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Sugar babies springing up across campus

Jesse Colautti | Fulcrum Contributor

THINGS NOT GOING well in your love life? Find yourself struggling to make ends meet? Well, apparently there’s a new solution to both of these problems: sugar daddies!

Not familiar with the term? Here’s a definition to help you out, from the website SeekingArrangements.com—touted as your number-one sugar-daddy and sugar-baby destination: “The modern sugar daddy is a successful and generous man who is willing to pamper and offer financial help or gifts to a young person in return for friendship and companionship.”

Oh, and don’t worry, boys, there are plenty of sugar mamas on the website too.

Not convinced such an arrangement is for you? Well, don’t take my word for it—why don’t we let the testimony of one of the website’s sugar babies do the talking.

“Men my age are too immature. My current arrangement is wonderful. Unlike other cash strapped students, I am pampered with expensive gifts. My sugar daddy is the sweetest man I know. He is my mentor, my benefactor and my lover,” says a sugar baby college sophomore.

Call me old-fashioned, but maybe I’m not quite ready to so blatantly mix business and pleasure.

I’m not saying it’s impossible for someone to find genuine love through such a website. I’m sure there are at least a few cases where arrangements like this have led to a happily-ever-after, but can you imagine telling the story of how you met to your friends? “Well, I was desperate for cash and he was desperate for a university student… So after $20,000 exchanged hands, something magical happened!”

The realities of university have sapped the romanticism out of a bunch of things for me. I now choose my classes purely on the basis of whether the coursework is easy enough to help me maintain my average. Meals have become a chore that I try to get through as quickly and cheaply as possible, and nights out are measured in how much they are going to cost me. Despite all that, I’m still not ready to commodify the most intimate of human interactions as a means to get through school. If I were to do that, what would be holding me back from a life of complete apathy?

I think what bothers me most about this website is the language they use to describe the arrangements. You can use the words companionship and friendship to describe what is being exchanged for money, but we all know what you’re talking about: It’s prostitution, and whether or not one agrees with this is their prerogative. Just don’t try to play it off as anything different.

This isn’t a rant against sex workers. I’m mostly just shocked that this website has taken off within our university community. Our school apparently has the second-most profiles listed on the site in Canada—the first is Ryerson. Has university become that expensive and difficult that these types of arrangements are necessary? I can’t believe that. As someone who has scraped his way through three years of university living off scholarships, bursaries, and unfulfilling part-time jobs, I can’t see this as anything other than lazy and morally questionable. I hate to sound like my father, but what happened to good ol’ fashioned gumption?

Next weekend you will find me at the most run-down bar in Ottawa, tired from my latest shift as a cashier, dressed in cheap clothing, and drinking the worst beer on the menu, all while trying to find a girl I can bond with over the stresses of university life, at least for a little while. There’s no guarantee I’ll find her, and odds are I’ll be 20 bucks worse off than when I started, but when I do, oh, I’ll have quite the story to tell.