Dating Assistants Are Writing Guys’ Profiles For Them Now & It’s Scary

With Tinder users spending 90 minutes a day on the app on average, looking for love online is almost like a part-time job. That’s where virtual dating assistants come in. They’re ghostwriters, meaning they write profiles and messages pretending to be a client until they get a phone number or set up a date. It’s weird and gross and I’m not on board.

  1. “Get high-quality dates with the women you want, delivered on a silver platter.” This is the slogan on the website of one of the leading dating assistant companies. I found the site when I saw a job opening for dating ghostwriters. I was intrigued and almost applied, but once I delved deeper, I felt increasingly uncomfortable. As a woman, my main aim for wanting to chat with a guy online would be to make sure I feel safe before I meet him in person. I wondered if I’d spoken to dating assistants in the past without knowing it. It’s like we’re being tricked into dates with people we don’t know.
  2. There seems to be an imbalance between men and women on dating sites. Women receive lots of messages and men are constantly sending them and never getting replies. It gives the impression there are more men than women on dating sites, which I have a personal theory about: there seems to be a lot of married men in the mix. Some dating sites such as Ashley Madison have such a high number of male users (90–95%) that many people speculated they were using female chatbots. I’ve had male friends tell me they’ve encountered chatbots or escorts on dating apps, which only adds to their frustration about online dating.
  3. It’s not surprising that virtual dating assistant websites seem to target men. There are some female versions but they seem to offer a different kind of service. It makes sense being as men and women approach dating in very different ways. Men are playing a numbers game and want as many messages sent to as many women as possible, whereas women need help weeding through all the messages and weeding out creepy guys. Ironically, the dating assistants are encouraged to use “alpha male” language and cheesy chat up lines, many of which are the messages women are trying to ignore.
  4. The guys who’ve set up these dating assistant start-ups seem to use the word “game” rather a lot. One even used the term “swallow the red pill,” a slogan used by members of the Men’s Rights Activist community, who also use the word “game” a lot when talking about trying to hook-up with women. One aspect of the community is pick-up artistry, and it would make perfect sense that men who think of themselves as dating experts might start dating assistant services. This is my worst nightmare: a group of misogynists tricking women into dates.
  5. The services say they can help busy people with no time to date or who’ve had no luck. If a man doesn’t have time to message women, I don’t know how he’d have time to date somebody or have a relationship. I can understand why shy and socially anxious men may struggle with dating, but what happens when the charming, confident, flirtatious ghostwriter talks a woman into a date and she meets somebody completely different in real life? Also, what kind of man would rather pay someone than make the effort to speak to women online?
  6. Forming a relationship through a dating assistant means starting a relationship based on lies. Relationships are successful because of honesty and communication. How likely is a guy to tell you that he employed someone to talk to you when you first met online? Not likely, I’d say. Yet I’ve spoken to guys who’ve been so angry when they found out that they’ve been talking to a female chatbot, which is pretty hypocritical.
  7. How would you know if you’re chatting to a dating assistant? That’s tricky. Often they’re following a strict set of rules and sending hundreds of copy and paste opening messages, so the more specific and current you can be with your questioning, the better. Watch out for opening lines that seem rehearsed or vague, such as “I notice you do yoga—the question is hot or not?” Dating assistants can target certain words such as “yoga” and “traveling” to be able to ask this kind of generic questions. Maybe try asking him his view about something current in the news. If he said he also likes yoga, ask him specifically what kind of yoga he does. You could ask him these questions if you meet in real life and observe the answers.
  8. Dating assistant services aren’t illegal but they’re in an ethical gray area. These are good writers who are able to impersonate people well, and there are a lot of men out there who are willing to pay good money for this. Many people tell white lies on their dating profiles anyway, saying they’re a few years younger or adding a few inches on to their height. For the men using this service, they could say there isn’t much difference between them lying and using a ghostwriter. It doesn’t matter to them as long as they get women who are interested in them. In a way, it’s all one big ego trip.
  9. Men don’t think about the safety aspect of dating because they don’t have to. Women walk home at night with our keys between our fingers. We get cat-called and policed over what we’re wearing, judged as “asking for it” if we’re showing too much skin. Men don’t have that. Their biggest problem on dating apps is getting women to respond, which is because we’re trying to see through their BS cheesy lines. It seems that instead of asking why women aren’t responding and questioning their own behavior, they’re finding their own way around the problem.
  10. Dating can be tough for all involved, but it’s hopefully worth it when you find someone you really connect with. Sometimes the chatting and the flirting can be part of the fun. If it’s really that bad, these guys just shouldn’t date at all. These guys think that dating and relationships can be tackled with data and that you can find love (or a hook-up) with a spreadsheet. This makes the whole process completely void of any sensitivity and human connection, which is ironic considerig that’s the thing dating is meant to be all about.
Mel Ciavucco is a freelance writer from the UK. She is a blogger, fiction writer, screenwriter, content writer and editor.

Mel is passionate about writing stories that challenge social norms, showcase diverse characters and contain realistic portrayals of mental health. She believes that sharing our stories and stepping out of our comfort zones makes us all better human beings.

Mel is the founder of Write Kerfuffle: Writing and Editing Services:
She writes about gender equality on her personal blog: