Online Dating Assistant: Would You Get One?

Amy Keyishian

So this is an interesting twist on the ol' meet-the-mate-of-your-dreams scenario! According to an article in the Washington Post, a new company, Virtual Dating Assistants, will take the work out of finding possible online loves for busy singles. Just pay them $600 and they guarantee to contact, woo, and get clients to the "so let's go out this Saturday" point with two mates per month. If you bump it to $1,200, you're guaranteed five.

Basically, your online profile could be viewed and assessed by a professional woo-er, who will contact, email, and charm you, then pass off the emails to the guy you'll really be meeting with. And you'll never be the wiser.

It's hard to imagine that it's really so difficult to wade through all the available women online. It also raises some questions of etiquette and integrity: Do you ever admit to the initial mode of meeting? If so, when?

The founder of Virtual Dating Assistants, Scott Valdez, was working 80 hours a week at a start-up and doing a ton of traveling when he hired a college grad to email, contact, and arrange five to six dates a month. He says "it worked," but … how, exactly? What was his end-game? If he was working and traveling that much, was he just in it for some nooky? Did he intend to have a relationship? Or was this how he could most efficiently juggle a little bit of stranger in every city?

See, I'm suspicious. The fact that these services (there are others) serve mostly men makes me feel like it's more like a free hooker ring. "I'm too paranoid for Craigslist. Let me just see if there are some dinner whores on tap in Chicago!"

Fans of the service say they're accurately represented, and dismiss the early emails as "purely secretarial." Critics say it's dishonest and downright weird. Sure, there are matchmakers, but usually you know when you're getting set up by one.

Me, I'd be pissed if I found out this had gone on in my early relationship. Then again, I've never dated online, because chemistry is way too important to me.

What do you think of this service? Gross, great, or something in-between? Tell us in the comments!

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