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Here's everything that's wrong with that viral 'offline' dating video

Here's everything that's wrong with that viral 'offline' dating video

You might have seen the 'offline dating' short that's circulating around the web today. Made by Samuel Abrahams, the premise of the clip is: single guy Tom wants a girlfriend but doesn't want to do online dating. Instead, he spends a weekend wandering around Hackney asking out every girl who crosses his path. It's supposed to be a kitsch nod to 'look how Tinder's ruined our lives, why can't we go back to the good old days of "old-fashioned" dating?'

Yes, online dating can be cold and unromantic and maybe we should all start chatting to our friendly barista or newsagent and building relationships offline like in the good old days. However, if 'traditional' pick-up methods involve a man blocking my path as I try to walk through London Fields, then please send me to the inevitable cyborg future where dating just involves getting matched by compatible genetic code. I only want to hang out with holograms.


Here is every single thing that is wrong with the video.

1. It feels like we're supposed to think it's bad when girls shut Tom down

Tom's described as 'brave' for approaching women on the street and an interviewee says she thinks people in London are afraid to communicate with strangers. He's a bumbling fool banging his head on a car horn, while all the city's cold, terrible women reject him. But, can you blame women for rejecting the advances of a stranger when, according to a study in 2012, we live in a city where one in four of us are victims of street harassment? It's totally okay to say 'no' to someone even if it's scary for them to ask you out. 

2. The fact people are only okay with this film because Tom is Hugh Grant reborn

With his cherubic face, Prince William wardrobe, Queen's English accent and tendency to repeat 'kind of, basically' in a seemingly endless stream, Tom is the type of man society perceives as 'unthreatening'. Replace him with a tanned Essex geezer, a trackie lad with a pitbull or literally anyone of any ethnic origin that's not white British, and his behaviour would have been reported by #viralmedia channels in a totally different and much more predatory way. 

3. When Tom jogs in front of a woman, who's trying to walk down the street, in a way that means she can't avoid answering him

Because no woman is ever busy enough not to talk to a man.

4. When Tom squats down in front of a woman, who's trying to read, in a way that means she can't avoid answering him

Because no woman is ever busy enough not to talk to a man.

5. The fact he asks most of the girls to go for a date with him NOW

That's right Tom, no woman ever has plans more important than going on a date with a stranger.  


6. The fact that Tom approaches so many women

There's a difference between asking out someone you've had a natural connection with and desperately hounding every attractive girl in your path. Yep, the creepily-approaching-everyone thing is necessary to make this an interesting viral video, but this shouldn't be a viral video at all. I could just go out in Leicester Square on a Saturday night if I wanted to watch a man chirpse loads of women in one go. 

7. And he keeps asking out more than one girl at a time


8. The fact Tom ultimately has no chat whatsoever 

Ask us how our day was Tom. Maybe, chat with us for a little while before asking for our number then text us for a few days before asking us out. Don't shoot your metaphorical load in the first five seconds. Even horrendous pick-up artists encourage some sort of pre-amble.

9. The fact that an interviewee calls this the 'old-fashioned' way to meet a girl

I'm no expert on traditional dating, but I'm pretty sure my granddad didn't ask every single one of grandma's friends out. This isn't a throwback to rose-tinted retro dating. All Tom's doing is playing Tinder IRL. He's being one of those creeps who swipes right to everyone then bulk messages: 'Hey beautiful! Want to go out for a drink sometime?' Then follows it up why a 'why no reply?' half an hour later. 

10. When you realise they've either secretly filmed loads of women or set all this up

Meaning this clip is extra creepy or it's a manufactured advert for giving women unwanted attention. Either way: it's bad. 

In fact, I think a lot of what's wrong with this clip is accidentally caused by the nature of the film itself. If they'd had a girl asking people on dates too, the nostalgic 'let's all actually talk to each other' vibe would have come across stronger. But, because it's both starring and directed by men, it feels fully from a man's perspective – instead of wishing for a time when people connected IRL, it's wishing for a time when it wasn't weird to just randomly approach women in the street. 


Want to find a date without making a viral video? Have a look here.



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pony l

why why why should offline dating be considered old fashioned??  Its as good if not better than online dating.  Infact its far better when one considers how on line dating sites will  favor women over men.  I say down with online dating; its for sedentary loosers and it stinks.  Come on u pack of gutless wonders - get out there and talk to the ladies in real life and stop wasting ur time on women who ego trip.

