy43 is ready to donate $ 250 for each of our meetings, as long as they result in “hot naughty fun”. Indianguy2017 promises to pay school fees, rent, bills and debts. Sexydaddymtl says he wants to see me four or five times a month, in exchange for $ 6,500 a month.
I realize that by combining all the offers, I would receive in one month several thousand dollars, or the equivalent of my annual salary. In addition to a monthly check, there are many who offer gifts of all kinds: clothes, trips or visits to the spa.
If the potential Sugar Daddies do not always indicate explicitly that they expect to receive sexual services, they certainly insinuate: “I like to be spoiled by a sensual and well-skinned woman”, “Can you send me a sexy photo of you? »,« Hmm, I wonder what you wear »,« Are you a virgin? ”
It should be noted that beyond the purely sexual aspect of the thing, some men also seem to be looking for a listening ear. One evening, I find myself on the phone with C. for over an hour, who tells me his professional frustrations – he would like to be able to indulge in his passion, photography, full-time. Apparently, life is tough when you have a net worth of $ 5 million and you drive a Corvette Z51.
The weeks are passing and it seems to me more and more that the simple fact of chatting with Sugar Daddies does not give me a real glimpse of the reality of the 200 000 students registered on the platform.
So I decide to have a coffee with one of my suitors. RespectfulGuy42 has an annual salary of $ 125,000 and works in the field of computer science. On January 27th, therefore, a man who does not have much to do with his profile picture joins me in a Starbucks in downtown Ottawa.
During the thirty minutes that we spend together, the topics of discussion are diverse: studies, employment, travel, family and even religion. He explains to me that he has two young children and does not wish to embark on a serious relationship, hence his inscription on SA.
After a moment, R. tells me that he would prefer to continue our conversation outside. Very quickly, the conversation takes a more pragmatic turn. “How much are your tuition fees? “Have you ever had sex before? “” You’re ok with kissing and oral and all that stuff? He also explains that he does not like condoms and therefore expects me to share with him the results of a screening test. So much for romanticism.
The very evening we met, he sent me a text message announcing that he had deactivated his account in the hope that our arrangement would move forward. He reiterates his offer of $ 1,000 a month. In front of my absence of answer, it returns to the charge: “The amount which I offered can be increased if you are always interested. ”
Prostitution, yes or no?
In the federal government’s Bill C-36, prostitution is defined as “an exchange of sexual services for payment, […] in particular, a contract or agreement, express or implied, for a specific sexual service in return for a particular ‘some form of retribution’.
Simon Lapierre is a professor of social work at the University of Ottawa and a member of FemAnvi, a collective against violence against women. For him, Seeking Arrangement is without a doubt a platform of prostitution.
I am a bit puzzled. Sitting in the comfort of my living room, I did not feel that I was contributing in any way to the sex industry. After all, hidden behind my screen, I was far from the reality of the sidewalk, pimps and mafia networks. This is precisely what Professor Lapierre criticizes most of the platform: his ability to trivialize, even to glorify, prostitution.
“We notice that this site is very careful, in terms of marketing, not to portray itself as prostitution. Men who use the service are given a good conscience, they are given the impression that they are doing good, that they are helping young women get out of financial precariousness, so it remains a form of purchase of the body of women by men, “he explains.
If Lapierre’s words seem in line with my personal experience, I can not conclude my foray into the world of Sugar Daddies without speaking with a Sugar Baby. I contact the Seeking Arrangement Media Service and a relationship manager is more than happy to contact me with a success story of the platform.
I send him my questions by email. It’s Sasha, a twenty-year-old biology student at the University of Calgary, who answers me. She explained to me that she registered in January 2016, after hearing that it was possible to graduate without going into debt. “I wanted to be one of those girls,” she wrote.
Today, she can count on a monthly check of $ 3,000 from her Sugar Daddy, who also pays her tuition. If she concedes that she has sex with her benefactor, she does not consider herself a sex worker: “We are not paid for sex. We have simply chosen to patronize successful men who spoil us more than boys our age can do. ”
On the morning of February 25th, when I remove the Seeking Arrangements application from my phone, I realize that this whole experience has answered only a fraction of my many questions about the phenomenon. Without having learned what drives so many young women to use platforms like SA, I now believe that there are as many answers to this question as registration on the famous platform.
Other Sugar Daddy dating sites
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