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February 21, 2008

“I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees.” “Me too!”

Filed under: Advice,News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:03 pm

That guy you’re chatting up online? He could be … that other guy. This just in from the Wall Street Journal:

“Among the 125 million people in the U.S. who visit online dating and social-networking sites are a growing number of dullards who steal personal profiles, life philosophies, evensignature poems. ‘Dude u like copied my whole myspace,’ posts one aggrieved victim. Copycats use the real-life wit of others to create cut-and-paste personas, hoping to land dates or just look clever. Hugh Gallagher, a 36-year-old writer in New York, is one of the copied. Match.com has more than 50 profiles with parts of Mr. Gallagher’s college entrance essay, which he penned nearly two decades ago and later appeared in Harper’s Magazine. ‘I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees’ and ‘I write award-winning operas’ are among Mr. Gallagher’s most popular lines.”

Read the whole piece for some entertaining anecdotes about people getting royally busted — dude, if you say you write award-winning operas, your date is going to ask about them! — or, on an upside, overhauling their profiles after seeing them cut and pasted onto someone else’s page (!) … and realizing they didn’t like what they’d said in the first place.

Yeah, it’s amusing, and there’s even a happy ending. And if it’s a phenomenon, it’s a phenomenon; report away. But still. BG remains weary of the seemingly endless out-churning of “Gotcha!” articles about online dating that, intentionally or not, perpetuate the misapprehension that the people you find on the Internet are probably lying, that they are NOT WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE. (Why, we revisited that chestnut just this week, in a letter from 1997.)

Sure, people fib online. And in real life, they always tell the truth? You meet someone at a party, they NEVER borrow a line or a move from someone else? They NEVER, guilelessly or otherwise, exaggerate or invent or at least fudge their credentials? They always say things like, “I enjoy snowboarding and film noir, and in about three months I’m going to start to silently pull away”? No, no, no. Now, I’m not trying to sound cynical; I’m saying we’re all human, whether or not we meet for the first time in flesh and blood. The urge to copycat is natural when we’re not yet convinced that someone will like us for us. Fear not; date on.

Though BG still wants to know why 25 people on Match.com apparently thought it would be a good idea to steal the line “I get a lot of women emailing me, (which is great for an ego boost).” Did they at least fix the punctuation?


  1. Sometimes people give me the “but aren’t you worried you’re gonna meet weirdos/freaks/psycho killers online?” when I share that I use online dating sites. I laugh and remind them that these supposed freaks aren’t confined to the web. “If they’re online,” I say, “they’re out in the real world. At least this way I can see if they know how to spell!” :) Hey, grammar is important.

    Comment by Patricia — February 22, 2008 @ 11:58 pm

  2. Dear Lynn:

    With kind and LOVING regards to the 46 year old that is captivated with her age.I also realize where she is coming from and as a 68 year old Man headed for 69,that could be her FATHER.I have a question for her.Young Lady-can you power walk 11 miles four days a week in 2 1/2 hours? And seven days if you wanted to? Are you in excellent health and obviously physical condition? I am such a PERSON.Are you aware of the many teens and young Men and Women that are “NOT” in such condition and so sadly, even Children? I am not making a case for anyone being personally attracted to someone they feel is to young or to old for them.I am simply adding to what Lynn has advised you.I wish everyone enjoyed the BLESSING of even BETTER health and physical condition that I do but I am eternally thankful to be blessed with the willingness and God given common sense to keep myself in such excellent shape albeit I have aches and pains the same as anyone else that has grown old.I will share a very true story with you.Over ten years ago in my home town,A 42 year old Man married a 36 year old Woman.He had been experiencing abnormal pain BEFORE he married her.His Parents begged him to get medical attention but he would not.As MOST Machochistic Men do–he would not heed his Parents good sound counsel.Three Months after he was married,his new Wife convinced him to seek medical attention—TO LATE.For you see,when he was examined,they discovered CANCER that had riddled his body.Had he followed his Parents wise counsel he most likely would still be among the living because you see–in less than six months after the diagnosis–he was DEAD.The point? 46 year old could marry a 75 year old only to see the 75 year old OUT LIVE her.I sincerely hope that she lives a long-prosperous—happy and highly productive life but above all,She has my very best wishes that she will realize that she DESPERATELY needs to abandon her obsession with finding someone her AGE but someone that she can be HAPPY with.Finally–I live in a small Southern city where everyone knows one another.Many Young Men, women and seniors in MY age group and even TEENS often tell me—“I wish I could walk so much as you do and so far in such a short period of time”.I could make 46 an excellent Husband with all of the experience I have and KNOW how not only to treat a Woman but how to COMMUNICATE with her.but that wont happen.As and after thought,so many young Men and women and surprisingly–TEENS think I am 15 years younger than I actually am because of my fitness and small size in addition to well kept skin and body.I live in a area of America where it’s not unusual to see a very young Woman or Man married to someone that could be their Mom or Dad.Take care sweet one.Very best wishes.

    Comment by Buddy — February 24, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  3. Hey BG!
    Just this evening a friend of mine (female) was talking with me about my writing talents (yeah, it’s what I do for a living … corporate America has to communicate somehow!). Anyway, she suggested that I teach people how to write about themselves (i.e., their on-line personnas/profiles). I think — with the right amount of coaching — anyone can be interesting, and they don’t even have to translate Cuban refugee ethnic slurs. So, it would kinda be a Cyrano d’ thing. Oh, yeah — and I’m a guy, and (according to women), guys have the most difficulty writing a good profile (probably because women can just post their photo and men will come running).
    What do you think?

    Comment by Dave — February 24, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

  4. Hey, D’Man: Yes, I do think on-line profile coaching can definitely help; done right, it can bring out someone’s best (as opposed to just the coach’s best). Happen Magazine (powered by Match.com) has some good advice here: http://www.match.com/magazine/archive.aspx?category=650 — and for those seeking the personal personals touch, you could check out FOBG PersonalsTrainer.com.

    Comment by Breakup Girl — February 24, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  5. hi breakup girl!! I totally agree with u.. and u know wat?? I think its good to take some advise and read info and tips if your interested to know someone on online dating.. it crucial if ur not totally informed! lol!

    Comment by filipina pen pal — March 9, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

  6. I like to think that online dating is different than just meeting people in a bar. I don’t think it’s much different though. People still try to deceive others. They make up stories, tell you they have stuff they don’t. You can use the same advice for online dating as you can for real world dating. People are people.. can’t change that.

    Comment by Slothish — January 19, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  7. I’m actually one of those guys on Match who copied some of Hugh Gallagher’s AWESOME Essay and put it in my profile.

    Will a date think that I’m really an opera singer, corduroy eveningwear designer, AND a terrorist negotiator??? Ah… no.

    She might think that I’m a very clever writer like Hugh, but mostly they don’t get it. Its a rare breed of lady that appreciates that type of humor, and that’s who I’m looking to meet.

    By the way, how does Hugh feel about the Dos Equis beer commercial campaign totally stealing the “feel” of his essay?
    Perhaps Hugh stole it from someplace else?

    Comment by Tom — October 29, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

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