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19 Jun

Can you quickly write tomes of flowery yet witty banter?

Are you able to see and write about a person’s best qualities- and even present their flaws as endearing quirks?

The CBC News Community team is Lauren O'Neil and John Bowman If you're part of the CBC News community, you're likely to meet one of us: we're the folks working to produce and promote your stories.

But in marketing materials, Valentines’ service comes across differently: superficial, selfish and vaguely misogynistic, like some distasteful hybrid of pick-up artist Neil Strauss and “Her’s” Theodore Twombly.

To prevent such online tragedies, there are several virtual assistant agencies that contract with freelance writers to bring interested parties together on online dating sites.

These agencies will work with a client from starter profile and description to photo captions to regular chats and email exchanges, up until that client is ready to go out on his or her first date.

PDA has a simple, if intellectually troubling, premise: For the low, low price of .50 an hour, a “dating assistant” will set up a profile on the dating site of your choice; find and message eligible dates; and exchange phone numbers with interested parties — all without you typing a single keystroke. It cuts the mess and frustration out of modern dating.

They might come from a hired hand penning her responses.

I have committed dating fraud, but I did it to find love — not for myself, but for other people. I was an online dater for-hire, a courtship ghostwriter, a digital Cyrano de Bergerac.

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