Hugo R

#CheckYourPriviledge, Kate.

You are preaching here from the standpoint of a female, goodlooking, white and healthy person in her best years, which is as priviledged as it can get as far as dating is concerned. And now, in all this patronizing BS and from the back of your high horse, you want to teach men about dating? If the people have no bread, let them eat cake, right?

Listen, Kate, you have no effing idea of the struggle that men have to go through during dating. You know, men can't just sit there and wait until a women would start a conversation with them. Seems you have to learn a lot about life before you should even start about thinking whether it is right or not to talk to strangers.

Let's go through your absurd list of man hate:

1. Nobody says women can't reject his approaches. But what the video shows is that honesty is not appreciated by women.

2. Not even when you look like Hugh Grant. Seriously, why should looks matter? This has nothing to do with the fact that London seems to be a tough world for men trying to get in contact with women.

3/4. Seriously, how would you talk to a person in a way she can avoid answering? From which planet are you from? I wonder how you would talk to her. Ah right, you don't need to. Your ignorance and lack of understanding of your priviledge shines through with this one.

5. They could have said "not now, but maybe tomorrow", when they have no time now. Or are women in your book unable to think that far?

6. Again, female priviledge. If men would wait for a natural connection every time, we would have died out and most women would be unhappy singles. You have no idea about offline dating, it seems. As if natural connections are just happening daily.

7. Why do feminists lack any sense of humor?

8. Aha. Men are supposed to feign interest in that instead of being honest about their intentions. That's great advice, Kate. Let Tom be more manipulative and dishonest.

9. I'm sure your granddad did not use Tinder. Maybe he met your grandma in the supermarket and started a conversation with her. That was considered normal behaviour (like, talking to strangers) until some people decidid that social interactions should be considered as harassment.

10. How would you have done it? Of course you have to stage it. That does not make it invalid, because exactly that happens daily.

And of course it's from a man's perspective. You understand what priviledge is, and that women are priviledged since most men would at least have a casual conversation with them? If you had a girl asking men out, this inbalance would have come across even stronger.

Christopher M

Thank you Kate for pointing this out. No game = no date. Tom, welcome to reality, it's been around for a while. Flirt, be cheeky, have fun, tease... do something to try and build a connection. Asking someone if they want to go on a date totally cold is like expecting to go into a night club and instantly making out with someone..  it's a totally flawed expectation. 

The motivation behind the video seemed to be to try and convey the point that online dating is all about looks and has little to do with personality or charm. In attempt to prove this point what does Tom do? Asks, with no introduction at all, whether they want to go on a date with him (because he's looking to date 'someone' - if you want a lesson in how not to flatter someone it's right there).. and in doing so he relies totally on his looks and does zero to try and show his personality or charm. Great, there's five minutes of my life I'll never get back. Good luck Tom, you're going to need it. 

Caleb L

Hahah the fact that she put in a plug for probably a website she works for takes all validity out of this article. She is cynical and obviously a little butt hurt. Like how "the traditional way" (which she says what he is doing is not the traditional way), when in fact it is, no matter how many girls he asked. Also I don't believe the video was posted trying to show how "tinder has ruined our lives". Maybe it was shot with that intention, but I don't think it was posted as that. He's just trying to show how everyone always says "well, why don't you go talk to her." so he does that and posts it. Especially considering at least 2 of the girls went on a date with him and one even took him home. 

The author obviously has a lot of hate towards this for some reason by saying this was extremely "creepy" or set up. Do you really need to give polar opposite answers that are so far fetched, people start to believe you? Also #8 he explains in his video that he was doing it wrong and got advice from one of the girls.

Terrible article, terrible author. I'm done here. 

Michael F

Well someone's cynical! 

Kate Lloyd is just being difficult to get a rise from people and swim against the stream.

The reality is that a lot of us living in London can get lonely and this guy has had enough of that. Yes making someone choose on the spot whether they want to go on a date or not can be intimidating. But at least it's not wasting anyones time, like online messaging or dating can! What's wrong with finding someone attractive and asking them for a drink? Why do women have to be wooed for weeks before accepting a date?

Yes or no. Will you go on a date with me?

No? Ok. Shame, but I'll leave you alone.

Yes? Great. Where do you fancy?

