Ethics? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Ethics!

After some very intense and lengthy discussions on this blog about overweight women, the definition of patriarchy, and the value of hooking up, I wanted to take things down a notch.

Witness this site, which is a sign that the apocalypse is upon us. I kid, but not really.

Essentially, the folks at Virtual Dating Assistants profess to do everything that I do as a dating coach – except instead of teaching you how to do it yourself – as I do, they do it for you!

Yes, for only $480.00 a month, you can have an unskilled laborer put in 40 hours a month (at $12/hr with no overhead, apparently) into your online dating love life. For this, you are guaranteed at least two dates per month, and years and years of bad karma. I only have two words for you: Awe. Some.

Finally, the rich and busy lazy can just sit back and just marvel as their calendars magically fill up. All your Virtual Dating Assistant has to do is talk to you for a half-hour on the phone, and he will then know enough about you to write your profile, your headline, a few “initial contact templates”, and all of the future emails that you’ll want to send to attract your future life partner.

Says the website, “Once an interesting candidate is qualified, your 007 Dating Assistant works to stimulate interest, build comfort, and flip her attraction switches.” These guys must really know what they’re doing! I dated for 15 years and I have NO IDEA where these switches are located.

And lest you think you have to DO anything except give your credit card, your VDA will actually set up the date for you. No joke. The email correspondence, the dinner reservations, everything.

You just read your “pre-date executive brief”, charm her pants off, and rest easy, knowing that you may be going to hell, but at least you’ve saved time by subcontracting the most personal of interactions.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Barrett

    Thank you Evan, I hate the idea of this service. Dating site members already have enough to deal with with the spammers and scammers lying without having professional liars setting them up on dates with people they haven’t actually talked too. Imagine what someone would think if they found out their date paid someone else to setup the dinner. Talk about sucking the romance out of it.

  2. 2
    Eathan

    Some about that idea stinks! I guess it could work if you don’t care about the quality of person you’re meeting. Personally I like to see who they are.. what their interests are and most importantly if they are smart enough to hold a conversation. I choose my dates from a vibe or a curiosity that is created. Take that away and i’m not interested.

    Eathan´s last blog post…Letting Your Fingers Do The Talking

  3. 3
    Michael

    This service obviously targets people who are shy and lazy – that’s a good-sized market these days.

    Then again, it’s really just a profile-writing service taken one step further – a few stock e-mail templates (how many who have dated much online haven’t used at least a little “boilerplate” in their “personalized” e-mail communication?) and a sheet telling the client what they should have determined from actually reading the dates’ messages themselves.

    And it might work wonderfully – until the clients realize they’re missing the dating skills to get past that first date. But many men and women are sure it’s all cream once they get past the part where they have to convince someone to go out with them.

    Or until someone figures out that the “dating expert” is multitasking multiple clients during those 40 hours per month…

    Michael´s last blog post…A simple starter workout

  4. 4
    Michelle

    This is a spin-off of Tim Ferris’ “Outsource Your Life” idea. Tim outsourced his dating to a VA in India, and had his VA select women and schedule dates with them. Looks like someone has copied Tim’s concept, and is marketing it as a business.

    It’s very pricey, though. If they give you 2 dates a month, they’re charging you $250/date. Ouch.

  5. 5
    Michelle

    Typo, that should be $240/date.

  6. 6
    Janet

    Prediction: Won’t work.

    Now, back to patriarchy….

  7. 7
    Steve

    I was just thinking the other day about how far outsourcing could go. Truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe for an extra fee they can hire somebody to go on the first date for you to make sure a good impression is made.

  8. 8
    Robyn

    Talk about “bait and switch”…. !! There’s enough problems already with people turning out to be nothing like their profiles, e-mails etc. when you meet in person – this will just make it worse.

    Call me crazy, but I just don’t see this service succeeding ever. People may try it initially because it’s a new idea and they think it will save them time – but the novelty will wear off pretty quickly when its flaws become evident.

