Margie Simmons was conceived by MySpace but born on OKCupid.
She was brought to life by Shawn Bowers, a 27-year-old Chicago comedian. Bowers had been an OKCupid user for a few years, but his page just didn’t seem to garner the same attention that some his female friends’ accounts received.
He credits boredom for his next step.
Lakeview resident Bowers took bits and pieces of a photo found on an active MySpace profile--he didn’t feel too bad doing this because the account had been inactive for years--and created a fictitious profile for Margie.
“I Googled 'generic girl,’ ” Bowers said of how he found the girl who would eventually become Margie. Within the first’s week of Margie’s inception, “she” had received more than 100 messages--that’s more than Bowers had received in his time on the site.
For Bowers, the move became an experiment, a chance to view the world of online dating through the eyes of an attractive young woman.
At 8 p.m. Nov. 17, he gives Chicagoans a voyeuristic look at Margie’s interactions with the men who pursued her. For one night only, he’ll give audiences a chance to hear of the lengths to which a man will go for a woman. (Visit http://theokcupidproject.com/ and enter your email address for free tickets and venue information.)
It’s not a cautionary tale, but a show that’s meant to entertain: He said his intention here isn’t to scare people away from online dating.
“It’s not all just baiting men into revealing their sexual perversions, more having fun with their willingness to try and flirt through anything,” said Bowers, who's been performing improve and sketch comedy in the area for about four years.
The Kansas native said that the show really runs the gamut: he’ll play Margie (three other comedians are on hand to play the men) and read virtual interactions between Margie and her suitors, but he’ll also reveal a little bit of himself. Bowers plans to tell the story of a time the tables were turned and he was duped on OKCupid.
He may even make a live phone call to one man who was relentlessly text messaging “Margie.”
Bowers calls his approach to this project “improv with people who don’t know they’re doing improv.”
He’s been doing comedy since high school, but acting on stage isn’t quite his style; he prefers “mischief-making, screwing with people and laughing.”
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