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“They want the perfect girlfriend—in their eyes,” says Miranda, the young woman at our table.* “She’s well groomed, cultured, classy, able to converse about anything—but not bringing into it any of her real-world problems or feelings.”Miranda is 22 and has the wavy bobbed hair and clipped mid-Atlantic accent of a 1930s movie star; she grew up in a Texas suburb. He gave me money to help out with my living expenses.”It ended when she went on a school year abroad and started meeting men on Seeking Arrangement, the Web site and app which match “sugar daddies” with “sugar babies,” whose company the daddies pay for with “allowances.” Now, she says, she has a rotation of three regular “clients”—”a top Austin lawyer, a top architect, and another tech guy,” all of them married. “I signed up for Seeking Arrangement when I couldn’t pay my rent.
Her adventures in “sugaring” started three years ago when she got hit on by an older guy and rebuffed him, saying, “Look, I’m not interested, so unless you’re offering to pay my student loans,” and he said, “Well . “ ‘Well, I could always just get a sugar daddy,’ ‘I guess I could just start camming,’ ” or doing sexual performances in front of a Webcam for money on sites like Chaturbate.
“And it’s kind of a joke, but it’s also not because you actually . You just need a computer.”“Basically every gay dude I know is on Seeking Arrangement,” says Christopher, 23, a Los Angeles film editor.
Her research has now spanned three countries — the United States, the Netherlands, and Thailand.
She was initially drawn to the Netherlands by the work of an organization called Terre Des Hommes, which had designed a controversial, animated avatar called “Sweetie” to be used for online sting-like operations. “Using a digital agent for this effort kind of falls into a gray area [in Europe],” Thakor says.