Dating in a digital world
These people are often in their early 20s; young women with less dating savvy are easy targets for the company’s methods.“Rule 1: Don’t make her think too hard,” the manual says.The manuals have titles like , and are loaded with his personal insights into the primal female brain.We are to treat them as dating-assistant gospel.“There’s no question about it,” reads one chapter, “women want to date the alpha male.His idea for a digital-dating-assistant service started in 2009, when he was frustrated with the amount of time it took to search for matches online.“I was working 60 to 70 hours a week and simply didn’t have time to keep up with online dating,” he said.Before Tinder normalized “DTF” (“Down To Fuck”) as an opening salute, Valdez would send copy-and-pasted pick-up lines to dozens of women a day and track their effectiveness on spreadsheets.
In November 2017, I ran across an ad seeking “people with good Tinder skills” for a job as a “Virtual Dating Assistant.” At first I thought it was a joke, but I completed their online form out of pure fascination. Apparently, professional writers make for good online-dating assistants; knowing how to seduce strangers with the written word is the company’s mandate, after all.They are naturally drawn to the ‘leader of the pack.’” Valdez elaborates later in the manual: “The alpha male is the .” But how do you present yourself as an Alpha?“Never compliment her without a qualification,” he writes.As part of the company’s all-inclusive service, Matchmakers will scour these platforms for potential matches and then send copy-and pasted opening messages to those who fulfill their clients’ preferences, such as “must love cats” or “should know how to cook.”But combing through each woman’s profile would require too much time, so Matchmakers are instead taught to generalize a client’s preferences as much as possible and then select an opening line that could work for hundreds of women. That’s easy: Client X’s Matchmaker can search the company manual for the word “travel” and select from a handful of vague travel-related greetings.
From there, after the client has approved the message, a one-liner blitz will rain down on dozens of dating sites, targeting hundreds of women with the word “travel” in their profiles.“We have a lot of ice-breaker messages that are billed around specific interests, like yoga or skiing or having a very short profile,” Valdez told Quartz.The initial training period lasts several weeks before we’re given access to clients’ accounts, during which we must read several training manuals and submit draft responses to fake matches.