What Happened When I Tried to Get Laid on LinkedIn

"I'd like to add you to my professional network xoxoxox Maria"

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Aug 8 2017, 4:56pm

I know everyone likes to brag about how little they use or understand LinkedIn, but I truly have never used the site except to accept friend requests every seven months so people don't think I hate them. My page—which is connected to my now-defunct Yahoo email address, thus requiring a hackathon every time I log on—offers the basic outline of a resume, my face from four years ago, and a whole section that says I've received zero recommendations.

So why is LinkedIn of interest to me, a humble sex columnist who doesn't own business cards or even a working pencil? Here's why: Non-dating apps now rival dating apps with their matchmaking powers. We all know that Twitter and Instagram—two apps with strong DM cultures—have been facilitating hookups and relationships for years, and even ride-sharing apps like Uber bring people together who hit it off and end up dating. A recent story in the Philadelphia Inquirer profiled a now-engaged couple who met in an UberPOOL. "I've never met anybody that I connect with on so many different levels, and I credit Uber for that," the man said. A few months ago, a friend of mine hit it off with a cute man in a Lyft Line. After the ride, they tracked each other down on Facebook and ended up meeting for a drink. He turned out lame—things are bad, usually—but how cool would it have been if that had worked out? I think we're all so desperate to meet people outside of dating apps that even an Uber-facilitated meet-cute feels adorable and old-fashioned. I recently spoke with a woman who met her boyfriend while playing Pokémon Go. Last year, upon returning to her apartment after a long day of catching 'em all, she saw a man outside her apartment on his phone. "There's a Clefairy here," he said, and the rest is history.

Read more: The Bizarre, Horny Messages You Get from Men When You Write a Sex Column

LinkedIn is a somewhat unusual place to troll for dick because, well, it's a professional space, and you're not supposed to fuck where you shit or whatever the proverb is. Yet this doesn't stop people from "thirst-adding" cuties on LinkedIn. The move is low-stakes because if someone accuses you of adding them with romantic or inappropriate intent, you can accuse them of being presumptuous. A guy I hooked up with six years ago—who I refer to as "my Republican mistake"—added me on LinkedIn last year and I shrieked. "I never want to do business with you AGAIN," I almost messaged him. (BTW: I can confidently categorize this as a thirst-add because we would never cross paths professionally. He deals with money and I eat Mario Kart fruit snacks for lunch. Often.) One friend told me he recently "thirst-LinkedIn-requested" his hot former high school teacher—he didn't expect anything to come of it, just like you don't expect anything to come of liking a crush's selfie from two years ago.

I spoke with a man who met his current girlfriend on LinkedIn. His first job out of grad school was as an executive recruiter, which required him to spend hours on the site. "I was doing research for a VP of engineering position, and amidst a sea of old white men and nearly half the population of Bangalore, India, I found one attractive (albeit vastly underqualified) woman show up on my list," he said. "I sent her a connection request with a short note about how I would be happy to assist should she ever be in the job hunt, and sure enough, I never heard from her." But that wasn't the end of it. A few months later, when he downloaded Hinge, his "attractive LinkedIn connection" was at the top of that day's potential matches. "I sent her another message, separating myself from the rest by asking, 'Are you the same Elizabeth from LinkedIn?'" he said. They've been together for two years.


Watch: How One Matchmaker Changed Online Dating for Women Everywhere


For this article, I wanted to see if I could ~*connect*~ with some cute young professionals. But where would I find fresh potential matches? I clicked "Jobs," but that was just companies hiring. Checks out. I entered "men" in the search bar but that only suggested businesses with the word "men" in it. Wow, LinkedIn seems to really be what it says it is! I was under the impression that any app could be a sex app if you were sad enough. I've heard countless stories of people who've gotten laid from Postmates, Words with Friends, Couchsurfing, and SpareRoom.

Soon I began to crave that sensation of browsing and swiping, so I spent most of my time mining the "People you may know" section, sending connect requests to men who looked attractive in their photos and didn't work for companies that had "Solutions" in their names. A few people accepted, but no one had the business acumen to take things to the next level. So I started messaging people. The trouble with LinkedIn, though, is there's no way of knowing who's single or straight or down to clown. I wanted to message one cute guy from my network, but then my friend told me he "had a girlfriend and was also probably gay." I scrolled through LinkedIn's equivalent of a newsfeed and liked every post, including one that began, "I've been talking for years now about how messaging is going to change marketing." Would anyone get that I was flirting?

Maybe there were cute, interesting men with whom I was already connected, accidentally. I scrolled through my connections and found a man I call Ant French, an old hookup (of "u up" fame). I couldn't find any "poke" or "wave" function, so I went ahead and endorsed him for his top three skills: project management, information technology, and cash flow. He works as a business analyst and one of his duties is the "mapping of processes and business flow charts," which is so funny and exotic to me that it turned me on. I didn't hear from him, nor the other men I messaged "hey how's it goin? x" or endorsed for skills I don't understand.

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After four days of trying to get laid via the site, I'm secure enough to admit that nothing happened. I don't think I put myself out there enough, and I only reached out to people tangentially in my network. I guess I've never fully appreciated how easy dating apps make the process, as everyone's intent is more or less the same. The truth is, though, I hate all of it, and I'm tired. If you're one of the many people who received a connect request from me this week, though, assume it was for professional reasons only. I'm trying to expand my network.