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But hold on a minute—are the DABA girls even for real? DABA cofounder Laney Crowell tells NEWSWEEK that what The New York Times and many other outlets portrayed as a serious Web site is, in fact, a full-blown parody by Crowell and her sidekick Megan Petrus, a Manhattan lawyer. Often the DABA girls invent fresh details for maximum satirical effect."That isn't my life," says Crowell, 27, from a coffee shop near her apartment in New York's West Village.
Dressed modestly in jeans and a pullover, Crowell describes her DABA identity as an online "character" and admits that she doesn't actually know anyone with a boyfriend-backed credit card or a slashed department-store allowance.
How much of the DABA project was in earnest and how much was satirical or just plain made up remains cloudy, even after the Times’ note (and the NPR and Newsweek stories about the group).
's January story "It’s the Economy, Girlfriend," might be too good to be true.
Many say they’d rather date teachers or some exotic trapeze artist–anything different from what they already do.
Last month, Dating a Banker Anonymous broke out as the hated, irresistible Website du jour, and it has earned its self-pitying, gold-digging authors some national press, not to mention promises from Hollywood agents of a "Real Housewives"–style media franchise. Crowell and Petrus fill the blog with a liberal mix of their own experiences, anecdotes from girls they meet out on the town and stories from people who e-mail the site, which they make no effort to verify. 28 about women who commiserated over dating Wall Street bankers caught in the financial crisis described a group they had formed, Dating a Banker Anonymous, as a support group. Its creators originally told The Times that about 30 women had participated, but since publication, they have said that all involved were friends.Laney Crowell, one of the women who started the blog, said in the article that it was "very tongue in cheek;" she has since described it as a satire that embellishes true experiences for effect.And despite DABA posts suggesting otherwise, she says, her own relationship with a corporate real-estate investor runs more toward Netflix at home than no-limit nights on the town.When a NEWSWEEK photographer asked for a Wall Street bar recommendation, she couldn't name a single one—although she'll have plenty of time to look into that now. In an editor's note prompted by questions from NEWSWEEK, the Times contended that the DABA girls had misled their reporter, that it should not have described the site as a support group and that it was caught unawares by word that much of the site's content was pixie dust. She insists that DABA is rooted in truth—the romantic ramifications of economic decline—and that she and Petrus launched it as a way to poke fun at themselves when the recession turned their men into "emotional train wrecks." "Did my boyfriend want to watch 'Gossip Girl' rather than hang out with me? "Yes." Her agency, Janklow & Nesbit, says that's enough for a book deal.
Had the nature of the blog been made clear at the outset, the article would have described it accordingly, not as a support group.