It all started one day when I was scrolling through YouTube videos at home. Serendipity, I suppose, led me to a video that billed itself as the most successful sugar dating website. In the video, a man revels in the presence of his sugar baby, flaunting his success as the website founder and a sugar daddy. Though, his arm candy didn't look too comfortable.
I watched the whole video and I was convinced that most sugar daddies were creepy, married men, looking to exploit younger girls.
As much as I was grossed out by the majority of them, I was paradoxically intrigued by the idea of sugar dating. I was propelled by my investigative mind to garner a firsthand experience in the realm of the sugar dating world. Maybe I could write about it, I thought.
I decided to go undercover as a sugar baby.
I signed up for a profile on a sugar dating website, uploaded a few of my photos and wrote down a few lines in the “About Me” section. After the verification process completed within a few short hours, my profile was online. Then the messages started pouring in.
They were all kinds of people who dropped me messages — Whites, Chinese, Indians, Blacks, and Hispanics.
I was curious about what these people could offer besides money.
Don caught my attention. Presentable, wine loving, golf playing, and yacht owning, he fit the profile of a highly successful man. He set up a lunch meeting with me after we chatted for some hours.
As soon as I spotted him at the restaurant table, my eyes fixated on his shiny light blue suit and pale yellow tuxedo vest underneath. He was surprisingly charming, reasonably sturdy and over six feet tall. Funny enough, he didn’t touch on what he was looking for at all. Instead, he began acting as if he were a mentor and I was a little girl, giving me annoying bits of life advice I didn’t ask him for. He was loquacious but failed to read my uncomfortable nonverbal cues. I had already lost interest halfway through the meal. That was the first time, and last we met.
After Don, I met Adam who was in his early thirties. His love for sports and whiskey was pervasive in his photos. We chatted for a while before concurring to meet for dinner in a casual Italian restaurant.
Adam wasn’t exactly a charmer, but he had an aura of confidence that made him appear larger than his diminutive stature. He owned a listed company and was in the process of divorcing his wife. He probed into my taste in men, hobbies and education background. Again, we had a great talk. After dinner and a few drinks at a bar, he sent me home and shot me a text saying he had fun.
At that point, I realized one thing — neither Don nor Adam was a real sugar daddy, but both of them were looking for something. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on the what. Why on earth were they on a sugar daddy website, then? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it and they didn’t give me anything I could write about.
I decided to try one more time. I started chatting with Derrick, a decent-looking thirty-something business owner who never disclosed his last name, phone number and where he lived when we talked. When I requested a recent photo, he almost immediately deleted it the moment he hit send. This highly circumspect move said that he had something to hide — he had a wife, I thought.
He picked a 5-star hotel restaurant in which he knew his wife wouldn’t show up. The lunch table overlooked a picturesque panoramic harbor view — a stunning setting for the wrong storyline, in retrospect.
Before our meeting, Derrick didn’t make it clear what he wanted. Face to face, he asked me point-blank:
“How much are you asking for?”
I was taken aback and startled by his bluntness. After all, Don and Adam were evasive about their intentions. By contrast, Derrick came off more aggressive and wanted to cut to the chase. He was looking for a sugar baby.
My first instinct was to play dumb: “What do you mean?”
“Would you like to be compensated with gifts or a pay-per-meet fee?” he continued.
I couldn’t answer it because obviously, I wasn’t going to give him sex, which was obviously what he was looking for. I leaned back in my chair, knowing it was only a matter of time before I blew my cover and he figured out I was just there to waste his time. Somehow, I managed to stammer a response to avoid any awkwardness.
As the conversation went on, it dawned on me he had been in a string of transactional relationships before. He told me with no guilt or shame.
A feeling of discomfort and a surge of injustice done to his wife started to rise within me. I might as well give him one last shot for a legitimate response, so I asked:
“Don’t you have a wife, though?” I asked.
“Yes, and I love her. But she doesn’t know about this and doesn’t have to,” he calmly responded.
How is it love when you can’t even be faithful to her? You are a hypocrite. If only I had uttered this to fill that forthcoming silence.
I sat there, feeling awful for his wife whom he kept in the dark. On the one hand, I felt like someone else’s marriage was being ruined when I was there only for entertainment and writing inspiration.
I knew I wasn’t doing anything morally wrong although I was sharing the same table with a married man. I assume more than half of the men posing as “sugar daddies” are probably married anyway. But hearing someone say something so remorselessly to my face was enough to fill me with anger and disgust on the spot.
Whatever reason he had to justify what is clearly infidelity, the true reason lies in something he couldn’t readily admit: he is greedy.
I have nothing but scorn for him and any of those men who say they love their wife, because the fact is, they don’t.
I bolted, leaving a few bites of my meal on my plate and was ready to walk out of the door. When we made our way out of the hotel, he was looking over his shoulder and keeping me at arm’s length— he mustn’t be seen with me in broad daylight. I didn’t feel good about anything that happened there.
On my way to the train station, I pulled out my phone from my purse and deleted my account on the sugar dating website for good. I had gathered enough to write on this subject.