Until this week, “modern” sugar daddy dating was barely known in Britain.
But websites that promise to match older wealthy men with young attractive women have been thriving in America for years; one of the most popular – Seeking Arrangement.com, which bills itself as a place “where the attractive meet the affluent” – claims to have a million subscribers, with 10 women for every man.
His financial investment assuages his guilt that he can’t emotionally invest.
Given that I didn’t want a committed relationship, it made sense to me.
As promised, I went straight home after coffee with an envelope of cash and never saw him again. All I clung to for security was faith in my own judgment of character following a few Skype chats and one trusted friend to whom I had sent his details. Thankfully he was as good-looking and interesting in the flesh as he was on my computer screen, and we spent two wonderful days together.
Then I accepted a trip to New York with a fortysomething Canadian property investor. He took me to Prada and bought so much that I had to buy another suitcase.
Even then, the idea of taking cash felt so irksome to both parties that we did it in the form of a monthly loaded store card from Selfridges.
He was a hedge-fund manager in the City and physically attractive, but a ski trip to Colorado put me off him for good.After several dates over four months, I vowed never to see him again. The first was a wonderful Malaysian divorcé who visited London four times a year and wanted a travel companion.We became so close that after six months, our cash arrangement felt inappropriate and we stopped seeing each other. Then there was an unhappily married alcoholic banker from New York who, on orders of his therapist, had given up drink on home soil, but when abroad allowed himself the luxury of intravenous Martinis. For him, I was his drinking buddy in a feminine form, and that’s what he paid me for. I kept what I was doing from my family, and of the carefully selected friends I told, most didn’t approve.It has just launched in the UK, where it is already boasting 80,000 members.In return for a no-strings but mutually beneficial relationship, the women who sign up can get to be treated like a lady, showered with gifts, taken on all-you-can-buy shopping sprees, and enjoy meals at the best tables in town.The thrill of a date with an older, wiser, higher-flying executive had faded.