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Monday, July 28, 2014 | Last updated: 11:26am

Sugar babies: prostitution disguised as marketable companionship



A solution for those with financial struggles is now readily available.

My fellow Wildcats, have you heard of a sugar baby? Something tells me at least 141 of you have, seeing as the 141 “sugar babies” at the UA have put us at No. 22 on the list of the nation’s college campuses with the highest number of students turning to such methods.

The website, seekingarrangement.com, defines itself as a matchmaking site “for wealthy benefactors and attractive guys and girls.” The attractive guys and girls refer to themselves as “sugar babies” or “ambitious and goal oriented.” They are looking for “wealthy and generous people who are willing to pamper and offer financial assistance in return for companionship.”

So let’s be clear: This is NOT prostitution. This is “companionship.”

We can pretend I was sold on that and I believed that wealthy men actually want to pay for my schooling in exchange for “friendship.” But to ensure no trickery was afoot, I did some investigating and created a profile with an alias. Julie is a ”studious, shy, sweet, sophisticated pre-med student needing help paying for her tuition.” She expects $1,000-$3,000 monthly, which is modest compared to the $20,000 a month option.

Within 24 hours of my profile being activated, I had more than 55 views and 15 new messages.

Ralph, a 43-year-old man, was willing to fly me to New York City to meet him.

Zach is a 38-year-old man who is “very nice, very rich and very real. [He is] even willing to show [his] home and cars on Skype, [he is] a real millionaire.”

Lee is “55, married.”

Keith, who is 52, “will treat [me] like a Princess. [He is] not into anything kinky, just some tenderness.”

Hal wants to know if I’d dress as a “school girl, elf … etc.”

These men are self-proclaimed lawyers, doctors, CEOs and entrepreneurs who claim to have a net worth in the millions and want nothing more than to pay an arm and a leg for the company of college students. They pay $50 monthly just to have an account. If they want to be a diamond member, it costs $2,400 a year. This is a business. This is prostitution.

In legal terms, the act of prostitution is strictly the exchange of sex for money. The difference between that definition and seekingarrangment.com’s setup is that sugar babies are paid for more than just sex. They also go out to dinners and movies and on vacations.

This is arguably just dating with a salary. How convenient.

Being pampered while getting money to pay the bills under the ambiguous title of “companionship” might seem financially smart. Sugar babies are just developing friendships, after all.

But these are excuses.

Friendships do not require stipends, and they generally aren’t made with people three times your age. There will always be women like the ones on “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and aging bachelors like Hugh Hefner out there, but it’s wrong to create websites that enable Hefner wannabes to take advantage of college students in financial need. This is just another form of escort service, and “sugar baby” and “sugar daddy” are just euphemisms on a site that is largely motivated by sex.

Call yourself a fiscal genius, but most college girls who interview as sugar babies hide their identities, and that begs the question: why?

No one hides their identity unless they’re ashamed of whatever they’re doing. As college students, we are capable of making educated, mature decisions, and we should be above a website like Seeking Arrangement.

If the sugar baby business has sparked your interest, next time you go to a party, just wear a price tag around your neck and don’t put out until that cash amount is in your hand. It would probably be a lot easier that way.

— Kimberlie Wang is a physiology freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu, or on twitter via @WildcatOpinions


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