Online dating is the worst. On top of our unstoppable cycle of careers, school, family, and hobbies, if we don't want to die alone in today's app-driven society, we have to find time to manhandle our smartphones and accept/dismiss a sea of digital suitors as well. Yet as flat and pixelated as they may be, most of us have come to realize that these romance apps and websites can offer much needed flexibility in our pursuit of finding that significant other. (The smartphone is the only acceptable way to stay entertained in the comfort of your company bathroom.) And after all, how could anyone expect to find love the old-fashioned way when any decent bloc of time should be devoted to marathons of True Blood?
Yet not all are content with this state of affairs.
Two weeks ago, as I was scanning the Seattle Craigslist "writing gigs" section for employment, I was shocked to find this gem of a post:
Manage My Tinder Account (Capitol Hill) compensation: $25 per date you arrange.
Tinder is a lot of work. I don't have time to text a half dozen people every day, I just want to meet a few cute girls after work for happy hour every week.
I'm looking for someone who can login to my account several times per day and:
- Give girls thumbs up/down ratings
- Message the girls that match
- Arrange dates and put them in my calendar
You need to live and/or work near Capitol Hill because Tinder uses GPS so it won't work if you're far away.
I could hardly contain myself. A modern American Man who doesn't have time for six text messages in a day is a patent absurdity given that most of us have developed the ninja-like dexterity to text six people at once. In the time it took this anonymous individual to post his ad he could have already messaged thirty unfortunate girls.
Still I wanted him to be real—perhaps he was an older gentleman who didn't like fiddling with the toys of today's youth, or a rich college freshman from whom I could drain a trust fund's assets. That $25 price tag was too high to ignore, and there were options of denial at my disposal for making this gig more palatable. "Ghostwriting idle banter," if I'm allowed a euphemism, would give me a great opportunity to work on writing with voice, and besides, after all was said and done, it could make for a good laugh.
So as a twenty-something gay male, I decided to apply:
Are you still looking for someone to do this? I spend all days in Capitol Hill and could do it for you. -Kevin
I had taken the leap, and a day later he responded. I was expecting a simple introduction, a "no, the position has already been filled" or a "yes, would you like to meet for coffee," but when I opened his email I was met with an 800+ word manifesto. The unaltered messages have been attached as an image, but for clarity's sake I've parsed out his reply into a more digestible form.
He began by posing questions, asking what my qualifications were for this odd position, what my preferred method of payment was, what the timing of my conversations would be, etc. But as I arrived at the description of himself, all I could think of was this is a man who felt it better to hire an assistant to dupe women than to spend seconds swiping left and right through his selections himself. Everything was viewed through that filter of laziness and entitlement. And as he quite candidly unwound his personality, I got to see what it's like for someone to rationalize their doucheness:
Here is some info about me:
- I'm 29 and have built 3 venture-funded web companies, 2 in SF and now 1 here in Seatle. One did really well and gave me financial freedom early in life, another is doing so-so, and the third one is brand new and basically just me and a friend working out of an apartment.
It shouldn't have surprised me to see his experience in the tech field—if Silicon Valley can be the title of a critically-acclaimed satire, what else do you need to expect such antics?—but the irony was still delicious. My poster had become nouveau riche from the very industry he was now flagrantly trying to hack through deceit.
This is always a tricky topic, because I don't want to date a girl who is only interested in my finances. I basically just try not to talk about what I do and say vague things like "I work at a tech company and love it". People don't understand startups anyway and think it's like the facebook movie or something.
Cue the misogyny. Of course he wouldn't want to date some conniving shrew of a gold digger who's only out for his hard-earned finances—those daft women to whom he gives his vague clichés like "I work at a tech company and love it." Please. I couldn't believe he was imparting his gender biases to assist me in later choosing his prey or that he was so narcissistic he'd type out "people don't understand startups anyway" to an audience that would inevitably have used dating applications and more likely than not be familiar with the rise of tech entrepreneurship.
- Part of my move to Seattle was tax-motivated and I have a really hard time explaining this. Why did you recently move to a city where you don't know anyone? I tell people I moved here for work, which is kind of true (managing my investments takes 5% of my time), but it's not really what people have in mind.
