One woman’s grand heist of the hearts and wallets of 20 men has hit the internet, once again. Last year, an entrepreneurial young woman apparently maintained 20 boyfriends and convinced them to get her the then-new iPhone 7. She turns around and immediately flips all 20 of them to a phone recycling plant for some fast cash– and pays the down payment of a house for herself and parents. Glamorous, selfless, and ICONIC.
Who is she?
What’s this queen’s name? They call her Xiaoli, and she conquered the love game and made it out with about $20,000.
People in China started commenting on the blog post that made this all famous, inspirational feedback like:
“I can’t even find one boyfriend. She can actually find 20 boyfriends at the same time and even get them to buy her an iPhone 7. Just want to ask her to teach me such skills.”
Same, blog commenter, same.
We imagine this story is making its way through the viral internet circus once again, one year later, because it’s that time of year again: Christmas music is streaming out of car radios and Spotify playlists, and the capitalist drive to buy, buy, buy is constructing a hole in your pocket (and soul). Don’t we all want 20 boyfriends and 20 iphones, maybe a boyfriend-themed advent calendar with delicious, foil wrapped iphones lying behind every paper door? Or a 20-candle menorah, and with each lighting, a new boyfriend knocks on your door and hands you yet another iphone?
Just let me hangout in my sacrilegious holiday fanfic of a fantasy for just a moment, please.
The truth must be revealed
Now that we’re through fantasizing about the skills and courage of this iconic scam princess, we have to tell you the truth. Sorry to break it to you, but this whole thing might be a big fat lie. It looks like the grand tale of our Chinese Joanne, Ms. Xioali Sugarbaby and her 20 iPhones, is phony itself. There are profound layers of hoaxing in this story. BBC tried to verify the story: “a company spokesperson confirmed that they had indeed purchased 20 iPhones from a female client at the beginning of October and paid 6,000 Chinese yuan (about £725) for each one.”
Buzzfeed started digging even deeper in the gossip, and it turns out the phone-recycling plant had just hired a new PR director who is “passionate about producing internet events.” Evidence is pointing to how the company just wanted to boost their own business, so they constructed an elaborate tale about a charming con-artist in order to get attention.
Who really got scammed?
So who got scammed in the end? What’s the moral here? Are the 20 boyfriends just an allegory for our own selves, the fly-like consumers caught in the web of neoliberal capitalism, who will click on any story that smells like fresh drama? Whatever the case, you can bet the PR person got a fat bonus at Christmas.