You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it. Part VI.

Huh boy — let’s hope this doesn’t start another series of long posts. To see the first five parts, go to and search “You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it.”

Maybe I shouldn’t open up about this but I will. I gave up online dating for Lent — for the third time. Unless the Matches, Bumbles, Tinders, etc., can control scammers, this surrender will likely be permanent.

Don’t tell me they can’t control scammers. Yes, the online scamming community (won’t name nationalities) is growing in number. There are reports online scammers have a new ally in AI.

I still argue, however, if the nightclub nearest you can hire security detail, the public school nearest you can hire at least one resource officer, and the university nearest you can employ its own police force, the online dating community should seriously consider hiring police retirees to control the nonsense created by scammers.

It’s 2024. Working from home has become more and more of a thing. Scammers are likely operating from home — while making an ill-gotten fortune. It’s likely scammers are using online dating as a springboard to reach your bank account.

Okay, with that rant out of the way, one of the last times I tried online dating was last year. It with something called JustLo. At the time, it got about a 4.5-star rating in the iOS App Store from fellow users. Likely an A- at worst on the report card.

So, I thought, let’s give it a try. The good news: Two women from Hattiesburg immediately reached out to me. At least — their profiles indicated they were from Hattiesburg.

It was time to prove they were from Hattiesburg. I immediately responded with “SMTTT”. Collective response: They had no idea what “SMTTT” meant.

If you’ve lived in Hattiesburg or vicinity since the dawn of social media, you’re likely well aware #SMTTT is the hashtag shorthand for “Southern Miss To The Top”.

More Hattiesburg women were reaching out to me. Real or fake? Once again, I greet them with “SMTTT” and get the collective — “huh?”

Conversation wasn’t limited to my alma mater and related shorthand. I would bring up other things locals just instantly know: the Pocket Museum; the Saenger Theatre; The Lucky Rabbit; traditional events such as Hubfest, FestivalSouth, and the Crawfish Jam; even “Home Town”, which usually films about half an hour up the road in Laurel (HGTV ventured into The Burg and The Lucky Rabbit more than once). Sure, I could bring up a long-running radio show that celebrated 28 years on the air earlier today — but I’m fighting a losing battle on JustLo.

None of the Hattiesburg-based women I chatted with on said app knew anything about what was going on locally. Alarmingly, they wanted to change subjects.

Speaking of location, location, location, to the best of my recollection, I don’t think any of the other women who reached out were from neighboring cities and towns (read: no one from Petal, Richton, Laurel, Ellisville, Poplarville, Collins, Columbia, the list should go on and on).

To be fair, the pay-to-play platform was a bit different with their coin system as opposed to a three-, six-, or twelve-month subscription. But the coin system felt like playing an old-fashioned rigged slot machine — with a lemon popping up in the third reel every time ensuring a loss.

When I nearly had enough, I wrote a one-star review (surprise!) for the App Store. Now I didn’t go into hyper-local specifics like I have here. To keep my review short, I generalized the “SMTTT”/”huh?” exchange in writing the following…

…as you’ll see, I posted it in late September of 2023 — eight days after Earth, Wind & Fire Day, if you know what I mean.

In early November, the developer responded. Timely response? Judge for yourself.

In the following image, you’ll see the last several words of my review followed by the developer’s response dated November 8, 2023…

…to the best of my recollection, I don’t remember a “report” button. If there were, I’d report accordingly. Otherwise, I’m not dignifying the response with a lot of remarks. Looks like the developer is trying to save some face — and failing.

Regardless, if the first five posts from this blog with the title “You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it.” — based on lyrics from an Alexander O’Neal hit in the 1980s — should tell you anything, it’s this: I’ve gotten good at sniffing out fakes.

And that’s the thing. When I’m spending too much time playing detective when I should be finding a date for Friday night, the apps aren’t worth my time, effort, and, where applicable, money.

Doug’s Place Flashback: Yes, it’s true Cindy, my late wife, and I met online. However, as we got to know each other, we realized we had a lot of mutual friends — one of whom regretted not playing matchmaker (this person’s long since been forgiven).

Generations of people before us didn’t need any kind of internet connection to make a romantic connection. Think about that before plunking down your hard-earned money on a dating app.

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