November 19, 2005

Well, would you go out with him?

A disappointed love-seeker is suing Match.com:
A lawsuit recently filed in Los Angeles claims that Match.com's staff have turned up for dates with clients in order to keep them interested when no one else seems to be interested in them....

It has been brought by a Florida man who accuses the company of posting profiles of fictitious potential clients on its website to give the impression, he says, that it has more single people on its books than is really the case.
Well, would you go out with that Florida man? He seems unpleasantly litigious and prone to conspiracy theories. Picture yourself on a date with him, and he starts describing this lawsuit. Wouldn't you excuse yourself to go to the ladies' room and then never come back?

I anticipate comments that begin "but I'm a lesbian so I wouldn't go out with a man" or "but I'm a man so I wouldn't go out with a man" or "but I'm a gay man so I wouldn't go to the ladies room." I know I'm being heteronormative and gynonormative. Deal with it.

22 comments:

XWL said...

I was going to retell the joke Sen. Bob Kerrey told then Gov. Clinton about Gov. Jerry Brown, but that would be in poor taste (your comment about the various gender and orientations that might find offense or reason to joke is what brought that to mind).

Instead I will say, you are absolutely right. Both cases seem to involve the perception of fraud, but really shouldn't amount to a hill of beans and if using those services doesn't prove fruitful it is more likely a consequence of your own faults rather than fraud committed by the organization helping you to find a match.

(and why the hell does BBCNews care, do they not have these services in Britain?)

rgmb said...

Not having a legal background as most of your readers and yourself, my response may not appear to be legally cogent.

Having said that however, what about his claim of fraudulent misrepresentation of clients? Whether this guy is a jerk or not, might there be some basis in fact behind his suit? Maybe they DO have less of a list than they claim? And then wouldn't he have a right to sue?

You're right though,the ladies room visit would prove quite lengthy if I was one of his unfortunate matches.

erp said...

Aren't those who have people in their employ whom they offer up as "dates" called pimps and aren't those willing to go out on these "dates" called prostitutes?

Pimping and prostitution being illegal, how is it that these dating services are allowed to stay in business?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think it was in Freakonomics (I think the book, but maybe the blog) that looked at Internet dating and found that many people didn't get dates, or got very few of them. It looked at what got people dates, and it was not surprising. Women got dates on their looks and men on their money or profession (presumably equating to money).

It did appear that some did lie a little. Men claimed an inch or two in height, and women shaved some weight.

An ex almost girlfriend of mine from a couple of years ago seems to like their results. She called me yesterday from the SLC airport where she was going to see her latest guy from match.com. Notably though, she does go national in her searches. Just last week, before this last minute trip, she was talking about going back there and looking some more.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

erp

Only if sex is a requirement. Otherwise, it is just the equivalent of an escort service - which if legitimate, is typically legal.

Dave said...

Having used match.com and related sites like jdate and nerve.com in the past, I can tell you that, as a man, you have to be somewhat aware of how a woman who does not know you will react to your ad.

For instance, if you don't post a picture, no woman worth dating will respond. If you let loose about your fears/insecurities/political beliefs/anxieties, you will not get a response.

If you hold your cards close to your chest, are reasonably good looking, and are able to intuit how a woman would react to your description of yourself, then you will find loads of women willing to contact you.

Best if you have a platonic woman review your ad.

This all seems very obvious, and that the man in question did not understand this suggests that there is something about him and his personality that is rather insecure and off-putting.

Bruce Hayden said...

I had forgotten that, but in that Freakonomics look at computer dating, they found just as you did - women (and men) pretty much don't respond to ads without pictures.

I do like your idea of having a platonic friend of the opposite sex (or gender?) review your ad first. I have just the woman in mind. (the one I mentioned above - she does relationship counseling for a living).

Starless said...

Bruce Hayden said...
Only if sex is a requirement. Otherwise, it is just the equivalent of an escort service - which if legitimate, is typically legal.

They're really more equivalent to something like a traditional Jewish matchmaking service.

