Blind dates can be both exciting and nerve-racking, especially if you met your date online. But what happens when you finally meet that special someone face-to-face, and your date looks nothing like his or her profile picture?
In this "What Would You Do?" social experiment, ABC News worked with Justin Dubler and Carrie Goldstein, who are both single, living in Manhattan and looking for love on the Internet. The attractive young professionals both wrote user profiles with details about their character, lifestyle and relationship goals, and, of course, they included a picture, perhaps the most important part of all.
"The second they see your picture and they like it, then they'll look at your profile," Goldstein said. "The first thing I look at is the picture to see if I have any sexual attraction to them, then I dig a little deeper to see what they're all about."
With so much riding on the personal profile, it is easy to imagine people embellishing physical characteristics. Some online daters use photos from earlier years, thinner days, or simply photos that make them look more attractive than they truly are.
As Dubler searched through scores of profiles, he said, "I don't know if their pictures are for real or what. Sometimes it's easy to tell that these are the best pictures they've ever taken of themselves."
For our "What Would You Do?" experiment, Dubler and Goldstein each arranged five dates with potential love interests. They agreed to meet at Via Emilia, a chic restaurant in New York City. Then we switched things up.
Instead of meeting the person they met online, Dubler's dates met Charlie, an actor hired by ABC, and Goldstein's dates met Sabrina, also an actor. It was nearly impossible for their dates not to notice the actors were impostors, especially because Charlie was seven inches shorter than Dubler and Sabrina nine inches taller than Goldstein. The actors were also about 10 years older than Dubler and Goldstein.
Our experiment took place over the course of two days; first, we explored the girls' reactions to Dubler's impostor and then we saw how differently the guys reacted to Goldstein's impostor.
The girls arrived at hour-and-a-half intervals under the impression they were to meet Dubler, 22 years old and 6 feet tall, with a disarming smile. Instead, they met our actor Charlie, who greeted each woman with a long-stemmed rose. His first date, Caren, was sweet and cheerful, telling him, "you look a little different. But other than that, you seem like a nice guy."
Charlie's next lucky date, Danielle, was unusually cordial. When asked if he looked like his profile picture, Danielle insisted that he did and even when he confessed to being much shorter than he claimed to be on his profile, she assured him, "It's OK." To see just how interested she was in him, Charlie requested a second date with Danielle, which she agreed to, as well.
Was Danielle really falling for Charlie or was she just trying to spare his feelings? We were beginning to think we were witnessing a love connection, because Charlie and Danielle seemed to be hitting it off so well. It was time to find out whether Danielle was just faking it.
When ABC News correspondent John Quinoñes introduced himself to Danielle and explained that she had been part of our social experiment, the truth finally came out.