Just uttering the term “sugar baby” has the effect of rendering one’s personality inconsequential amid the looming frowns and judgmental looks from society.
It is without a shadow of doubt that sugar babies out there are often perceived in a bad light. Many unfavourable remarks and negative stereotypes are cast with little affinity with their stance.
Terms like “prostitutes” and “escorts” are typically associated, yet the reasoning behind every empowered women taking up the mantle of a sugar baby remains, most of the time, unheeded.
While some do so for the thrill and perks of connecting with affluent people, many actually become a sugar baby to mainly support themselves financially due to various rationales.
In fact, there has been a rise in the number of sugar baby signups from Singaporean universities who are seeking financial support from opulent men via Sugarbook. This is primarily attributed to the rising costs of university fees.
From 2018 to 2019, Sugarbook, a Malaysian-based sugar dating platform, saw a 32% leap in the total of university student signups – which inadvertently illustrates university students seeking for financial support from sugar daddies or sugar mummies in Singapore.
With that in mind, along with all the misconceptions and little-known facts about what it’s actually like in a sugar baby’s shoes, perhaps this interview piece might help to shed some light on the matter.
Recently, TOC sat down with Violet (not her real name), a 31-year-old Singapore permanent resident who is a member of Sugarbook.
Turning her life around after an abusive relationship and almost-marriage
Having the urge to turn her life around after coming out from an abusive relationship, Violet chose to be a sugar baby three years ago.
Then an air stewardess in Dubai on the verge of tying the knot in the States, she decided to quit her job to commit to the marriage.
However, Violet later found out about her then-fiancé’s bisexuality just a few months away from the wedding.
Separately, the relationship became an abusive one, and she decided to call it off and return to Singapore.
Having spent all her savings on bookings and her wedding dress, she came home with a hole in her wallet.
Family and friends are supportive of her choice despite initial doubts
For Violet, breaking the news – that she’s a sugar baby – to her family and close friends wasn’t an easy task. At first, they were surprised and skeptical about her vocation.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Her close friends questioned her.
But after speaking to them about her financial issues, they were understanding and supportive of her decision. In fact, Violet noted that after some time, her friends were very much keen to know about her relationships.
Being a sugar baby is a choice of lifestyle
Seeing sugar dating as “the same as normal dating life” – though with added honesty and luxury – Violet remarked that “being a sugar baby is a choice of lifestyle” where she gets to “choose what she wants”.
She also spoke of an “arrangement” in the sugar dating world where she can just openly disclose what is it that she wants and what is it that she’s not comfortable with.
Similarly, the other party can do the same.
Sugar dating is strictly not prostitution
When we asked Violet what are the negative stereotypes towards sugar babies and how would she respond to them, she immediately gave voice to the term “prostitute”.
“They are prostitutes. Just like that, you know,” she asserted.
In response, Violet reiterated that sugar dating is a choice of lifestyle, adding that “it’s strictly not prostitution”.
She believes the existence of such stigma and negative labels is due to a lack of education on what sugar dating is all about.
“It existed since a long time ago, it’s just that they don’t use the term ‘sugar baby’, ‘sugar daddy’, or ‘sugar dating’,” said Violet.
She opined that society needs to be more open and educated when it comes to sugar dating.
Not everyone is seeking for sexual pleasures
Contrary to popular belief, Violet highlighted that sex is not the holy grail of sugar dating.
“Not all of them are asking for sex, you know,” she stressed.
“Some of them just want companionship. They just like to go out with beautiful girls or young girls.”
Dating a married man goes back to your own principles
In an interview with AsiaOne, Felice Ang, a 23-year-old Singaporean sugar baby, rejects the idea of a sugar baby being in a relationship with a married man.
According to Ms Ang, she firmly believes that it is immoral to do so.
Citing Ms Ang’s school of thought when it comes to dating married men, Violet shares the similar sentiment as well, stating that she “wouldn’t be dating a married man” as it goes back to her own principles.
Subsequently, she pointed out that married men ought to be singled out as well for wanting to have another companion despite knowing that they are married.
“But if you want to talk about the sugar baby being immoral, then what about the married guy who knows that he’s still married and still want to have someone else.”
Nonetheless, Violet expressed that we must not be quick to judge those sugar babies who are willing to date married men without first having to walk a mile in their shoes.
“But I don’t judge them, I mean… for those [sugar babies] who are dating the married men, we are not in their shoes, you know. So, ‘immoral act’, I wouldn’t be applying that term to them.”
Of intellectuals, respect, and Gucci handbags
According to Violet, she is currently dating two sugar daddies, both of whom are “very intellectual” and “respectful”.
The first is a Singaporean Chinese divorcé and the second is a French expatriate.
When probed about her most favourite gift received from a sugar daddy, she revealed that it was a big box that had branded dresses, shoes, and jewelleries inside.
“But what I like the most is the Gucci handbag,” Violet hinted as she let out an amused chuckle.
Having a sugar daddy is like having a confidant
In describing her experience having a sugar daddy, the word “confidant” was branded.
“For me, having a sugar daddy is like having a confidant,” said Violet.
“I can trust them very well and I know that I’m very safe with them.”
Additionally, she remarked that having such a relationship is “more than just sex and money” because it involves a lot of things like “emotions, connections, and security”.
Violet noted that this takes into account for both parties, “not only for the sugar baby”.
To illustrate further, she shared that she noticed a stark difference in character and outlook of one of the sugar daddies where he was seemingly “uptight a little bit” when she started dating him, but eventually he became “more cheerful” and “happy”.
Sugar dating is not a job or profession, but a choice of lifestyle
Before the curtain falls on the interview, Violet once again reiterated that sugar dating is a choice of lifestyle.
“For me, sugar dating is not a job. It’s not a profession. It’s just a choice of my lifestyle that I want to live.”
She argued that no one would possibly call what their significant other does as a “service”, adding that the aspect of money here could be seen as “pocket money” rather than a form of payment for an act.
“If you have a girlfriend, would you call anything that she does for you as a service? No, right? Yeah, it’s the same thing. It’s like, okay, you are giving your girlfriend pocket money or something like that.
“It’s just that because they have money, so they give you more.”
Nevertheless, with plenty of commitments as well as the need to take care of herself, Violet mentioned that she still needs to know how much a sugar daddy is willing to provide for her.
“Normally, I will ask them ‘how much can you provide for me for a month’ because I got to tell them that I have commitments and I need to take care of myself.
“And yeah, if they can provide me with a good amount that I need and I am attracted to them as well, so why not?”
Sugarbook is planning to set foot in Singapore, home to over 70,000 members in its network
Dubbed as Asia’s most critically-acclaimed online dating brand, Sugarbook was founded in January 2017 by Darren Chan, a Malaysian entrepreneur who enjoys a good steak, authentic Japanese sushi, and Muay Thai.
Currently, Sugarbook has over 700,000 members in its network. Singapore makes up about 10 per cent of the entire network, with over 70,000 members in the Lion City.
Sugarbook is now looking to broaden its horizon across Southeast Asia, starting with Singapore and Thailand.
After that, the company is aiming to set up shop in Tokyo and London.
According to Darren, one of the main reasons why the company is planning to set foot in Singapore is because of the country’s economy – which he regarded as having one of the strongest gross domestic product (GDP) across the world.
“And 5.8 million people in Singapore and the Internet penetration rate of 91 per cent, it only makes sense for a dating company to set foot in Singapore,” he added.