Imagine this: You've decided to try online dating. You meet a guy who "gives great email." He's witty. He's charming. He has just the right balance of flirtatiousness and respect. Maybe he's not exactly what you were looking for, but what he lacks in looks, he makes up for in personality. This guy has depth. So, after much thought, you answer 'yes' to his request to meet.
Well, guess what? That person that was emailing may have been a "Virtual Dating Assistant"... a person hired by someone too lazy or illiterate to do the work of getting dates himself. Clients pay $600 for 2 dates a month and $1200 for 5 dates a month.
Though I know about all the dishonesty that goes on with online dating, I've always felt I could get a very good sense of a guy's personality from his emails. But now, even that can be "faked." What a way to start a relationship!
This Entertainment Daily article as well as this Washington Post article describe 24-yer-old Max Hartshorn's job as a virtual dating assistant. Max gets paid when a woman "writes back positively." Max views it like cold calling in sales. I'd say there's one major difference. When you get a call from a salesman, he is who he represents himself to be. In this case, Max is representing somebody else! This seems so fraudulant. I can't believe it's an accepted ligitamate business to pretend to be someone you're not!
Don't they get caught? I asked myself. (I often wonder this about people that post old photos of themselves as well. I would think it would be pretty bad to suffer through that look of disappointment that will be inevitable when they eventually meet their date.) In response to their clients' questions about whether or not they get caught, Virtual Dating Assistants answers in their FAQ:
"Before you meet any candidates, we provide a pre-date executive briefing. As long as you review this information, your date will never have any reason to believe that we were involved in the process."
Yeah right... until the first time you REALLY send her an email and you don't know how to spell or put together a decent sentence! Of course, the relationship may not last past the first date because it was based on a lie in the first place. How can a relationship that starts out in deception possibly last?
Ya know, I'm all for putting your best foot forward. I can even understand fudging the facts by a year or two on age or profile details. I could even be OK with this if Virtual Dating Assistants admitted that they were "matchmaking." But pretending to be someone you're not? That's just creepy and pathetic.
If you're too busy to do the work associated with getting a date, than you probably shouldn't be dating. And if you have to lie about who you are, then you definitely shouldn't be dating. So if you're tempted to use a Virtual Dating Assistant, save your money. Or if you really want a place to spend it, I'm here and even a Certified Coach! I'll give you a $600 coaching session. Number one rule of dating: Be yourself!