Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babes

A little sweetness goes a long way in South Florida

She became a stripper, working at a club (which she declines to name) in Broward County. ("I would never do stripping anywhere near my home," she emphasizes. "That's something you can't explain to kids.") She didn't like the work, but it paid $400 to $500 a night and, she learned, came with other benefits. One day an older Venezuelan customer offered to pay for her divorce. She accepted. From that point on, Dolly lived her life as a sugar baby.

Since then, she has gone out with any number of men, most of them rich. "One guy gave me $20,000 for a three-day visit. He actually wanted somebody to stomp on him and all those things," she says, giggling. "But I'm not going to do that. I'm not stupid; I know I don't have to do that." When she was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her current sugar daddy — a screenwriter and gynecologist — offered to pay her medical bills. Then, while she was recovering at his mansion, he flew into a rage and tried to kick her out of the house. "He's crazy, absolutely crazy," she says, laughing wickedly.

Easy Rider was married once. He was young, still in law school, and it didn't work out. "I was probably too selfish for marriage. Marriage requires a lot of give and take," he explains. He and his wife divorced after only a year.

Dan Zettwoch
Dan Zettwoch

Law school, however, turned out to be a more successful endeavor. Rider embarked on a career in international banking, which took him around the world. He has lived in New York and London, and owns a house on an island in East Asia ("A small plane takes you there," he explains). He had a Thai girlfriend as well. The two of them lived together for almost four years. She talked about getting married, but the idea never appealed to him.

When his mother fell ill, Rider returned to his hometown, Palm Beach, to take care of her. He involved himself in civic life, charities, and local politics. There was only one thing missing.

Three months in, Easy Rider is learning the subtleties of his newfound sugar daddyhood. "I think there's a certain etiquette," he explains. "Let's say you're communicating with someone early on. Normally, if you say something that's not quite right, you get a second chance. But online, the women I talk to, they get hit on a lot. If there's anything I write that she doesn't like — bang! — she's gone."

So far, he reckons he has gone out with about a dozen women. "Almost without exception they've been younger than 30 ... and articulate enough." The majority of those dates were low-key affairs — dinner and, perhaps, a little shopping. He won't disclose the more successful of his outings — "A gentleman never discusses such things," he says disdainfully — but he's unequivocally happy about how things are going: "Mister Pasternack probably has all the money he needs. But I'll tell you, I'm happy to pay him."

Not that it's all blooming flowers and morning dew. "Here's where it gets touchy," Rider says. "Some of them were really a business arrangement; they wanted money up front, and I'm not really into that. It didn't hurt my feelings; I'm an adult ... but a couple of girls I met, there was nothing spoken about money.

"There's this girl I've been seeing, she's quite special, almost doesn't want anything," he says. As if imparting a secret, he adds, "She drinks cranberry juice."

Aphrodite was only 15 years old when, by accident, she became a sugar baby. A precocious 17 now — she says she's "thirtysomething in my head" — Aphrodite was 14 when she had her first relationship, with a 23-year-old.

A year later, the same year she graduated from high school, she was seduced online by a man named Ned. The two exchanged e-mails for months. He sent flowers and then money — lots of it. When they finally met (she lied to her parents about where she was going that night), she was "not pleasantly surprised; he wasn't ugly, but ..." She trails off. Ned bought dinner. During the meal, he kissed her, and she kissed back. "I almost felt obligated," she explains. "At this point he had sent me $2000 or $3000. To a 15-year-old, that's a lot of money."

From there her story is like a fairy tale gone bad. Ned eventually convinced Aphrodite to move to Georgia, where he lived, paying for her to study interior design (thereby providing her with an excuse for leaving her parents' home), putting her up in a second house he owned, and buying her a car. Aphrodite convinced a friend to go with her: "I was like, 'Hey, it's a free apartment, and there's a free car there.'"

Over the course of about eight months, she figures, Ned gave her more than $60,000 in cash. "Everything I could possibly want.... I got a $1400 dog because I thought it was cute.... I was not a cheap hooker — I used to say that."

The only problem was Ned. "He was very controlling: 'You wear what I want you to wear, we have sex when I want to have sex.' God forbid it should be entertaining for me.... As soon as they think they're losing you, it's Abusive 101. 'Don't wear your hair like that, don't wear this, don't wear that.' You're a walking accessory, a walking Barbie doll."

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