I met with French online dating expert Cecile, and showed her what I'd written so far. After laughing uncontrollably in a crowded vegetarian restaurant for ten minutes, she then decided I'd done it all wrong.
"You should make fun of the women, too," she whined, "Not just the men."
"But the women are articulate, sweet-sounding people who just want to meet someone. Their spelling and grammar is nice and normally they write cool, interesting things."
"That's not true."
I showed her some profiles. She realised I was right. Nevertheless, she gave me some potentially useful feedback. "You should remove the funny picture of you in a jester costume." I agreed, and replaced it with this:
|Your Face Here|
I also got Cecile's opinion on my Metrodate profile, to which I'd finally added some text. After some minor arguments and revisions, it looked like this:
The next morning, I had two responses. One was a proper message, and one was a 'flirt'. Flirt seems to be a button you can click to let the other person know you're interested, but without doing any work yourself. Both the message and the flirt were from women who wanted my email address. Huh? Weird.
I did a quick search for 'online dating scams' and got this:
It's likely to be a scam if your correspondent asks you to go straight from on-site messaging to Instant Messaging (IM), or regular email (they don't want the evidence of their scamming to be visible to the site administrators as they will normally be kicked off)
Well, that fit the bill. But I tried to make the most of it. I sent fake woman A the email address of fake woman B, and vice versa. Hopefully they'd email each other asking for money transfers to be made to Western Union to unlock funds for blah blah blah.
A quick look around and I identifed a few common factors with the profiles that were probably scams - they talk about God, or wanting a god-fearing man, or use biblical language in general (is that how people talk in Nigeria?). They're often widows. For a good model of a Nigerian scam artist, look on this site and scroll down to the bit about Bryant Harris.
Next - A Daring Adventure