The worst part about being a guy on a dating website (aside from daily crippling loneliness) is that the system is set up such that it forces guys to waste a ton of time scouring the site to find quality women. Girls get to sit back, wait for guys to contact them, and then flip through potential suitors and pick which ones strike their fancy. For women, dating websites are like some kinda sick, twisted man buffet. As someone who has been on dating apps and websites myself, I, too, have lamented this unfair part of the courting process.
I work out of a shared office space with a bunch of tech startups, and last week I overheard an employee at one of the companies (a developer no less!) lamenting how he was stuffed to the gills with poon. I could hardly believe it! I hate to generalize, but computer developers are usually known for slaying mythical dragons in online multiplayer games, not hot chicks. This guy’s a perfectly fine looking fella, but he ain’t no Jonathan Lipnicki. He told me how he had a date every night of the week, and keeping up with the demands of all the girls was starting to exhaust him. When I pressed him about how he was getting so many dates, he explained that he had developed a “bot” for OKCupid. I was intrigued, and not just because I had no idea what a bot was. But I nodded politely, and knew this was a conversation that needed my full attention.
In the interest of protecting our hero’s identity, I will refer to him by a generic American guy’s name. Let’s say….. Scott. Scott and I sat down over a Chipotle burrito to discuss how he was somehow able to use a computer to enable him to have sex with women who weren’t Craigslist hookers. (Sidenote – Chipotle, if you would like to send me free burritos for plugging your establishment, please Tweet at me and we will coordinate details. Same goes for Craigslist in regard to hookers).
Rather than manually sift through thousands of profiles to find the perfect match just to message them and inevitably get ignored, Scott decided to turn the table on the girls. OKCupid allows users to filter girls based on a bunch of parameters from drop down menus – height, location, body type, age, etc. Scott sets whatever filters strike him depending on his mood, and once he has a list of girls matching his requirements, he uses a piece of code he developed in order to blast the same stock opener to every girl. Without even having to view a single profile, he’s able to message dozens, even hundreds, of girls at once, and it takes him all of about three minutes.
After the wide net has been cast, he waits for the responses to roll in. It’s like fishing, but flattery is the bait and hot ladies looking to bone are the fish. Some girls respond right away, most don’t respond at all, while still some politely instruct him to fuck off. But the non-responses and disses don’t bother him.
“It’s a numbers game,” he explains. All he needs is a small percentage of interested suitors in order to keep him busy. Let’s say that he has a 10% response rate (a figure I just made up), rather than having to message a bunch of girls who may or may not respond once he messages them, the bot gives him the ability to choose from a pool of girls that he knows are already interested. Out of the ones that respond to his automated message, he sifts through and decides which ones tickle his fancy, and he moves forward with the conversation, with the hope that they will soon be tickling his taint.
The bot is pretty genius because not only does it message the girls, it also notifies them that he’s viewed their profile. “If they see that I sent them a message without viewing their profile, a red flag might go up that something is weird here,” Scott explains. The bot will also never message the same girl twice, so even if there’s a girl who matches his filter criteria, it won’t send her the automated message if she’s been messaged in the past. The fact that he can sort via a variety of different filters gives him endless possibilities. He pays for a $10 monthly subscription that gives him premium filters which allow him to sort by body type and attractiveness, among other desirable characteristics. The date they joined the website is another important filter, so he can hit up attractive girls as soon as they hit the market. It’s like a cyber version of loitering outside of Port Authority looking to chat up wide-eyed Midwestern girls new to NYC. He can also use OKCupid’s personality survey as a way to filter by personality type, which as I learn in a story he tells me, is a very important piece to the puzzle.
I ask him to elaborate on how the bot has allowed him to be a more proficient cocksman, so he tells me about his Saturday night from this past weekend. At 10:34 p.m., he filtered for girls who listed their body type as skinny, were rated as a 4 or higher on attractiveness (out of 5, he’s not an animal), were currently online, and had personalties that were identified as both “kinky” and “spontaneous.” Suffice to say, it sounded like he wasn’t looking for a girl to share an ice cream cone with and discuss the latest episode of Bachelor in Paradise.
One of the girls who quickly messaged him back piqued his interest, and within minutes they had plans to get together. They met up in Washington Square Park, the meeting place of choice for anonymous sexual partners, and walked around for a little while getting to know each other. They ended the night with some heavy outdoor face sucking into the wee hours. But a puny make out didn’t satisfy Scott’s insatiable sexual appetite, so on the way home, he messaged another girl who had responded earlier to his late-night query. At 3:00a.m., he met up with the admittedly drunk lass on 7th Avenue near his apartment. He didn’t think he’d be able to get her home immediately, but after she quickly asked to use his bathroom, he stood corrected.
He half-jokingly asked her to empty out her purse to make sure she she didn’t have a knife (yes, really), she complied, and minutes after their first interaction, she was lying in his bed. Realizing that she was drunk, he opted to do the responsible thing and not hook up with her, so she merely passed out in his bed and they spent the night snoozing in each other’s arms. The morning was a different story, and after she woke up, they made sweet gross sex with each other. This is basically a millennial version of Romeo & Juliet. God Bless America.
I ask to see the bot in action, so he escorts me over to his workstation and gives me a demo. My eyes can barely follow what the hell he’s doing as he toggles between three different computer screens, copying and pasting code, doing things with computers that I didn’t even know existed. He filters for girls who have “athletic” body types, are between the ages of 18-38, are above a four rating in attractiveness, and have joined the site within the last month. Within seconds, he’s able to blast out his stock message to the 50+ girls who meet his parameters.
