In a cavernous dance club on 48th Street, a masked sugar daddy had his wealthy arm draped over the shoulders of a Vice reporter as he whispered sweet nothings in her ear. Despite being told she was a reporter, he hadn’t grasped the fact that she was more interested in his story than his wealth.
When the sugar daddy finally realized that there were two sets of cameras, a sound guy, a producer and yours truly watching, he released the reporter and left in a huff, the heat of his anger likely burning all his sugar.
"If I end up online I'm coming for ya, I'll slit your f—ing throat," he threatened from outside the makeshift corral before walking away.
Some sugar daddies aren’t so sweet when it comes to their privacy.
The sugar daddy and sugar baby masquerade ball, hosted by dating website Seeking Arrangement, is something of a phenomenon with hundreds of young women — and a few young gay guys thrown in — using the dance party as an opportunity to find a source of love and wealth. With some Sugar Daddy VIP ticket bundles selling as high as $3,000 a pop, Metro went undercover to find out exactly who the events attracts. Sure enough, what we found was that sugar daddies are mostly old, mostly white and more often than not, unattractive — conventionally so, at least.
However, the unmasked sugar daddy I interviewed in a press room was only one of those three things — white.
“It's just made life so much easier. Think about it. How do you meet dates?" Dean, a handsome 29-year-old professional gambler and casual sugar daddy, asked me. “You either don't, or you have to meet them through your job, or through a friend of a friend of a friend and hope to get lucky. Whereas with this, it's just low effort to meet girls I'm attracted to who are down for me. It's dating on easy mode."
Prior to the masquerade, Seeking Arrangement hosted a Sugar Baby Summit which was a series of talks on subjects such as “Sugar 101,” style and beauty, and “Funds Management,” which really should have been called “How to avoid raising red flags with the IRS.”
During the Summit, I spoke with Kristen, the speaker for Sugar 101 and a sugar baby success story, about what her motivations for sugaring were.
"I had my tuition paid and I had the rest of my student loans paid off,” Kristen explained as a matter of fact. “I currently have my cellphone bill, my rent and my car insurance paid by one man. He doesn't actually give me money, he just pays the bills for me.”
If there was one thing that was harped on the most throughout the seminar, it was that despite receiving an “allowance” in these “mutually beneficial relationships,” sugar babies are not escorts.
“Escorts are paid for sex. We're paid for just — it doesn't even have to be our time,” Kristen explained. “With an escort, you do have to be with them to get your money. I don't have a sexual relationship with all of my sugar daddies.”
Before leaving the masquerade ball, I spied Brandon Wade, Seeking Arrangement’s CEO, wandering through the crowd with his much younger wife on his arm. The couple was bathed in camera light as they milled about the club.
I had spoken to him earlier and he mentioned he met his wife, coincidentally enough, while she was employed at Seeking Arrangement. I then remembered something Wade had told the sugar baby audience earlier during the summit when asked what his advice was to aspiring sugar babies.
He said, “The best way to a man's wallet is his heart.”
Matt Lee is a Web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely @mattlee2669.