Monday, December 14, 2015

Today in fake news

Niche dating site features guys without beards

LOS ANGELES — LoveShorn, a new niche dating website that celebrated its launch on Monday, caters to those interested in men without beards.

A LoveShorn ad is seen in Washington, D.C.
“Niche dating is huge these days. Whether it’s religion, hobbies, body types, various fetishes, etc., there’s a dating site for nearly every persuasion,” LoveShorn CEO Devon Pursley said at the site’s launch event. “But we noticed that one key American demographic was drastically underserved — clean-shaven men. In an age where dudes with beards dominate the dating scene both online and off, bare-faced fellows have an especially tough time finding meaningful connections.”

LoveShorn allows both women and men to seek out the bare-faced man of their dreams through an algorithm that takes interests, professions, age, height, body type, preferred blades and other common characteristics into account, Pursley said.

In order to attract users to the site, LoveShorn has embarked on a national campaign at public-transit stops, razor aisles and fear-the-beard comment threads across America.

Since the site’s soft launch in October, LoveShorn has amassed nearly 40,000 clean-cut clients.

“That exceeded our expectations,” Pursley said. “We didn’t know there were 40,000 beardless men left in America.”

One LoveShorn member, who goes by the username Rayzor, expressed enthusiasm for the site at the launch.

“Since I joined LoveShorn, I’ve been on three dates,” Rayzor said. “They’ve all been first dates, because the novelty of no beard fades by dessert, but still, it’s something.”

Another user, GalifianaKiss, sports stubble but uses the site anyway.

“I get lots of interest,” he said. “Dating sites reduce you to a handful of check-boxes, but people tend to be open-minded one-on-one. It’s all about shattering barriers.” According to site statistics, GalifianaKiss is the most-contacted account on LoveShorn.

Pursley said the site welcomes users like GalifianaKiss.

“We’re here to provide a level playing field for lightly bearded men as well as the smooth-faced,” Pursley said. “Sideburns, mustaches, five-o'clock shadows, even goatees have a home here too. Really, we’re just here to help anyone who doesn’t have a scraggly, hipster beard. Those are beards among beards.”

Pursley said he hopes LoveShorn will open new doors for the clean-shaven fetish community.

“We want these men to know that there’s true love for them out there, no matter how vehemently current trends would suggest otherwise,” Pursley said. “As long as they’re at least 5-foot-10.”

False equivalence found on Facebook

WHEELING, W.Va. — A post on the popular social-networking site Facebook went viral on Monday after its irrelevant comparison resonated with thousands of users.

The status, written by Shirley Hopper of Wheeling, took umbrage at what she perceived as the decline of American youth.

“The Greatest Generation bravely fought in WWII, but all kids these days do is watch the Kardashians,” Hopper posted as a status at 2:14 p.m. Monday.

As of 9 p.m. Monday evening, the post had earned 24,637 likes and 12,494 shares, and had generated 985 comments, most of which were also false equivalencies.

“AMEN,” 84-year-old Betsy Charlton of Wilmington, N.C., replied. “They’re too busy looking down at their smartphones to support the troops.”

“All I hear is about Caitlyn Jenner being courageous,” wrote Bryce Bartkowski of Duluth, Minn., on the comment thread. “But nothing about Jimmy Carter beating brain cancer. Now THAT’S courageous!”

“Jimmy Carter fighting brain cancer courageous?” shot back Danielle King of Chattanooga, Tenn. “What about the courage it takes to say MERRY CHRISTMAS?”

“You know who should win the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award? Bernie Sanders,” said Carter Davis of Trenton, N.J. “He’s the real deal.”

“People watch too much football,” Jason Baxter replied to Davis. “They should be using that time to conceive the next great startup.”

“I know what you mean, Shirley,” said another response from Sherman Flanigan of Reading, Pa. “I work with a youngster at the phone bank who’s always on her phone. She claims to be open-minded, but she bristles at all my blonde jokes. Does that sound tolerant to you?”

Not all reactions were self-unaware false equivalencies.

“Come on, Shirley, why are being such a curmudgeon?” replied friend Mary Pearson, also of Wheeling. “You’re 27!”

The post was the most egregious example of apples and oranges on Facebook since a Sunday status equated terrorists with all Muslims.

Concealed carrier coy about it

CONROE, Texas — A local man admitted on Monday, under condition of anonymity, that he carries a concealed firearm everywhere he goes.

The 37-year-old man, who was sitting in a crowded chain restaurant, asked not to be identified because he wanted to keep his strapped status a secret to those around him.

“I don’t want want anyone to harbor irrational fears or preconceived notions about me,” the man said. “The point of carrying a concealed weapon is that no one ever knows. I don’t want to create a hostile environment. Arms are serious business.”

The man said he began carrying six weeks ago in the wake of recent mass shootings.

“There’s been more mass shootings this year than days in the year,” he said. “That really has me concerned about my and my family’s safety even in the safest public places. So, regrettably, I felt the need to start carrying a handgun. I did everything else I could first — installed a home alarm system, took valuables out of my car, taught my kids to be aware of their surroundings, took self-defense classes, instilled the value of not living in constant fear — and then, and only then, did I resort to this sad last step.”

The man said that he felt confident strapping only after taking a professional-grade, six-month course in gun safety and marksmanship.

“That was way more training than the Texas CCW permit requires, but I wanted to play it safe,” he said. “Guns aren’t toys, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Especially since I’d never in my life fired one before.”

When asked what model of handgun he carries, the man replied that he wasn’t sure.

“Oh, I don’t know; I just picked out something that was relatively cheap and reliable,” he said. “I don’t know, Gluger?” He declined to unzip his jacket to check, concerned that “other people might catch a glimpse of it and freak out.

“A lot of gun guys think people feel safer when civilians pack, but most don’t, I think, myself included,” he said. “How do you know they’re a good guy? How do you know I’m a good guy? I’m ashamed to feel the need for this in the first place, so I don’t want to open myself up to such scrutiny.

“I’ll tell you what I’m not,” he said. “Some wannabe vigilante hero. That, as much as any other reason, is why I hope I never, ever have to take this thing out. I didn’t think I could live with myself if I had to draw, let alone fire, this thing. Especially if I hit the wrong person in all the confusion.

“What a world this has come to.”

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