What’s the message he sends, you ask? It’s short and to the point. “Hey. To cut to the chase, I think you’re super cute and intelligent, and I’d like to take you out.” Scott’s convinced that the bluntness of his message is just as crucial a part of his success as the bot itself.
“I hate the messaging back and forth, getting to know each other. I’d rather do that stuff in person. The whole goal is to take it offline as quickly as possible. Once they respond positively, I send them a follow-up message giving them my number and telling them to reach out if they want to get together.”
I’m sorta amazed that he would give the girl his number, rather than asking for hers, but it seems that playing the role of a confident dude who knows what he wants intrigues a lot of these women. “The whole point of the bot is putting the ball in her court. I’m messaging so many girls, I can’t even keep track enough to care whether they follow through or not.”
As I hover over Scott’s shoulder, he shows me how dozens of tabs pop up in his Firefox browser, as the bot sends the unsuspecting girls his message. Within five minutes, he gets a response back from a very cute, seemingly normal girl. “Haha, so direct, well why should I go out with you?” Scott dreads this part of the dance, and spends two seconds perusing her profile in order to quote back to her some of the qualities she lists as appealing to her. He adds in his response back, “I’m barely on this thing, here’s my number. Text me if you want to get together.” I’m almost baffled by his strategy, but in under three minutes, he shows me a text he’s received from a random number, identifying herself as the girl he just spoke with on OKCupid, and asking what they’d do on their date. In ten minutes since the original bot blast went out, he has a plan to meet up with her in a park this upcoming Saturday to hang and grab pizza.
Scott’s only been using the bot for about a month, and estimates that he’s gone on “probably between twenty and thirty dates.” There were two nights that he actually went on back-to-back dates, and it was just earlier this week that he canceled two dates in the same day. There’s gotta be a downside to the bot though, right? You betcha! “I’ve gotten messages from a bunch of [transgendered people]. They usually identify themselves in their profile, but since I don’t read their profile until I get a message, I don’t realize what I’ve done until they message me back. They’re usually pretty cool about it though and say something like, ‘Hey there. Are you sure you read my entire profile…:)’.”
I ask if there’s been any non-sex change-related snafus, and he admits the bot has its risks. Like the time he accidentally messaged the best friend of his ex-girlfriend (“probably the only girl I’ve ever loved”), and another time in which he messaged a girl he’d hooked up with last year (not through OKCupid). Her response – “haven’t we already been through this?” gave him a good chuckle. There’s also the time that he was supposed to go out with a girl, but she canceled on him merely hours before the date after her roommate revealed that she’d received the exact same message from him. Whoops!
Scott isn’t sure how many messages he’s sent out since he started using the bot, but estimates it to be “around five thousand.” Early in our discussion he explains that he’s “…in a place right now that I’m just looking to have fun,” which I think is the polite way of saying he’s looking for ass and not love, but he later goes on to assert that he genuinely is looking for a girlfriend, and would quickly drop the bot for a girl that he cared for should she present herself. For now, he’s happy to keep spreading his seed throughout the city like some type of perverted Johnny Appleseed.
While right now, the bot is a piece of code that you have to be a programmer in order to know how to use, Scott’s toying with the idea of turning it into a Chrome extension that would allow idiots like me use it. Even if I could use it, I started to ask myself if I would. There’s something that feels a little slimy and obviously impersonal about it, but if your purpose is to get as many dates as possible, it certainly achieves that goal; it just does so in a much more efficient way. Does it make him a shitty person just because he’s set up a situation in which he’s the one who’s able to ignore the girl, rather than the other way around? I don’t necessarily think so.
To get a female perspective on the issue, I asked a couple of my single female friends who were currently on dating apps/websites how they’d feel if they found out a guy they were seeing found them via an automated message sent to hundreds of other girls. Here are the responses I got –
Girl 1: It’s not wrong, it’s just super smart and efficient. Also, we’re talking about online dating…. is this more wrong than a fat girl putting up headshots instead of a full body shot? I’d probably be creeped out that he told me though. Loose lips might sink ships.
Girl 2: I wouldn’t be creeped out, but I would be a little disappointed that he didn’t actually put in the effort as it was originally portrayed. Girls like to feel wanted and it’s an immediate turn off when it’s made to feel like a message is mass marketed to a bunch of people. The feeling of being “special” and that you were specifically targeted and singled out from the crowd is immediately robbed.
Girl 3: While on a black and white Darwinian scale this is “wrong”, we live in a culture of efficiencies and gaming the system. If I can Uber to work, Seamless my lunch, and Venmo my friend for a cocktail, kudos to a guy who doesn’t have time to play by the rules and found a smart way around them. OKCupid is, after all, an easier way to meet people. While I’d think it was a little creepy if he approached every girl at the bar with this method, the internet is fair game.
I guess my main concern with using it would be that while it probably pulls in a lot of girls, even some attractive ones, it might attract a certain type of girl, and maybe not one that I’d be particularly interested in dating. You have to question the long-term potential of any girl that would be flattered by a random guy on the internet calling her “intelligent” despite the fact that they hadn’t exchanged a single word. I guess it depends what your end goal is. If you’re just looking to empty your testicles of their human tadpole pudding then this is a godsend for meeting chicks, but if finding a girlfriend really is your main goal, it might not be the best approach.
Who am I to judge though? Since last week, Scott’s been on five dates and I’ve been on zero…
[H/T Nate Hindman]
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