I love hearing and reading about other women’s dating stories, sometimes for the “hahahas,” oftentimes for the “awwws.” I’m either plain nosy or curiously living through everyone else’s dating life because mine is basically nonexistent I want to know what they talked about and where they went. No one told me I could find date tales on Yelp.
Well, that’s not quite what Yelp is for, so let me explain.
New York actress Natalie Walker, 25, recently decided that she’d sort of review establishments on Yelp, but with a twist. Instead of rating a venue on the food, service, cleanliness, atmosphere, or other usual attributes, Walker rated almost all of her dates at those particular establishments. Between Boston and Washington, DC, she shared distinguishing details of hand jobs in a theatre and theft at Cosi.
“Went on a date here in 2011 and stole a cookie on my way out to show my date I was irreverent and enigmatic. I see that this location has gone out of business and I hope it is not because of frequent theft. The date was ok we dated for 4 ½ yrs. 3 stars.”
Regal Cinemas Union Square 14 https://t.co/9bdeQplMje— Natalie Walker (@Natalie Walker)1451936717.0
Then she’d screenshot her review and tweet it.
Cosi on 13th St https://t.co/2Pq6TE56A1— Natalie Walker (@Natalie Walker)1451937472.0
It’s the millennial version of guys bragging about their latest conquests in the locker room, only this time the details were public and on media outlets, and there was no arrogance or malice. Plus, Walker even kept her entries anonymous to an extent – she omitted names, talked about dates from five years or more ago, and only included larger chain establishments so no one’s feelings or reputation would be hurt.
Now, normally if someone’s going to take the time to embark on a project of this magnitude, I’d think she wouldn’t concern herself with someone else’s feelings. In fact, I’d think she’d take the platform to blast the guys: tell us how cheap and misogynistic he is. How he cut his eyes at the women at the bar. How he turned out to be married.
But, nope. Walker shared blame in some of these escapades. She described herself as “a bit of a nightmare.” So it makes me wonder if she isn’t trashing the man or the experience, then what exactly was the point? Walker tells Buzzfeed that she turned to Yelp because she thought it would be funny.
Studio 54 Theatre - Sunday in the Park with George https://t.co/5B7y7T6hkg— Natalie Walker (@Natalie Walker)1452033475.0
And perhaps that is a very valid point. A lot of times we (raises hand) set such high expectations for a single date. We hope for long-term relationships, marriage, and families before the first kiss and forget about the courting phase. Can we just get to know the person? Sometimes we forget to relax and just laugh.
“I figured I’d write a few reviews and screenshot them before they got filtered; I’d maybe get four likes from my friends on Twitter, and then I’d move on to my next dumb social media joke,” she said.
Her subjects thought it was hilarious, too; one of her former dates even sent her applause emoji. But while everyone else enjoyed the humor, Yelp did not. A representative contacted her and reminded her that she was breaking community rules.
“Your account was recently brought to our attention, and while we appreciate the creative spirit in reviewing your dates on Yelp, such reviews don’t jive with our Content Guidelines, so we’ve removed them. Reviews should be about your personal consumer experiences with local businesses – they aren’t the place to rant or rave about your exes. Thanks for understanding.”
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO https://t.co/YVnmX5x6Eu— Natalie Walker (@Natalie Walker)1452119551.0
Not being deterred, Walker tried on a “digital disguise” and attempted to change her online identity a bit. But the original Yelp representative caught her, reiterating that the rules hadn’t changed since the initial warning. After continued reviews–because Walker is a rebel, too–she was banned from the site.
THE WRATH OF PAM/think she is warming up to me/will we fall in love/is this gritty 2016 reboot of You've Got Mail https://t.co/0BeQepgR04— Natalie Walker (@Natalie Walker)1452203724.0
Walker’s fans suggest that she start a blog or something. But after pulling off this stunt, a blog seems so passé. Besides she’d have to find some guinea pigs to be willing participants in her next viral experiment. But then again, what’s the big deal? It’s fun, no harm was done, and who wouldn’t want to be part of an awesome dating story?