Rachel Uchitel, who is perhaps best known as the first of many women whose extramarital affairs with Tiger Woods came to light in 2009, now has a new claim to fame: sugar dating spokeswoman. Uchitel has recently taken on a new role as an ambassador for SeekingArrangement, the most recognizable online sugar dating platform.
Seeking announced Uchitel’s appointment as the “first-ever SeekingArrangement spokesperson” in an Instagram post Monday night, writing that the new face of the brand “is ready to shed some light on the misconceptions of online dating and how rewarding these relationships can be.”
By “online dating,” it was pretty clear that Seeking meant sugar dating, specifically. Indeed, misconceptions about sugar dating abound, and sensationalized media coverage as platforms like theirs grew in popularity throughout the 2010s often painted the practice as a lurid, underground community of gold diggers cozying up to aging geezers in exchange for designer handbags. Even as attitudes towards other kinds of non-traditional relationships have progressed in recent years, sugar dating still carries a lingering stigma. Earlier this year, the most recent season of The Bachelor attempted to spark scandal over rumors that one contestant “may be having a transactional relationship with wealthy men,” a cheap ratings ploy that ultimately earned the show little more than accusations of whorephobia.
To be sure, many arrangements do include a financial or otherwise transactional element — with which, to be crystal clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong — but that’s hardly the only thing bringing people to SeekingArrangement and other sugar dating platforms. As Uchitel told Page Six, sugar dating isn’t just about exchanging sex for cash (though there’s nothing wrong with that, either). Rather, “It’s for people who want to be transparent about what they want walking into a relationship,” she told the outlet.
As I’ve previously written, the non-traditional context of sugar dating tends to provide a culture of transparency, which is appealing to a wide variety of people for whom traditional relationships are impossible, impractical or simply undesirable. By and large, modern dating and mainstream dating apps are still beholden to norms and expectations that privilege monogamy and position a long-term relationship as the end goal. For many daters who simply don’t have the time, energy or desire to participate in that pageantry, sugar dating provides a less judgmental platform where they can be transparent about their wants and needs without offending or disappointing potential matches. For some, it offers a place where they can be open about kinks or polyamory, while for others it’s a way to enjoy casual sex or no-strings dating without worrying your date is secretly hoping to con you into a monogamous relationship. Essentially, sugar dating is just “friends with benefits,” except everyone is on the same page, and is free to choose and define those “benefits” as they see fit.
As Seeking rep Kimberly De La Cruz told InsideHook last year, “Sites like ours, where users can be super upfront and honest and open about whatever it is they’re looking for out of a relationship, can be really appealing to people who aren’t interested in the traditional way of dating.”
Moreover, the demographics of platforms like Seeking may surprise you; it’s not all college girls and aging rich men. As Uchitel told Page Six, “You don’t have to be super-rich to be taking care of someone.” Last year, multiple younger men on Seeking told InsideHook why they were on the site, most of them chalking it up to the fact that they either too busy for or not interested in a traditional relationship, and wanted to date casually without any implicit expectations of monogamy or long-term commitment.
Essentially, sugar dating is probably a lot less scandalous — and a lot more common — than you think. But if you don’t want to take it from me, you can now take it from Tiger Woods’ former mistress.
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