In a social media-driven world, a disastrous Tinder date (or five) is almost a rite of passage. But the glut of engagement photos and smiling babies spammed regularly across our feeds doesn’t make it seem that way.
Enter DatingFML.com, a website of true horror stories that make How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days look tame. A man swipes for possible hook-ups while his date is in the bathroom. A woman is already wasted by the time her date shows up. A man won’t leave a used condom in the trash because he’s worried that his date will use his sperm to impregnate herself. And so on.
Launched quietly in mid-December, the site is the brainchild of two Denver writers who wanted to create a community for people to share their dating experiences. “I’d be sitting around, telling stories or texting them to my girlfriends, and we’d be laughing so hard,” says Anne*, the publisher of DatingFML. “We thought, ‘Someone should make a site that aggregates all these stories in one place.’” Topic categories on DatingFML range from “Single Forever” to “Dating Over 40” to, soon, “Happy Endings,” which will highlight the fact that, yes, some online connections do serve as more than just fodder for ladies’ wine night.
Only four authors—all locally based but anonymously identified—are currently featured, although anyone can submit a story through a form hosted on the site. (Writers are not yet paid, but that could change once DatingFML starts generating revenue off ads and possible podcast sponsorships.) Anne and DatingFML editor David plan on soliciting more voices, including college-age and LGBTQ perspectives, once the first episode of their podcast goes live tomorrow—just in time for Valentine’s Day. They caution, though, that they’re looking to hear mostly about dates-gone-wrong, not strange sex stories. “We want humorous and funny but not explicit content on our site,” Anne says. “I want my mom to cringe when she reads it but don’t want her to question how she raised her child.”
*We’ve identified the founders by their first names to protect not only their privacy but also the identities of the people they’ve met online.