Blind Date

Tasha Joseph's Website shows fiction is stranger than truth

Today, only twelve months after Joseph launched the female "free speech" Website, she says it has amassed more than 700,000 registered users and 17,000 profiles. And the site is accessible in four languages. According to Joseph, traffic on the Website has also grown exponentially, logging 500,000 to one million hits per day.

Joseph recently quit her Herald gig to concentrate on managing the site full-time, though she continues to consult on an ad-hoc basis. She declines to say exactly how much she has profited from the Website, but explains she plans to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of DDHG merchandise this year — an estimated $5500 — to the Women's Alliance, an organization that helps low-income women get jobs. In addition, she plans to donate approximately 25 percent of the site's annual revenue to an organization, yet to be determined, that improves women's lives.

These days things are looking up for the young woman. She is the proud owner of — in no particular order — international fame and exposure, a wealthy fiancé, a 2004 Jaguar X-Type, an über-shiny engagement ring, and a $1.375-million-dollar address in Pinecrest. Oh yes, and a newfound sense of fulfillment at having helped the worldwide sisterhood of downtrodden women.

Brian Sendelbach
Brian Sendelbach

One of her most vocal critics has been Manhattan-based writer and self-described bi/queer editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, who in 2005 slammed Joseph's project on the Website "The entire tone of the site assumes some sort of moral superiority on the part of women with a false sense of öwe're-all-in-this-together' when in fact [women are] probably known for being even cattier, colder, and crazier in our efforts to hold on to men."

According to the Houston Press, Joseph posted on the DDHG blog a scathing rebuttal to Bussel's remarks: "Start one for cheating lesbians if you like," she wrote, adding that Bussel's "comments are not worth addressing."

Another detractor is the author of the TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime blog, who wrote last month: "Personally I think the site is deplorable.... I hope Joseph voluntarily shuts it down. Regardless of whether it's legally justifiable, it's morally reprehensible — at least in my constitutionally protected opinion."

Responds Joseph: "You either like the site and you understand why it's important to women or you don't. If you don't, that's great, because I believe in the First Amendment and a person's right to voice their opinion."

New Jersey resident William didn't want to talk about the allegation posted on Joseph's Website that lists him as a pedophile. So we looked him up on the National Sex Offender Public Registry. He's not listed.

Next we turned to alleged deadbeat dad Kevin. Though he failed to respond to a voicemail message left at his Pittsburgh home, we deduced the claims against him might not be 100 percent true. Okay, maybe he enjoys sex with men and sells drugs for a living. But dating 263 women simultaneously? Er, exactly!

Dallas resident Derek, who is 45 years old, hung up the phone as soon as we asked if he really suffers from genital warts contracted from one of his many male lovers. The posting is attributed to his wife of eleven years. (Just a thought: If you were married to a diseased, whoring homo, would you wait for him to leave you for a 24-year-old girl, or would you cite the 'till scabs us do part' clause and bolt?)

New Times got nothing but a dial tone from James, who lives in Oregon, after we questioned him about an anonymous posting that profiled him as a "butt pummeler" who screwed his girlfriend's 72-year-old female neighbor. But we had to wonder why his girl would have taken him back if he really was banging Grandma.

Then we called a man, whom we will refer to as Bill (at his entreaty and because of pesky concerns related to libel) . He was described on DDHG as a five-foot-ten-inch, 25-year-old, muscular, olive-skinned, soon-to-be law school student who was "involved with women in different states a user, manipulator, and a liar." After hearing the description and then briefly hesitating, the native Californian let out a hearty chuckle over the telephone.

"Are you sure you have the right guy?" he asked.

Bill, according to the site, is your standard alleged cheater. No allegations pertaining to young children, child-support payments, or blow-up dolls, for example. So we asked whether he was a pro at the fuck-'em-and-chuck-'em game?

"Er, honestly ... yes," he giggled shyly. "But I can't believe someone would say I'm a womanizer. That's funny. How can I be a womanizer? I've never even technically fucked a girl."

A virgin?

"Hell, no, I'm not a virgin," he scoffed. "I'm gay."

Wait, what?

Bill's initial humor was quickly replaced by bewilderment. First he was told the post claimed he "has no remorse about cheating and hurting women he's a pro at this game." Next he learned more than 800 people had viewed the unsigned discussion of his unscrupulous character.

He racked his brain and then made a startling confession. Four months ago, having recently graduated from college in Southern California with a bachelor's degree in English literature, he moved to Chicago. Prior to the beginning of his fall term at law school, a friend hooked him up with a summer internship at a reputable law firm. He worked more as a coffee boy than anything else.

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