Natasha Aponte is a New York-based model who isn’t afraid of some drama on a first date. Over the past month, she’s been using Tinder to arrange for hundreds of guys to meet her at the same place, at the same time, unbeknown to each other.
At 6pm on Sunday, hundreds of men arrived at Union Square in Manhattan for what Aponte told them would be a one-on-one date where they would watch her friend DJ. Once they had formed an audience, each thinking the rest of the men were just there for a show, Aponte took to the stage, explained what was going on and started whittling down the guys with questions and challenges, saying that the winner would actually go on a date with her.
The stunt came to light after a one of the men who attended recounted what happened in a Twitter thread that has since gone viral. He said he chatted with Aponte for around an hour last month before she said she had to focus on work and would get back in touch in a few weeks. Out of the blue, she then suggested they meet for a date at Union Square to watch her friend DJ.
Other men who matched with Aponte have since corroborated the story. One told New York magazine that Aponte used a near-identical story with him.
|Natasha Aponte speaking in front of hundreds of men arrived at Union Square in Manhattan.
Once the men arrived, Aponte took to the stage with a microphone and gave a speech justifying the stunt, claiming that she thought dating apps were “difficult” and so had decided to “bring everyone in person and see how that goes”.
She told any man whose last girlfriend broke up with them to ‘please leave because I completely trust her judgment.’
She then began dismissing some of the men, while making a few points about the skewed nature of modern relationships. First, she told anyone who was in a relationship to leave, saying that studies show half of the men on Tinder are in a relationship.
She then asked all the men who had been dumped by their previous partner to raise their left arm and all the men who had done the dumping to raise their right arm. She told all the men who had been broken up with to go, saying: “Please leave because I completely trust her judgment.”
She also got rid of men called Jimmy, those with long beards, beer bellies, Toms shoes, khaki trousers, smokers and those just looking for a hook-up. A low-quality livestream of the event cuts out before you can see what happens next, but some of the remaining men reported they were asked to make a one-minute pitch to date Aponte.
Some of the attendees can also be seen leaving of their own accord, and some of the back-and-forth with the crowd appears awkward and occasionally combative rather than taken in good humour. Some of the men can be heard chanting “shut the fuck up” when she announces statistics of how many men on Tinder were committing infidelity.
It has since emerged that Aponte, who brought a full camera crew with her to the stunt, has been working with a viral marketing company called Rob Bliss Creative. The company were also behind the viral video in which Shoshana Roberts walks through New York for 10 hours with secret cameras attached to her, to highlight how often she is harassed and catcalled on the streets.
Bliss said this week that his company would be posting a full video of what happened with the Tinder stunt later this week.
The event highlights the way in which dating apps, which were previously the last vestige of social media that was truly social, in that they were exclusively a place for interactions between real people rather than brands or influencers, are now increasingly being used for marketing, journalism and other non-dating practices.The Guardian