There’s a new trend spreading across college campuses nationwide, but it has nothing to do with the typical Gen-Y obsessions. Young women—and men—are becoming “Sugar Babies,” connecting with monied benefactors who are older, wiser, wealthier and looking for someone to spoil in return for a little, well, sugar.
Sounds illegal (or sketchy at worst), but according to SeekingArrangement.com, the “leading website for mutually beneficial arrangements,” this hook-up is legit—and a no-brainer for cash-strapped college students. College tuition is increasingly pricey, and Sugar Daddies want to help young intellectuals become rich and successful while “tutoring” them—and maybe more.
The site follows this logic: “The French had courtesans. The Japanese had geishas. And in today’s society, we now have sugar babies.” If you’re not sold yet, just think about all the student loans you can pay off after a few sufficiently awkward dates with someone 30 years your senior.
New York University, the University of Georgia and the University of Central Florida top the list of Sugar Baby schools, but Tennessee is not far behind—UTC is No. 32, with 120 registered Sugar Babies (72 in 2012 alone, outpacing the University of Memphis and UT!). Co-eds sign up for free (using a college email address), listing basic information such as age, height and how much money they expect to receive from their Sugar Daddy—the most important element in any Sugar-based relationship. Apparently, Sugar Babies can even make a wish list and have gifts delivered right to their door.
Seem like a win-win? Some might sense a scam or legalized prostitution scheme, but as a student myself, I have to wonder why more young students are not taking advantage of the program. I’m constantly hearing friends and classmates complain about working three jobs, taking out loans, never eating out and still being hard-pressed for cash. Probably not the lifestyle for everyone, but receiving $3,000 a month for saying clever things to a lonely, divorced, 40-something, doctor, wealthy benefactor seems like an agreeable alternative to selling plasma for money.
Thank me when you graduate with zero debt and a substantial and expensive jewelry collection—but caveat emptor: I’m not responsible for any feeling of being “so over” the old dude whose lap you’re still sitting in.
Julia Sharp is a senior majoring in English at UTC and an intern at The Pulse. She had no Sugar Daddy at presstime.