If you’re new to the hype, NYU allegedly has the highest number of college “Sugar Babies” on Seeking Arrangement, a controversial dating website that matches young women with older, male “Sugar Daddies.” But what can they expect in exchange? The answer: money, presents, and the overwhelming security that love exists on AmEX terms.
Critics call it prostitution. Others say it’s a “mutually beneficial” relationship without the emotional price tag. According to Angela Jacob, a spokesperson for SeekingArrangement, “email verification” lists 750 Sugar Babies at the university to date. However, Philip Lentz, the NYU Director of Public affairs, refuses to acknowledge the claim:
“Any attempt to connect a thinly veiled prostitution web site and NYU is without foundation. There is no evidence to support the site’s claim about NYU students and any attempt to link participation on the site and tuition costs is completely specious.”
Seeking Arrangement has repeatedly been covered by major media outlets (last year we published an interview with their CEO). But what of the NYU Sugar Babies? NYU Local searched high and low to find some.
In Confessions of a Sugar Baby: Part 1, we caught up with Natalie Hill*, a student in Gallatin, who has been on the site since early September. She describes herself as a down-to-earth girl who knows how to have a good time, but makes sure to clarify that “having a good time comes at a high price when living in Manhattan.”
So, you’re a Sugar Baby.
Yeah, depends on the day.
Why did you first decide to join the site?
It had always been a joke between me and my roommate, honestly. We got an apartment this year and bills started stacking up. I realized how much you start to spend on food without a meal plan. Utilities and student loans get real bad. I said, “Why not try it out?” I joined and a bunch of people started messaging me and viewing my profile. All of the sudden it became real. Their ages ranged from 30-55 and net worth ranged from $250,000 a year to $5 million.
But why not just waitress?
With a sugar daddy, you meet 4x a month and you can make $2000-$5000. It’s not enough anymore to wait tables and hope that your tips might pay the electric bill. Tuition rises every year, and every year, I don’t know if I will secure enough financial aid. It’s one thing to get into NYU and another thing to stay.
First impressions of the site?
There’s multiple sites like this, but SeekingArrangement is the best. I researched a lot and had an idea of what to expect. How to spot “fakes”—guys just looking for sex for money.
You mean they’re not all looking for sex?
There is definitely the undertone. Sex is the elephant in the room. You’re dancing around until the moment you can’t dance anymore, and you have to address it. I didn’t find many guys not looking for sex. Then again, I got one 60-year-old guy who messaged me and was adamant about meeting up. He was quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson and that’s what drew him to my profile immediately. I expressed that I am passionate about being a writer. You could tell he was very intelligent. Truthfully, he just seemed like a lonely man that wanted companionship—a man who wanted fun and intellectual conversation. Aside from him, sex is pretty much a given.
How do you respond to critics who label the site as prostitution?
Understandable. I am still torn down the middle. I don’t know how I feel about it. After the first date (when we only even made out) I felt like I was walking around with a scarlet “A” on my chest. It will be forever debated until the site, if ever, gets shut down.
What is the weirdest thing that’s happened to you on the date?
It was a Sunday night and this one guy invited me over for dinner. He was 33 and worked as a manager in I.T. We were going to watch some Sunday night football. The Saints were playing. After dinner, things moved onto the couch, naturally. He inched closer and closer and pulled the classic move of arm-around-my-shoulders. He lifted up my and literally began licking the inner contours of my ear. This is only the second date, and he’s mid-cochlea. I just had to get out of there.
Was this before or after you discussed a payment plan?
It was after, but discussing the pay was pretty awkward. He looked at me and I told him, “This is something we have to talk about.” He said with his last arrangement it was sort of unspoken and he’d just slip money into her bag. That way, things didn’t feel as much like a transaction. Now, I know that means that either a Sugar Daddy can’t afford a monthly budget like the others or he’s cheap and he doesn’t want to put a price on it. He told me, “I’m just helping you out financially while we enjoy each other’s company.”
How much did you end up getting?
Just a free meal and saliva to last a lifetime.
Describe to us your ideal Sugar Daddy.
That’s a hard question. Obviously, one that wants me as his arm candy. One that pays me a monthly salary between $1,000-$3,000 a month. One that expects me to do fun, expensive things that I otherwise couldn’t afford. A partner in activities, without sexual encounters…but that’s impossible.
Why do you think NYU girls are most attracted to the site?
The high population of wealthy older men who are either married and unhappy or single and unhappy. The close proximity. Even if they don’t live in the city, they’re only a half-hour express train ride away. It’s a highly concentrated area with people who can’t afford to live here, like students, right beside guys on Wall Street with money to burn. Some of these guys just haven’t been able to meet girls.
How’s your moral compass looking?
Uhm … my moral compass was always quivering. It never settles down. Morals are subjective. In the case of being a Sugar Baby, I never quite have come to terms with it, and I still haven’t figured out if I’m going to look back and be like, “What the fuck was I thinking?” God forbid somebody digs into my past.
*name has been changed