Would You Adopt Your Next Boyfriend?
Back when I lived in NYC, a friend told me, “Match.com is a just for hookups, if someone’s really serious about marriage they sign up for eHarmony.” Seems like nowadays there are a million dating websites, all intent on putting their own spin on dating. Case in point Loveflutter.com, a new dating website for quirky people. While this is great news for Zooey zealots, it does make navigating the dating world slightly more difficult, as if dating needed to get any more confusing.
A few weeks ago I started seeing these commercials for adoptauntio.es. It was clearly a dating website, still; the name had me puzzled. Personally, the only time I associate dating with adoption is when I think of Woody Allen, otherwise the two things couldn’t be more distantly related. Plus, all the commercials featured hot guys with grannies. Was it a dating website geared towards cougars? I had to know!
Five minutes later I was filling out a profile. Although my Spanish is good I’ll admit, my sex and dating vocabulary sucks, so I enlisted my boyfriend for help. Yet another reason why I love him, he’s supportive of my online dating. How many guys can you say that about?
Rather than clarify, the website only compounded my confusion. For one, the men were referred to as products. Everything about its design, including the barcode search button, reinforced the idea that these men were inanimate objects. I clicked on the profile of a product in my area and similar to a book on Amazon.com, below the picture there was a place to rate the “item”. Products were rated based on 4 areas: aspect, treatment, innovation, and level of user-friendliness. User-friendliness? If he doesn’t message me back immediately can I give him 2 stars instead of 5?
Like any other online shopping trip, you could reserve and/or add a product to your cart. Once finished, there’s an option to “finalize your purchase” which I’m assuming means set a date. Honestly, I was too chicken to press ‘OK’ and not just because I have a boyfriend. I still couldn’t tell whether it was dating website or an online male-bride catalogue.
Somewhat scared I was unwittingly participating in prostitution, I decided to look it up. Apparently, the website originated in France (adopteunmec.com) as a way for women to take a more assertive role in the online dating scene. When it comes to online dating, men are more likely to make the first move while women are left to fend off spammed messages by unwanted male suitors. Adoptaguy lets women dictate whom they interact with.
The website has become so popular in France that they’ve opened actual stores where you can check out live men, posed in boxes as if life-size Ken dolls. Like any action figure, they come with cool names that conveniently describe their intended purpose like: Mr. Rocker, Muscles, the Adventurer, and so on. I wish I found these guys online. Unfortunately, what I encountered were guys who used cheesy aliases- at your feet, bad mother, and Spartacus. I am Spartacus! No I’m Spartacus. Sorry. Speaking of trying too hard, shirtless mirror selfies are the guy equivalent of duck face. There’s no quicker way to identify a douche bag.
Met with overwhelming success, the website has since spread to other countries- Spain,adoptaguy.de in Germany and my personal favorite, bagabloke.co.uk in the UK. From what I can tell, it tried to penetrate the U.S market a few years ago—unsuccessfully. I’m not surprised.
Despite the reviews, I found the website neither revolutionary nor empowering. If anything it reinforced the status quo. Contrary to what the designers might think, objectifying men does not place women in the driver’s seat; it justifies the misconception that it’s alright to treat people and moreover, women as things. Even more disappointing is that it precipitates catty behavior amongst women. For the women who interact with a product are listed on the item’s page as rivals. Last time I checked, vying for a guy’s attention is not groundbreaking it’s middle school. Plus, I still got unwanted attention from men I had no interest in. Effectually, the website fails in every goal it sets out to achieve. I sincerely hope the site is never resurrected in the U.S, however in case it is just know, joining will only help women take a step backward.