    If you’re short of time, outsource the mundane stuff like housework, mowing the lawn etc. that requires only time and technical skill and not real personality or emotional investment.

    That reminds me, anyone out there any good at ironing… ? :)

  9. 9
    Mr_Right

    I remember I saw once a browser plug in (that you had to pay for), that would analyze a girl’s online profile, search for the keywords, then make a witty, funny, personalized first email to send them based on their profile.

    Seemed kind of lame. Sure, it took me a bit of time in order to write a email that women would respond to, but ya know, I did figure out how the game is played (and it only took a year to find someone special).

    Taking shortcuts like this will cause more problems in the long run, aka communication, trust, and so forth. Sadly, today’s ‘instant gratification’ society will probably eat this sort of stuff up.

    @8 robyn: Nope, I thought that’s what you women are for. ;)

  10. 10
    BeenThruTheWars

    @7 >>I was just thinking the other day about how far outsourcing could go. Truth is stranger than fiction.<<

    Steve, that sounds like a cool concept for a sci fi screenplay, mind if I steal it? ;-)

  11. 11
    Robyn

    @9 Mr_Right:

    Sorry, Sugar, I didn’t get the ironing gene. I got all sorts of other useful genes/skills, but not that one.

    I’ve been trying to outsource my ironing since forever but no house-cleaning/domestic help service I’ve contacted will do it. I think they’re all too scared of liability/being sued if some one singes a favorite item of clothing.

    Now if some one comes up with a business to take care of this, I think it would be way more viable than the Virtual Dating Assistant!

  12. 12
    Steve

    @BeenThruTheWars #10

    Only if I get a free seat on opening night :)

  13. 13
    Steve

    @Robyn, post #8

    Mundane tasks aren’t an issue of (lack of) confidence and fear. Dating is. If it worked the money spent would be about spending money to avoid fear as much as it is to save time.

    I would say time isn’t the problem, but I can’t tell you how many wonderful I’ve met online who I have stopped seeing because they are more difficult to get a date with than my sports medicine surgeon.

    Ladies, here is a will intentioned hint. Wanting dates and relationships usually entails having *time* for them. Save yourself and someone else disappointment. If you don’t have time to actually go out with a man more than once a month then please take down your personal ad.

    end of rant…

    1. 13.1
      Kristyn

      I can’t speak for others but if I’m really interested in a guy – I’ll find the the time.

  14. 14
    Ann

    The math is not looking good on this product.

  15. 15
    FrogPrincess

    I really can’t see this catching on. For one thing, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t notice the “tin can” responses and thing something was us. But if you did manage to actually go on a date, I think you’d notice the difference in personality.

    Personally, if I went on a date with a guy and found out I’d actually be corresponding with Arun in India, that date would be over before it started.

    FrogPrincess´s last blog post…Everyone Loves the Irish

  16. 16
    Selena

    I’d like to see someone try this product and report back. I noticed also, it seems specifically marketed to men. Wonder why that is?

  17. 17
    starthrower68

    Let’s make it really apocolyptic and set the first date up at a restaurant where they serve soilent green…

  18. 18
    Steve

    @starthrower68 post #17

    I think it is really “soylent green”. In the book that the movie was based on the food was a mix of soy beans and lentils — hence “soylent”.

    Kind of redundant from a nutritional standpoint, but most sci-fi authors lack rudimentary knowledge of nutrition.

  19. 19
    Ruby

    From the FAQ section of the site:

    What if I am not satisfied with your services? Do you have any guarantees?

    “”For users of our Online Dating Management service, we guarantee that we will arrange a minimum of 2 dates per month that meet your criteria (or we will refund all $480). If a date cancels at the last minute or does not show up it will not be counted towards this minimum. However, dissatisfactions with a date that were not caused by a controllable mistake on our part (i.e. she chews with her mouth full), will still count towards the fulfillment of our minimum performance guarantee.””

    The typo is as written on the site.

    And “chews with her mouth full”. Don’t we all do that? Or did he mean TALK with her mouth full? I think this dude need a VA to copy-edit and proofread for him, stat!

