A woman who funded her post-graduate lifestyle by entertaining older men reveals that as well as collecting expensive gifts and enjoying the high life – she even found love.
MBA student Lara, 27, belonged to sugar daddy dating site Seeking Arrangements, a website that pairs off attractive young women with rich men.
The Royal Holloway student had been a member of the site for three years when she entertained around ten sugar daddies – and the tenth and final gentlemen blossomed into a relationship.
She tells Monique Rivalland what it’s really like to be a ‘sugar baby’…
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MBA student Lara was signed with the site for three years before
‘He sends me £1,000 a month to cover my student loan and pays my rent and day-to-day expenses’
‘I started using Seeking Arrangement three years ago. I was nervous at first. I didn’t know what to expect. But you can’t let the men see fear. You have to be in control or there is the risk of being taken advantage of. That’s true for both sides. Nobody wants a carrot to be dangled and to not get the carrot.
‘I’ve had around ten sugar daddies. My first was a fortysomething Scottish divorcé. For our first date, I wore a dress with a scoop neck. It was modest – I didn’t want to turn up all tits and a**.
We went for drinks and he asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner. Of course! It was that or baked sweet potatoes at home. Afterwards we got on the Tube together but we didn’t kiss – I just got to eat a posh meal for free.
‘When I moved to London I was shocked at how expensive it is. And I still have £40,000 of student loans to pay off. That’s why I signed up. And I thought it would be fun to go to some really nice restaurants and maybe get some shoes.
‘Some guys on the site are as awkward as teenagers. They don’t know how to talk to girls. I look for men who want to be really generous.
Seeking Arrangement is being branded as a way of teaming cash strapped women with generous older men
There are diamond-level sugar daddies, which is pretty much a certified 70-year-old rich dude. But I don’t care how much money they have; I just care how generous they are with it.
‘I have guidelines. If he is posing with a really expensive car, it’s probably not his (a lot of people on there lie about how much money they make).
And I always start dates early, around 6.30pm. If we met at 8pm or 9pm and went for drinks then dinner, it would be 1am when we’d finished and my options are limited. How do I make a getaway? What is the assumption?
‘You can avoid being seen as a gold-digger or a prostitute by making sure you see eye to eye on expectations. I think most of the men expect to have sex with the sugar babies eventually, but on the site it says you shouldn’t sleep with someone until you have established ground rules. I have drunkenly made out with some of them, but I’ve never had sex with a sugar daddy.
‘Most of my arrangements have lasted some weeks. It takes a while to build up the kind of rapport where you can just go out on a spending spree. While we’re out, you say, ‘Isn’t that nice?’ and he’ll buy it for you. Or, ‘I’m cold,’ and he’ll buy you a scarf.
The website uses the rather blatant ploy that older men can help fund students’ education in their advertising
‘You might get shoes and handbags, but sometimes it’s just little conveniences, such as topping up my Oyster card. The most expensive gift I ever got was a £3,000 sculpture. I liked it in a gallery and then he bought it for me for my birthday. I also mention stuff on WhatsApp and they get that for me. And there’s never any question about who’ll pick up the dinner bill.
‘Some of my guy friends get mad and say men are not just for money. But I don’t feel bad. I encourage my girlfriends to use it. They always ask if it’s just a bunch of weirdos or if they all expect sex with you, but I tell them you can get what you want out of it.
‘If you’re looking for an actual relationship, you can find one. I am now going out with one of my sugar daddies. He’s 36 and works in finance. He sends me £1,000 a month to cover my student loan payments.
‘He pays my rent and all my day-to-day expenses. I could do nothing and be OK. He also paid for me to spend a month each in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Greece, and for my yoga teacher-training course. He’s not showy. I didn’t even know what car he drove until he picked me up in it one day. It’s an Aston Martin.
‘Meeting people online is normalised now. It’s standard to use online dating and rightmove.com to find housemates, to use couchsurfing.com and Airbnb.
‘Seeking Arrangement is just another way to meet someone. It’s a dating site where you don’t have to pay for anything – and you get a goody bag. It’s no big deal.’