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RISKY BUSINESS? Vogue Williams (right) with a former sugar baby Helen Corydon in London, on her recent TV series
RISKY BUSINESS? Vogue Williams (right) with a former sugar baby Helen Corydon in London, on her recent TV series

Being a sugar baby is surely not just about good conversation?

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BECAUSE I wear low-heeled shoes and am neither a spring chicken nor bootilicous, I would never make the grade as a sugar baby.

Even if I had the attributes required to date wealthy older men and be scintillating company (sugar babies are advised to be au fait with the topics du jour so they can have intelligent conversations with their worldly companions), I’d baulk at an arrangement that involves being gifted with designer gear or maybe an allowance.

It sounds too good to be true. Young women, in need of dosh to get them through college, for example, just have to be arm candy for rich geezers, enjoying fine dining and being given Gucci bags for sweet f*** all.

(Actually, it sounds downright creepy, but there are gals who become very excited by designer goods.)

It has been reported that almost 1,000 Cork students have signed up to a dating website, Seeking Arrangments.com where all they have to do is exchange their company for help with their living expenses.

The website claims that almost 10,000 Irish students have signed up. But it’s not clear how many students are active users of the site.

Let’s hope not too many young women have sullied themselves through this extremely dodgy way of enriching themselves. Because you can be sure that it’s not just conversations about Brexit that keep the men happy as they dispense largesse on young women foolhardy enough to sign up for this scheme.

The elephant in the well-appointed luxurious room is sex. Sugar babies, or at least the ones wheeled out for publicity purposes, insist that sex isn’t on the agenda. Can you believe that?

Heck, even in a normal dating situation, a guy who buys a girl dinner often expects more than just good company at the end of the night. And while that’s a fairly Neanderthal mindset, it’s a reality.

Model and media personality, Vogue Williams presented a TV programme on sugar babes and sugar daddies last week. As part of her research, she put up a profile of herself on a dating site.

A guy offered her €20,000 for drinks and dinner. (How hard up is he?) Vogue made her excuses and left the virtual space.

But she had the tables turned on her when one of her interviewees, an attractive young woman with a foreign accent, berated Vogue for not taking up the offer. She advised Vogue to value herself more.

But the presenter is far too savvy in the ways of the world to think that there is such a thing as a free dinner — with loads of cash thrown in.

And, as it happened, the interviewee admitted to putting up with sex with guys she didn’t fancy for gifts. Or was it hard cash?

You have to surrender yourself and smile through the ordeal, she said.

Although she didn’t call sex with an older man that she had no interest in, apart from the contents of his wallet, an ‘ordeal’. It was just commerce in her eyes, fulfilling the ‘theory of reciprocity’.

In other words, there is no such thing as a free lunch. It’s trade. Or to use the word that the escorts hate, it’s basically prostitution.

Cosmopolitan magazine reported on the second annual Sugar Baby Summit, held in Hollywood, last year.

Reporting on this event, Kathy Yamamoto met sugar sisters, Sharie and Jagar Grand, who sometimes work as a sugar duo. They stressed the importance of conversation. They ‘stay informed’ about current affairs, sports and the arts so that they can converse with their daddies, no matter what their interests are. They gave Kathy some fashion tips. “Never wear flats,” they said, almost in unison.

The summit included a session on ‘Negotiating an Allowance’. This class clarifies that sugar babies are not paid for sex. They’re paid for their time and the ‘enhancement’ they bring to their daddy’s life. That is what makes it legal.

Despite the spin and the ‘glamour’ of the summit held in an LA nightclub that boasts an interior pulled directly from the set of The Great Gatsby, being a sugar baby is not easy. The ratio of babies to daddies is about eight to one, with 50% of sugar daddies uninterested in giving a monetary allowance.

Would you sell your soul (if not your body) for a Prada handbag or some wildly expensive jewellery?

If we’re to believe the hype, being a sugar baby is a valid lifestyle choice. Well, it’s probably more to do with desperation than choice.

Here’s some advice for financially hard-pressed Cork students:

1. Nothing in this life is free.

2. If you can’t discuss your job with your parents, then it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing.

3. Try house-cleaning or bar-tending. It will keep you honest — not to mention dignified.