    I won’t even go into the page about the company owner. Suffice to say, it contains even more poorly-written crap.

    EMK, your job is safe!

  20. 20
    Honey

    @ Selena – I think most women are way to obsessed with their searches to outsource in this way. Which is not a bad thing.

    I saw this website a couple of days ago, too, and like others, it reminded me of Tim Fereiss. The thing that stumps me in the end is the fact that at some point if he meets someone special, won’t he have to admit he didn’t send any of those e-mails? And I can’t imagine THAT going over well…

    Honey´s last blog post…New Car!

  21. 21
    Honey

    Haha, CHEWS WITH HER MOUTH FULL!

    Well, hopefully she does!

    Honey´s last blog post…New Car!

  22. 22
    Marc

    Gotta love the irony. A poorly written site offering to dazzle members of the opposite sex by writing to them for you. Although, given that most profiles I’ve read seem to be written by illiterate 3rd graders, maybe a poorly written email WILL get their attention.

    Marc´s last blog post…Polish Girls Really Do Love Sausage

  23. 23
    Lance

    I don’t have an ethical issue with this although I wouldn’t do it myself. My guess if you were really good at getting online dates, you would be more efficient than the VA…in other words, the program is going to set you up on some real duds, and at that point you’ve wasted money. I can easily imagine a super busy professional taking advantage of this program.

    The Tim Ferriss experiment was interesting because it WORKED. He actually got a gf (at the time) out of it and he made it VERY cost effective. The virtual dating assistant is really just a twist on a matchmaking service, and I don’t have a problem with those. Read about outsourcing your dating here:
    http://bit.ly/wizT6

    Lance´s last blog post…New Car!

  24. 24
    Ruby

    Here’s the owner describing how he told his wife about how his emails to her were generated:

    “”Although my lovely wife Tricia opted out of helping build this business in order to focus all of her time on our children and home, I will never forget what she said when I told her on the third date that my all pre-first date email correspondences were sent by my favorite virtual assistant in India “If that wasn’t the most outrageous way a guy has ever gotten me on a date, I think I might be right now!”

    Did ya get that? Me neither! But I understand why they married!

  25. 25
    Steve

    I can easily imagine a super busy professional taking advantage of this program.

    If s/he is too busy to write emails for online dating where is s/he going to get time to date and build a relationship?

  26. 26
    Ann

    I have never seen so much agreement on this board!

  27. 27
    Joe

    What happens when your VA in India arranges a date with someone, assuming it’s a real person, but in actual fact is another VA in India? :D

  28. 28
    Jonsi

    Yes, Tim Ferris did do this successfully. Of course, he was already used to using virtual assistants so he knew what to demand from them, and it doesn’t hurt to have cash flow.

    I am not opposed to this idea AT ALL. Assuming I had the time and money to go on that many dates, and I wanted to find a girlfriend, it would be a far better use of time to have a VA examine initial profiles and generate initial interest. All the time you spend looking through profiles and then struggling to come up with emails when the woman doesn’t say enough to stimulate conversation makes me want to shut off my computer, not write replies to those who I did hook.

    The biggest turn off is the cost, but again, that depends on your time and cash flow. If you add up the time spent browsing profiles and writing emails and securing dates, it might be 10-20 hours a month. Sure, some of that time is spent watching TV and browsing other websites, etc — so it’s more like 5 hours month — but you are not paying $240/date. You are paying for what you would rather be doing with the time it takes to acquire those dates. If what you would otherwise do with your time has a $12/hr value, then it is worth it.

  29. 29
    Steve

    @Joe, post #27

    I think you the germ of a great Bollywood romantic comedy

    1. Boy VA meets Girl VA

    2. The VAs fall for each other writing

    3. Worthless, soulless American virtual daters do/do not hook up as well

    4. Everybody dances at the end of the film

  30. 30
    Donna

    I think it’s unethical to trash another website. To talk about the existence of another site in generalities is one thing, but to actually talk about a specific site and take the reader to that website is something else altogether. I thought you had higher standards than that.

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