Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mastering Online Dating: Part Nine

Mastering Online Dating: For the Good of the Article

Despite getting mad at Zoosk and women (not in that order), I started to feel I could get consistent results. But still, replies were distressingly rare. I sent some messages before a class, and kept my laptop open during the lesson.
"Hey!" I said to my students, "Some girl wrote to me!" I was supposed to be teaching them business English or something, but this was more important. I could only see the first few words of the message - 'Thanks for your mail'. I'd have to read the rest when I got home. 
"Oh, tell us everything," said my studes. So I read the previous eight chapters of this guide to them, doing sexy voices for the hot girls and a high-pitched squeak to mimic Cecile. The students were rapt. Halfway through, another woman added me as a friend on Zoosk. I'd be able to chat with her. The students were just as excited as me. Then it was time to go home. "Andrew, that was much better than the normal lessons." 

When I got home, I tried to read the full message the woman had sent me. Zoosk said, 'To access this feature you must be a member. Click here to purchase membership.' What, reading mails is a feature
No matter, I'd just chat to my new Zoosk friend. I tried to open the chat window. Surprise, surprise, I had to be a member for that, too. 
Membership cost 30 francs a month (or more; I was too furious to write it down). 

Finally, having wasted about eight hours (cumulatively) of my life perving at women on Zoosk and creating elaborate fantasies about them, I realised why changes to your profile have to be approved by a human - it's to make sure you don't put any info in your profile that could let people contact you. Thinking about it, it struck me that they certainly moderate messages you send, too, removing any contact info you try to sneak in. So you HAVE to pay them money. They've got a complete information lockdown. There's no way around it.

So how did that one girl add me on Facebook? She didn't. It was a random Facebook add unconnected to my online dating project.


The Zoosk site is amazingly well designed to let you get obsessed with multiple women before letting you in on the important news that you don't get anything on Zoosk for free. 

I finally made myself do some research on Zoosk. I probably should have done that in the beginning, but I'm not the kind of person who reads instruction manuals.

A google search revealed millions of unhappy online daters complaining about being scammed by Zoosk, non-existent customer service, and sharp practice. A comment I read on one website suggested that many women on Zoosk are bots (phantom women who send out fake messages and flirts), which are used to sucker men into getting subscriptions.

And despite all this, I was still considering getting a one-month subscription. The first woman who wrote to me had written again, and I really wanted to know what she'd said and chat to my Zoosk friends. Yes, friends, for now I had two

I asked my online dating expert Cecile for advice. She suggested I pay the money 'for the good of the article'. Grumbling, I decided to bite the bullet. When I logged in again to sign up, it said I had one friend.

I used to have two. The girl who sent me loads of messages had dumped me! And I couldn't find her anywhere on the site. What's the deal?

I finally found evidence of her existence: 

carol6 is no longer a Zoosk user. Maybe she found someone on Zoosk. 

I literally exploded with rage, then re-formed into more or less the same shape as I was before. I hated this project! I wished it were dead! 

Fuck you, Zoosk! You'll never get a penny from me.

Next - OK Cupid (and the secret of online dating)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mastering Online Dating: Part Eight

Mastering Online Dating: More Zoosk1

It was finally happening! After a couple of weeks of silence and lameness from internet women, I suddenly had responses from my cold reading victims. One added me on Facebook, and the other wanted to chat with me. Cold reading was two for two. It was working! Amazing.

I had a break at work, so decided to go nuclear with the cold reading stuff. I sent tons of messages out. Like, two.

I found a sexy spiritual hippy-type. Deadly green eyes, she had. Oh, my! I was smitten. Based on her pics, I could tell she was sex-mad, so I sent her a more sensual kind of message:

I love the sight of an outgoing extrovert, free from society's BS, but the funny thing is your eccentric side is just a hint of the many things going on inside you.

A twist of rebellion, free will, and independence, you're like the point where punk rock meets poetry. It's a beautiful disaster. [Yes, I just quoted a song.]

I'm guessing you're a little bit of a narcissist, but in a good way. The way you present yourself doesn't just display a sexy confidence, but it's almost like a gift for anyone willing to take a second out of life to look your way.

Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong. But I think you would be an interesting person to talk to.
Hello. :)

Then I saw another girl who wasn't super-hot at first sight, but grew on me to the point of total obsession within minutes. I spent a bit more time crafting the perfect cold read for her, then mailed it.

Just after I'd done that, a message came on screen to say a girl was checking out my profile. She was pretty fit. I started thinking about what it would be like to impregnate her with my babies. On the site you can answer an icebreaker question, then people can comment on your answers. Useful for shy people I guess.

Since she'd looked at me first, I could try something a bit different. I thought I'd start by being kind of a dick, then do some cold reading, then finish by being nice. The classic 'nice cold dick sandwich' technique.

