As a ‘sugar baby,’ one U student makes thousands of dollars to go on dates

As part of a growing trend nationwide, many college-aged women are using Seeking Arrangement — a website that connects sugar babies with sugar daddies.

Gunthar Reising

No — it’s not like an episode of Shameless. The “sugar baby” community is alive and thriving, and it’s happening right here, right now.

Angie — a first-year student at the University of Minnesota who asked the Daily not to use her full name for privacy reasons — is one of many college-aged students who use Seeking Arrangement, a website that connects young women, known by the moniker “sugar babies,” with charitable, older “sugar daddies” who have no compunction shelling out hundreds of dollars for attention or companionship.

The phenomenon has grown in popularity on college campuses, where skyrocketing student loans have left many students strapped for cash. And for the 4 million registered sugar babies on the site, Seeking Arrangement flaunts the luxurious prospects of a picture-perfect arrangement — the finer things in life, exotic trips, gifts.

As for boundaries? The website says the two parties agree to the terms of the transaction.

The Daily talked with Angie about her experiences in the “sugar baby” subculture and the men who pay out $5,000 per month to go on dates with her.

How did you hear about Seeking Arrangement?

I was talking to my friend one night about how she was in medical debt because someone had called her an ambulance one night when she was drunk. She had an ambulance bill on her hands, so she looked into it and found out [being a “sugar baby”] would pay $10,000 a month for two dates.

So, she made $5,000 a date?

Yes.

How long have you been using the site?

I started using it a month and a half ago. I’ve met four different men, all over the age of 29. One was 31, one was 37 and one was 45.

How does the site work?

You have a profile where you can put up photos, some of which you can make private. If you’re interested in someone, you can unlock the photos so only they see them. You have to write a description about yourself and what your interests are for the site — what you’re looking for in a relationship. You can favorite the sugar daddies. They see if you favorited them, and every time you view their profile, it shows that you viewed it. Then you can message them and set up an arrangement.

Would you consider these arrangements ‘dates?’

I wouldn’t consider them dates … even if [the other party] might. I don’t see them as affectionate relationships.

What do you see it as?

An easy way to get money without having to do anything you don’t want to do.

What is a typical arrangement like?

For one guy, we met at Dunn Brothers Coffee, walked across the Stone Arch Bridge and then just went back to his apartment and chilled.

I always imagined an extravagant dinner or a ballet.

I’ve been to two dinners, but I don’t enjoy the sitting down and talking face to face. It’s more enjoyable if we’re doing something.

How do the sugar daddies view the arrangements?

Some guys just see it as a way to spend time with another human being. Another guy just wants to have intense conversations about a certain topic, so I’ll talk about that stuff. One of them has asked me to be his girlfriend, but the age difference threw me off. I love to experience new things and do stuff I’ve never done before, so this is a good way to do that.

Are any of the men too personal? Do you feel like a stand-in therapist at all?

One has talked about his ex-wife that he just divorced a lot, which is fine because I want to listen to people and their issues for a career.

So this is like a really well-paid internship for you.

Yes, exactly. [Laughs].

Because of the monetary nature of the relationships, have you ever felt any pressure from the sugar daddies for a sexual relationship?

Not really. I don’t know who these guys are exactly, so I wouldn’t want to do that. They respect their boundaries.

So, no creeps?

No. I think I hugged [one sugar daddy] … that’s as far as it’s gone. I never feel unsafe. I always bring pepper spray just in case, though.

How do you feel about the title “sugar baby?”

It’s so awkward. I wouldn’t consider myself that, but I guess I kind of am.

Seeking Arrangement’s ‘About Us’ page says: “Where Sugar Babies enjoy a life of luxury by being pampered with fine dinners, exotic trips and allowances. In turn, Sugar Daddies or Mommas find beautiful members to accompany them at all times.”

Critics might say you’re selling your youth and surface-level appeal to men. What would you say in response to that?

I don’t think of it as selling my youth. It’s more like selling my time. I don’t see it as a feminist thing because if we [sugar babies] thought it was bad, why would we do it?

How much do you make per date?

It depends on the date. Some are like $5,000 a month for two dates, and other dudes will give me like $700 for dates. The max I’ve ever been with these guys is like 5 hours.

How do you choose the men that you make arrangements with?

I just try to find the most laid-back guys, not the ones that say, “Hey, I want to get you in bed.” There are also profiles of couples that are looking for someone, and I stay away from that. I go for the teddy bears, I guess.

Would you recommend this job to other young women?

I would recommend it to some. I’d want to pick strong or more independent women, not ditzy girls who don’t understand what potentially could happen.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.