A leaked Facebook invitation for the party-within-a-party encouraged invitees to "grab a drink and mingle with men who crave the finer things in life." A publicity stunt involving a controversial app doesn’t sound like the stuff of trending topics, until you consider NOAH’s abysmal female attendance rate — at this year’s event, only 11 out of its 108 speakers were women.
The presence of escorts at the evening events have long been a wink-wink assumption.
While the request is up, women can decide whether or not they’d like that person to be able to contact them.
Crucially, women are not visible to men before they initiate conversation — it’s the inverse of the backpage listings to which it’s often compared. From there, the couple can chat and discuss the whens and wheres of their impending dates, as well as a payment method and their boundaries, if they so please.
As I scrolled through the largely German #escortgate hashtag, one Bing translation at a time, I started to piece together an unraveling scandal.
That week Berlin had been host to the NOAH Conference, an invite-only event comparable to Code Conference or Disrupt back in the States.
"You picked a great day to visit," she says, in a voice that suggests more cigarettes than hours of sleep.
"Search ‘hashtag escortgate’ on Twitter." I do so as we step out to the balcony and she lights up a Marlboro Red.
Several in the group were Ohlala users, but Poppenreiter puts those numbers in the low single digits. "I was exhausted, I was at the conference the whole day." There’s no question the group was pulling off a stunt.
"I was like, oh, he’s kind of …" Neither had plans that night, so they started figuring out where they could meet up for a drink.
When Tara suggested a restaurant in midtown Manhattan, Stuart was into it: "Okay cool, my hotel is super close to there," he messaged back. This guy seemed nice and normal and safe and she was down for a fun night out with a visiting stranger, but she drew a hard line when it came to sex on the first date. "I thought that was the expectation." These kinds of conflicting agendas will be familiar to anyone who’s done much Tindering or Bumbling or Ok Cupiding, where one person’s one-night stand is another person’s chance at finding The One. This was Ohlala, and Stuart had already agreed to pay Tara 0 for their date.
Several women were rumored to be carrying credit card readers.
Glued to her Twitter feed as we sit on the deck, Poppenreiter dismisses the credit card part, at least, as "ridiculous." But, she says, "It’s true, to some extent.