Some say Virtual Dating Assistants (ViDA) is a company doing the Lord’s work — playing the dating game for single men who can’t be bothered to do it themselves. Others argue paying others to do your online dating is downright deceptive.
ViDA’s hired hands perfect your profile, swipe right on the dimes, and send flirtatious messages to all your Tinder/Bumble/OKCupid matches. These impersonators are charming, witty, and know how to reel em in. In fact, they only get paid if they score phone numbers or dates.
It’s no surprise that young men are outsourcing all the work of online dating. Tinder alone produces more than 12 million matches a day, and sifting through all those online profiles is tedious.
While trying to find one diamond in the rough, you waste time flirting with scam bots. You waste time making plans with assholes who ghost you. You waste time getting catfished by someone you should’ve suspected was a middle-aged obese man eating Flamin Hot Cheetos and posting long-winded rants to Incel forums from his grandma’s dank basement.
Unfortunately, these ugly encounters are a necessary evil. Today, Americans have a one in three chance of meeting their future husband or wife online.
Thankfully, ViDA has a team of master manipulators, each an essential component of the “bait and switch” process. As a former ViDA employee explains, there are 3 major roles: the “Profile Writers,” the “Matchmakers,” and the “Closers.”
Employees are seemingly valued more for their ethical flexibility than their ability to be creative. After all, their job is to deceive lonely people looking for love. Plus, there’s not a ton of room for creativity in the way their roles are designed.
Profile Writers aren’t hand-crafting customized bios with improvised witticisms. They’re recycling the same one-liners from the long list of pre-written cliches in their employee manuals.
Then, Matchmakers simply swipe away at women who meet the client’s preferences, and mass-blast the matches with copy-and-pasted opening messages.
Finally, closers carry the conversation, but they can’t get too crazy with the topics of discussion. Anything beyond small talk is considered too difficult for matches to respond to.
Clients are notified when the process results in a phone number — or for Platinum clients, a date, arranged down to the time, the day, and the restaurant.
Customers can buy ViDA packages with certain number of guaranteed dates, and pay anywhere from $495 to $1,695 a month for the service.
ViDA’s dating strategy is eerily similar to that of “pick-up artists,” a mildly misogynistic movement of men practicing techniques for sexual success with women. Pick-up-artists perform their skills out in the real world, rather than online, but the overarching idea of manipulating women into spreading their legs is essentially the same.
It seems as long as there are needy penises, there will be entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on them. Men will do shameful things to increase their odds of getting laid. But where do we draw the line? Using calculated pick-up artist techniques? Employing strangers to impersonate us on dating apps? Downright dosing the chicks we want to sleep with?
It’s up to each dude to decide where he wants to draw his own boundaries. Women don’t really get a say in the matter.