Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cloud Girlfriend

A few weeks ago, San Diego based financial analyst David Fuhriman launched a side business called Cloud-Girlfriend. Although it is not fully operational, the premise is that you will pay a fee to the site and in return they will allow you to “invent” a girlfriend. You will provide the characteristics that you look for in a counterfeit mate and a real woman will provide a real picture of herself and interact with you on Facebook in order to make you look appealing to the women that you actually want to date.

It is the technological equivalent of a single man wearing a wedding ring to pick up chicks. The idea is that since you already appear to be desirable to someone, you must have some redeeming qualities that would be desirable to everyone. I suppose the ultimate success of such a strategy depends on whether or not those redeeming qualities are substantial enough to mitigate the fact that you are conniving pathological liar who felt that presenting himself as an adulterous schmuck was a viable alternative to his actual personality.

The site’s tagline is that “the easiest way to get a girlfriend is to already have one” and in an interview with CNET, the founder defended the legitimacy of such a service by insisting that customers “will interact with a real person and see real profile images of the girl with whom they interact. This interaction can build confidence and esteem as well as provide real training experiences in navigating a friendship and a relationship."

The “cloud girlfriend” would post things on your wall, send message to you, and even allow you to change your status to list her as your current relationship. She will even interact with your skeptical friends and acquaintances. All of this will serve to convince the girl you actually want to date that if she does not act soon 
your cloud girlfriend is going to “drink her milkshake.”

At the current time, the site is accepting e-mail addresses from people who wish to take advantage of the service as soon as it is available; and I truly believe that the only thing more embarrassing than paying to create a pretend Facebook girlfriend is waiting in line for the chance to pay to create a pretend Facebook girlfriend.

That is not to say that the idea is not inspired because David Fuhriman has created a nearly foolproof way to ensure his customers do not default on their accounts. Presumably, if you refuse to settle up on your bill then your cloud girlfriend would begin publicly reminding you on your own Facebook wall that you owe her money. 

I imagine this would be quite effective since the only thing more embarrassing than waiting in line to create a fake online girlfriend is being unable to afford her. Nothing says “I’m a catch” like having your credit score negatively affected by defaulting on your imaginary girlfriend.

I do wonder if the service also includes a certain number digitally altered photos that show you and your cloud girlfriend together. Does it cost extra for her to remember your birthday or pretend that she let you get to second base? Do I get a discount if I purchase two cloud girlfriends and instruct them to publicly squabble over being the object of my affections?

Some have wondered if such a service is a hoax despite Mr. Fuhriman’s insistence to the contrary. While the idea does seem absurd, it would be unwise to underestimate the lengths that men will go to in order to meet attractive women. Besides, the idea is not that revolutionary. The website textboyfriend.com charges $1.95 a week to send sweet text messages to your phone in order make your friends jealous and it seems to be doing pretty well.

Perhaps the most baffling aspect is that CloudGirlfriend doesn’t offer anything that you can’t do yourself. Theoretically anyone could acquire a photo of an attractive girl, open an email account in her name and create a Facebook page for her a la’ Catfish. So I guess at this point I need some female perspective. As a woman, which would be more attractive in a potential mate?

1. A man who paid an online service to create an artificial mate in order to impress you with his desirability.
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2. A man who spent time to fabricate his own artificial mate in order to impress you with his desirability.

I am genuinely curious to hear your responses on this so please feel free to weigh in.

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