If there’s anything TikTokers get an A+ for, it’s internet sleuthing and exposing problematic people and situations in the most entertaining way possible. Right now, a serial dater nicknamed “West Elm Caleb” is going viral on TikTok for reportedly love-bombing, lying to, and ghosting women all over New York City. According to multiple TikTok users, this man allegedly has a pattern of dating multiple women at the same time, sending intense texts and nudes, and taking them out on just one or two dates before ceasing contact altogether. As “West Elm Caleb” and his now unfortunate reputation spreads online, one can’t help but wonder: Where do these guys find the audacity? Here’s what you need to know about the West Elm Caleb story, and why it’s giving major John Tucker Must Die.
In case you thought the dating world couldn’t get any more complicated, enter West Elm Caleb. According to his profile on Hinge, the well-known dating app “designed to be deleted,” Caleb is a 25-year-old man based in NYC who appears to work as a furniture designer at West Elm. (It’s worth noting that since the start of the saga, many TikTokers have tagged the company on social media in hope of making his employer aware of his less-than-ideal dating behavior, but TBD on whether or not the brand will respond). Caleb’s Hinge profile notes some of his prominent interests, which include art, design, concerts, cooking, museums, and galleries — and if you ask TikTok, “serial dating” might very well be added to this list. The hashtag #WestElmCaleb already has over 3.4 million views on TikTok, with thousands of videos and Twitter conversations discussing the saga and celebrating how people everywhere are uniting against this mysterious love-bomber.
According to Distractify, Caleb has made his rounds among various women in New York City, with multiple stories emerging from TikTokers who have immediately recognized him and his antics. In true John Tucker Must Die fashion, the dude reportedly lies to various women at once, sends replica text messages, routinely ghosts people (before and after IRL dates), and overall, executes “player” behavior entirely too well. House Beautiful reports that he has even been accused of renaming Spotify playlists to make it appear as if he curated them specifically for every girl he is talking to — a move that undoubtedly warrants jail time. Full stop.
While details are still emerging, the “West Elm Caleb” plot continues to thicken on TikTok. Creator @meemshou says it’s her “duty” to warn others about him and has been a prominent, hilarious voice on the app for the past few days. Creator @kateglavan matched with Caleb on Hinge just last week, went on a coffee date and provided a full-blown timeline of what happened on her profile. In a fascinating turn of events, @kellsbellsbaby discovered @kateglavan’s video on TikTok and sent a DM immediately warning her about Caleb — who, ironically and in true player fashion, had seen both Kellie and Kate in the exact same day.
While it’s not particularly uncommon to be led on by an overly-confident player these days (remember “Couch Guy?”), something about West Elm Caleb and his reported antics has struck a chord with people all over the country. The saga is problematic, yes, but also speaks to the difficulties of dating in your twenties, using dating apps, and finding a match you can actually trust. On Twitter, Irene Anna (@enerianna) says: “u want me to date??? a man??? in nyc????? what if he’s the next west elm caleb I can’t deal with that.” Retweet. Katie Krzaczek (@hashtagkatie) says, “i feel like the west elm caleb girlies need their own trauma bonding girlies group chat.” And a quick scroll through TikTok shows the general sentiment that Caleb is just a giant symbol for overly confident men whose audacity is at an all-time high. Sadly, we all know at least one.
To all of the women who have been allegedly personally victimized by West Elm Caleb or someone like him: They don’t deserve you, queen. And full disclaimer, this is not an endorsement for public shaming or bullying of any kind — no one deserves that, and we’ve all had our fair share of dating woes. At the end of the day, if there’s anything positive that can come of this saga, it’s that women everywhere are now united in the largest, juiciest group chat ever — and I can’t wait to see what happens next.