Ms. Golden, 43, has developed these no-fly lists in her four years as a dating app ghostwriter. For $2,000 a month, she swipes, chats and charms, impersonating her clients. Once she has earned a client a date, she tags them in and becomes a more traditional dating coach, reviewing each encounter in detailed post-mortems, helping to guide their next moves. Some clients disclose to their dates that they have used Ms. Golden’s services, and others do not. . . .
Tone is essential to Ms. Golden’s — and her clients’ — success. She learns to imitate their conversational styles through the use of an eight-page intake form that includes specific questions: How do you take your coffee? Have you ever “swam with dolphins or stingrays or enormous turtles”?
By the time a potential client has answered those questions and had an hourlong introductory conversation, Ms. Golden thinks she can mimic them convincingly enough — down to whether they would type “gonna” or “going to” — to start chatting.
Ms. Golden subscribes to a less-is-more mind-set, and much of the work she does is in how little she says. She will not get caught in volleys of conversation, and judges prospective dates who do so.
“They should be wondering more about me, and I’m not going to give it all to them right then and there,” she said. “When I’m messaging someone and they respond right away I’m like, chill out, eager beaver.”