Faced with about $15,000 in unpaid tuition and overdue bills, Taylor and her roommate typed “tuition,” “debt,” and “money for school” into Google. [An adults-only matchmaking website] popped up. Intrigued by the promise of what the site billed as a “college tuition sugar daddy,” Taylor created a “sugar baby” profile and eventually connected with the man from Greenwich. . . .
In her profile on the site, Taylor describes herself as “a full-time college student studying psychology and looking to meet someone to help pay the bills.” Photos on the site show her in revealing outfits, a mane of caramel-colored hair framing her face. But unlike other dating sites, where a user might also list preferred hobbies or desired traits, Taylor instead indicates preferences for a “sugar daddy” and an “arrangement” in the range of $1,000 to $3,000 a month. . . .
“Over the past few years, the number of college students using our site has exploded,” says Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old founder of [the website]. Of the site’s approximately 800,000 members, Wade estimates that 35 percent are students. “College students are one of the biggest segments of our sugar babies and the numbers are growing all the time.”
Wade rewards students who use a .edu email address to register on [the website] by automatically upgrading their free, basic membership to a premium membership, allowing them to send unlimited free messages and granting them exclusive access to the site’s cadre of VIP sugar daddies. The site also includes a complimentary stamp on student profiles, certifying them as a “college sugar baby.” . . .
While she and her host hadn’t agreed to a set amount of money, on the drive back to the train station in Greenwich he handed her $350 in cash. She pocketed the envelope, seeing it as decent money for half a day’s work. But once on the train and no longer worried for her safety, she started to agonize over what she had just done.
“I never thought it would come to this. I got on the train and I felt dirty. I mean, I had just gotten money for having sex,” says Taylor, who never heard from the guy in Greenwich again. “I guess I accomplished what I needed to do. I needed the money for school. I just did what needed to be done.”
And she’s still doing what needs to be done. With tuition due in September to pay for her last semester of college, Taylor’s back on the hunt for other, more lucrative online hookups.
A wise man once told me that financial ruin and moral decline go hand in hand. Is there any doubt that the financial chaos currently crippling our government and ravaging the private-sector economy is symptomatic of a deeper spiritual poverty — a loss of self-restraint, responsibility, and virtue?