Never mind that little black dress. An essential tool these days is a little black card for single women (and men) who’ve eyed someone they fancy.
By Foo Yee Ping
When Lori Cheek, an architect, spotted an attractive stranger during a Fourth of July party in the Hamptons, she quietly slipped a black calling card into his back pocket. He didn’t even see her.
Since then, however, they have been going out on dates; the guy had decided to take up the bidding in the card where, stated in small print, was the message “find me.”
Also on the card was a website address (www.cheekd.com) and a unique code.
Intrigued, he checked out the site and keyed in the code, which linked him to a private online profile about Cheek.
“He e-mailed me after the weekend and we met for a drink,” Cheek said.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a true account of the latest dating tool to hit New York, a city with almost four million singles according to the 2008 American Community Survey.
A report in The New York Times stated that there are more single people in New York City than the entire population of Chicago, which has 2.7 million inhabitants. Thus, singles who are wary about online dating or tired of speed dating now have another option that is “fun and non-intimidating” to hit on someone who has just sparked their interest.
“You see someone attractive, you make eye contact or perhaps even offer a wink. Then you hand out the card,” said Cheek, who started the website in May and found her own success story to share.
The cards come with catchy taglines such as “Emotionally Available,” “Our Story Begins,” “We’ll Laugh About This A Year From Now” and “Don’t Overthink This.”
At the website, a deck of 50 cards are offered at $25 plus one month of free service where users post information or receive messages on the site.
“The advantage here is that the world is your shopping cart,” said Cheek in an e-mail interview. “You are practically shopping on the streets, in real life.”
This, she said, is unlike online dating where everyone knows that men and women out there tend to exaggerate their merits on online dating networks.
The service was a refreshing alternative to online profile browsing, she said. “It is also unlike speed dating or ‘It’s Just Lunch’ events, where your only options are the other individuals at the event.”
Cheek said she had been getting happy feedback from singles who have handed out the cards surreptitiously.
“I got the nicest e-mail from a 53-year-old man with three children whose wife had recently left him. He thought it was a great way to give his card away to women while he was with his children and they wouldn’t really know that he was handing off a pick-up line!”
Cheek said she thought of the idea for such cards about two years ago when she had just finished dinner with a male friend in SoHo, a neighborhood in Manhattan.
Her friend wrote on the back of his business card “Want to have dinner?” and handed it to a girl at an adjacent table as he and Cheek were leaving the restaurant.
“I thought it was pretty bold and mysterious that he’d slipped her the card, but thought it would be much more interesting if that card hadn’t had the information of his place of employment on it.
“I then started thinking how interesting it would be to have different suggestions pre-printed on cards that you could use in all kinds of different scenarios. The process seemed like a ‘Tag. You’re It’ kind of game for urban singles,” Cheek said.
So far, the response to the cards had been incredible.
“I’ve received thank you letters from users for creating the idea and ‘sharing the magic.’ We’ve gotten thousands of sign-ups on our site.”
The users come from all over the United States.
“Most of the orders are coming from the larger cities but we also have many orders from small towns that I’ve never even heard of!” she enthused. The age range is usually about 20 to 50.
In fact, Cheek had also been getting e-mails from other countries, inquiring how the cards could be purchased overseas.
“We’re working on shipping worldwide and hope to have that set up on our site within the next month.”
She said “Cheek’d” had organized many events since its launch where users and other singles would come for happy-hour drinks.
Cheek’d, of course, isn’t the only such website available now. There are other similar services for singles to mingle with the ones they fancy.
Still, there are those who question the need for such cards. Why not just walk up to someone and say hi?
“The truth is, people (for the most part) don’t do that. These cards give users a chance to do so without interrupting their lunch/ dinner/previously engaged conversations.”
However, she acknowledged that it takes a bit of courage to hand the card to someone.
“But I also see it as an opportunity to bridge the gap of a certain level of shyness,” Cheek said.
Cheek, who looks for a caring man with a sense of humor, has been seeing the guy whom she “Cheek’d” at the Hamptons a number of times now.
“I’m finding myself really liking him! The bad thing is — I don’t want to get serious about someone because handing these cards out is so much fun!” she said.
Special thanks to The Star, Malaysia.