Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Dating website targets college students for sugar daddies and mommas." Sent In By Ribaldry is My Middle Name.

I'll pick you
up after Chem, baby.
This is one of those stories that I almost can't believe wasn't in The Onion. My favorite detail is the story's subhead: "Florida Ranks Number One." What a world.

The Flava.
Tired of having to work three jobs to put herself through college, a USF sophomore, whom we'll call Ann, joined two years ago.
"It lets me live kind of a cushy lifestyle while I am in college," said Ann, who chose to hide her identity.
The online dating site matches young adults they call "sugar babies" with sugar daddies and mommas, promising "mutually beneficial relationships" with no strings attached.

The Rest. 


  1. I was pretty sure I'd remembered this topic coming up before on this blog. I'm as conflicted now as I was then.

    UCF Students Seek Sugar Daddies, Mommies

    College Students Find Sugar Daddies to Pay for Tuition.

    1. And at least one of the posts has attracted an ad for a dating site in the comments (the other has a deleted comment from an unfamiliar name, so maybe both).

      I find myself still thinking about the same way, too -- I don't really like this, but I'm not sure it's all that different from, say, the relationship between athletics "boosters" and athletes, or even some business-community "mentors" and mentees (e.g. this case at Stanford). And the benefits to the student-participants certainly seem potentially greater than, say, those offered to "hostesses" for football recruits. It's hard to complain that an outside firm is prostituting your students if you're already doing the same yourself.

      Of course, I suspect few, if any, students actually get their tuition or living expenses paid this way. A "cushy lifestyle" isn't the same thing -- and not worth, I'd say, doing something that they wouldn't be comfortable telling dad, mom, or potential employers about. At least the students interviewed in this story (who may or may not be typical) sound pretty savvy, to the point where they're pressuring their "dates" for networking help (worth more in the long term that cash, at least if it doesn't backfire), while their "dates" are pressuring them for sex -- interesting dance. For more naive students, it sounds like a good way to become a prostitute, with all the dangers associated with that decision, without quite admitting to oneself that that's what one is doing.

    2. If the women are savvy, maybe they see this as a safer way to be a prostitute while also getting some networking help.

  2. Here's my conflict. On the one hand, we have two consenting adults, each with something desirable and/or useful to the other, and neither of these 'somethings' is illegal or especially damaging in itself (i.e., it's not like they're contracting to cook meth or something). So their business is not my business.

    On the other hand, this is a power dynamic, inasmuch as the one with the money typically has the upper hand. This leads to the possibility of coercion and exploitation, and a function of society is to protect the exploited.

    So I don't know how to feel about this.