Citing San Francisco's high cost of living and the increasing cost of tuition, the spokesperson for a website that seeks to connect millennials with wealthy people "willing to pay for 'arrangements'" says that at least 194 San Francisco State University students are current "sugar babies," exchanging companionship for cash or goods.
This according to SF State's student newspaper, the Golden Gate Xpress, which reported yesterday on the wave of students who reportedly pay their bills via the kindness of amorous benefactors.
As part of their reporting, the Xpress spoke with Brook Urick, a spokesperson for Seeking Arrangement, a website that describes itself as "Where beautiful, successful people fuel mutually beneficial relationships." According to Urick, 194 SF State students are registered on the site on the "baby" side of the equation. (Students are offered "a free premium membership when a baby registers with a .edu email address," the Xpress reports.)
“It has a lot to do with the cost of living, which is outrageous in San Francisco and the surrounding areas,” Urick told the Xpress.
“Tuition rates just keep rising, scholarships become less and less available, and people have to look to alternative methods to pay for their schooling.”
Alternative methods like, apparently, getting paid for their attentions. That said, Urick hastened to distinguish these sugar babies from sex workers, saying that "it’s a relationship and it’s a gift. The idea is that these people are generous, they’re willing to spoil. They might not have time for traditional relationships, but they’re willing to provide something else.”
For a 19-year-old sorority girl/sugar baby who spoke with the Xpress, that meant an "allowance" from her paramour.
“I needed money," she told SF State. "We went on another date to an Italian restaurant. He called me a car, and as I was leaving he gave me $600. He was like, ‘I know you need to get your nails done as well as pay your rent.’ That was my allowance.”
In another case, she says, “I had to move...So (my sugar daddy) gave me the deposit money. He put it on Google Wallet because he was in New York that week and couldn’t see me. I asked, and he was like, ‘Here you go.’”
And while Urick seems to downplay the sexual element of the relationships, it's clearly there, says the sugar baby. "Obviously some guys are a lot more pushy than others,” she told the Xpress, saying that in her relationship with "one of the top financial advisors on the west coast, a dapper, self-made 36-year-old divorcé with two children looking for a girl who promised not to nag him about settling down" that "things didn’t get physical until the fourth date."
For her part, Deborah Cohler, SF State's chair of women and gender studies, urges you not to rush to judge this woman or her 193 co-babies. As we all know, SF is "an extraordinarily expensive place to live...So we have all kinds of working students on campus.”
“Almost all romantic or sexual relationships have some form of reciprocity expected,” she told the Xpress.
“These relationships, it sounds like, have a more explicit expectation of a certain kind of material reciprocity up front. If we didn’t pathologize or stigmatize this kind of material expectation, these relationships wouldn’t have to be so coded or secretive.”