'Pie hunting' is the latest cruel dating trend

'Pie hunting' is the latest cruel dating trend

With the rise of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, we've seen a lot of new trends. "Ghosting" is when you suddenly stop contacting someone, without explanation. "Breadcrumbing" is when you send someone sporadic messages just often enough to keep their interest. "Cushioning" is when you flirt with other people as potential back-up partners, in case your current relationship fails. And "exhausting" is what it feels like to try to keep up with all of these new terms.

However, there's a new dating trend with a clever name that's actually pretty cruel. It's called "pie hunting," but it has nothing to with shopping for dessert. The term originates from the slang expression "pied off," which means "to be ditched, dumped or abandoned, similar to getting a cream pie in the face." A "pie hunter," also known as a "Pied Piper," seeks out a single person with a disastrous dating history, who has had their heart broken from being dumped, hopefully more than once.

“Pie hunting, like so many other crude dating tactics, works because it takes advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable," says dating expert Rex Wood, to The Daily Mirror. "The mindset of the Pied Piper is simple: Why take the risk of dating resilient, invulnerable people – and being unsuccessful – when there plenty of men and women out there who will be thoroughly grateful for the attention and the chance of finding romance.”

The technique is brutal, but effective. It exploits people who are emotionally fragile, with their confidence and self esteem at an all time low. Pie Hunters typically target divorcees or anyone whose online profile suggests they recently went through a bad breakup. Wood, who describes himself as a "former playboy," says this means they're more likely to agree to one-night stands and will “rarely, if ever" cheat.

If you'd like to avoid being the victim of a 'pie hunter,' be careful how much information you disclose to a stranger. For example, don't say you're "ripe for a rebound" on your online profile, and don't be too quick to mention that your last date was a total disaster. There's always been cruel dating strategies - remember pick-up artists, with their "peacocking" and "negging"? Becoming aware of the terminology is half the battle.

“Online dating is a minefield, and understanding the various tactics is key," says Wood, who's the author of a new book called Sexcellence: The Sex Spreadsheet. He hopes to educate millennials by giving them candid dating advice, and says they shouldn't let creepy new trends like "pie hunting" spoil their romantic experience.

"Try to get to know your would-be date in advance of meeting up, and analyze his or her correspondence for any sign of strategy or agenda," says Wood. “If you go into it with your eyes open, internet dating can be fun and the opportunity to find your Mr or Mrs Right.”

Hopefully the next hot dating trend is "not exploiting people."