Clearly ignorant to his character flaws, he casually paints his tendency to bend the truth for the benefit of the fairer sex. What else is a man to do, when in addition to not knowing a thing about startups, women can't be expected to know the most basic of tax law either? But it didn't end there: in proving that his white lie regarding his transplant had an ounce of truth, he claimed only five percent of his day is spent managing his investments. Assuming the independently wealthy twenty-nine-year-old wouldn't be attending school or working a plebeian day job, that leaves 95% of his day free. Why would he even need me to be his Tinder bitch?
- I studied economics at an Ivy League school.
- I was out of the country this month and a lazy slob, but I normally run, rock climb, lift, do yoga or play squash a few times every week. I pay close attention to what I eat and drink a green smoothie every day.
- My interests are incredibly nerdy, so I like smarter girls. I also hide this really well, you would never know that the last thing I read was probably about cryptography or economic theory. I accept that these will not be shared interests :)
God bless a man whose emoticon game is strong: it lets you know that he understands girls merely exist for the sole purpose of his objectification. Women cannot be interested in code writing and economics, especially not in Seattle, a city consistently ranked in the top five tech centers of the country, and one of the smartest to boot. Even though he says he's in pursuit of smarter women, he clearly doesn't believe that any exist.
Here are some potential issues:
- I have high beauty/fitness standards. I give up a thumbs-up rating to less than 1 in 10 girls on Tinder. The good news is that the thumbs up/down process is really quick and then you only match with people who you gave a thumbs up to. If you arrange drinks with girls I don't think I could date I'll have to cancel them and that's a bad experience for everyone.
To paraphrase: The thumbs up/down process is really quick, just not quick enough to work into his five percent work schedule. Not only has he walked me through a misogynist's rationale, he has also successfully and unknowingly argued all the points for why he should just use Tinder himself. He has all the time in the world, and the Tinder application literally requires him to exhibit the motor skills and concentration of a three-year-old.
And then there's that 1 out of 10 acceptance rate. I won't deny that we all have our physical preferences, but to immediately quantify his approval like he's rattling off his batting average is disgusting. For those keeping track he wants a girl who's smart, doesn't care about his finances, is in the top ten percent of whatever inflated beauty quotient he has in his head, and yet is stupid enough to be duped by the schmuck he wished to hire. And even though you think he's done there's more:
- Deal-breakers: single moms, not going to a 4-year college, lots of noticeable tattoos, prostitutes (it's the internet!), girls who aren't 23-27, girls who don't want to meetup at a bar on the first date.
- I'm only interested in drinking dates for the first date. I'll go to any watering hole (speakeasy, dive bar, brewery, wine bar, etc), but since I might leave after one or two drinks I don't want to commit to a long/awkward dinner or activity. Bonus: you can schedule two dates in a night if you run into a scheduling conflict.
Do you think this could be a good fit?
No my friend, I will not be scheduling any bonus double dates so you can bail early on a poor woman after finding you have no conversational skills. I'd rather share your stupidity with the world and use it as both an education on how a douchebag's mind functions as well as a warning that the waters online are not always free of deceitful individuals.
Unfortunately for him and my chance at easy money, I didn't think I was a good fit. An unrelated decision occurring in the time between our initial correspondences prompted me to move away from the critical GPS-dependent Capitol Hill location. More importantly, I found a modicum of human decency within myself.
The Silicon Valley where this man earned his fortune is the same Silicon Valley that gave us Tinder—a fun, rejection-free, and effortless tool to find romantic matches in our immediate vicinity. In our time-addled depravity, we have created the laziest means to meet other human beings, but for such a valuable luxury to function we have to accept some necessary rules. If you receive a message from a bona fide swiped-right hottie, the person typing the message by definition MUST HAVE the time to engage in polite digital conversation and MUST BE the owner of the face you swiped. These are not hard regulations to abide by. If you break this sacred covenant by bringing in outside help to catfish for you, you're ruining it for everyone else.
There's simply no excuse for someone looking to outsource such a mindless, daily ritual. I sincerely hope he reads this and realizes the only way he's going to find that impossibly attractive, successful, and smart-but-not-too-smart woman of his dreams is if he actually carves time out of his 95% freedom to find her. *Himself.*