What's so terrible about that?

Mark H

Unfortunately honourable, decent blokes - such as Tom from central casting here and ditto my own experience - get put in the same online dating trough as the arseh*les and sociopaths because we've got a Y chromosome.

So, yeah, I'd far prefer to meet somebody in the real world and, yeah, if I start talking to a stranger in a London street in 2015 it's not the same experience as it was when I endeavoured to do the same 15 or 20 years ago.

Some of your points hold, but then it's an edited, aesthetically mannered video package we are watching.  Importantly, Tom is clearly not a bad guy and this is a narrative to illustrate the 'offline dating' experience from that perspective.

Elise C


There are two kinds of viral videos that shine like beacons of stupidity :
- The condescending "good old days" nostalgic short films bashing new-generation's digital habits
- The sexist how to pick up chicks en masse tutorials

This one wins the game by combining the two

Luke M

"Because no woman is ever busy enough not to talk to a man."

Every woman in this film has free choice of how to respond, and the film doesn't blame or judge them for any particular reaction. I think your sarcasm is a little out of line here: it implies that men should just not talk to women outside of very clearly defined scenarios: we should all know what women want independent of interacting with them individually. That seems sexist to me.

Any adult alive in this age of (aspiring) gender equality should exercise their agency and responsibility as such. He has every right to run in front of a woman on the street. She has every right to tell him to f*ck off if that's how she feels.

camron j

This article

"I FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL like he did something wrong and everyone else should FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL the same way."


I find online dating cold and like shopping through the lingerie section of litllewoods catalogue (I like, I don't like), I like spontaneous conversation and the unknown, with a profile and best selected pics online there is no real unknown. its right that people are loosing the essence of conversation and that's a worrying feature as on the flip side you get people stating that they are single "by choice" or "happily", how can anyone really be single by choice or happily?.. everyone needs someone, its not a statement its a fact.. look at your grandparents and great grandparents, managed to pick a winner from a limited circle with no online or mobile communications. it is a sad day in this age that women think that independence is not having a man open a door, pull out a chair, arrive with flowers or even pay for dinner.. I feel I am one of the few last remaining gentlemen out there but some women just don't seem to realise they are the ones making harder for men to appreciate them how we would like to and they should be as they do not appreciate themselves to the effect of understanding their worth as men like do.. but hey, it works for some, just doesn't work for others.. each to their own. I just fear for the next generation in that they will only know online like a pick n mix from woolworths without the human interaction, emotions, feelings and increased heartbeat, sweaty palms and other associated aspects of "offline" dating..

Karen P

Well I loved it. You can all be cynical if you like but it is a short film designed to entertain and in my opinion it did exactly that.

Tânia C

So with you, Kate. This gave me the creeps through and through!

Emma R

I think it's also noteworthy to point out that 'Mandi' is actually established actress Mandeep Dhilon from 'Some Girls'. It took me a second to realise this, and another second to realise this has probably ~most likely~ been set up and carefully orchestrated. Tom is also a creep. That seemed the most real.

Fagin S

Why is it that whenever a man or bunch of men do something these days, there is always a woman saying that it would be more effective if it was done by a woman?

Dot P

@Fagin S She didn't say it would be more effective if it was done by a woman. She said, "If they'd had a girl asking people on dates too, the nostalgic 'let's all just talk to each other and be friends like we were in school' vibe would have come across stronger. But, because it's both starring and directed by men, it feels fully from a man's perspective – instead of wishing for a time when people connected IRL, it's wishing for a time when it wasn't weird to just randomly approach women in the street." Which is not the same thing, at all.

Mark P

@Fagin S Why is that what you took away from this article?

alex r

@Fagin S Because patriarchy. Because maybe there's a longstanding ongoing social conditioning against women regarding men and their behaviour. Because maybe it's okay for women to try to reclaim confidence and social standing against men who think it is their birthborn right to do things like this. Maybe.

Hugo R

It is the right of everyone to walk up to a stranger they find interesting and try to start a conversation. This has nothing to do with gender.

But then, there are those man haters and white knights who would want to call every social interaction which is initiated by men harassment. And they would call the same behaviour brave if initiated by women.

And then the internet forums are full of women who complain that men do not compliment them any more and that they not dare any more to initiate a conversation. But that's all internalized patriarchy, right? LOL.