It is no longer a secret that the ease of finding love online has, in no small part, played a significant role in normalising the practice of sugar dating. With sugar dating websites such as Seeking Arrangement, What’s Your Price, Sugarbook, and Maybe.sg mushrooming left and right, pairing sugar babies with promising sugar daddies or sugar mommies has never been easier.
In the age where dating is fast, costs next to nothing, easily dismissed by a swipe, and real human personalities are reduced to a sort of superficial meat auction market, it is probably not unexpected that people are migrating to alternative dating platforms.
The providers, usually younger and more beautiful, get premium dating experiences, treatment, and even monetary payment that they would never get otherwise from the standard dating apps. Meanwhile, the procurers get a leg up and advantage over other competitors vying for the attention of the most beautiful specimens online.
Regardless of what society or individuals think of this practice, the rising trend of signups across sugar dating platforms, especially during the pandemic, confirms an undeniable fact of modern dating: sugar dating is here to stay and will become more ubiquitous in time to come.
Speaking from personal experience
As a retired sugar baby myself, I feel the calling to contribute to the trope of sugar dating stories in the hopes of shedding more light on this practice. The world of sugaring can be treacherous and somewhat dangerous, and anyone who wishes to proceed must do so with well-informed caution. Researching real-life accounts of the veterans from the frontline will help one avoid pitfalls and set realistic expectations.
During my university years, I used Seeking Arrangement and What’s Your Price to filter prospective sugar dads. At last count, I’ve gone on more than 50 dates from across all sites combined. Out of these, only two men in the United States ended up becoming my long-term sugar daddies, whom I dated simultaneously for two years. The rest took me out for one or a few paid dates.
I have retired from this practice for more than three years now. However, my past experiences have allowed me to discern specific observable patterns of the types of sugar daddies that populate online platforms. For the purpose of writing this piece, I once again braved the What’s Your Price site in Singapore to find platonic paid dates with the latest sugar dad profiles that fall under my general categories.
Here are the three main types of sugar daddies you could expect to meet online. All the identities of the sugar dads have been anonymised to protect their privacy.
The ones who just want beautiful companions
I met Uzman over a midweek late afternoon. He picked me up from the basement of a shopping mall that I had pre-determined beforehand. He drove a sleek grey sedan and offered me flowers bearing a money envelope as soon as I stepped inside.
“Thank you for meeting me this afternoon, dear,” he said with a flourish. “There you go, a little gift for you.”
Uzman was not attractive at first sight. He was older, at least fifty years old or more, short, round and compact with a bulging pot-belly. He was bald with grey stubbles across his chin. His skin was wrinkled and thinly stretched. His eyes, though sparkly and cheerful, were rheumy from the first signs of cataract forming.
Let me lay it out frankly: people like Uzman are probably the most common types of sugar dads you would meet online. Throw away your dreamland fantasy of swiping Mr Christian Grey profiles on your sugar dating apps; the Christian Greys of the world probably have access to supermodels and beauty pageant contestants anyway.
Uzman told me point-blank that sugaring had been his hobby for several years now. Single and living alone in an HDB flat with a cat, Uzman often felt lonely and desired companionship. He did not mind spending some of his income to go on dates with younger, beautiful women.
“Sometimes there is chemistry, and our relationship evolves into something more; sometimes it’s just friendship. Sometimes, it’s a one-off date. I don’t mind at all. In any case, I am semi-retired already. What other things can I do to have fun and keep my mind active and youthful?”
We drove to Sentosa and parked in the basement of the Beach Station. Uzman took out a few takeaway boxes of sushi and a picnic mat from behind his trunk, and we walked together to one of the designated picnic areas by the beach. It was a lovely afternoon. The sea breeze was blowing gently, and the molten sun was a setting golden yolk on the horizon.
“I am glad to find that you have an open and sweet personality,” Uzman told me. “This is very important, more important than physical looks. You won’t believe how obnoxious and entitled some young girls could be. After getting their pocket money, they would start sulking and looking at their phones constantly, refusing to connect at all with me. It is heartbreaking, but it is part of the risks that I have to take as a sugar dad.”
Over sushi, we talked about our childhood and dreams for the future, foods that we like, activities that we enjoy. We watched the sunset in peace. At one point, Uzman tapped on his lap and asked whether I would like to lay back down and let him give me some shoulder rubs. I politely declined.
The date ended pleasantly. Uzman drove me back to the basement of the shopping mall, and I gave him a good long hug.
