I’ve definitely enjoyed my fair share of free meals over the course of the past year and a half (okay, probably more than my fair share) but this is a bit much, even for me.
According to a recent report in Business Insider,
A young New Yorker we’ll call Minerva McGonagall* was tired of dipping into her savings to keep up with her Manhattan lifestyle.
Then she discovered Match.com– the perfect site for a broke 23-year-old.
“Before I barely had enough money to pay for food,” said McGonagall. “After using Match.com I found I wasn’t going into debt anymore.”
McGonagall started eating out five nights a week using a rotation of different guys she met through the dating site.
Evidently, she stopped eating lunch and cut back on breakfast as well to “maximize” her savings (which, according to Business Insider, amounted to over $1,200 a month in free food).
Call me crazy, but “food hooking” (which is what New York observer has dubbed it) takes online dating to new extremes—unhealthy extremes.
One of the things that really bugged me about Date #4 was that he never let me pay for anything. We went out five or six times and despite my repeated attempts to pick up the tab (or at the very least pay the tip), the most I was ever allowed to purchase was a cup of coffee, and even then, it was my coffee, not his.
Eventually I worked up the courage to tell him how uncomfortable his “generosity” was making me—its rather difficult to forge a relationship with someone when you’re on totally uneven footing—but he just laughed at me.
(That, in and of itself, should have been a red flag but what can I say? I took me several months of additional research to realize that men like him—the Impressionists—will stop at nothing to gain the upper hand.)
But back to the 23-year old from New York (whose real name, evidently, is Jessica Sporty). I was intrigued to read that she and her roommate used a spreadsheet to keep track of their dates (seems it’s the thing to do nowadays) and that they had a five-date cut off to avoid getting too “emotionally attached.”
This confirms my theory that fifth dates either make or break a relationship (and that spreadsheets comprise and integral part of modern courtship) but seriously: five dates a week solely for the purpose of supplementing your food budget? Even I’m not that bad.
I found the following piece written in defense of Sporty’s behavior:
“Dating for free dinners isn’t unethical or wrong, as long as someone is upfront and honest about their intention so no one is misled in the process,” says Brandon Wade, an online dating expert and founder of online dating website WhatsYourPrice.com where generous members pay attractive members to go on first dates. “However, Match.com is really not the best place to date for free dinners. Jessica Sporty and her roommate would have received much more than $1,200 a month if they had signed up for an account on WhatsYourPrice.com instead. […]
“A large number of men use online dating websites to bait women into having sex with the false promise of love,” says Wade […]. “The irony is in why so many people find Jessica Sporty’s behavior distasteful just because she has succeeded in turning the tables around by baiting men into giving her free dinners with the lure of sex.
The article went on to explain:
WhatsYourPrice.com is the first website to take the charity dating auction concept to online dating. By providing an online dating marketplace where first dates can be bought or sold, generous users can level the playing field by offering an incentive for attractive users to go on first dates with them. This patent pending dating system was conceptualized by Brandon Wade, an online dating expert and self-proclaimed MIT-nerd, who wanted a better way to date beautiful women. Wade is also the founder of successful sugar daddy online dating website SeekingArrangement.com, and millionaire matchmaking website SeekingMillionaire.com.
Charity dating? Really? Now I’m not sure which is worse… “hooking” for food or “selling” your first date to the highest bidder.