The French dating website AdopteUnMec.com (Adopt-A-Guy) is set up like a man boutique where women peruse the virtual racks looking for their perfect match. “Special on Carrot-Tops” advertises one online banner. Another alerts “buyers” to a “Total Liquidation of Men with Curly Hair: Everything Must Go.”
Now, the company has taken their wares to the streets with a pop-up store in Paris where women can window-shop for a mate. Some critics are saying the concept is exploitative and there would be a public outcry if women were similarly put up for sale.
The Daily Mail reports that gawkers flocked to the grand opening on September 11 to check out the real dudes being displayed in glass containers that resemble boxes of Ken dolls. These toy boys have names like “Mr. Muscle” and “The Rocker.” The traveling boutique will be open for 10 days before moving on to other cities. Reportedly, the men in the displays are male models being used for promotional purposes and not, in fact, eligible bachelors.
Adopt-A-Guy was launched in 2010 and is free for women. Men “sell themselves” with online profiles and women initiate communication and do the “purchasing” in what the site calls a “market of love.” The theory is that women will feel less threatened and more empowered if they control the dating process.
Presumably, the shopping aspect is supposed to make the whole experience fun and playful. Women look through a “catalogue” of men and pop potential mates into their “shopping cart.” Reportedly, business is booming, and the website gets about 300 million page views per month.
To American “customers,” the men on display in the Adopt-A-Guy pop-up shop might bring up memories of old-fashioned kissing booths. For Europeans, the set-up may appear less innocent. In Amsterdam’s red light district, female prostitutes advertise themselves in luridly illuminated windows.
One Daily Mail reader commented, “Doing this to men is just as bad as doing it to women and they have been doing this to women for years. Putting them in boxes like a commodity, a pair of shoes or a new phone is wrong. Men nor women are commodities and they are not hotties, they are people.” Another reader asked for a “sense of humor, please.”