My jaw-dropping experience on a sugar baby site
MARIA Di Angelis was taken aback when the man she'd contacted through the website "SeekingArrangement" dutifully informed her that he stretched cling wrap over his bed linens because his girlfriend was getting "suspicious".
"I am washing the sheets too often," said the Lower East Sider during their brief phone call. "But I'd like to put you on a salary of $US600 ($AU800) for twice a week between 2pm and 4pm."
With that, the conversation last December came to a halt. Says Di Angelis: "Obviously he'd done this before - otherwise he wouldn't have been washing the sheets so much.
"I thought it was hysterical at first, but then I felt badly for the girlfriend."
The would-be Lothario is one of hundreds of potential dates who have contacted the Manhattan actor and model since she joined SeekingArrangement (also known as SA) in November 2017. She has met seven people in person.
The online agency, which matches needy so-called "sugar babies" with wealthy "sugar daddies" for a "mutually beneficial relationship," bills itself as the world's largest "sugar website". It claims to have more than 3.25 million active members in the United States alone, although that number can't be verified.
The interactions are legal because the terms fall within a grey area where women are compensated with gifts (often cash) for their time - not for sex, which may or may not result following an introduction.
According to Upper East Sider Di Angelis, it works more in theory than practice. The first man she met on SA said that in his experience, 50 per cent of the girls he met were "complete prostitutes and another 20 per cent are off their rockers".
(A spokesman for SeekingArrangement tells The Post: "SeekingArrangement is a dating platform for people seeking elevated relationships. We do not allow prostitutes or escorts to join the site, and the site is closely monitored for such activity. If users of the site are caught engaging in such activity, they are removed and banned from SeekingArrangement.")
Di Angelis, who didn't want her age to be published (but registered as being 40 on SA), signed up after having her heart broken by a man she'd met at a Connecticut wedding last April.
A close pal had enjoyed dating success online so she decided to give it a whirl.
"She met such a nice guy and they're living together now and are getting married," says Di Angelis. "I'd never tried internet dating before and my friend said SA would be the best site for me."
The 170cm singleton, who was a stand-in last fall for Sofia Vergara for her upcoming movie Stano, created an SA profile without, she claims, fully understanding the deal.
"I was curious to see who was out there, who would be right for me. I felt hip and trendy," she says.
Scores of messages poured in.
"I received nice emails, saying: 'I really loved what you wrote in your profile' and 'you're so beautiful, I'd love to meet you,' " she says. "It was a huge boost to my self-esteem. But, because I was the 'new girl,' I attracted a lot of weirdos."
These included a man who wrote: "Do you like electrocution? I do and it is good for you. I have some cords rigged. If you could join me in this, I will be generous with $."
A married Upper East Side dad asked if she could "service" him between noon and 3.30pm as his kids get home then and he'd promised to "make them a strawberry cake".
Others, one of whom sent penis shots, were more direct. "I have been doing pay per meeting? Does $300 work for you?" offered one. Another said: "I would like to put things in your a**. I assume you do anal?"
Undeterred, Di Angelis went for dinner with a "normal-sounding" man claiming to be worth $US30 million ($40m). He gave strict instructions that she wear a dress and have a French manicure and pedicure, for which he would reimburse her.
"I painted my nails red and wore jeans and a sweater," she says. "I wanted to see if he was shallow."
Apparently he wasn't, but he seemed "lonely and depressed".
"He asked me, 'What can I give you as a gift?' " recalls Di Angelis. "So I said, 'Nothing. I don't need anything. After all, you are taking me for dinner in a beautiful place'. "
Her date was stunned. "He said, 'I don't understand. I've never met a model or an actor who didn't need anything.' So I repeated, 'I just don't need anything.' "
The pair went back to his apartment where, instead of initiating romance, he dished about the other women he'd met on SA. As well as saying that he thought half of them were prostitutes and another 20 per cent were crazy, he explained how he divided them into categories.
He told her, "You get the 'dinner girls' who just want a free meal somewhere like Tao or Lava Lounge, then the 'time girls' who charge between $US300 ($AU400) and $US1000 ($AU1300) for their company alone."
She also learned of a woman who insisted her baggie full of crystal meth contained sequins because she was a seamstress, and another who repeatedly demanded $US500 ($AU670) for her dog.
Meanwhile, a "drink date" arrived at the bar early and was munching on pricey food when her Sugar Daddy got there. "He picked up the tab, of course, but he thought it was entitled and rude," Di Angelis says.
Some dates were especially bad. A lawyer in his 30s, with whom she was having lunch at the Upper East Side's Patsy's Pizzeria, loudly asked: "You do anal, don't you?" in front of catering staff and families. Later, an equally young software engineer claimed that "all professional women are whores" and harassed her with calls and texts condemning her for staying out too late.
However, just before Christmas, she thought she'd struck gold with a 50-something financier who wined and dined her.
"We made out and he invited me to spend New Year's Eve with him," says Di Angelis. The invitation was hastily withdrawn when she refused to accompany him to a room at the St. Marks Hotel that same night.
"I said, 'My mother always told me never to go to bed on the first date because you're going to think I do that with everybody.' That didn't work for him."
Amazingly, despite her negative experiences, the model and actor is still hopeful she will find "The One" on SeekingArrangement, although she insists that, unlike some women on the site, she doesn't trade sex for money and gifts.
"I can almost understand the girls who do it to be taken out for dinner, but, for me, it would really mess with my mind," Di Angelis says. "But I don't know their situations. I can't judge them. Who knows if they have starving children and their mother is dying?"