Exploiting the Pledge Process

If the New York Times Wedding Announcements page is any indication, men simply aren’t getting hitched before the age of thirty-three.

Is the reason for such delay insecurity and indecision, or is there simply a premium on quality opportunities to find someone to essentially share every moment with until death, or divorce, do you part?

If the latter is the correct answer, then Cupid must be scratching his head. How—with email, cell phones, Botox, hair coloring, Viagra, Tantra workshops, 8-minute dating and Match.com—could it take longer to find a life partner? Even without these modern meeting advantages, our parents wrapped this whole aspect of life up before even being old enough to legally to buy the champagne to toast the engagement. In the 21st Century, technology has made our cynical generation even more cynical, if that’s possible.

But a cunning, ingenious strategy in meeting scores of women has accidentally emerged from the formerly uneventful world of Internet real-estate classified ads. Not only does this approach help otherwise inept guys pick up girls, it even makes the whole process convenient

And the oddest part is, its intentions are seen as (shortness of breath)…noble.

I stumbled onto this mechanism a few years ago when attempting to fill shares in my Sea Girt beach rental by placing an on-line advertisement on Hobokeni.com, which is the most popular place for groups or solo shares to find existing share houses to, uh, share. In my case, I had a $40,000.00 shore rental but not enough people to make the share price affordable. Overall I was in need of a combination of twelve female quarter, half and full shares to compliment twelve of the same on the guy side for the Empire’s starting roster. The thinking was that if we were going to fill the remaining spots, we might as well make those selections esthetically pleasing.

Honestly, how often do we have in life the opportunity to play God, or at least the host of Match Game? By placing an ad online, we would not only solve the logistical issue of decreasing the cost-per-share, but would also be allowing ourselves the unique opportunity to get acquainted with women who want something we have: An already-organized beach house one block from the ocean.

In order to meet as many groups of applicants as possible, we planned happy hours “interviews” at our convenience.

What a country…

Our ad was pithy and specific:

Title- Joe Concha’s Sea Girt Beach House

Text- Great group of Hoboken/NYC guys looking for like-minded females to round out civilized beach house. Huge deck, garage, cleaning service, Bar-B-Q, wall-to-wall carpeting, A/C, W/D, and plenty of parking available. Six bedrooms, 3.5 baths with plenty of beds and space. People and location can’t be beat… Memorial Day through Labor Day rental sits fours blocks from the ocean and less than a mile to the Parker House. Full and half shares available. Pictures of rental and house members available as well. Return photos mandatory. Member FDIC. Email: Seagirt2008@yahoo.com

By specifying age, gender and price, we basically eliminated 70% of the applicants (men, geriatric women, proletariats, etc.) that we couldn’t waste precious seconds interviewing.

Twenty-four hours after being placed live on the Hobokeni.com Summer Shares section, my new email inbox looked like the Now Serving sign at Dunkin’ Donuts:

Inbox 21

The only thought that came to mind was what Roy Scheider wryly suggested to his Captain in the original Jaws after sizing up his prey:

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

I needed a house the size of the entire complex on Melrose Place.

Overall, I received over fifty responses for the ad in four days. Most lived in Hoboken or Manhattan. From there our itinerary had our “evaluators” moving from bar to bar in Manhattan and Hoboken on a nightly basis, appraising various clusters of potential house pledges on a cocktail-by-cocktail basis. For some reason, each group always looked better by the end of these rush parties than when they began.

Summers at the Jersey Shore for adults two to twelve years removed from college serve simply as a weekly escape from the reality of actually having to grow up. To that end, meeting random people on what is essentially group blind dates isn’t awkward because both parties have three things in common: A love for alcohol, meeting new people, and moral bankruptcy. Needless to say, the conversation at these happy hours was easy like Sunday morning.

After two weeks of alcohol-soaked evaluations and cruel next-day email reviews, we found the thirteen people we were looking for. However, the success then prompted an evil epiphany that dawned on one of my housemates.

“Why don’t we keep the ad up and keep the Happy Hours going?” asked Clayton, a 34-year old alpha male who never has any problems securing dates. “But we already filled all of the shares,” I responded, oblivious to his nefarious intent. “No, I mean, who needs to know that there are no more spots left?” he said with an evil smile. “Have you ever met more groups of women this quickly?”

So after getting over the fact that we were indeed going to hell, ads for houses that didn’t exist continued to be posted and rush party Happy Hours occurred as a result. For some, these Happy Hours periodically ended up turning into happy meals and happy mornings. All of the prospects for the phantom house were then politely told their trysts made sharing a summerhouse impossible because of the awkwardness it might create.


Since deception knows no boundaries, the exploitation of this idea expanded. Two members of the house advertised for a female roommate they didn’t need. Both told their more attractive interviewees in follow-up phone calls that the reason the apartment was no longer available was because they were too attractive to platonically share an apartment with, but that they should definitely get together for a drink sometime (it worked three times). The explanation somehow created a situation where a guy can look sweet while delivering bad news.


Will any of these ruses result in an appearance in the Times’ Wedding Announcements pages? Probably not…it would be tough enough to tell the “how we met” story at the engagement party

But needless to say, if the people who were duped put two-and-two together after reading this story, the only section anybody will be appearing in is the Obituaries.