Hi, I noticed you cyber-stalking me. I came here to write and complain, but actually I like the way you write on your profile. Although why you need 24 icebreakers.... don't tell me you're shy!

(then the bits about being romantic and narcissistic etc)

I guess the easiest way to talk is on FB? Andrew Girardin - my profile is open so you can cyber-stalk me a bit more. Write me!

This was a whole new level of genius. I clicked send and nothing happened. FUCK! My internet had died. What the hell?! This was my dream woman and I was losing her because of dodgy wireless. Before my head explodedI re-established a connection and sent the message.

There was no reply.

Next - For the Good of the Article

1 Remember that Zoosk is bad and I warned you not to go there. Don't even go there to see if I'm doing reverse psychology or something. I'm not. I genuinely think you should avoid it. There are other sites where you can perv at equally hot babes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Asterix and the Roman Agent: Latin Jokes Explained

A bigger, better version of this article now appears on my new Asterix site - click the white link just above this article. The one that says 'Everything Asterix'.

I understand it's annoying to be directed here and have to go there, but I promise it's worth it.

The new site is extremely beautiful, by the way. It's probably going to win an award and be preserved by UNESCO.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Outsourcing My Charity Work Part 3

Outsourcing My Charity Work Part 3

I rolled up to my Tuesday class in mostly optimistic mood. When I'd given them the homework of pitching someone for me to loan money to, they'd looked moderately interested. But they were IT geeks. Maybe they'd have spent the week playing World of Warcraft in darkened rooms instead of helping me do some good? Another worry was that one of the students had emailed me saying it was hard to choose and depressing because there were so many people who needed help.

I needn't have stressed. It was one of the worst lessons I ever did, and one of the best.
The worst because I don't think the four students who came learned a single thing about the English language.
The best because it restored almost all of my faith in humanity.

The first student, C-Man, told me how he'd made his choice. "I started by filtering for educational loans. I wanted to invest in education because that's long-term value, not just some guy who wants to buy a van or something. There were only nine to choose from. The best was this group in Sierra Leone. The Field Risk rating is 3 out of 5 - I think that's good. The delinquency rate is 0.27%, which is impressive. The loan will help a guy send his kids to primary school. The teachers are going to take a pay cut to repay the loan."

Minkailu S's Group
Huh? The teachers are going to take a pay cut so that their friend can send his kids to school? If someone tried to cut my pay I'd implode the whole frikkin universe before letting it happen.

The second student, P-Dog, started his presentation by saying he didn't have a connection to any of the countries represented on Kiva. I thought he was going to say, 'so I didn't find anyone.' I began to get disappointed... until he blew my mind with his awesomeness! "I really got into it. It was the most interesting homework I've ever done. I tried to find a country I had a connection with... and I found it in Azerbaijan." Huh? What? "As you may know, Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest with this song." He then tapped his iPhone and it played a song. He had prepared!

It was this song (Running Scared):

Obviously the song is mediocre pop silliness, but I loved that he'd put even the slightest effort into it. But there was more. Much more! "I found an iPhone app to look at all the people on Kiva. I spent 90 minutes on the train checking them all out. I chose this guy Galamhuseyn Djahangirov. I liked his face. The other people who invested in him seem young and cool. He needs 2000 Azerbaijani Manat to buy construction tools. I tried to find that currency on our banking software and it wasn't even there."

Galamhuseyn Djahangirov

It was already the best presentation since An Uncomfortable Truth. He continued, "The Field Partner has a 4-star risk rating and a ZERO percent delinquency rate. They've made over 3 million dollars of loans already. They're going to take all the currency exchange rate risk.

"I also liked that he's in construction. Azerbaijan is ugly. I saw that when I watched Eurovision. So this guy will have a lot of work, making it look good for Eurovision. Also, they're bidding for the Olympics, so that's even more work!

"And the girls there are super hot. You could make the loan and then go over and meet hot Azerbaijani chicks. Ugly buildings, beautiful women."

Best. Presentation. Ever.

"M-and-M," I said, turning to the last student, "Follow that!"
For a moment, I thought M would just give up. But he didn't. He believed in his choice too much!
"I chose Anthony Steve Mori Mendoza," he said, "And you should, too. For the same reasons as C-Man, I also started by choosing the education sector. Anthony is from Peru, and he's studying Computer Science. I liked him because he had the best grades in his university, and he needs the money to continue his education. He works part-time, so he can repay the loan. The Field Partner is solid, but my favourite thing is that it says he has a goal. I'm in IT, too, and I just found that I can relate to him."

Anthony Steve Mori Mendoza
Dammit! All the presentations were ace! The students saw that I was undecided, and started adding arguments in their favour.

