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30-Apr-2015 04:18

It was this discrepancy that fascinated 30-year-old London-based Italian web designer Luca Vavassori - so he started studying how his male and female friends used dating sites.“I soon realized how irritating they can be for a woman using these kind of services,” Vavassori tells The Local.Once they’ve found one they like, they add him to a virtual supermarket trolley.But there’s a twist: men – who account for around 60 percent of the site's users – must wait for a woman to contact them first.Then they must categorize themselves according to type, with choices that include “L’informatico” (computer geek),“Palestrato” (pumped), “Hipster” and “Tamarro” (tough guy).Quite a few male users of the site fancy themselves as a “simpaticione” (nice guy) or a“creativo” (creative type), though Vavassori admits that the majority fit the traditional macho Italian stereotype. A new social network is trying to overturn traditional Italian attitudes by giving women the chance to “shop for men”.The Local speaks to the founder to find out how it all works.

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In their applications to join, men must fill in categories on their profile that include: “Manufacturing defects”, “User instructions” and “Features”.

“After publishing their profile, women are literally inundated with dozens of messages from male users, half of which are of a sexual nature.” It was with this in mind that Milan-born Vavassori started Girl Shop, a free dating website that’s been active since February and encourages women to combine their love of shopping with dating.

The concept is simple: female users of the site are invited to go shopping for men.

In the last few years, cities such as New York and London have witnessed a boom in internet dating.

But for some reason, Italy just hadn’t warmed to the idea in the same way.Only when the site’s staff deem an applicant to be a “quality product” is he allowed to join.