Due to rising rent prices and the ever-inflating cost of a pack of 20, a handful of young women are turning to a more controversial means of getting all their direct debits out on time.
A website called Seeking Arrangement is one of the most popular websites to make a quick buck by signing up to become a ‘sugar baby’. It does, in short, sound a bit too good to be true.
Members meet with ‘older gentlemen’ – many of whom are married – a couple of times a month, go to dinners and parties, be the pretty young girl on his arm who definitely isn’t after his money and of course, sleep with him on a semi-regular basis – easy.
In return he promises you an allowance ranging from around £750 a month to over £10k depending on what you give him. On top of this, bags, jewellery, designer clothes and overseas travel are just a few of the gifts you will get after you give – or sell – yourself to him.
Now, being bored of the standard retail job, and sinking ever deeper into my overdraft, the idea of signing up to meet my very own Sugar Daddy has appealed to me more and more.
However, considering that I am too petrified of boys in real life to meet up for a tinder date and that I am generally the kind of girl who feels an intense Catholic guilt after a one-night stand, my plan was not off to a good start.
But in the name of a 2:1 I decided to go on a date to see if these sugar daddies are as creepy as they sound, and if I can overcome my fears, be empowered by my sexuality and be the perfect little Sugar Baby that I know I am.
To meet with my new Sugar Daddy was rather a more lengthy process than I had imagined.
I set up my profile (under a fake name) with some photos of me looking like a slutty 14 year old and set about messaging potential daddies for dates.
One of the first messages I got, from a man named ‘MrHardThrob’ offered me £150 per ‘session’. Not only was I slightly offended by the low offer, but I was also hit with the reality of what this site is, and what these girls are offering – ‘mutually beneficial’ high-class prostitution.
By the time it came to meet my suitor, lets call him Roger*, I was understandably nervous. What kind of exchange was he hoping for? Would it be awkward? Am I going to die?
Ever the gentleman, Roger let me choose the venue. My second hurdle was that, as a not particularly classy kind of gal, I spend most of my time trying to find the cheapest double gin and tonic in London – not really the ideal place to bring your 65 year old multimillionaire date.
After a quick google search I settled for a cocktail bar in Kensington. It was quiet, so nobody I knew would see me, but public enough so that I wasn’t pre-occupied by the overwhelming sense of impending death I was getting every time I thought about it.
I enlisted the help of two of my friends to half keep me company and half make sure I wasn’t pushed into the back of a van and sold as a sex slave and they spent their evening sitting in the corner in nervous giggles, drinking margaritas and shooting not so subtle glances at my table every five minutes or so.
My evening however, was far less classy. I spent my time failing to be the confident and witty person I had meticulously described in my profile whilst simultaneously trying to keep my legs from sticking to the leather chair in a nervous sweat.
This evening wasn’t simply the exchange of goods that I had imagined. Roger wanted to determine chemistry and simply get to know me before anything more sinister occurred – somewhat of a relief for me as the reality of what this exchange was grew more profound every minute.
It wasn’t the occasional sidewards glance of silently judgmental middle-aged women that bothered me, but the gnawing feeling in my chest that told me that this was a lifestyle choice I wasn’t suited to.
The chat was professional and reserved. We both seemed reluctant to part with too much personal information, perhaps to avoid revealing a shady past or a wife and kids at home or in my case the fact that I was entirely inexperienced and desperately trying to avoid making a complete fool out of myself.
Roger was a nice guy, hard working, and not unattractive for his age. He made me laugh and enjoy my evening – all the things a good date should do – but still I couldn’t shake the feeling that my dead relatives were watching me from the vast beyond in horror.
For an abundance of reasons I cannot seem to change my personal belief that sex is not a transaction.
Perhaps because I don’t believe I am worth the Birkin hand bag I am getting in return, or perhaps because on a spiritual level I cannot fabricate chemistry and love where it doesn’t exist.
Speaking only for myself, the value of sex, and sharing an intimate moment has no price; but giving it where it does not belong holds a far deeper price of insecurity and regret.
It was this realisation that finally told me that I cannot waste this man’s time any longer. So, I thanked him for his time, promising to text him later; grabbed my Zara bag, turned on my Aldo heel and left the building.
Featured image by Esmee Ashforth