When I published my second novel, Bought, I was anxious to promote it. The book was my attempt to fictionalize a lot of research I’d done for a magazine story about hookers and also a way to examine the lives of women who weren’t quite prostitutes because they didn’t, say, spread their legs for wads of cash but nevertheless allowed men to pay their bills. I was fascinated by the double standard that exists—the way women judge other women for pursuing such a lifestyle when nearly every female alive participates in this dynamic in some form or another.
It seemed, at first, a lucky break that my book release coincided with the economic crash of the late aughts, because women were turning to means of survival they hadn’t previously considered. Suddenly I started to hear about websites that actually connected these women with potential benefactors. So Bought got a lot of publicity, if not a lot of sales—who wants to buy books when they’re losing their jobs?—and in the process of promoting it, I came into contact with a number of these women. Keep reading »
Writer Melanie Berliet wanted to take the plunge, quit her day job, and pursue freelance writing full-time. No steady paycheck, no health insurance, no safety net. So Berliet joined SeekingArrangements.com, a site which pairs young, female 20-something “sugar babies” with rich, older, male “sugar daddies” for a relationship based on gifts, including luxury items and cash. By stipulating the bling or Benjamins are gifts, the site technically doesn’t promote prostitution. Although Berliet said she was concerned about “walking the line between dating and prostitution,” she eventually convinced herself that in many species “mating rituals [often involve] the exchange of gifts” and “suspected gold diggers like Heather Mills or the late Anna Nicole Smith … were merely following their evolutionary instincts.” Keep reading »
Google has gone cougar-hunting. The search engine has classified “cougar” dating sites like CougarLife.com as “non-family safe” and banned them from its content pages. Google ads appear on over 6,700 websites, including biggies like YouTube and MySpace.
Sad news for Samantha Jones indeed — but unfortunately Google has a glaring double standard if you compare CougarLife.com to other dating sites. For example, most ads for SeekingArrangements.com, which matches young “sugar babes” with older, successful sugar daddies, are still considered “family-safe” by Google. However, dates found on CougarLife.com don’t come with financial perks, but the goal of SeekingArrangements.com is to pair a “generous benefactor” with “college students” and “aspiring actresses.” It’s not prostitution … but it’s not not prostitution, if you get what I’m saying. Keep reading »
This weekend’s New York Times Sunday Magazine had a lengthy feature on SeekingArrangements.com, an online dating site which matches affluent men (or at least men willing to shill out what money they have) with women who are willing to trade companionship and often sex in exchange for money, gifts, and other perks. Half of these sugar daddies are married, while the vast majority of the sugar babies are in their ’20s. The best news of all for these guys? Sugar babies outnumber sugar daddies 10 to 1. Brandon Wade, Seeking Arrangement’s 38-year-old founder and chief executive, says, “We stress that these relationships are mutually beneficial. We ask people to really think about what they want in a relationship and what they have to offer. That kind of upfront honesty is a good basis for any relationship.” Keep reading »
“The Real Housewives of Orange County” star Gretchen Rossi will become a professional gold digger if she takes sugar daddy matchmaking site UpscaleDaddy.com up on its offer to become their celebrity spokeswoman. The site claims it “aims to bring together beautiful women and successful wealthy men for a mutually rewarding relationship.” Sounds like Rossi, who spent most of her first season on the show spending her dying fiance’s money, will be perfect for the position. Kevin Blatt, the man behind the site, who claims credit for turning Paris Hilton’s sex tape into an international phenomenon, says Rossi is the perfect candidate because she “has a thing for older men taking care of her.” If she accepts the job, she’ll get $100,000, a “Condo in Spain valued at $500,000.00 and a brand new $90,000.00 Mercedes.” Not so fast, though, Gretchen. There’s just one catch. First, she has to take a polygraph test to prove that she was “actually in love with Jeff and faithful to him” during the TV show’s taping. Sounds like Gretchen may well be SOL. Keep reading »
I like to think that I’m reasonably independent. I’m a modern woman, following in the charming footsteps of Mary Tyler Moore (I even have a little beret, but I don’t throw it up in the air, because I’m afraid I’d lose it). I like my work tremendously. As a result, I’m inclined to regard myself as fairly different from Melissa Beech, who recently wrote on The Daily Beast about her sugar daddy who “pays for a killer wardrobe,” as well as her apartment, and about $5,000 worth of expenses per month. As readers decried her for being “a prostitute,” “selfish,” and “classless,” I congratulated myself on working for a living and not having to rely on an older man to cover all my expenses. Keep reading »