It all began when Adam, a third-year engineering student from Canada, was out "partying with some friends" and went on to Tinder. While swiping, he was matched with a girl, Noelle.
In response to her bio, which includes the phrase "I do things," Adam sent her a message asking whether his penis qualified as a "thing".
"I just typed the first thing that came to my mind," he told BuzzFeed. Adam added that he doesn't usually take Tinder too seriously, but that he's built a reputation in his circle of friends as "The Tinder King".
Noelle replied with a request:
At this point, it's safe to assume Noelle probably didn't think anything would happen with her request for a seven-page essay and that Adam would ignore her amusing response.
But never underestimate what a man will do in order to get laid.
Adam put out the request to write a seven-page essay for Noelle to Reddit, whereupon one fellow redditor responded:
"Being an engineering student, essays are by far my weak point, so I got the idea to seek help online," Adam said. "I've seen crazier things happen on Reddit before, so I definitely thought it was possible that someone might write it."
Adam's request was answered by a guy called Ashton. Ashton told BuzzFeed he wrote the essay in about an hour after having a drink. He then shared the essay online in a open Google Doc:
Ashton, a student from the Seattle area, said that as part of his degree, he reads and writes a lot about classic literature, and often writes a three-page paper a day.
Describing why he decided to respond to this Reddit request, he said: "I had seen a friend of mine on Reddit post on r/tinder, so I thought I'd just look around and see if there was anything funny. That's when I came across Adam's post about a girl (jokingly) asking for a seven-page paper about his male member.
"It was the end of the day, and I've been trying to stay distracted to get over an ex-gf, so I thought, 'Hey...this might be fun.'"
In the essay, Ashton speaks, erm, poetically about the penis form:
To begin, let us consider the prevalence of such phallic forms in the true reality of history, and then consider the philosophical implications of this prevalence in the context of Plato's forms. It does not take a highly educated person to realize the historical extent of these Phallic forms. Let us begin first of all in Ancient Egypt with the Obelisks. These monumental shapes were tall, four-sided towers that rose and culminated in a pyramid. Obelisks were placed out in front of places of great ritual, such as temples or places of worship, be it of the Egyptian Gods or of the Pharaoh himself. Obelisks, therefore, represented the interconnection of the divine form with the human form. To visit a place wherein a obelisk stood was to visit the place of God on earth. Such a powerful association foreshadows the great importance of the Phallic form throughout history.
He concludes his passionate essay with a simple plea:
I am but a man, and what more can I say than to suggest that, as a part of your continued pursuit of the perfect form, you consider myself to be but a humble step towards the experience of all that the Egyptians and Romans considered to be the pathway to heaven? What more can I ask than for you to experience my representation of defiance to the Gods, my ray of sunshine that I revere as a gift from the daily drudgery, the drive of instinct, the push and pull of the rat race. I bow before you requesting that you do, indeed, as millions of earth's inhabitants before you, consider my penis worth your while.
You can read the whole essay here, you know, if you want.
Adam sent Ashton's essay over to Noelle. Despite their combined efforts, the essay did not succeed in winning her over.
Adam didn't quite expect the response the essay received after going viral, saying it was all a bit of a shock.
"I think I will keep doing outrageous things on Tinder in an effort to bring smiles to the world," he told BuzzFeed. "And if that calls for another essay, I will gladly outsource the work to the internet again."
Meanwhile, Ashton said he never thought so many people would see the essay he wrote for Adam. "I just wanted to do something silly," he said. "I helped just because I love writing and I thought it would be absolutely hilarious to spend an hour writing about why penises were worth significant attention."
Ashton said he had never been on Tinder before, but that he'd consider it now his essay has been so well-received. He added that he may even write another one if it helps his chances.