About a week ago, HuffPo ran an article that highlighted the rise of a startling phenomenon that involves college kids seeking “sugar daddies” to pay off student loans and as a source of pocket money in the midst of spiraling education cost and a higher cost of living.
On a website called “SeekingArrangement.com”, college students create an account for themselves, using a .edu email address most of the time. Richer, older, and more accomplished men (or women) will then look through the profiles of these college students before setting up a “date” with them. A “date” usually comprises of dinner and drinks, and then sex.
Some of the girls interviewed by HuffPo don’t see this as sex work, or prostitution. Many justify this by saying that they spend time getting to know people, like in an actual date. This phenomenon is perhaps not new – I’m pretty sure the practice of old bankers buying sex from young college girls was embedded in society a long time ago – but what is new is the institutionalization of such a practice. It has become a legitimate business that preys on the vulnerabilities of the starving college student. The selling of sex is prostitution. Yet, the slew of justification indicates a shifting cultural perspective in this sort of business.
What is more amazing to me is that the brainchild of the institutionalization of “sugar daddies” in the US, and the concomitant shift in cultural perspective, is not an American.
He is a Singaporean.
A reporter on Yahoo! News ran a more detailed article on the profile of Brandon Wey, known as Brandon Wade, by many in the US. He turns out to be an outstanding student who came from one of the top high schools in Singapore, and then went on to earn a prestigious scholarship – Public Service Commission – and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He broke his bond and never returned to Singapore.
Now, he’s making big bucks with three websites that promote the culture of “sugar daddies”, and intends to expand his network into China. The website earns a commission of between five and ten percent of the agreed upon price. One of Wey’s sites, WhatsYourPrice.com, has 50,000 members, and has set up 10,000 dates, Yahoo! News reports.
When they say Asians are making it big in the world today, they often refer to just intelligence and money. This seems to be a different Wey that Asians are changing the world today – institutionalizing and legitimizing a practice, and in shifting cultural perspective.