Enterprising female students at Cambridge University have discovered a novel way of helping fund their tuition fees, through "sugar daddy dating". No fewer than 168 female undergraduates of the internationally acclaimed university signed up for this last year. The Daily Telegraph reports that they all joined SeekingArrangement.com, "a controversial US-based internet dating website which matches attractive young women with wealthy, usually older men". Interestingly, the website also has a presence in Indian cities, and it has profiles of purported Indian sugar daddies and sugar babies.
Under new UK government rules, tuition fees for university students have risen up to £9,000 a year. The Daily Telegraph quotes Brandon Wade, the CEO of SeekingArrangement.com, as saying, "College should be an opportunity to expand the mind and experience new things. Unfortunately, because of the recent tuition hikes, the college experience has become greatly unbalanced."
SeekingArrangement.com is usually frequented by male business executives with an average income of £170,000 per year. A trawl through the US website reveals a number of men looking for "sugar babies", of either, but predominantly female, sex. The men are identified by such tasteful names as "SugarLuke" and "You've Got the Right One Baby". "Women who sign up can agree to exchange their time and affection for lavish dates, expensive shopping trips and, in some cases, regular cash allowances," the Daily Telegraph continues. Indeed, the website specifically targets university students, offering free premium memberships to users with a university email address. This strategy seems to have worked as the website has reportedly seen a 58% increase in university students enrolling in 2012. According to the Daily Telegraph, an average female university student using the website receives £5000 per month from their "benefactors" to "cover the cost of tuition, books and living expenses".
Wade has rejected criticism that the nature of the site could be interpreted as prostitution. He is reported to have written on his website: "Because the relationship between a sugar daddy and a sugar baby is romantic in nature, most sugar relationships will likely involve 'sex'... And because a sugar daddy is expected to be the generous gentleman, 'money' will always be spent on the sugar baby. I don't see anything wrong (or illegal) with that!"
The London School of Economics, Edinburgh University and London's University College reportedly respectively had 163, 148 and 140 female students having registered for sugar daddies last year. Tall claims dominate the entries from India, with most of the sugar daddies saying that they are willing to spend around $3,001-$5,000 (Rs 2.5 lakh approximately) a month for their sugar babies.
A 47-year-old Delhi-based sugar daddy claims he is "SEEKING THE GORGEOUS BABES!" His profile says his net worth is $10-$50 million. A Mumbai-based sugar daddy describes himself as "CLASSY EDUCATED KIND TRUSTWORTHY ENJOYABLE" and offers to spend approximately Rs 1.5 lakh on his sugar baby each month. Another sugar daddy has a profile picture in which he is wearing an FBI T-shirt and describes his physique as "Athletic". The website has only one profile from Punjab titled "COOOL". The 28-year-old sugar daddy claims to have an annual salary of $100,000-$125,000 (Rs 60 lakh).
The Delhi page has a total of 15 sugar daddies and Mumbai has 11. The Indian sugar daddies are aged between 27 and 61 years. The website also has 10 sugar babies from Delhi and 14 from Mumbai, their age range being from 18 years to 41 years. The profile of an 18-year-old college girl from Delhi is titled "hardcore introvert", but her profile description reads: "I am an ambitious girl who works hard to meet her goals on a daily basis. It is high time for some much needed company and assistance. After all who wouldn't want to be pampered from the daily grind?"
A 28-year-old sugar baby says she is on the lookout for a "firm, strong and stable daddy". Another one wants "A cool as well as hot sugar daddy".
Inputs from Rajit Sengupta in New Delhi