When Tom Jones opened his concert in Budapest, with the U2-penned song, Sugar Daddy, I cringed. The very words – Sugar Daddy – make me want to throw up. So when I came across a piece in the Irish Independent when I was at home last weekend, I thought it time to start wondering why two simple words, each on their own rather innocuous, can conjure up such feelings of revulsion.
The article featured an online site called Seeking Arrangement.com which is billed as the No. 1 Sugar Daddy site. It classifies an arrangement as a mutually beneficial relationship/arrangement between two people. In other words, both parties give as much as they take. According to the site, most ‘regular’ relationships are not mutually beneficial in nature (here I stop, and think, and do a quick evaluation, and breathe a sigh of relief – I think I’m okay on this score). Many of us are, apparently, in a relationship where we ‘feel used, or taken advantage of’ and give more than we receive (again, I stop, and give thanks that this isn’t me).
The founder of the site, Brandon Wade, believes that ‘successful relationships are formed out of two people being brutally honest with each other – about who they are, what they want and what they can offer’ [mmmm…interesting juxtaposition of ‘brutal’ and ‘honesty’].
So no matter what you are seeking whether it is love, companionship, friendship or some financial help, and whether it will be for a short-term, long-term or life-long arrangement, he hopes users will find the perfect match on his site.
Now all this looks like a good marketing ploy and in the finicky field of Internet Dating, not a bad prospect at all, particularly if you happen to favour the more mature man (or woman). What caught my eye was the growing number of Irish university students using the site as a way to get through college. According to the Indo, some 4,464 female undergraduates in Ireland have joined the site. Four of the ten universities with students subscribed to the site are in Dublin: UCD tops the list, with 399 members, followed by Trinity College Dublin at 395.
The thoughts of young attractive girls (and boys) in their late teens, early twenties actively searching for mature people as a means of supporting their studies is, on the face of it, admittedly a solution that is a little more appealing than saddling themselves with debt, particularly as the hope of getting a decent-paying job on graduation is a hope that is shrinking by the second. And yet, a survey by the site itself shows that 80% of these ‘arrangements’ involve sex.
Why am I not surprised.
I’ve had many conversations here in Hungary about the merits of marrying for love vs the need to marry for money and admittedly my illusions of a sisterhood united in favour of love over money have taken a battering. It would seem that I’m living in the movies and need to get a grip on reality. And yes, I’m fortunate that my reality (while occasionally giving me cause to worry about pensions and providing for my old age) is such that marrying for love is still a viable option with thoughts of securing tomorrow overridden by concern for making the most of today.
On due reflection, it’s not the concept per se that breaks me out in a cold sweat, it’s the terminology. Mention Sugar Daddy, and I think of fat, foolish and perhaps even flaithiúileach (generous) men who have long since passed their best-before date. And I think of them accessorizing with women young enough to be their granddaughters. A sort of Beauty and the Beast, without the romance or the emotion. But hey, that’s my stereotyping at work. I’m sure there is many a 22-year-old who dotes on her octogenarian boyfriend – I just wish I had faith enough in human nature to believe it to be true.
And, on second thoughts, who am I to judge. Each to their own. And if these mutually beneficial arrangements are really mutually beneficial and no one is under any illusion as to what they represent, then have at it, Brandon.