Although she wasn’t handing out any roses, one woman in NYC managed to trick dozens of men into competing for a chance to date her in a stunt that became her very own version of “The Bachelorette.”
According to Gothamist, dozens of men arrived at Union Square on Sunday evening expecting to go on a fairly normal date with Instagram model Natasha Aponte, only to discover that they were all being strung along by the same woman.
The stunt went viral when Twitter user @bvdhai posted a thread detailing his own experience with the massive Tinder scam.
According to @bvdhai, everything had started out fairly normal when he first matched with Aponte on Tinder. The two made small talk and soon exchanged numbers.
Aponte ended their conversation by saying that she was busy with a work presentation, assuring @bvdhai that she would reach back out to him when she had more free time.
The concept of being ghosted is common in the land of dating apps, so @bvdhai figured that Aponte had just made up an elaborate excuse to stop talking and that he would never hear from her again.
Much to his surprise, Aponte contacted him two weeks later, inviting him to check out a DJ with her near Union Square.
It wasn’t until he arrived at Union Square and noticed a large crowd of men loitering by the DJ’s stage that he started to think something weird was going on.
When Aponte took to the stage herself with a microphone, his fears were confirmed.
“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,” @bvdhai tweeted.
Even though @bvdhai praised Aponte’s “fallopian fortitude” at pulling off the scam, he wasn’t quite ready to volunteer as tribute. He chose to leave instead.
Many of Aponte's victims were offended by the scam, walking away from the scene without a second look or yelling out profanities at the woman who had misled them.
Several other men, however, did decide to play along with Aponte’s game.
According to NY Mag, Aponte quickly went to work cutting down her pool of suitors by asking those with certain characteristics to leave, including anyone who supported Trump, was looking for just a hookup, or had a beer belly.
As the crowd thinned, Aponte asked the remaining men to participate in physical tests like push-ups and sprints. She also allowed the men to give 1-minute pitches as to why she should date them.
According to reddit user UncleChen69, the 22-year-old Aponte was joined by two women dressed as referees to help monitor the competition.
Many men left the park with bruised egos and newfound trust issues that night.
Aponte has received a notable amount of backlash online for her actions, both from men who were victims of the scam as well as outside observers.
She has since changed her Instagram account to private.
At this time, it’s unclear whether Aponte picked out a winning man for her date.