By Caitlin O'Kane CBS News August 20, 2018, 2:05 PM Dozens of men duped by woman on Tinder, tricked into massive dating competition in New York's Union Square
"Get some popcorn," Twitter user @bvdhai tweeted on Sunday. What followed was a Twitter thread chronicling his odd Tinder interaction and the calamity that ensued when he showed up for a "date." The story he told was so cinematic, some may think it's fictional. But this Tinder tale is real — and there are dozens of other men who can vouch for what happened.
"I am about to tell you an epic tale about subterfuge, dating in the 21st century and the fall of human civilization. This actually happened to me and it could happen to you too," the man, who Gothamist identified as "Spencer," Tweeted on Sunday. "So a few weeks ago I was on the Tinder machine shopping my soul around and I match with a very attractive young lady. No bio. Fairly innocuous," the man explains.
He said the Tinder user, who Gothamist identified as a woman named Natasha Aponte, asked him to text her. He did, and the two started a light conversation, which resulted in Aponte telling Spencer she was interested in seeing him — sort of. "She goes, 'actually, I have this huge presentation Im workin on for my job, would you be offended if I got back to you in like a week or two when Ive got more free time? Youre cute and I want to meet you Im just too busy rn,'" he recounted on Twitter.
He suspected she was "ghosting" him — making an excuse to ignore him and end their textual relationship. But a few weeks later, a new message popped up and he realized she was not making an excuse. "Then yesterday I get a text 'HEY IM FINALLY FREE LMAO… my friend is DJing near Union square around 6 tomorrow I was wondering if you wanted to go for a bit,'" the man tweeted on Sunday.
"I'm like well I'll be damned. Genuinely didn't think she would message me," he wrote. He told Aponte he would meet her at Union Square on Saturday, and like a good date, he showed up promptly at 6 o'clock. He said he found Aponte's Instagram profile beforehand, and saw that she describes herself as a singer, actress, and model, and that she has nearly 3,000 followers. This gave Spencer some pause, but decided to show up anyway. Unbeknownst to him, dozens of other men were also invited to the "date."
When Spencer arrived at Union Square, he waited for Aponte near a stage that was set up in the park, like she told him to do. Finally, he spotted his date. But what she did next surprised him — she stepped onto the stage, surrounded by what he describes as about 100 people and some bodyguards.
"She gets the mic and is like thanks for coming out I bet you're all wondering what this is about and I'm like yeah what the f*** is this about," Spencer tweeted. "She then says so I know all of you here are on tinder." Spencer looked around at all the other men surrounding the stage.
"Then she says I've invited you all here for a chance to go on a date with me and proceeds to give a hunger games speech about what its gonna take to date her," he wrote. Finally, it started to make sense to Spencer: "ALL THE DUDES THERE SHE FOUND ON TINDER AND TEXTED THEM THE SAME [THING]."
At that point, he decided to go home, saying he was "too old" for this twisted game. Other men duped by Aponte stayed in the park. Spencer took a photo of the scene before he left, showing Aponte on stage in an all-black outfit and several men gazing up at her, some with amused smirks, others with a look of utter shock.
Another person who corresponded with Aponte sent her Tinder message to the Gothamist, and, like Spencer, Aponte invited the man on a date in Union Square Saturday. The Tinder messages appear to use almost the exact same language that Spencer described.
Someone else provided Gothamist with video showing a group of people gathering around Aponte's stage on Saturday. One man appears to be frustrated by the woman's scheme, and starts chanting profanities at the woman as he walks away from the crowd.
Another video shows about 11 men actually participating in Aponte's dating "Hunger Games." A group of men who decided to stay in the park were lined up to compete in a sprinting competition — apparently part of the competition to win a date with her. A large crowd gathered around the men who tried to prove their worthiness of Aponte's attention.
Aponte did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment and it is unclear who she really is, if that is her real name or if her real motive was to find a worthy gentleman to date. Spencer did not immediately reply to CBS News' request for comment, either. His Twitter thread was retweeted by over 10,000 people and received countless replies.
"Thank You for sharing. The audacity, the boldness. The lies. The deceit. y'all got hoodwinked. I kinda love," one person replied to Spencer's thread. Another man commiserated with Spencer, sharing a screenshot of his own text from Aponte and admitting he was "kinda glad" he was running late to the "date."
Some commenters simply pointed out the sad reality: this is dating in 2018.
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