“If you are not funny, say so.”
Perhaps the strangest piece of advice I have ever heard about filling out your online dating profile. It is, maybe, less surprising when you discover that this little gem comes from John from the management team at Sugardaddie.com, a site dedicated to matching up ‘Sugardaddies’ with ‘Sugarbabes’.
A sugardaddy is a, generally older, man, who is looking for a companion to take out, spend money on and ultimately, give him some company. A sugarbabe is a younger female who might be looking for financial gifts, nights out or even to meet the man of her dreams who is in a position to support her. And of course, in the name of research, I became a sugarbabe for a day.
As soon as I signed up, immediately I had eight messages in my inbox. Unfortunately without paying for membership (even the sugarbabes are expected to pay a minimum of £12.99 a month for a year’s membership here, surprisingly) I couldn’t use most of the features available, including reading those messages, bizarrely. I am taken to this payment screen, asking me to become a premium member if I want to read my messages:
However, I can see the profiles of those messaging me. What is interesting to note is the information displayed in the user factfile alongside their image. For instance, take the image below. This user has listed his yearly income and his estimated worth alongside other, more normal, information such as height, occupation and location. As far as I know, this isn’t compulsory, but almost every male’s profile I have seen has listed a similarly impressive figure in each of these fields.
“A pretty woman is pursued by men from the minute her profile is made public on a website,” says John, “and believe it or not it is not always the most physically attractive men that get the responses to their messages.” You know what? I think I can believe that. If you’re signing up as a sugarbabe, you know the score from the moment you join the site, which urges us to ‘Start interacting with the most attractive, wealthy and desirable people in online dating’. Somehow I think that most of the sugarbabes here can largely overlook physical appearance when the intentions of both parties are made so clear.
This is why I express no surprise whatsoever about John’s opening gambit about being upfront about a lack of humour. I sincerely doubt that most sugarbabes have chosen this site, over all other dating sites, to find someone who will make them laugh.
I asked John what a sugarbabe should put on her profile to attract a potential sugardaddy. “Sugardaddies want someone who is attractive and reasonably intelligent that they can talk to as well as hopefully ‘other things’.” I think we all know which ‘other things’ are hidden behind that euphemism, but of course we don’t know whether or not this is usually the case. “It’s not enough to say you enjoy fine foods, mention some of them and explain why you enjoy them.” Lots of the sugardaddies’ profiles seem to reflect this, stating that they want to know the exact interests of a sugarbabe upfront so that they can plan dates or ‘arrangements’, as they are sometimes referred to, accordingly.
So, how about pictures? We all know that photos are a crucial part of a dating profile, but how does it work for a sugarbabe wanting to attract a sugardaddy? “For women, sexy is good, but sexually suggestive is not. An alluring smile goes a lot further than one of you in see-thru lingerie in a sexual position.” Sexy is good. Of course sexy is good. It seems as though a woman’s attractiveness is her half of the ‘deal’. ‘I will treat you to an expensive dinner and gifts in exchange for the company of a beautiful woman’. And the advice for men? “Make certain the pictures you post are current,” says John, before offering up my favourite piece of online dating advice ever: “Also, try not to post pictures of you with fish or animals you have killed. It’s great if you are trying to get into the safari club but not when looking for a date.” Got that, men? Current, but keep the dead animals to a minimum.
The thing that really strikes me about a site that claims to be ‘Where the classy, attractive and affluent meet’ is the distinctly shabby feel of the site itself. It has been ‘delivering a superior dating service since 2002’, and I’m not honestly convinced that it has been updated since then. It doesn’t look like the realm of the inherently ‘classy’. This continues throughout the site. Nothing looks slick or modern, and if I were a sharp shooting sugardaddy, I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable shedding my hard-earned money into this somewhat amateurish-looking site.
The main question people ask about this site is ‘Is it OK? Is this moral?’ This isn’t something that I, or John, can say with any certainty. Presuming everyone has signed up of their own will and they know the terms of the arrangements with the sugardaddies and sugarbabes, it is difficult to form much of an argument against it. Is it exploiting vulnerable people? Again, hard to say. It’s easy to see why a young girl desperate for money or a lifestyle beyond her means might be tempted to sign up. It’s equally easy to see why a lonely man with more money than he could ever need might want to use this to attract an attractive companion.
Maybe every single member of Sugardaddie is looking for love and a long term relationship. However, even John is aware that this isn’t the case. He knows that some members of the site are simply looking for ‘a short-term relationship or a meal ticket or a hook-up’. While I am sure that this can be said of most online dating sites, I would hazard a guess that it is somewhat more prevalent on a site that provides a place, to put bluntly, for wealthy men to meet pretty girls and buy them things in exchange for company and ‘other things’.
What do you think? Is this site a little too close to an online escort service for comfort, or is this a perfectly legitimate way to filter potential partners by the traits that are important to you? I haven’t yet formed a solid opinion on the site, so I’d be interested to hear what you make of it.