There are no real life meet cutes anymore. You either flip through endless options on dating apps, get lonely enough to take a chance on one of your orbiters, or hop onto the onion router if you’re like me and download a partner.




Remember the ineffective and oft-ridiculed anti-piracy public service announcement that would play in between the commercials and the coming attractions on home video DVDs?


You wouldn’t download a car…


Except actually, you probably would if you could.


The ad tried to make digital theft seem uncool, but it did the exact opposite. Nothing would stop the generation raised on dial-up from bootlegging on Limewire and Megaupload.




The best things in life happen at 3 A.M.


It’s called the witching hour because it’s magical. Anything is possible. I remember a PopUp video factoid that revealed Prince filmed most of his music videos at 3 A.M. It was when he felt most creative.


3 A.M. is the perfect time to summon a demonic spirit, or call evil Mickey Mouse, or play the notorious Sonic.exe game.


For me, 3 A.M. turned out to be the best time to do my dark web shopping. I got the idea from Jaystation, a YouTuber who got canceled for making horny comments about Ariana Grande while using a Ouija board to speak with the spirit of Mac Miller only a few hours after he died.


In the Jaystation video, the title warns viewers to not try downloading a partner from the dark web at 3 A.M. The girlfriend he ordered arrived with a cat o’ nine tails flail and immediately started chasing him around his house. This didn’t seem so bad. It looked kinda cool, even. And when a video tells me to not do something, especially at a specific time of night, I’m definitely going to do it.




Everyone on Tinder in the Bay Area thinks they’re changing the world with their startup or product. They’re all like, we’re improving lives and disrupting the industry with our travel accessories, as if buying a new suitcase is going to somehow reduce the carbon footprint created by people who think flying in an airplane is a personality trait.


The only thing they’re disrupting is my ability to have a deep and meaningful relationship with someone who isn’t a self-important doofus.


Scrolling through profiles is a fruitless pursuit filled with bros wearing Oakley sunglasses and beige Club Monaco jackets with even beiger personalities.


By contrast, the dark web in all its gray area glory seemed rife with possibilities.




What really is the dark web anyway? It’s always talked about in hushed tones. Like yeah, that’s the place you can order MDMA and have it sent to your house disguised as a roll of film. Or, don’t tell anyone I told you this but I heard you can use it to hire a hitman, or at least that’s what this one lady who wanted to collect her husband’s life insurance did but she got caught eventually.


As someone who only really uses technology to post cat memes on social media, I didn’t really know what I was doing but I made preparations in the same way as I would to perform any kind of ritual. I was ready to have a spooky experience. After lighting a candle to set the mood, I googled “how to use the dark web.” The first result was a video explainer with a thumbnail image of someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Perfect.




He showed up at my doorstep fifteen minutes later (that’s 3:15am) wearing a balaclava.


The confirmation email I received after making my purchase noted that the boyfriend I ordered might arrive in a full face mask, for our “mutual safety.” I was only a little alarmed when I first saw him on my Ring camera.




If this era of my life was a Youtube video, the title would be: I Downloaded a Boyfriend From the Dark Web at 3 A.M. and THIS HAPPENED (emotional)



Is it illegal to download a boyfriend from the dark web? Can love be programmed?


He’s not a robot, or artificially intelligent. Yes, he came from the dark web, but it’s really not any weirder than setting a preferences filter on OKCupid. Maybe he’s not 100% human, but no one’s perfect.


All I know for sure is that he walked into my apartment and knew exactly what to do to put me at ease. He handed me an orange to put on my altar, removed his ski mask, and plopped himself on the floor in front of my bookcase. “Dead Souls, I love that one,” he said. “Maybe we could travel the countryside some day rounding up some dead souls of our own.”


Filling out the questionnaire when I made the order really did calibrate him to my specifications. I love weird jokes that aren’t funny.


Catching myself blushing, I excused myself to the kitchen to make some chamomile tea. When I returned to the living room with mugs in hand, he was already wielding the remote, flipping through streaming options to find the perfect movie. He spent twenty minutes side scrolling categories and commentating, decided on Heat, then curled up and fell asleep beside my coffee table before the second act started.




He’s not like other guys. He looks at me with Google deep dream eyes and speaks to me softly in ChatGPT cadences. In the morning he hands me a fresh cup of French press and asks if I dreamed of electric sheep, smiling like the logo on the side of an Amazon prime box.


It didn’t take long for the two of us to get acclimated. When I ask if he’s happy here, he always says “of course,” then reminds me that he passed the Turing test.




“Do you know how much information I’m storing in my brain at any moment,” he says to me.


“You can just tell me you forgot to put the clothes in the dryer,” I say. “It’s not a big deal.”




You know the children’s book that’s basically a series of warnings about cause and effect, the one that’s like: If you give a moose a muffin, he’ll want some jam to go with it.


Well, if you download a boyfriend from the dark web at 3 A.M. he’s going to want to install Linux on your laptop and set up a password manager so you stop using the same basic password on every web app.


Once your new operating system is set up, he’s going to recommend deleting your social media, for “privacy reasons.”


Web security is his version of pillow talk.




I downloaded a boyfriend from the dark web at 3 A.M. and he says he wants to “redpill” me. Not because he’s an MRA or an incel or anything like that, but because he truly believes we’re living in the matrix.


Given his origins, I’m inclined to trust him.




Tired of destroying your friend groups by dating someone in your circle?


Hate having to find a new favorite bar/coffee shop/bookstore because you ruined it by bringing your ex there when you were still dating and now it’s their favorite hangout spot?


Want to meet someone completely unknown to you? Do you consider yourself a fan of mystery and intrigue?


You already know what I’m gonna say. Download your next significant other from the dark web and rid yourself of messy entanglements for good.