They're real problem is the thinly disguised prostitutes who become members. But then, if you go looking to a dating site you should always go in repeating the old adage, "if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is". So when you see that "sUperHotChiK69" looks like something off the cover of Maxim, you can probably assume that she is either really a guy or a prostitute. (Did you know that misrepresenting yourself--like saying you are single when you are really married--on a dating site you pay for is considered wire fraud?)

The only merit this guy's case might have is the claim that the sites are inflating their membership numbers. One company might own multiple sites and use the same database of profiles and the same record count across the web sites. Or they might have multiple databases whose counts they add together. It's somewhat deceptive, but really no more deceptive than any other slimy (but legal) sales trick. As with anything else you pay for, caveat emptor.

I just have to wonder how bitter you have to be about your own love life to feel the need to bring a case like this.

PatCA said...

What's the plaintiff's name, Michael Newdow?

wildaboutharrie said...

He sounds kinda undatable...in the movies, one of the "fake" dates would actually fall for him.

When my sister returned to the States after five years abroad (she had just broken up with her boyfriend of many years) I talked her into trying eHarmony. (She was living with us at the time and there are few singles hereabouts.) It was great fun. She's 6' tall but put 5'11, by the way. And she always shaved an inch or two off the men's heights.

She's met some nice people and dated a couple (casually seeing two still), but she also got "matched" with some real oddballs. In a section called "what else you should know about me" one man wrote about the time he first noticed "how a woman's underwear touches her body", something about feathers and angel's wings, finishing the thought with "that was when I realized how a woman should be touched..." Um...good luck with all THAT.

Susan said...

I have used match.com services off and on for the past two years (gee, what does that say about me?). I can’t respond directly to the man-who-allegedly-only-got-dates-with-staff. I’ve received enough winks and emails and dates from “real” members that apparently I don’t need the staff service. However, since none of my “real” dates have worked out for the long term, I’m interested in dating staff members! (I’m not bragging about my hits; as a previous commenter said if you’re reasonably attractive and have an interesting profile, you’ll get hits.)

Yes, Ann, I would excuse myself rather quickly from a date with this man. I also excuse myself rather quickly from men who are still bitter about their divorce, who post a 10-year-old picture of themselves, and who talk for 30 minutes without saying a thing.

Am I upset with match for my disastrous dates? Heck no. Match.com has provided me with more comedic material than you can imagine.

Buck Pennington said...

Slightly off-topic, but not, as it concerns dating and ads for same. Ever read Jane Juska's "A Round-Heeled Woman,(subtitled) My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance?" Ms. Juska placed the following ad in the New York Review of Books:

Before I Turn 67 - next March - I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me.

And no photo, either. The book is funny, well-written, and, in a word, great!

Sanjay said...

Um, isn't it relevant to know if the Match.com staffers who show up are available? Maybe they're using the job to meet people!Wouldn't that be cool, I mean, they've seen your profile, and picked you out from hundreds.

Also relevant: are the Match.com staff unusually, y'know, hot?

Paul said...

That's what I like about you, Ann, you're always making me look words up.

mcg said...

OK, I can't resist. The stock photo the BBC chose to use with that story is... just... so... GAY.

I mean, is there any way to say that that DOESN'T sound homophobic? Seriously though. Have those guys change into t-shirts or something.

Ann Althouse said...

MCG: Well, they are English, aren't they? I think they're cute.

Finn Kristiansen said...

How many men immediately looked up Susan's profile after reading her post up above?

XWL said...

Finn: are you suggesting starting an Althousian dating service?

(only Althouse Men need apply; and the women who love them)

(must haves: Warhol wig, sense of purpose, sense of humor)

(must avoids: Shorts, recumbant bicycles, full beards)

(and would the Althouse service be heteronormative, or would there be the Althouse Man who loves men; same rules apply, just must also want men as sexual/life partners)

(We really don't know who the Althouse Woman is, or have there been clues that I've missed along the way, have to start asking the lesbian commenters to chime in)

mcg said...

MCG: Well, they are English, aren't they? I think they're cute.

So are a lot of gay men. :)

But OK, I'll be a good sport, and posit instead that the man seated called over to the man standing so that he could show him a hilarous profile he pulled up for a woman on match.com. You know, something like, "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual. And I don't work out as much as I'd like, but I'm working on it." :)

chuck b. said...
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