I was actually curious about what it was like to be a hot girl for a long time. So I carried out an experiment. I became one, online for 2 weeks.
Now this is by no means an academically rigorous experiment with proper controls and bias elimination. So, please take this with a grain of salt and with the humorous intent it was carried out with. Also, throughout the experiment I enlisted the help of one of my friends who is a psychology major (for anonymity, we’ll call her Alice) to keep track of my mental state, for two reasons:
- Because playing with identity sometimes proves dangerous.
- I cannot be an accurate judge of my own psyche and decision-making.
The fake persona
I created a fake Facebook profile and put up an image of an attractive white woman. I had a generic hot girl bio: Starbucks, adventurer, etc. I based her in Indiana, US. I sent friend requests to 20 people. That’s all.
Suddenly, friend requests started pouring in. I’d accept 50-60 requests and log back in after a few hours only to find 70 more. I started clearing around 250 requests a day. People completely outside of the initial network of 20- from completely unexpected places like Algeria, Romania and of course- India.
My feelings were mixed. On one hand I was excited, at no point in my life had so many people wanted to be acquainted with me. I had never experienced anything even remotely close to this. On the other hand, I was a little overwhelmed and the attention was a little suffocating. But this is the internet in 2016, I easily fixed the latter by disabling some simple discovery features and pruning my list of all foreign people. Alice noted mostly happiness at this point.
Messages are coming in
Now, people started messaging me… random, unsolicited messages. My real self had never received a message without messaging someone first – unless it was spam. People messaged me complimenting everything about me. It was a completely bizarre experience.
I started replying back and we started talking. Unlike my actual self, I didn’t have to put in any effort into my conversations. I didn’t have to take care to end replies with questions to prevent conversations from dying.
When asked about say my favorite type of music, I didn’t have to ask “What about you?” after telling them about my favorite bands. I could just say “Mostly what’s on the radio”, and they would twist, turn and find ways to keep the conversation going. Why would I bother? Every 10 minutes of me being online, another random “hello” would pop up for me to run weird variations of conversations- talking only in one-phrase responses, only in “yes” and “no”, etc.
Pushing the boundaries
I started pushing it, how far I could go and still have people trying to continue to talk with me. I started berating people subtly, telling them they aren’t good enough, etc. They kept talking. Alice started noticing intentions of malice and I had to rein myself back. We talked about it and decided on a code of ethics you can find at the bottom.
The creeps started showing up too. The trying-to-be-alpha asking straight for sex, the low-confidence teen trying but failing and on and on. One guy couldn’t speak English, didn’t understand anything I said but still tried to get me to have sex with him. Here is an excerpt, the guy with the default profile picture is him.
But again 2016 internet, I was glad blocking and muting is so easy in most forms of interaction online.
Really pushing the boundaries
After that, things got interesting – and this is where the ethics really come into question. People started to buy me things. They would order stuff online and send it to my address.
One guy bought me sushi because I told him I had never had sushi. Another bought me pizza, which I gave to a homeless person because I felt bad.
I started replying to people with the express intent of trying to get them to buy me stuff. Some did, some didn’t.
Two days of this and Alice found out. She dissented. We ruled it unethical and cheating.
She noticed something strange at this point and I’m glad I had a person somewhat knowledgeable in psychology with me. I started getting pissed of at people who wouldn’t buy me anything. In two days I started developing a sense of entitlement, I felt like I deserved things. What happens to a person who grows up for years like this? I can only imagine.
Out of the people who messaged me, there was one surprising kicker. A woman messaged me asking if I was “into girls?” and sent me pictures; I didn’t ask. There are women better at attracting women than my real self is. Sobering, depressing? I don’t know.
Eventually, it was starting to get out of hand. I felt like I was violating the rules of reality. Growing up accustomed to an economic system of equitable exchange, this new paradigm seemed inherently self-contradictory. I deleted the account.
The experience was bewildering. I couldn’t believe what was happening. The never ending wave of desperate men with no clue about how society functions gave me a glimpse of humanity that was simultaneously cringeworthy and entertaining.
The encouraging thing, however, was that if I’m ever in financial trouble to a point where I’m ready to suspend my moral framework in favor of survival, I can coast through that easily given only an internet connection. “Pretend to be a hot girl” is basically a skill I have added to my life arsenal alongside lockpicking and parkour.
We settled on some policies regarding the ethically questionable nature of this.
- I never spoke with any of the first 20 people I sent requests to, only with people who sent me requests unsolicited.
- I never initiated messaging, I’d only talk to people who messaged me first, unsolicited.
- I would use best judgment to pick out people who were being blatant tryhards and made special effort to ascertain they were in no financially difficult situations when carrying out the food delivery part (Thanks to Alice, this part was very short-lived).
- I took care not to reply to people who seemed mentally challenged in any way (some autistic men tried to talk with me extensively about cruise ships).
This article, written by Krishnabh Medhi, was originally posted as an answer on Quora. Please make sure you head over there and upvote it, share it, and comment on it. Everyone needs to read this!
In his real life, Krishnabh Medhi works as a software engineer. His answers on Quora have accumulated almost half a million views and thousands of upvotes.