- Thinking about the term “sugar daddy” can make many people think about specific — and not-so-flattering — images.
- INSIDER talked to Carl Foster, a real-life sugar daddy to find out what the lifestyle is actually like.
- As it turns out, it involves a lot more work from both parties than one might expect.
Carl Foster is a 60-something business owner, radio host, television personality, and father of six.
He also happens to be a sugar daddy.
Foster became a sugar daddy in the same way most people get involved with any relationship — by joining some dating apps after his divorce. But he wasn’t satisfied with the conventional options available, so he tried Seeking Arrangement— an app that helps potential sugar babies and daddies create “arrangements” — and found that it was much more to his liking.
He liked it so much, in fact, that he was invited to be a panelist at the Seeking Arrangement Sugar Baby Summit held in New York City in April. INSIDER attended the summit and spoke with Foster to find out what people always get wrong about sugar daddies. And, as it turns out, there are a lot of misconceptions.
Being a sugar daddy doesn’t always mean paying for sex.
Foster carefully vets each person who sends him a message on the app. He does this because he’s looking for something that he describes as “real” — not a serious relationship, per se, but something that at least emulates the hallmarks of traditional dating.
“A lot of times when you get responses, you can tell that they’re just looking to get paid for sex,” Foster told INSIDER. “And I don’t want that. I’m looking for an honest relationship that can maybe lead to something with no strings attached.”
Foster was drawn to Seeking Arrangement because, to him, the greater sense of honesty it provided was worth the price.
“I run a company, I don’t have a lot of time to waste. And it seemed like a lot of dating sites were just games,” Foster said. “Here, there’s more open communication. So you can say, ‘I’m attracted to you, what are you looking for, what are your goals for a relationship.’ I think that the mutually beneficial aspect of the relationship — I give you what you need and you give me what I need — means that we can be together and enjoy each other, without any questions. And I didn’t get that on other dating sites.”
Not every daddy is looking for someone who’s significantly younger than them.
There’s a specific image that tends to spring to mind upon any mention of the term “sugar daddy” — and, for many people, it entails some version of a gray-haired Lothario leering over a fresh-faced woman who could be his daughter. But Foster doesn’t buy into that particular image.
“I don’t go very young,” Foster told INSIDER. “I have a 21-year-old daughter, so I couldn’t date anyone around that age. I probably couldn’t relate, anyway. I also don’t go by age, necessarily, I look first at interests, careers, and all that, so I usually date people in their 40s.”
Of course, a 60-something dating a 40-something is hardly progressive.
But, for what it’s worth, this age breakdown is somewhat atypical for Seeking Arrangement. Brook Urick, a Seeking Arrangement spokesperson and the host of the podcast “Let’s Talk Sugar,” told INSIDER that the average “daddy” on the Seeking Arrangement is 43 and the average “baby” is 26. So, although Foster is older than most men on the app, the women he dates are, too.
In any case, Foster isn’t likely to think seriously about dating anyone younger than 40.
“I live around a lot of colleges in Florida, and there are a lot of college girls on the site trying to make some extra money,” Foster said. “I wouldn’t want my daughter doing that, and I’m not going to go on dates with girls my daughter’s age.”
It’s not a good idea to get into sugaring specifically for the gifts.
It’s easy to think of the sugar baby lifestyle as a fast track to designer bags, luxury clothes, all-expenses-paid vacations and, perhaps, a means of quitting your day job. But that probably won’t be the case for anyone dating Foster.
Despite the fact that he was a featured speaker at a convention for an app designed to help people turn a profit from the people they date — sometimes through specific gifts, sometimes through Venmo payments— Foster was cagey about divulging what, exactly, a sugar baby might be able to get out of an arrangement with him.
Rather than giving his sugar babies an allowance or extravagant gifts, Foster prefers to identify a “legitimate need” in his dates and foster a mentorship to help them achieve it. As he sees it, this gives them skills that will last longer than a romantic relationship might.
“One woman, she had her own business, and she was struggling, so that’s why she was on the site. She didn’t want to be on the site for that reason, so I said, ‘Let me hire you,'” Foster told INSIDER. “And then we would go out and I would pay for everything when we went out. But it wasn’t like I was paying her every time we went out for sex.”
For some people, it’s simply the best way to start a relationship.
As is probably the case with any style of dating, sugaring certainly isn’t for everyone. But it seems to be working out well for Foster, which may be due in large part to the ethos he adheres to when he uses the app.
“It’s going to start with money, but it can turn into something that’s bigger than that,” Foster told INSIDER. “And if you respect the other person and treat them as a human being, it can be something great.”
Is this a glorified Golden Rule? Sure. All the same, if you think about it, pretty much anyone — whether they’re a sugar baby, daddy, or something in between — could benefit from heeding his advice.
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