“Please be in touch,” he said. “I would like to hang out more with you over many more dates, but of course, I will let the ball be in your court. I am free and available almost any time of the day.”
The busy ones who don’t want drama
ND was a young resident specialist doctor in his thirties. I met him at a cafe near the public hospital that he worked at. He was swamped with back-to-back patients and only could spare a few minutes for a coffee break.
At first glance, I could not fathom why someone like ND would need to pay someone to date. Yes, he was a little bit on the short side, and he had a plain face, but he was pretty well-trimmed and fit for his age. He had a pair of sharp eyes that sent an electric thrill across my back. His mind seemed to be equally brilliant. From just a few banters, he could already guess my age and nationality. “I tend not to like Singaporean girls,” he confided. “They are very, very skinny. I prefer my women to have beautiful curves.”
He eyed me up and down with a calculating look. “You are sexy, smart, and sophisticated. I would like for us to have a stable arrangement. Let me know what kind of allowance would suit your expectation.”
ND shared with me that he had been doing sugar dating throughout his career as a doctor. Some of the sugar babies were given a monthly allowance, and some others received investment, support, and mentorship for their businesses. Asked why he ended the relationships, he said many sugar babies “graduated” to find a bigger fish, a wealthier sugar dad who could pay them more. Some others just ended due to unfavourable circumstances. “My last one ended about a month ago. She had to leave Singapore because of the pandemic.”
Being a doctor who was always on-call, it was tough for ND to fulfil the expectation of an ideal boyfriend. Often he would have late-night emergencies, other times early morning calls and countless hours of work on the weekends. Most girls he dated usually would become too needy, clingy, and demanding after a while, getting tired of having to adjust to his erratic and demanding schedule.
“I think money makes it fair for both parties. It is very grounding, as sugar babies know that the attention and time that I lack, I will compensate handsomely through other means. It keeps them chill and secure, and willing to compromise and work together to create a harmonious relationship,” ND said.
“After all, I am still very young and very ambitious. To climb to the highest rung, I need excellent recommendations from my superiors, and I have to put in all the extra work I can afford.”
Our date was over in a blink of an eye. ND took out the dollar bills from his wallet and slipped them into my hand as he shook it firmly. “It was lovely to meet you. Please let me know if we could work something out. I am looking forward to seeing you again.”
The ones who are cheating on their significant other
Alan told me right off the bat that he was married and in a monogamous relationship. He is also father to two beautiful children in tow that he claimed to love “so very much.” We met for a fancy brunch downtown, and he handed me a red ang bao as soon as we greeted each other.
Alan is a mature man in his forties—moderately attractive, with a good, solid build, and a strong, square jawline. I notice a bit of a belly and wisps of grey among the raven-black mass of his hair. I would swipe him right on any other dating platform, I thought. He told me that he was a Singapore PR and a successful businessman in freight shipping and logistics.
“I hope you understand that I need a one hundred per cent discreet arrangement with you,” he said. “My wife and my family will always be my number one priority, so you would need to adjust to my schedule around my work and them. But not to worry, you will be rewarded generously. I have been told by former babies that I give an above-average allowance on this site to make up for this.”
Alan also liked to keep multiple sugar babies simultaneously, and he kept all lines of communication open with all of them. “Once I even had two sugar babies who were bisexual, and into each other, so we have threesomes often. Such good times.”
After all, I think it is impossible to expect only one person to fulfil all your needs; that is too idealistic.
Like ND, Alan said that most of his sugaring relationships did not last for more than a couple of years. The sugar babies usually move on to other sugar dads or decided to do something else with their lives.
“I never expected to marry any of my sugar babies, so I do not mind. I like to have something more stable than just paying a one-off prostitute, though. Mainly for physical safety and my emotional well-being.”
Unfortunately, I find that cheating spouses or cheating boyfriends to be very common on the sugar dating apps, especially so in South East Asian countries, where the societal pressure to get married is significantly higher, divorce is much more of a stigma, and men tend to marry at a younger age.
Nearing the end of the date, I mustered the courage to ask Alan whether he had any moral qualms leading a double life that he hid from his family. He pondered for a bit but shrugged it off immediately. Not really, he said. His wife could not fulfil all his sexual needs, desires, fetishes, and fantasy, though she was the ideal mother to his children.
“After all, I think it is impossible to expect only one person to fulfil all your needs; that is too idealistic,” Alan told me. “By doing this, I keep her happy, I keep myself happy, and I keep the sugar babies happy. What is wrong with a little bit of a white lie?”