In an internet prank, 4Chan planned to show their victims up as undateable sad acts, but for Keats, the opposite became true as a photo we took of him throwing us an alabaster middle finger sparked legions of lonely women into internet swooning.
At 7:30pm last Friday, the 17th of May, 4chan’s "Forever Alone" humiliation project brought the world's attention to one haberdashed love-hunting gentleman of the night: Keats, aka the "fedora guy". The public access CCTV cameras trained on Keats as he waited alongside a dozen or so other single men, for a date that would never arrive, didn't have the effect 4chan had desired though. They had planned to show their victims up as undateable sad acts, but for Keats, the opposite became true as a photo we took of him throwing us an alabaster middle finger sparked legions of lonely women into internet swooning.
The world decided that Keats wasn't "Forever Alone". He was "A lady boner, two feet long." Women who'd never met him wanted to "dry hump his leg". Another remarked, simply, "Giggity". So we thought we'd get in touch to give him the chance to expand his online dating portfolio.
Vice: Hey Keats. According to your OKCupid profile, you eat everything, sometimes do drugs, and you’re a ‘gentleman stroller of city streets.’ What’s a typical date with you like?
Keats: In New York, it'd be dinner and a park where we'd sit on a bench and judge people. In California, drugs – acid and weed. Taking substances with people you like is more meaningful than doing it alone.
Or, at least, more fun. Did you know about 4chan before the prank?
4chan always seems like it's gonna love me but then leaves me with blue balls. [Laughs] I was on 4chan before it sucked. But it always sucked. I've had my share of lols. The internet's not the nicest place to go.
Yeah, the prank seemed kind of mean.
It wasn't well thought out. The comments at Vice were really 'anti-prank,' but I don't agree with that. It should just have been better. It should have punked both guys and girls, by giving the guys pictures of the girls so everyone would be looking for someone specific. Some people would have gotten together.
I can see what you're getting at, but realistically that doesn't seem as funny. Anyway, tell me about this fake girl you were supposed to meet.
Her screen name was Nezbi and she was generic looking. She only had one picture, I should have known. She asked to meet me in Times Square. She looked like she might be from Chelsea, so I didn't comment on the location.
When did you realise you were being played?
As your article said, I got there at 7.15pm. I always get there early because I’m a gentleman. So anyway, I people watch for a while, smoke a cigarette. I see some people checking their phones, nerdy guys. I get suspicious. A guy then asked if I was waiting for Nezbi. Then I knew. I saw a beautiful woman later that night looking lost on her phone and I thought she might have been pranked, too.
Was the beautiful girl your dream woman? If only you'd spoken to her...
The most important thing for a girl is to be interested in stuff. I’m relatively interesting. I’ve lived in 30 places. I've been homeless, I’ve been rich, I've been poor. An interesting, mature, smart girl would be cool.
Are any of the girls that have been complementing you on the internet like that?
I've read some comments that were pretty nice. Mostly guys hit on me. So I go online. My dating pool at work is Indian men between the ages of 30 and 45 and lesbian Brazilians who I have no chance with.
So, you're glad this happened given the hordes of online admirers you've built up.
I'm surprised. I'm not normally internet-famous. But none of them have contacted me directly. It hasn't helped my OKCupid hits. The people that contacted me before this were in the UK. But I won't go all the way to Manchester to visit a girl I met on the internet.
What about the guys you met that night that were being pranked – have you kept in touch with them?
One guy from knowyourmeme.com. He’s the guy that was handing out the stuffed animals. I’d like to note for the record that I know what a Pedobear is. I have a joke about that: I like my women like I like my whiskey – 12 years old and mixed with coke.
That's a great joke. Let's talk about sex. The best and wildest you've had.
I hosted an orgy at my house, and I didn't tell them what I was planning. We smoked a hookah. Two girls started making out. My friend left the orgy to go pull brownies out of the oven. Like me, he's mostly straight. A guy doesn’t turn me on. But I’ll reach over and help a brother out in an orgy.
How about one on one? You do it with the lights on? The hat on?
Once I came home for lunch and I was in my suit and my girlfriend was there. She just pulled it out and... the hat stayed on.
How big is it?
I meant your hat collection.
Bigger than average.
You really haven't been solicited directly yet?
In that case, want to bang?
[Face frozen and without hesitation]. Sure. Yes. [Finally blinks].
WORDS: HILLARY KAYLOR
PHOTOS: BRAYDEN OLSON