People have all sorts of judgments about sugar babies, those girls who act as de facto girlfriends to men who are either paying their bills or showering them with expensive gifts. But, as I see it, many of the people who turn up their noses at such behavior are doing the same thing disguised as something else. Was Ellen Barkin so charmed by Ron Perlman’s demeanor that she could overlook his bald dome and previous three marriages, or did his status (and wealth) as the head of Revlon have more to do with their six-year marriage? (She reportedly netted $60 million when they split in 2006.)
Sandra, a bubbly 36-year-old redhead in New York, recently referred her brother’s girlfriend to Sugar Daddy For Me, the site where she met her 72-year-old paramour, Rudy. “I’m not going to tell my brother,” she admits. “He doesn’t need to know.”
And have you ever gotten a look at Salma Hayek’s billionaire husband, the very same billionaire who had to be taken to court to pay child support on his kid with supermodel Linda Evangelista? Despite a relatively minor age difference, the two look more like father and daughter than happy couple in pictures. Point is, this kind of arrangement goes on every day and is called everything from “true love” to “a surprising but cute match.” All the Sugar Babies are doing differently is copping to their behavior. Right?
That certainly seems to be the contention of the two most groups I’ve written about the past two weeks, the Sugar site proprietors and the Sugar Daddies. Before sites like Sugar Daddy For Me and Seeking Arrangement came along, women who had their sights set on romancing older benefactors had to either manipulate these guys into paying their bills or just outright ask for stuff.
The sites take the guesswork and some of the awkwardness out of it, but so what? I find a lot of these girls refreshingly honest. If they find men who are happy to ply them with Prada, who are we to judge? If we hadn’t had the opportunities they have lacked—simply by being born into different families who offered us a leg up or inspiration or paid for our education—how can we say for sure we wouldn’t do the same?
What they ask for seems to run the gamut, from college funding to breast implants (the top plastic surgery request according to Sugardaddie.com). But for many of the girls I spoke with, Sugar Daddy dating is simply a practical way to get needs met. Just how practical are these girls? Sandra, a bubbly 36-year-old redhead in New York, recently referred her brother’s girlfriend to Sugar Daddy For Me, the site where she met her 72-year-old paramour, Rudy. “I’m not going to tell my brother,” she admits. “He doesn’t need to know.”
The more Sandra shares about her arrangement, the clearer it becomes why she’s trying to spread the love: after first hearing about the sugar daddy concept when Tyra Banks discussed it on her talk show three years ago, Sandra started to research and decided that Sugar Daddy For Me looked like the most “reputable” site. Within 24 hours of posting her profile, her inbox was so flooded with potential suitors that the website actually contacted her to say they’d never had a new member receive so many messages so quickly.