The quip, ‘I need to get myself a Sugar Daddy’, is one most of us have probably wheeled out at the end of a particularly financially-brutal month. But what happens when you actually get one? Well, wonder no more, FGRLS. For our latest GRL Talk, our Editor Sara spoke to Sophie*, a 24 year old Sugar Baby working in the healthcare sector who’s based in London. She shared her candid experience of the Sugar Daddy world with us and gave us the 411 on the dates, the guys and the all-important pound coins.
Sophie*’s name has been changed for anonymity.
How did you become a Sugar Baby?
I got my dream job in January thinking that I would finally be on the road to earning a decent wage and have the ability to save, but unfortunately, as it’s mostly about the experience, it doesn’t pay an awful lot of money. I broke down my financial obligations and realised that I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things I enjoyed, so I thought about other options. My friend and I discussed ways that I could potentially earn some extra money and we initially joked about the idea of becoming an escort. At first, I didn’t think that it was a viable option, but then she told me that she had joined a website called Seeking Arrangements and that I should look into it. I did quite a lot of research and it became apparent that I could earn up to £1000 a month by dating men, so I set up a profile in March and it all went from there.
What were the messages you received on the site like?
Receiving a lot of messages was oddly satisfying when I first set up my profile. It gave me an odd sense of confidence that I could be someone else if I wanted to be. The messages were a really odd mix to start with – I received everything from the generic ‘hey gorgeous’ messages, others explicitly asking if I wanted to be their sex slave and much older men asking if I could be a ‘really good girl’ for them. There were a few guys on there who I thought were attractive, so I sent a couple of messages but they quickly petered out. Mostly it was men asking what I was into. The filtering process is more about finding someone who is after a similar sort of arrangement. I whittled it down to about four men who wanted to date someone but weren’t looking for relationships. In the end the messages I seemed to respond to the most were guys who had been very upfront with me and not overly sexualised from the off.
Prior to meeting your ‘Sugar Daddy’ in person, how did you manage expectations? Did you set out clear terms or financial arrangements?
When you set up your profile, you outline what you’re looking for and the kind of arrangement that would suit you – whether that be dates, sex, holidays or gifts etc. I had been talking to my ‘sugar daddy’ (although I hate that term) for about a week and then I gave him my number. We spoke on WhatsApp which meant he could see a much more up to date photo of myself and I had more of an idea of who he was (a lot of guys on the site are hiding their face/wearing sunglasses). Conversation between the two of us was easy and he made me laugh, so we had agreed to meet when I came back from holiday. The terms of the arrangement were made very clear, but would be confirmed if the first meeting went well. I told myself to not expect too much and that if things didn’t go well that I shouldn’t be disappointed.
Tell us about the first date you went on
I misjudged my first date horribly. I had done a full face of makeup, styled my hair, worn heels and a dress and tried to ‘look the part’. I had wrongly assumed he would be in a suit and that he wanted a particular type of girl, but he greeted me in jeans and a shirt. I laughed to hide my embarrassment but I think it was a good conversation starter. It was difficult to know what to expect – I had only seen two photos of him and they were on WhatsApp but I was pleasantly surprised. We met in the concourse of a station so it was very public and found a bar to have a couple of drinks in. I’m not normally a nervous person, but I could feel myself getting a bit clammy as the whole experience was so new to me. We went to a few nice bars and then ended up having some dinner. I felt like it was a good idea to suggest drinks in case things were awkward and then we would both have an easy escape. Things went really well in the end, we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company. It was so much easier after a few gin and tonics – as all first dates are, but I never thought about the age difference or the money when we were together. He paid for everything, including my train ticket and said that he would like to see me again. I’m only seeing him about 2/3 times a month now, but I think that’s rare.
How did you tackle the subject of money?
Because of the site I’m on, you both know that there will be money involved. It’s normally one of the first questions you ask/they’ll ask you. When I first started talking to the guy I have my arrangement with, I told him that I was after more of a monthly allowance so to speak, but that only happens after you’ve developed a good relationship. I gave a ball part figure of £700 (I totally guessed but had looked into what was ‘normal’). It’s just so happens that I’ve been paid an amount per date, which is around £275. When we get properly into the swing of things I’ll see him 2/3 times a month and I think the figures will stay around the same amount.
How do you keep yourself safe when going on dates or messaging prospective partners from the site?
I’ve only given out my number to a couple of people that I’ve spoken to from the site, and that’s after several messages on the site first. I don’t share any information that can be linked to my social media – which keeps arrangements very separate from real life. I think it’s very much down to your personal choices and how comfortable you feel speaking to someone. I always share my location with a friend, and check in with her if I’m moving location. Meeting in busy, public places is key and making sure there is always a way out of a situation and you know where you are. In my case, we’ve met close enough to the station that I travel to and from so that I always have my bearings.
Have you told your family and friends about the arrangement?
I’ve told my closest friends about it, but only one of my best friends (who was on the site too) knows all the details. It’s not something I want to tell my family about – they definitely wouldn’t understand and I think it would worry them more than anything else. Most of my friends, although they initially seemed shocked, understood why I was doing it. Some of them were less understanding and so I haven’t broached the topic with them again. I think everyone’s main concern is safety and ensuring that I’m not putting myself at risk.
How do you feel about the stigma around ‘Sugaring’?
There’s definitely a huge stigma around it. A lot of people see it as prostitution or something to be ashamed of. I think negative press has stemmed from much older men paying young girls for sex and the vulnerability that comes with that. I see it more like internet dating that comes with financial perks. As long as you feel safe and you are clear about your arrangement, there shouldn’t be any issues. It’s a personal choice, and definitely not one that I regret.
Thanks so much to Sophie* for speaking to us for this interview. For tips on how to stay safe while Sugar Dating, check out this link.