Age/Sex/Location? My name is Kate. I’m a 30-year-old woman living in Los Angeles, and am one animal away from needing a zoo license. I also have my own dating site, devoted entirely towards dating me.
If this were your typical dating app's "About Me" section, I'd tell you that I’ve been online dating since I was about 25, and I’ve tried all the apps and sites that everyone else has — I’ve even gotten a few relationships out of them. But like most women, I am typically bombarded with messages that show little or no thought from the sender — one- to two-word opening messages that clearly were copied and pasted to countless others in a short amount of time. “Hey”, “Hi”, and “What’s up”? are popular. At first, I took these messages seriously, telling myself I was being too picky to expect unique, thoughtful messages, and did my best to eke out a conversation from them. Then, when that didn’t work, I messed with the sender, coming up with ridiculous answers just to see what would happen. Still the same.
I should note that, like any modern woman, I am more than happy to message first. But now that online dating is socially acceptable, there are literally thousands of profiles to wade through, and it’s hard to find someone you’re compatible with... let alone someone who definitely won’t flay you and wear your skin as a suit.
If it weren’t for Taylor Swift, this is where the story would end. She’s my muse. One night after hitting the boxed wine a bit too hard, I saw her on TV with her newest boyfriend, and asked myself what does she have, that I don’t?… Other than being young(er), beautiful, famous, and possessing a seemingly endless supply of kicky business-casual shorts, I didn’t think we were that different.
(Ok. Maybe a little different.)
In a moment of the kind of clarity you can only get when you’ve drunk too much, I had my answer: she had an international platform to let prospective suitors she was single, and looking. Not having a fraction of the musical talent or budget she has, I did, however, have a name that fortuitously rhymed with "date," and $12 to buy my own domain. Thus, www.datekate.net was born.
The way it works is simple, I have one page describing who I am, one describing who my ideal date is, a page with an embedded video where I pretend I’m already on our first date, one page of testimonials from real life friends, and finally, a simple form to request a date.
Here’s my thinking: If a single man in the Los Angeles area stumbles upon this site, and says to himself “Yes, I WILL go out on a date with this strange woman who created her own site,” then some of the weirdest parts about me are already on the table, and accepted. What more could you want? Another cat, but I digress. Two is enough… for now.
My Ideal Partner
I have to admit that, so far, it's been going well. Dating requests are always thoughtful, sincere, and in complete sentences, which is a far cry from what I was getting before.
The first wave of responses were from friends, or friends of friends. People I had always meant to hang out with but never got around to. Going out with them was great — I already knew them, and knew chances were pretty high they’d not murder me that night. Or any night, for that matter.
We’d laugh over the site, and then invariably, they’d ask me earnestly if I had gotten any responses other than theirs. This is the beauty of your own dating website — it’s so weird that everyone thinks they are the only ones who would possibly be silly and weird enough to apply to go out on a date.
The truth is, I’ve gotten quite a lot of requests. Unfortunately, I’d say 50 percent are from people who live too far away, which in Los Angeles means more than a five-mile radius from home, since traffic is the worst.
The most interesting dates I’ve gone on were with the men I didn’t know beforehand. Safety is my main concern here, because these people are complete strangers, and initially I don’t know what they look like because I don’t require a picture to submit a date on my site. I do require a real email address, which I can then use towards some light Facebook stalking, just to verify they’re real. 100 percent of the time, they are.
First dates with these guys are different. They’re more nervous to meet me. I could be super crazy, or delightfully quirky. They’re not sure if I look like my pictures, or if I even exist at all. Thank you, Catfish. The nice thing is we have loads to talk about. The site is a great conversation starter — they want to know how I came up with the idea (thank you Taylor!), how it's worked out for me (I demure), and their general reaction to it (they usually appreciate the sincerity.) These guys run the gamut from 9-5 professionals to actors, musicians, and artists, and even a scientist.
Our Perfect First Date
I’d like to tell you I’ve found love on DateKate.net. I haven’t so far. I haven’t even found like like on it yet. The truth is at 30, I’m kind of a terrible first date. I don’t want to go on a second one if I don’t think there’s potential for the long-term, and on my last date from the site (a stranger!), I told the poor guy two margaritas in: “I like you, but I don’t think there’s long-term potential here. Why don’t we split the check so you don’t feel like I’m using you for the drinks, and decide if we want to be friends?” He liked my honesty, but found what I said a challenge. All I can say is that my night ended after four margaritas and a shot, and I woke up alone with a skinned elbow. He has yet to call or text, and I don't expect him to.
... I'll Call You
My site can weed out the guys who are playing the numbers game, but unfortunately it can’t target for love. That’s on me, but so far I like the odds. In the very least, any man I meet from my site will share my sense of humor. That’s half the battle right there.
Images: Kate Hudson (6)