Text Dating with Cupid’s Lab: A Memoir, Kind Of
Milk is fucking up this nation, or something, because I’m watching the national spelling bee and there is currently an enormous 13 year old 8th grader with Conan the Barbarian hair, hulking frame, and full crustache. Then, like the champion he is certainly not considered to be at his elementary school, he asked the judges to confirm the etymology of the word and calmly, with back bent over the dwarfed microphone, nailed its latin root before delivering the correct spelling.
While we’re talking about prime specimens, I think it would be appropriate to recap a dating event I attended last night. A while back a friend told me about a new project his buddy was spearheading, so I thought I’d check it out, ya know, so that I could help with the development and run through some preliminary backend functionality testing…ok, fine! I’m fucking lonely and I’m getting damn desperate!
Here’s the deal. These guys have a site called GiveandDate.com. All of this is free, until I tell you so. Create a profile. Upload a photo. Browse featured profiles. Read about the person. When you find someone you want to bone (err, talk to) you need to make a donation to a selected charity to send a message. Currently, during the beta launch, the minimum donation is only $1. Of course you can try to philantrophize your way into someone’s good graces by choosing to donate more. The featured person will receive your message and be notified how much money you have donated. That person will browse all responses they have garnered and choose with whom to pursue anything. None, some, or all. Really charitable people be warned: you will be put in an awkward bind, wrestling with the desire to reward a good heart by going on dates with people they are severely repulsed by.
The good news is, if the event last night was any indication of their online presence then this shite could be solido (spanish for solid, you pinche pendejo/a). And if their online shite blows, they are throwing many events, but under the guise of Cupid’s Lab – a dating site that leverages texting games to get people together. While my knee jerk reaction is to curse Cupid’s Lab for using texting technology to further remove flirting from real world interaction, it probably results in more connections because people feel emboldened to make their first move via text and then only pursue when they have confirmed interest from the other party. Just to be clear, I’ve transitioned from GiveAndDate to Cupid’s Lab.
Cupid’s Lab in Action (from the beta launch party of GiveandDate on 5/27 @ Animal Haven)
The Scene: Props to the team for keeping the cost down on the event. I just hope they know that having your lawyer run the beer keg and some side kick doling out cups of wine, while a costume shop disco ball lights an unadorned room that is grooving to the DJ’d beats of a duo that drapes their name signage over the folding table they are set up on comes across as a caricature of the worst singles’ event our collective minds can conjure up. But, I’m just joshing. Because it was sweet.
The crowd: It was my first ever dating type thing, but I wasn’t surprised there were more females than males. I don’t know why that isn’t surprising, but it is probably because dudes don’t want to admit they need help, just like healthcare and directions.
The procedure: Put on a name tag. Sign up for a Cupid’s Lab account and then your cell phone is activated. Receive a badge (really a sticker) with a number. When you see someone who you like you can send a text to them using various codes. A) say “tee-hee” and then some little anonymous message that says you think they look gooooood. B) send a direct message to that person that reveals your identity. C) Suggest a match to a person. For example, I’m friends with Beatrice and I think tall dark and handsome would dig her, so I send TDH a message notifying him of my hunch.
General Warning: If you don’t have an all-inclusive text plan either get one, adjust your budget, or don’t play. In addition to possibly sending and receiving many texts, you will get confirmation texts from Cupid’s Lab when you send your flirts.
Test 1: Although they don’t hide the fact that normal texting fees apply, I discovered the confirmation text issue when I fought an urge to talk to a girl and instead had to leer at her to read the badge # that was being partially obstructed by her hair. To avoid blowing my chances, I even asked friends (thanks Pravin! and Pravin’s friend) to keep an eye on her chest (where the badge was) in the event of a revealing hair-flip. Sometime during the laughing (at the ridiculousness) and drinking beer (to take the edge off) I got the badge number and sent off a fiery direct round. It is strange to track your flirt real time. I saw her take out her phone and read the message. Then, I realized she would scan the room, and I almost hit the floor like someone avoiding an soon-to-be detonating grenade. I fought the urge and tried to stand in such a manner as to look relaxed, making sure my badge was in full view, not buried behind my huge biceps. A second later I got a text asking me where I was. Damn! I could have made eye contact and waved since she was a few feet away, but I wanted to test the platform more, so I send her my coordinates: “Corner of the bar. Asshole military cut.” She came over. We talked. Hey-O!
Test 2: Test 2 was actually a control measure just to confirm that good old talking can still work as an ice breaker. That is lie, she was attractive and just didn’t have a fucking badge. She is probably married, but we didn’t talk about it. What we did talk about made me rethink the preconceptions I have of people from Jersey who work in finance. And those are deeply woven into the fabric of my being! Like my halitosis, penchant for rubbing silk sheets between my forefinger and thumb (sadly, I have 50 threadcount sheets manufactured in the Great Pacific gyre) , and love of vanilla extract’s scent.
Post-Game Analysis: This is already the longest post ever. Here is my statement, which actually applies to everything in life, minus murder, rape, and other activities that catastrophically effect lives of others: don’t knock it till you try it. Don’t like it, knock the shit out of it.