From Manolos to minks and oh, so much bling, these are a few of their favorite things. Pricey meals and Godiva chocolates are prerequisites...
From Manolos to minks and oh, so much bling, these are a few of their favorite things.
Pricey meals and Godiva chocolates are prerequisites; weekend jaunts to the tropics standard fare. And if you’re lucky, they might even let you pay their rent.
“I am looking for someone who will take me on trips, spa getaways, to the salon, clothes and lingerie shopping,” declares TNQTPI, a “sugarbabe” on Sugardaddie.com.
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This southern belle is hardly alone in her quest for a man with deep pockets.
Cristine Gomez, 21, recently dated an older man she met on wealthymen.com for three months, in which he paid her rent check and car payments, and picked up the bill on her college tuition. Gomez harbors no guilt about the expenses; in fact, she views them as a natural part of the relationship.
“The site,” she says, “is about being spoiled.”
Type it like you mean it
Defying modern-day notions of gender roles, these sites certainly don’t pull any punches regarding members’ wants and needs. What might be considered crass or shallow at a social gathering — “How much money do you really make?” — is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, in a Web profile.
“These Web sites do this strange thing where they make explicit what’s implicit,” says Dr. Helen Nissenbaum, an associate professor in the department of culture and communication at New York University. “We recognize that desire is there to find a wealthy man … and at the same time we find it a little repulsive.”
Steve Pasternak, founder of sugardaddie.com, believes he has created a place where men and women can live out their greatest fantasies.
One sugar daddy requests a woman who can “easily change from a pair of jeans to a small black cocktail dress.” Another describes himself as a “race car driver looking for his red Ferrari.”
“For the men, it’s spending that weekend walking on the beach, dining out, with a beautiful woman,” Pasternak says. “For a woman, it’s an opportunity to go places and experience things that she usually wouldn’t have access to.”
Power to the gold digger
Men are typically forced into the role of the pursuer on mainstream dating Web sites like Match.com and Americansingles.com, where the male-to-female ratio is a lopsided 70 to 30 percent. Not so when hefty bank accounts are involved, according to Joe Tracy, publisher of Online Dating Magazine. At wealthymen.com, for instance, women outnumber men 5 to 1.
“You kind of reverse the roles, because the men are rich and the women are looking for rich men, and therefore they’re going to be more aggressive,” Tracy says.
Mark Bellinger, a film producer based in Los Angeles, protests the image of sugardaddie.com as a venue for “a bunch of young girls that go out with a bunch of old farts that are gonna pay their rent.” The 47-year-old devotes hours each day to his online pursuits, replying to hundreds of e-mails from what he calls “pure, innocent, wonderful” women.
Make no mistake; Bellinger shuns women who try to use him for his fortune. But he wholeheartedly embraces gold diggers, whom he defines as intelligent ladies with an appetite for the “nice stuff” in life.
His assessment: “You want to be with a woman that’s satisfied with sitting in a trailer park watching soap operas?”
Trust, but verify
With the online dating industry raking in a half-billion dollars per year, niche sites that cater to a specific audience are cutting a swath of success across a highly competitive market.
Though both sites serve essentially the same purpose, Wealthymen.com strives to distinguish itself by verifying members’ income via tax returns, submitted voluntarily by men who desire the site’s golden stamp of approval. The verification scores major brownie points with women wary of being bamboozled.
“I don’t want to date a mechanic, you know what I mean?” says Massiel Gandolff, a divorcee in her mid-30s. On both sites, sugar daddies and babes are clicking away, hoping to find a hot date — or, in Bellinger’s case, a wife.
“If that’s a gold digger, God bless ‘em,” he says. “I’m marrying one of ‘em.”