Remember Jessica Sporty? She is the enterprising Murray Hill twentysomething written about in November by Business Insider, which first published her name, after which it was picked up by various media outlets (us included); then changed it to another, similar name; and then changed it again, to the name of a Harry Potter character with the note “We have changed the name of the woman in the story because people were taking it waaaay too seriously.” Because, briefly, the internet had been set aflame by Sporty, who confessed to using Match.com to get guys to buy her dinner, a financial plan that made her $1,200 a month. So sated by dinners provided by the funds of strangers that she had no interest in actually taking seriously as romantic propositions, this became a full-fledged gambit involving roommates and spreadsheets and other machinations.
McGonagall [name changed] started eating out five nights a week using a rotation of different guys she met through the dating site. McGonagall kept things simple–no more than five dates with the same guy.
“We made ground rules,” said McGonagall.
One of them called for making spreadsheets about each guy who took them out for their drinks and/or meals. It included names, photos and details from their Match.com accounts.
The girls also let each other know where they were going for the night. And they never let guys pick them up at their apartment and instead met up at a public location.
At the time this story came out, it pissed me off enough to write in the first person, because, while dating is fraught with bad intentions and people you can’t trust, you at least hope that whomever you go out with will not brag about their misdeeds to the entire internet and make you feel like a sucker. And you hope that there are some both online and in the real world who really do want to date and maybe have a relationship — who go into what is more often than not a traumatic activity with relative openness and honesty.
Plus, yuck. This is such a bad look for women — note Business Insider’s decorous slug: “MATCH.COM GOLD DIGGER” — and only makes it harder for those of us who do want to be seen as something more than a dinner-monger.
A worse, look, however, is writing to the media outlets who published her name and asking them to redact it because “The article was obviously misconstrued and taken out of context and to protect families involved, the anonymity (even if you think the damage has already been done) would still be appreciated… mostly for search engine reasons” — only then, days later, appearing on Good Morning America to backtrack yet again, using her real name.
In the GMA interview above, she reiterates the following:
In other rhetorical questions, what’s wrong with saying all this on Good Morning America? Perhaps nothing, but you can’t really complain afterward when people take it “too seriously.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 13, 2011