Letter From The Editor

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.54.17 AMMy favorite author Douglas Coupland has written, in various ways in various books, that we as people have this seemingly innate desire to view our lives as stories. This, he argues, is a mistake.

Things happen. And then more things happen. No narrative.

I don’t know why, but that idea kept coming back to me throughout reporting this week’s feature story on sugar dating websites. I think that is because I started working on this story thinking that I was going to find some big, grand truth about why websites that connect young “sugar babies” with wealthy “sugar daddies” are so popular. What I found instead, was that I’m not sure anyone really knows.

(One thing I will say for these sites is that their security seems pretty good. In order to find sugar babies to interview, I made a fake sugar daddy profile — using an obscured screenshot of Ethan Hawke from Reality Bites as my picture — and that got shut down after about 10 minutes. So, good on them for that.)

The marketing of these sites often involves the claim that their members are simply putting all their cards on the table. If you’re dating someone for their money or for their looks, at least you’re being honest about it?

But what I found in a lot of the people I talked to was a lot of confusion. There was the man who set up his profile because he said he wanted something simple, but to me he portrayed a loneliness and an ache for something genuine. Then there were those who said they wanted something real but approached it from a detached, procedural manner. And then there were those who felt that the site gave them power and independence, but then they admit that they wouldn’t know how to pay rent without it.

The impression that I took away was that nobody was really all that clear of their own intentions or desires. And how could they be? Is anyone ever? For more, see page 4.