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This Woman Is Dealing With Rude, Awkward Men Online By Illustrating Them

"I remember staring at the face and then the message, feeling icky, and closing my laptop."

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Toronto-based illustrator Emmie Tsumura is coping with the rather puzzling world of online dating by illustrating the men who message her.

Tsumura has been signed up to Match, Tinder, and OkCupid since October. "Getting a first message that says 'I want to sex with you' is bizarre. Does that ever work?" she said. "I’m a curious person by nature, so feeling shocked, offended, or repulsed would be followed by something like intrigue or fascination. Who was this person and why did they send this and what should I do?! Part of me is saying, 'Are you fucking kidding me?!' Another part of me is feeling super sad and alone. Another part is saying, 'This is hilarious!'”

Tsumura didn't want to feel disempowered by these messages, so she decided to turn them into illustrations.

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"I kept getting dick pics and other fun surprises and told my friend that I was done with online dating. But then later that night I drew three of these guys and texted them to her. She laughed so hard, and I knew I had to draw more."

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For Tsumura the illustrations helped her to deal with these men but they also allowed her to slow down the entire online dating process.

Instagram: @ok_cucumber

"Creating illustrations changes the context and is meant to slow down the process of judging and swiping. It actually humanises the experience."

Tsumura has already had great feedback from people online: "I’ve had lots of people say that seeing the illustrations made them feel understood, or less alone."

Instagram: @ok_cucumber

"Like everyone else, I do sincerely want to meet people, so illustrating these images helped me to keep logging in. It feels more like an act of love and less like new car shopping."

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For now Tsumura is continuing with her project, which she's called ok_cucumber, and eventually hopes to put her illustrations together in a book. "There is so much to talk about around the politics of race, gender, sex, and love in online dating. ok_cucumber is the first project I’ve done that, at its core, is meant to encourage conversation."