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

Written by
Kate Lloyd

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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