"If you choose my teacher guys," said C-Man, "You benefit the highest number of people."
"Yeah but my guy has 4 kids," said P-Dog, "So that's loads of people who benefit, indirectly."
"Look, Andrew," said M-and-M, "I believe in my guy. If you don't invest in him, I will."
"Okay guys," I said, "I'll let you know my decision later."

I mailed them:

Dear Students,
Thanks for a great lesson today. I was delighted you put so much effort into the homework.
We had three great presentations. The winner was P-Dog, because of his unlikely use of the words 'Eurovision Song Contest', 'hot Azerbaijani girls', and 'I liked his face.'
But in the end I decided to invest in all of them. Attached you'll see my 'portfolio' of loans.

I checked the loan status twice an hour, because I'm a total nerd. Within half a day, two of my students had invested their own money in the guys they'd recommended to me, and two of the guys asking for money had been fully funded.

Join my Kiva lending team - Andrew Girardin's Lonely Hearts Loan Band.  

(Update - in 2011 we reached our goal of raising $1,000 dollars for the world's hard-working poor.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Mastering Online Dating: Part Seven

Mastering Online Dating: Zoosk and Cold Reading

I decided to change things up by going to another website. I tried Zoosk1, as one of my Swiss students mentioned she'd tried it. First impressions were that there were lots of local girls there. The other sites had more expats. Second impression, there were a LOT of quality women to mess with. This time the name FunStorm was available, so I used that.

I refined my profile even further. The main change was at the start. I wrote 'This is what you'll come and read after I've sent you an interesting message and you can't resist checking me out...' Cheeky! Women like cheeky.

I had to wait for someone to approve my text, which took the wind out of my sails. It could take days for someone to manually check what I'd written. I wanted to hit on girls right away, but The Man wouldn't let me. Don't these jokers realise that internet users have a six-second attention span? 

Fortunately I was motivated enough to wait because I wanted to try my new strategy - cold reading. That's what fake psychics, mediums, and fortune tellers do to get women crying and receptive to the idea of giving them money.

I told Cecile my plan, and she reminded me of something I'd done years before. Apparently, I'd said to one of the female teachers at my school, 'You're the kind of girl who is outgoing and fun but once you get a boyfriend - zoompf! We never see you again.' She denied it and got pissed off at me, but it messed with her head because it was true.

Cecile wanted me to cold read her (even though I'd known her for almost a year and knew everything about her already). Annoyingly, instead of listening to me explain why cold reading was manipulative and I'd rather not do it anymore (except in a desperate attempt to be good at internet dating), she kept saying, 'Do me! Do me!' So I said, 'You're the kind of person who interrupts interesting guys and wonders why she never hears the ends of stories,' and then I went home to cold read some hot chicks.

I logged in to Zoosk. I had a message! It said they had scientifically found my ideal match! Exciting!

When I clicked on my scientifically ideal match, she looked like this:
My dream woman, according to Zoosk
So I didn't click on the button that said 'yes, hook me up', and clicked on the button that said 'search for sultry Swiss sirens'.

I saw a nice-looking brunette and scanned her profile. Within seconds I was in love. She was gorgeous! In her pics she was well-dressed with a sly smile. I sent her this:

Oh boy! We have a true eccentric here. You seem to be a fun person who enjoys the simple things in life. You can't resist a classy gentleman, and you're probably intuitive enough to weed through the losers, even though you tend to overlook small details and probably hate reading the instructions to new things you buy.

You're probably a good friend and a great listener, but you probably talk a lot as well...when your turn comes in conversation.

Even though most of your pictures show you in a fun way, you are most likely one who stays in and catches up on your favourite TV shows on the rainy Zurich days.

A unique kind of woman, and passionate.
I think you would be an interesting person to talk to.
Hello. :)
Next was a thin blonde. You could tell she was getting hit on all the time because she had pages and pages of 'gifts' from horny guys (pointless little icons that adorned her profile). I sent her the same message as the first one, but forgot to change Zurich (the place the first one lived) to Bulach (where this one lived), so she might have been able to guess I was sending the same thing to everyone. I SUCKED AT THIS! At least I remembered to tell her how to contact me on Facebook.

Zoosk threw another chick in my face through the scientific matching system. She was kind of somewhat nice-looking, in a dumpy way. I had the choice of clicking 'yes' to see what happened (I guessed that if she clicked 'yes' too then we'd be told we liked each other). That was interesting in terms of making fun stuff happen to write about. On the other hand, she was a bit dumpy. I didn't want the internet to think I liked dumpy women, so I clicked 'no'. Send me hotter girls, retards!

I went to bed and dreamed of threesomes involving my future brunette and blonde internet girlfriends.

1 Please do not ever, ever sign up for Zoosk. You'll see why in part 9.

Next - More Zoosk