Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sugar is Bad For You

The Worst thing about getting old, apart from hair-loss, is the content of the flyers that get handed to me on a Friday night out in Glasgow. A few years ago, I used to get bits of cardboard telling me about the latest clubbing experience. Now I get offered half-price admission to lap-dancing clubs. On the positive side, I guess I must pass as a wealthy businessman.

It's not that I have any moral objections to lap-dancing. Being a typical liberal who pretends that he is an anarchist, I'd like to support The Guardian's praise for Iceland, but the presence of Julie Bindel makes me suspicious of the rigour that went into the research. But before I get into a post-feminist minefield, I do have something that sends me into the sort of apocalyptic rage that The Daily Mail would envy.

There's this website, right, and it is all about "the first and only, patent pending online dating website where singles can buy and sell first dates." And they have a sister website which "sought to redefine what it means to be a sugar daddy by redefining the modern “sugar daddy” as a mentor, sponsor or benefactor who is always respectful, generous, and seeking to empower others."

They send me regular press releases. When I noticed that a major Scottish newspaper had used a press release as the basis of an article, I spent three weeks foaming at the mouth and swearing never to call myself a journalist ever again. 

It's not just that they add to the ongoing problem of the news agenda being defined by multinational companies. It's that they present a lifestyle - in which a young woman has an older, wealthier partner simply because he can splash the cash - which represents the ultimate commodification of intimate relationships. 

Am I fulminating about an organisation that legitimises prostitution? I hope not: I am not accusing the "sugar babies" of being any such thing. The whole idea just fills me with despair, as it is based on the assumption that cold, hard loot (These men spend about £1,877 per month on their Sugar Babies) can replace intimacy as the foundation of an emotional connection.

This press release has a list of cities that have the most sugar daddies per head of population, according to the sign up sheets for the website. I am pretty sure that I don't know anyone who has signed up - most of my male friends don't earn the amount of money you'd need to count as a potential sugar daddy. 

The cities on this list ought to be ashamed... it's like an index of alienation. There's no surprise that Glasgow is high up - the casual misogyny that fuels the dear green place is well documented. Bit shocked by Bristol and Edinburgh: I thought they had more class. 

The more I read the list, the worse it gets. They have a slot that gives the percentage of the Sugar Daddies who are married. Am I just getting heteronormative here? Aren't you suppose to be faithful if you are married? 

I need to stop right here. I am really very angry. Tell you what - here's a bit of the press release. If you think that I am just being uptight, write a blog explaining how this isn't mind-blowingly depressing. 

(It's that there is a website that is making money off of this that really gets me mad. I probably don't care about the relationships in themselves - liberal anarchist whatever guy that I am.)

Top 10 Sugar Daddy Cities in the UK - # Sugar Daddies per 1000 Adult Men Rank and City# of SDs per 1000 Adult MenAverage AgeAverage IncomeAverage Amount of Monthly Assistance Given to Sugar Babies% Married Out of Overall Membership
1. Bristol5.6543£ 199,641£ 2,43719
2. Manchester4.6840£ 194,991£ 2,24726
3. Oxford4.6439£ 240,557£ 2,58521
4. London3.9639£ 309,894£ 3,76625
5. Glasgow3.5240£ 202,521£ 2,91124
6. Belfast2.7440£ 150,207£ 1,42319
7. Edinburgh2.5839£ 201,927£ 1,87725
8. Leeds2.0639£ 185,817£ 2,40424
9. Brighton2.0044£ 190,742£ 2,08923
10. Nottingham1.9440£ 176,447£ 1,58417

According to the study the average Sugar Daddy in the United Kingdom is 40 years old and earns approximately £ 222,817 annually. He spends approximately £ 3,030 monthly on his sugar habit, which is 16 percent of his annual income. Since 2007, the number of married Sugar Daddies has dropped from 46 percent to 23% percent, a sign that the sugar lifestyle is becoming more widely accepted amongst single men.

“The term ‘Sugar Daddy’ is simply not a moniker reserved for the ‘one percent’. Rather, it is a lifestyle embodied by single men who have a genuine, vested interest in adding value to their partners’ lives,” says Brandon Wade, Founder & CEO of A WEBSITE I AM NOT GOING TO LINK “Last year, the number of single men joining our website doubled, reducing the number of married men who engage in this lifestyle.”

When the website first launched in 2007, the average Sugar Daddy was 44 years old and had a net worth of 5.4 million euros and 4.6 million pounds. The website attributes the steady decline in average net worth to the increase of men under the age of 35 years old entering the Sugar Daddy dating pool.

“Not only is the face of the modern Sugar Daddy changing, but his needs are as well,” says Wade. “Men who gain their wealth at a young age understand that time can’t be wasted chasing fruitless leads. Arrangements on our website are catered to ensure that both parties are satisfied.”

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