Meet the former Manchester student who chose daddies over debt
With the average student splashing out £9,250 in tuition fees, it’s no surprise that student dates often revolve around budget-friendly 2-4-1 cinema passes or ‘romantic’ meals at Nando’s. After all, you can’t put a price on love.
But for ex-Manchester graduate Olivia, university dating was a lot more glamorous - from £400 shopping sprees to weekends in Miami.
It might have a rep, that’s what people think it is. But it isn’t.
Olivia is a sugar baby and is one of the 475,000 students who has found a sugar daddy (or mummy) to finance their studies. And with sugar babies raking in an average allowance of £2,900, it’s easy to see where the attraction lies.
“Me and my friends joined SeekingArrangement as a laugh,” explains Olivia. “Then someone messaged me and asked me if I wanted to go on a shopping spree with them the next day. When I met him, he gave me £400. I thought, 'I’m a student and I’m poor, so this is great'.”
A £400 shopping spree sure beats a first date of 99p drinks at the Student Union. But Olivia argues that the relationships are about more than money.
“It’s about the genuine connection,” Olivia explains. “But I’ve had lots of nice things. I’ve been on a holiday to Miami and have been bought really nice hair extensions, a new iPhone and a laptop - just general things that have helped me study.”
Olivia signed up to Seeking.com during her second year at university. The website sells itself as the place “where beautiful, successful people fuel mutually beneficial relationships.” Daddies can enjoy spending time with young, attractive women, and babies can benefit from the daddies’ career expertise, life experience and of course, their wallets. The site boasts a ratio of four sugar babies to every sugar daddy.
“I’d never heard of it before and couldn’t understand why people would want to do it,” Oliva explains. However, after facing financial difficulty during her studies, sugar daddy dating became a viable option.
“I had minimum student loan and I have four siblings. My parents were on good money, but not good enough money to put us all through university. I was so stressed about money. I was working thirty hours a week in a make-up shop and studying.”
“Having a sugar daddy allowed me to cut down my hours at work and put more effort into my studies. If I hadn’t found out about sugar daddies, I honestly think I wouldn’t have finished university.”
Olivia studied Law at the University of Manchester, which has been named as SeekingArrangement’s second fastest growing campus for sugar babies nationwide. Manchester Metropolitan University ranked seventh in the line-up.
As with any online dating method, safety is a concern.
“The first time you meet, it’s always in a public space. You just have to use your common sense, as you would with any other situation. I’ve never run into a difficult or dangerous situation.”
“There’ll be a creep or two on there, but no more so than you would find on Instagram or any other site.”
Despite an eight-month relationship with a daddy, Olivia is yet to fall in-love for a member of the site. Though she has developed feelings for the people she’s dated and is now looking for a long-term relationship.
“[People think sugar babies are] just someone that wants to live off a man and not work – that’s far from the truth. I work full time, I have an education, I make good money. I don’t want to sponge off a man.”
“I like meeting people that have experienced more life than me, it’s not just about the money. Although that’s good, it’s a good way to meet people that you wouldn’t normally meet in real life.”
Sure, you can’t put a price on love. But a £400 shopping spree is a good place to start.
The interviewee is not featured in any of the images used as she wanted to remain anonymous.