As a new user, my profile is given prime place in the gallery of fresh young meat for the taking. A few are from the same persistent man, who tells me he “just wants to talk to me” because “it’s refreshing to see a genuine person on here and not some troller”.
Priming myself not to lie or deceive, I set up a profile.
I hit the first hurdle when both usernames Naughty Boy88 and Naughty Boy1988 are taken.
Avid Life Media, the site’s parent company, is yet to announce a course of action.
A spokesperson declined to comment, but instead pointed me to a press release which stated: “At this time, we have been able to secure our sites. After a few dead-end conversations, a flashing box invites me to “call collect” with a user.
One is old enough to be my mother and has a username that, without giving too much away, is an instruction to engage part of my mouth with a baked good she has in her possession.
Another user says she’s looking for: “A passionate one-night stand like there is no tomorrow”.I’m also dismayed to find that Naughty Boy69 is also unavailable. Two hours later my inbox is still ringing hollow – not a single response.Testing if the experience is gender-specific, I coax a female colleague (see right) into signing up to a rival site. On a separate account, posing as a woman, I get chatting to a male user.Browsing through the website’s members’ pages, I see about 18,760 men in London aged 40-49 signed up to the site, compared with 4,730 women in the same age range. Some advertise themselves as religious; most are older men who know they are out of my preferred age range, but “just want to say hi anyway”.It’s no wonder I’m being hounded as one of just 30 women under 30 years old with an active account – the ones messaging me know it too, trying to attract my attention with openers such as “pick me! Of course there are explicit messages but most are polite, friendly – verging on begging letters.” An unnerving number advertise themselves as “clean” and phrases such as “weekends are a no-go” are casually dropped in as a cold reminder of unknowing families who sit waiting for daddy to come home on Friday night.