Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Van Hammer, Internet Stud

Way back when I was an intern at Profit magazine a few years ago, I was assigned to write a story about RealCafes.com, a company that runs personals sites on the Internet, including ChristianCafe.com and CafeForTwo.com. As part of my research, I interviewed the company president, who is the source of my oft-quoted maxim that the only three things that make money on the Internet are porn, gambling, and personals. He gave me a pre-made password and profile to look around one of the sites and test it out. (Since he's a Christian, the profile was pretty whitebread.) So I logged on to ChristianCafe.com, saw what kind of women the site matched my cleancut profile up with, and then wrote my story.

Later, I decided to have a little fun by signing up with a new profile, one that was less "Wally Cleaver" and more "meat cleaver". I decided to take on the persona of Van Hammer, the handsome but sociopathic, hard-drinking, and chain-smoking soap opera star from Los Angeles. He was, in short, a complete asshole and almost certainly a date rapist as well. By way of illustration, here are my responses to the profile's short Q&A feature:

1. Describe the type of relationship you are looking for. What qualities would you like in this relationship or person?

I like to date women, and plenty of them. I believe Poison put it best when they said: Ain't lookin' for nothin' but a good time. Man, they rock.

2. Describe a little of your personality and character traits. (Are you funny, laid back, more serious, open, shy, etc.?)

I'm one cool customer. Okay, I do tend to fly into uncontrollable and violent rages sometimes. So, just don't cut me off in traffic, and we'll be fine.

3. What would be the perfect setting for a first meeting with a new friend or date? Describe it :-)

The back of my Trans Am.

4. What are your favorite activities? (Including sports, leisure, artistic/musical, etc.)

I like to hunt. Until you've brought down a bald eagle with an assault rifle, you're worse than a Commie and twice as UnAmerican.

5. Describe your religious/philosophical beliefs (if any)

I hate God. If I met him, I'd give him the butt-whipping of a lifetime and steal his girl.

6. Describe your current occupation. Do you like what you do? What is your dream job?

I'm a soap opera star. I love it, and how could I not? Chicks fall all over me, and I get all the blow I can snort.

7. Where did you go to school (i.e. high school or college/university, etc.)? What did you study? Did you like it? Would you like to do more?

School is for losers. The only thing I miss about it is shoving poindexters into lockers. Oh, and hanging out under the bleachers with my camera.

8. Where were you born? Have you ever traveled? If so, where? What is your ideal adventure?

I've been all round this great big world, and I've seen all kinds of girls. My ideal trip would be to the fleshpots of Bangkok, and then into international waters with the Olsen twins and a bottle of Rohypnol. [Note: this was in 2001. They were 15.]

9. What are some of your favorite movies, TV programs or books? What characters or actors do you identify with, if any?

You know that guy in American Psycho? That guy rules. Best movie ever and one of the few books I've read. It should be a weekly TV show.

10. What are some of your goals or dreams for the future?

I want to make even more money so I can buy and drive faster cars and faster women. Also, to smoke a cigar in a family restaurant and blow smoke right in a baby's face. That would be hilarious!

11. If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?

To punch Martin Luther King Jr. in the face.

12. Is there anything else you would like to add? This is your chance to get in that last (but not least:-) bit of important info that you would like others to know.

I've got the best hair ever. You won't even believe this.
Now, when I used the Quickmatch feature with this profile, I was somewhat surprised to learn that it paired me with almost all the same women as had been compatible with the goody-goody profile I'd used earlier. I thought this was pretty astounding. My boss found the whole thing really funny (despite the fact that I did this on company time) and suggested that an article about the deficiencies of their matchmaking system would make an interesting piece for the National Post. (Of course, I never take good advice, which is why you're only reading it here years later.)

When I logged back into the website later, I had mail! And here it is. Take it to heart—I know I did:
From: toothfairy789
Subject:[ No Subject Specified]
Message: your way of thinking if way off key. you should be ashamed of yourself. life is about more than fast cars,fast woman and drugs. you will have a very short lived and lonely life if you keep this up. God is who created you and has given you choices and just because you made the wrong choices do not blame anyone but yourself. God will be the only one there for you when you decied to grow up and realize there is more to life. your profile was very suprising. people go on the net hoping to make friends or more find that special someone to help complete their life. you made such a joke of it all and lord help you. One day you will stand in front of god and have to explaine your actions. You can either change your ways or you will find yourself spending eternity in hell. There is a heaven and there is a hell. The choice is yours on which one you will spend eternity in. Hell is a never ending firey pit and heaven is where you will meet your maker. Your choice. You will be in my prayers. No matter what god will always be there for you. Please do not forget that. All you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart and be sincer and he will take your hand and will carry you in the tough times. GOD BLESS YOU
My friend Sofi’s response, on the other hand, was much more succinct:
Whoa. I think I'm in love with Van Hammer.
You know what? So am I, Sofi. So am I.


Blogger Marlene said...

I wonder if toothfairy789 is still praying for your lost soul.

11/16/2005 01:40:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Taking a cigar into a restaurant just to blow smoke smoke into a baby's face? Didn't you and I make up that bit three years ago in a Swiss Chalet?

11/16/2005 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Why is it that the vast majority of people who are vocal about my faith on the internet all spell and talk like that?

I know plenty of intensely intelligent and well-educated evangelicals. So why don't we get a showing on the internet?

Maybe the 89 in her username are the last two digits of the year of her birth. That'd make me feel a bit better.

11/16/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous jnickola said...

Amen to that, Ken. I plan to aks God to explaine it to me someday.

Still, the correspondent's own soul is in peril, since the Tooth Fairy is, like Halloween, Santa, the Easter Bunny, and Abercrombie store displays, a Satanic figure leading youth straight to hell.

11/16/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Marlene: I normally hate when people pray for me, but in this case, even if she did it only once, it would be funny.

Jay: Indeed, we did make up that bit at Swiss Chalet, only it was four years ago. When coming up with the most appalling persona possible, why wouldn't I crib from a conversation with Jay Pinkerton?

Ken: I think the intelligent Christians might be more inclined to see what I wrote for the obvious fiction it was.

Jnickola: It's well known that "Santa" is an anagram for "Satan". What is not widely known is that "Tooth Fairy" is an anagram for "A fit Tory ho", i.e., Ann Coulter, who is, of course, Satan. Did I just blow your mind?!

11/16/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Riley said...

Like a big-assed hurricane.

11/16/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger JPW said...

I had a guy blowing (cigarette) smoke into a (toddler's) face in a restaurant six years ago. He was also totally having sex with everybody at the table. Also, I was reading too much Bret Easton Ellis.

11/20/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Any Bret Easton Ellis is too much.

11/20/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger JPW said...

Oh sure, you tell me that now.

11/20/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Sofi said...

Oh, Van Hammer! Where ARE you now?

11/23/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Are you single at the moment, Sofi? I could set you up. Although you realize Van is shallow enough to hold your recent procedure against you.

11/23/2005 11:53:00 PM  

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