And older man browses through pictures of younger women on a popular Internet dating website.
Seeking Arrangement, a well-known Internet dating website, specializes in setting up mutually desirable relationships between younger female students and wealthy men who are quite older. Though this is somewhat of a dating site, the company never mentions anything about sexual relations between the parties involved.
The following situation, or those thematically similar, are prevalent among Seeking Arrangement members:
Amanda, a Princeton University senior, receives a text message late at night from 60-something-year-old Stephen, a successful Wall Street banker. Stephen requests that Amanda visit him at his NYC apartment urgently; we only assume what his motives are.
However, seeing as it’s close to midnight and public transportation has already ceased, Amanda messages him back to say she’s unable to get herself to the apartment. Stephen is a man of many resources, and promptly replies that he’ll send a private limo to pick her up.
At this point, Amanda agrees to the visit, as long as she is back at school in time for her morning class. Once they meet, Stephen and Amanda have a lovely dinner at a luxury restaurant, have sex, then do some late night home decorating (as you do after sex). Once the date commenced, Amanda was dropped back off at Princeton with barely enough time to get ready for class.
This isn’t the first date Amanda has gotten off of Seeking Arrangement. The website would call Amanda the “sugar baby,” a young and attractive woman seeking financial comfort; Stephen would be the “sugar daddy,” the wealthy older man. Following this theme, the most important aspect of a man’s profile on Seeking Arrangement is his net worth, a number shown right at the top of the page. Usually, income amounts over $5 million attract the most views and messages.
Seeking Arrangement advertises itself as being a matchmaker for “mutually beneficial relationships,” where the benefits of both partners differ quite a bit. The female students receive luxuries and material extravagances such as tuition money, fancy dates, beautiful vacations, etc. The website doesn’t talk about sex at all, but we can only assume that sex and the companionship associated with these dates are exactly what men like Stephen expect.
As a woman, becoming a member on the website is quite simple. She simply requires an .edu email account to verify that she is indeed a current student, and will immediately obtain free premium status. Men, on the other hand, must pay up to $1,200 for this exorbitance.
A James Madison University professor named Tammy Castle states her opinion quite bluntly – the women on Seeking Arrangement are simply escorts. Castle’s research comprises of studying various data and content available on known escort companies. She claims that Seeking Arrangement advertises itself as an online dating site in order to rid themselves of the adverse connotations often associated with prostitution, but is simply a matchmaker between men who are willing to pay for what everyone assumes includes sex.
Seeking Arrangement prefers that young students register on their website, a predilection evident by their free premium membership offer to any woman who registers with their .edu email account. The company claims that 44 percent of their “sugar babies” in 2013 comprised of active university students. Other young women who desire the same treatment are subject to fees up to $1,200, or else simply receive basic membership.
The way the website avoids prostitution accusations is by stating that sexual intercourse is not a requirement of these dates, but rather a natural occurrence. Anyone who works for the company would not claim otherwise, as they do not wish to associate themselves with an escort service. For this reason, Seeking Arrangement appreciates the vast number of college students registered on its website. This creates an illustration that the website is filled with intelligent women who know exactly what they’re doing, and older men who don’t seek to simply exploit them for sex.
According to the director of Daddies Date Babies, Parinda Wanitwat, the men who find dates on this website are able to fulfil their ultimate fantasies – women who are young, beautiful, and intelligent. Wanitwat has come to this conclusion after examining many student “sugar babies” all around NYC.
The young woman mentioned above, Amanda, states that most of the “sugar daddies” that message her on Seeking Arrangement make sure to comment how intelligent and well-spoken she sounds through her profile page. Up until now, Amanda has met over fifty successful men through the company, most of whom are high-ranking business executives that have no qualms about excessively showering her with luxuries.
Sarah, A recent college graduate and another member of Seeking Arrangement, explains that the staggering number of messages she received through the website was shocking. As a curvy Southeast Asian girl, Sarah didn’t expect all the welcomed appreciation she felt. To her, it seemed most men would be attracted to the typical tanned Barbie-type girls who overwhelmed the website.
This was a useless concern, as Sarah ended up with plenty of dates through Seeking Arrangement. A 27-year-old graduate from NYC named Sophie also did quite well. Alternatively, Sophie is (self-claimed) a pretentious nerd-type with curly brown hair.
Sophie says that men on Seeking Arrangement favour intellect over appearance. She says that she received many messages from men who liked her for her brain and avoided women who looked like “bimbos”. Amanda also claims the same, and states that “sugar daddies” want their dates to be able to carry a solid conversation about their work. They want the complete “girlfriend experience,” where both partners can be equal in the relationship. This way, the men are able to convince themselves that their dates like them for their personality assets, much more than their financial ones.
There are, of course, many men who utilize the website solely for sex. However, there are more who appreciate the extra aspects of the dates as well. Most of the men on Seeking Arrangement want company for work events, business trips, social parties, etc. However, the most important component a man finding a date through this website relies on is a young woman who can make them feel appreciated and can offer support. These men wish to purposely remain ignorant of the financial element of the dates, meeting “sugar babies” who will go out of their way to make the relationship feel real. Most of the women who were interviewed said they preferred to bring up payment naturally during conversation, and only one woman said she requested a certain amount upfront.
In fact, some women claimed that making payment sound more natural and subtle caused the men to provide them with even more than expected. Rebecca, a NYU sophomore, was the type to ask about fees right at the very beginning. She found that this led to her receiving far less money than any of her friends on the website, so she changed her attitude about payment. Once she stopped mentioning the fees and allowed the men to suggest amounts themselves, the amounts of money proved to be far larger than before.
Amanda never blatantly asks for money as well. She simply waits for the relationship to get a bit more natural, and the men provide her with funds on their own accords. Most of the time, Amanda finds that men prefer providing her with credit cards rather than direct cash. She says it seems more casual, as if they were supporting an actual girlfriend. It’s also easier for the women as well, as gaining credit cards make it a lot easier to ignore the dates as being transactions.
Director Wanitwat also noticed this method of transaction, explaining that men find it difficult to discuss money. According to Wanitwat, overtly going over specific fees kills the fantasy of the “girlfriend experience,” and the men find it harder to delude themselves into thinking these young women don’t have financial motives to date them.
As mentioned, the women find credit cards to be far more preferable as well. There are apparently many college students who are registered on Seeking Arrangement, especially from NYU or Columbia University. Many of these students seek dates in order to pay their expensive tuition and book fees, and this website seems more legitimate and a whole lot safer than any other option they might have. Also, since the website advertises itself as a mutually beneficial online dating site, the girls are able to think about the transactions less as prostitution and more like dating.
After noticing the statistics of college students and the men who actively seek out college students on this website, we must consider the strong possibility that these relationships were not simply for sexual reasons. It may be that Seeking Arrangement members truly sought companionship and good conversation in addition to the physical intimacy.
Everyone has a common image in their heads when thinking of who high-end escorts are – Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. They assume these are desperate young women who seek out luxuries over what they consider to be more demeaning jobs, or simply jobs that don’t pay even a small portion of what their dates can provide them.
At first, you wouldn’t assume college-education women with long futures ahead of them to be the top candidates for this job, and Seeking Arrangement has capitalized on that same surprise. These women, who normally wouldn’t associate themselves with escort services, find it much easier to join the website due to its subtle advertising, while the men find that educated young women are ideal for companionship. Seeking Arrangement has attempted to make this type of arrangement much more socially acceptable.
It attempts to convey with its large college student population that the dates aren’t unscrupulous, but rather real dates that simply add financial gain into the mix. With this advertising, the website seeks to avert accusations of it being a fancy escort service.