A woman who was paid $US100 a week to be an “online dating surrogate” for a rich New York man looking for gorgeous, thin, white women has taken to the internet to talk about her experience.
Meredith Haggerty, a young New York editor for The Date Report, responded to a shallow-sounding Craigslist ad posted about a year ago by a man named Josh.
This is Meredith:
Josh remained a mystery. He was (according to himself) “rich and successful” but simply too busy to find love. So he wanted to outsource, hiring a pretty, thin, white, and educated woman in her 20s and 30s and paying her $US100 a week to spend roughly an hour a day finding him dates that fit a similar description.
Haggerty thought it would be an interesting social experiment and good conversational piece for her own dating life, so she emailed Josh.
Three months later, he responded and hired her.
The Craigslist ad
Cosmopolitan and BetaBeat wrote about the ad, calling Josh “New York’s biggest douchebag.”
Haggerty said his taste was even more selective after she had been hired.
I cringed at his racial requirements (whites only, like a ’50s water fountain) and attempts to put a weight limit on prospective matches. Basically he was looking for a nonsmoking Jewish brunette in her early to mid-30s with a college education, graduate degrees preferred.
She created a fake dating profile
Haggerty signed up for a free Match.com account to scout for women. Five times a week she’d send Josh a document of 10 women, their photos, and their usernames. Josh would weed out the ones he was interested in.
She describes the profile she created (but never showed to Josh),
I crafted a fake profile full of double-entendres and general asshattery, as a tribute to the Josh I’d never seen or spoken to in real life. JackAndCokeUWS was blonde, athletic, never married, and a cigar aficionado. He had grown up in New Canaan, was interested in owning exotic pets, and listed Joe Rogan, Olivia Munn and fantasy football among his favourite things. He was looking for “a real guy’s girl… a cook in the kitchen, bro in the bleachers, and freak in the sheets.” For his face, I considered the Craigslist Killer or Scott Disick, but used Tucker Max.
‘I only needed to evaluate pictures, with a cursory profile glance to make sure there was at least a grasp of basic grammar.’
The guy she created in Josh’s image was so generic, it attracted a ton of women, Haggerty explained. That was when she began to search for women based on Josh’s criteria, amazed at how many of the women she was finding on Match.com were pretty, accomplished, and put together.
She began to select women and send them to Josh, who would pick and choose the ones who passed his test.
“Once, when I asked,” Haggerty said, “he informed me that some of the women I’d sent ‘just can’t squeeze into the slender category,‘ specifying which ones had tipped the scales out of her favour.”
But it wasn’t enough to make Haggerty hate her new employer. She understood; these were his preferences and this was the job she signed up for. But she couldn’t make herself like him, either (he also didn’t tell her much about himself.)
Haggerty began to feel attached to these woman, who were just as much strangers as Josh was. She found herself silently rooting for some of the women whose profiles made her laugh or seemed very sincere, thinking they could probably do better than Josh. She was worried about these women, wondering if she had dated any of the same men that they had, wondering if they had their own secrets.
Josh told Haggerty she “had a good eye.”
But who was Josh, anyway?
When Haggerty received her first paycheck from Josh (he refused to use PayPal), she Googled the address and floor number and came across a small company run by three middle-age guys.
One was apparently a guy in his 40s named Josh, who said he loved and valued the happiness of his wife and kids. But Haggerty wasn’t sure she had the right man. She would never know if she did or didn’t, but it changed the nature of the job.
She began to link this possibly married man with all of the women she would find for him.
“I saw them on their first date, their second and their third, exchanging little gifts and sharing expensive dinners,” she admitted.
‘It was unhealthy for me.’
Haggerty decided the reason she felt uncomfortable with the job wasn’t because she felt bad for the women, or even for Josh. It wasn’t like the women knew or cared that they were being preselected by a woman on behalf of the man they would eventually end up on a date with.
“They could turn him down flat,” she realised. “These women could take care of themselves, much as I took care of myself.”
As unsure as I was about if it was demoralizing to womankind, I was positive it was demoralizing to me. I quit, letting him know that I was sending him the last PDF for free, reveling in the tiny power of not needing his money.
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